Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Not on my life list

Death Valley, that is. Twenty mule teams dragging wagons of borax across a desert strewn with cow skulls in heaps. People dying of thirst as they drag their covered wagons west. Those are my images of Death Valley. But it is on Carl's life list, so we found a route through from Beatty to California.

Beatty (spelled just like Warren) is a wide spot in the road in Nevada with an RV park right next to an army surplus yard. The surplus guy is a permanent RV park resident, and I am guessing his is the burnt orange job on jacks with the pen and dog house next to it. Two doors down is Death Valley Nuts, Candy and Ice Cream, and there's a bike path that joins the the army surplus to the ice cream. Two blocks. Wonder who trains on that path? Not the lady working the check-in at the RV park/market. She grooms dogs on her days off, but tomorrow she's going to Vegas at 3 am, so Daisy escaped grooming again. (Daisy is very tan now, no longer white.)

We decided on a 6 am departure for Death Valley. I still can't get that cow skull image out of my head, and I didn't want Daisy to die out there in the heat of the day.

Death Valley unfolded at dawn, a moonscape of weird geology. 278 feet below sea level in places, salt left behind in the wide valley. Overlooks like Zabriski Point offer views of strangely molded rock and earth.
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And let's not forget the borax. There is a mine overview and mounds of borax tailings along the roadway. I asked a park worker cleaning bathrooms about going through 20 mule team canyon and he said the RV was too wide. So much for that.

Driving down the valley, I heard CNN news announce that Yoakum, Texas had suffered a hail storm. How strange is that?

Leaving Death Valley was a two hour commitment. We climbed from below the sea to 5,000 feet a couple of times and twisted and wound. In summary, the scenery is tortuous. But I like it tortuous.

After Death Valley, we crossed into the back side of the Sierras and traversed along the Kern River, up, down, around. What a jumble of rocks and white foam. At one point it plunges down a waterfall that takes you by surprise as you round the corner. Finally we entered Sequoia National Forest, headed for California Hot Springs. The Garmin kept predicting we would be there in 30 minutes. This went on for two hours. Eventually we found the "resort", in time for a soak an hour before closing time. Floating in a warm pool is one of my favorite recreational activities.

We settled in to the RV Park connected to the Hot Springs, and we are the only tenant. Don't think we need curtains tonight. No wifi, no cell services, but, to my amazement, cable. Guess we will catch up on the news of the world. But not before I photograph the spring bloom here in the Sierra foothills.

Comment from Erica Cox: funny you mentioned borax in your blog. i actually bought some today! allison has several cookbooks and one of the recipes was for goopy goo--elmer's glue, water, borax and food coloring. don't know if you've heard of "flarp", but what we made ended up about the same as that. makes a funny noise when pushed inside of a cup as the air escapes...

just thought i'd share!

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