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Mt. Shasta, from I-5 as we drove north to Oregon, April 2017

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dec 31, 2012 in Death Valley

Because we had no decent internet in the valley, we will be posting days behind real time:

[From Craig] The last day of 2012 was one of the best we've had since we started RVing, in terms of seeing things and recording what we're seeing.


First we drove to the Badwater area, which is the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere. Everyone who comes there is required by law to pose and be photographed with this sign.







Badwater has a mountain right behind it, with a sign that says "SEA LEVEL" nearly halfway up its face.  As photography and web technology advance, someday some may be able to take a picture like this, and someone else may be able to read the sign, probably on a larger image.  For now you just have to take our word for what the little white text says.




Since Badwater is the lowest place around, on the rare occasions when it rains in Death Valley (1.4 inches per year), the runoff wants to come here.  And because the ground in deserts doesn't absorb much water, a fair amount of it gets here and then evaporates leaving its minerals (salt) behind.


Next we drove up the road to a canyon that includes this rock formation called the  Natural Bridge. 

 It doesn't look delicate.










The canyon also includes this dry waterfall, which was carved by the runoff from the (hardly ever) rainfall.
















The next attraction along the road was a place called the Devil's Golf Course, which features broken blocks of rock topped with thick salt "frosting".  Here's a closeup.  Every golf shot would be lost between the rocks!





The best place we saw today is called the Artist Drive.  It's a one-way winding road through mountains that have the best colors and contrasts in Death Valley.
















By the end of Artist Drive, both Merikay and I were blown away with the beauty of the mountains.  


The last stop of our day was a change of pace: the Harmony Borax Works, which operated from 1882 through 1889 to refine borax for industry and home cleaning. 

 Here Merikay checks out one of the 20 Mule Team wagon rigs used to haul borax to the railroad.






After such a day, we didn't have much energy left for New Year's Eve celebrations. Dinner in the coach, a spirited game of Yahtzee, a bottle of champagne, and finally pickled herring (for luck in the new year) concluded 2012 for us.  Hope you had fun too!

15 comments:

  1. Been there ~ took the required photo! Yes, that's what the sign says! If you get a chance, Dante's View is spectacular!!!

    Pickled Herring, huh? We have black eyed peas here! Since we've all had our appropriate foods, I expect us all to have awesome 2013's!

    Keep having fun!

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  2. I'm happy to see you followed directions and got your picture taken. :)

    My mother used to eat one piece of pickled herring on New Year's too.

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  3. Looks like an interesting place, I'll have to go there when I am heading west.

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  4. death valley is so surreal and a must visit place for everyone...

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  5. Been there, did that--haven't posted my pictures yet. I liked your write-up, Craig!

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  6. Great pictures of Badwater. Glad to see the picture of the sign with you guys proving you were there :)
    I think Death Valley is beautiful!

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  7. I think Kelly & I have a photo somewhere at that sign as well. Back in the mid 90's. Nice photos.

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  8. You just brought back some wonderful memories of our trip there 2 years ago....Thanks!

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  9. Great post, Craig. We enjoyed all the same spots when we were there!

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  10. a belated happy new year to you both! Glad you got out and enjoyed some of the sights!!

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  11. Oh, I LOVE these shots! I haven't been to Death Valley since 1995, and I've never been through in a vehicle reliable enough that I could really enjoy without worrying about a break down! If you get the chance, go back through in about April--the flowers in bloom really do make it a whole different place!

    I've been missing Merikay, now I see she's a busy lady!

    Kris

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  12. Glad to hear you're having such a good time. You deserve it since you've been working so hard! Beautiful pictures.

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  13. What a great travelogue - it is a pretty far trip from here (ontario), but is now a must see!

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