153 days away
114 km / 71 miles since last post
54,589 km / 33,920 miles total
It made a pleasant change to not have to put the heater on in the motorhome at all last night. In fact, it was a cool but comfortable evening. This morning, we awoke to a bright and sunny day which was getting quite warm by the time we were ready to leave the campsite. This campsite was basic, so we had to have a shower in the motorhome.
Our first destination this morning was to Badwater Basin, which is a surreal landscape of vast salt flats. It is also the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. Here you can walk out onto the salt flat, which crunches beneath your feet just like snow. There is also a small lake nearby which contains what appear to be some little worms that have adapted well to living in such a saline environment.
It was really hot today, and we probably feel it more being at such a low elevation, so we ventured out as far as most other people were doing, and then came back to the motorhome.
On the drive back towards Furnace Creek from Badwater we passed a few things which were worth stopping for, and grabbed a bit of lunch at one of these stops. There were a couple of good lookouts, as well as a few spots which had an abundance of wildflowers. The flowers looked really bright and pretty, and it seemed so strange to see them growing in such arid conditions.
There was a short scenic drive off the main road, called Artist's Drive. This took us along some very winding roads that had lots of bends and over some steep hills and dips. The main attraction here being the rocks of varying colours along the way - called Artist's Palette.
Another stop was at Golden Canyon. This was a two mile round trip walk in and then out of the canyon. As the name suggests, you are greeted along the narrows by golden badlands along the way. Integrated into the rock are layers of salt crystals too, which look pretty cool. This was a very hot walk through the canyon though as the sun was getting really intense. Thankfully, the sun had just moved over in the afternoon to create a small amount of shade part of the way along. What amazed me was the amount of people who were undertaking this walk through the canyon with no water with them! I'm sure the temperature was well into the 30s today, they must be crazy!
After filling up on fuel at Furnace Creek (you don't want to run out of fuel in Death Valley) we drove towards Stovepipe Wells. Along the way we caught a glimpse of the Mesquite Sand Dunes, but we decided we would come back at sunset so just carried on driving for now.
At Stovepipe Wells there was a motel and RV park with hookups. Unfortunately, the RV hookup sites were all booked up, but there was still plenty of space to stay in the RV park on a basic site. The motel had a pool and for a small fee we were allowed to use it. As today had been so hot this was too good an opportunity to waste. We quickly got changed in the motorhome and then took a dip in the pool. The water was quite cold, which was lovely.
We sat by the pool and dried off until sunset was approaching, then we took a drive back to the sand dunes. They looked really cool with the sun setting, but the sky was amazing once again. Yet another beautiful sunset with bright pink and red clouds.
We drove back to the RV park at Stovepipe Wells and found ourselves a site. Stu cooked up a delicious beef stir fry and we enjoyed a few beers on this very warm evening. We do have air con in the motorhome, though it does require electricity. We could put on the generator to get electricity while we don't have hookups, but the extractor fan actually works really well combined with opening the windows. It cools things down nicely by creating a breeze inside the motorhome.