Death Valley

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Sunday, February 12, 2006

We were planning on having an easy day today, but after driving both ways up the road that goes through Beatty and not seeing very much (well apart from a very dodgy looking brothel about 500 yards from the hotel!), we decided to head into Death Valley after all.

Death Valley certainly lives up to his name, although I must admit that it wasn't as desolate as I thought it would be, there was some vegetation. As we drove into the valley, the temperature crept into the low 80 degrees centigrade, which I consider hot for February. However I guess that's nothing for a place where in Summer the temperature is regularly well into three figures.

A lot of the valley floor is so white that it looks like it's covered in snow, but in fact it's actually salt. There was mile after mile of it, stretching as far as the eye could see. Much to Lynne's bemusement, I put a tiny bit of salt in my mouth (in the way of scientific interest you understand). I can confirm the shock finding here that it tasted, well salty!

Geographically Death Valley is the lowest point in America, we were a couple of hundred feet below sea level. The park rangers had put a sign up in the mountain to show exactly where the sea level was, but it was impossible to try and capture the sign and ground in a single photo, without the sign being microscopic in size.

At one point as we were parking in one of the pullover points, a ranger pulled the car that was behind us over. I'm not sure why and I don't think the driver of the car did either, because as "remain in the vehicle with your hands on the wheel" boomed through the megaphone, he almost jumped out of his skin.

That night it was back to the casino and "Rita's Cafe". As we walked into the restaurant, I overheard one of the waitresses who was there the night before whisper in a loud voice that she bet we were about to order a diet coke each. Even though that was the drink I wanted, I felt obliged to order a Sprite just so she didn't think that I was too predictable!

We decided on one final visit to the casino and I'm glad that we did, as I put in a dollar and pulled out $16 with my third spin. The little cup that I'd been carrying around empty for the rest of the night was filled to overflowing. It was a nice feeling to go to the cashier and getting him to change coins into paper money, rather than the other way round, which was what I'd been doing for the rest of the trip!
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