Death Valley - Part two

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, July 8, 2011

It was a jam packed day today. We began by visiting Scotty's castle.  It was a strange site, a mansion in the middle of nowhere.  There is an interesting story behind it.  One about Scotty who was basically a con artist selling shares in a Gold Mine that never existed.  He became good friends with one who he had sold share to and they built this mansion.  It was never completely finished as Scotty got busted, but they all remained friends and made money from turning the mansion into a tourist attraction.  When the couple passed away the mansion was sold to a charity which looked after Scotty who remained there telling stories to the tourists.  He is now buried somewhere overlooking the building and the place is still a tourist attraction.  We didn’t take a tour of the inside as there was much more of Death Valley to see.

The road out was closed due to the thunderstorms we had been having so we had to take the long drive back the same route we came in on.  An hour or so later (it’s difficult to keep track of time when there are no landmarks along the way apart from the huge mountains), we stopped at Bad Water to see the salt flats.  It is (the sign says) one of the hottest places on earth and my god it certainly felt like it.  I spent about 10mins walking out and back again with a few minutes in between to check out the view, I drank a small bottle of water before I had got back to the car and was thinking about if I had been left out there for even half an hour without water I would feel like giving up.

After the 'one of the hottest places on earth’ we visited Artists Drive, again there was hardly any body on the road, it felt deserted which is funny as it’s one of the attractions on the tourist map.  It was nice to have the roads to ourselves though.  It was a bit of a climb at the beginning of Artists Drive, for Betty anyway who used up a quarter of a tank of petrol within about 10 minutes.  There were cliff faces of different colours, blues, reds and oranges that were called ‘Artists Pallete’.

To get to Dante’s View Betty had to drive through really windy roads in-between rocks with me panicking every so often that we would be met head on by a crazy driver, thankfully that never happened.  Dante’s view was spectacular.  There was a thunderstorm brewing and we managed to just miss the downpour.  When I was holding my ringed hand up I heard crackling noises, Mike heard the same noises coming from his camera so we decided it was perhaps time to move on before being struck down.

We decided again not to book ahead anywhere and to drive until we felt like stopping.  So we made sure we had plenty of water (if you break down in this place without water, you are pretty much dead) and kept driving, driving, driving.  We ended up in a motel which offered us money off the diner next door so grabbed a bite to eat.  I had the biggest salad in the world but it didn’t really taste of anything.  They thought I was odd when I asked for a dressing instead of mixing together the huge dollops of sour cream and guacamole which in my opinion are not flavoursome.   We were still in time for the 11.30pm showing of ‘Super 8’ at the drive in movies.  Unfortunately we hadn’t cleaned the windscreen so the view was a bit blurry at times, but other than that it was great fun sliding the car seat back as far as it would go, munching  on a small (which was actually rather large) bag of popcorn, whilst listening to the radio transmitting the sounds of the movie.  Oh if only England was warm all the time, I’d be driving into movies all the time.....
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