Death Valley...............

Trip Start Jul 09, 2008
Trip End Jun 10, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

27th August 2008

Rather than just tootle back to LA the same way we came we decided to follow a loop route which takes in The Death Valley National Park, and catches the lower tip of the Sequoia National Park before finding the north western corner of LA.

We set out, initially to buy a few provisions as Death Valley can be quite harsh, or so we'd heard ;). I managed to find the worlds largest sarnie (and only $6, about 3), i could only manage half at a time - I'm not at Tearne standards just yet, however it was missing melted cheese!!.
By around 1pm we reached the outer limits of the park. Neither of us had done any reading about this place all we knew was that it was supposed to be hot. We/I expected it to really just be a barren valley with not much colour. We couldn't have been more wrong.
We started by driving up to a place called Dantes Point. Its a narrow paved road which snakes up the eastern side of Death Valley. When you reach the top and exit the car you're greeted by a breathtaking vista of the valley floor which consists of an enormous mineral deposit dried lake bed. As the valley floor is around 300 feet below sea level (the lowest point in the States) these deposits can never escape with flowing water, so as the water evaporates in the intense heat all that remains is the deposit. This was just the start though. Beyond the valley is a smaller multi-coloured mountain range called (something like) the mosaic cliffs, although all the terrain is multi coloured, from reds, to yellows, to greens, to blues. We tracked deeper into the valley heading towards Zabrinski Point, centrally located and known as the Badlands. From the viewpoint it appears that yellow clay like mounds have risen from the valley floor, there is no vegetation just the mounds. Tracking further on in we hit the valley floor at a settlement called Furnace Creek
- not sure how they came up with that one!?. We started gauging the temperature at this point, as it actually hit 117 Degrees F (around 48 Degrees C). Next and most surprisingly was 15 square miles of the finest quartz sand-dunes. There are a few around the valley but we had no idea there was even one. We wandered into them, as allot of people appear to do, not the most comfortable i've ever felt with the best part of 50 Deg C powering down onto the fairest of fair skin!! Getting back in out trusty steed we now had to get out which comprised of a more or less straight road climbing from below sea level to over 5000 feet in little over a few miles. Saw a few cars covered in black canvas obviously carrying out some performance tests, we however had some test to do ourselves, could the crap calibre make it or would we need to refill the water bottle from one of the numerous 'Radiator Fill Points' dotted up the mountainside. At around 5000 feet the crap calibre gave me the bird, it isn't quite that crap after all. Beyond the valley and heading toward the Sierra Nevada mountains we entered and exited various other similar valleys before hitting the highway with LA in sight.
Blimey we've done 450 - 500 miles today!
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