We’ve been to a lot of National Parks in our travels. And I can’t think of one that I wouldn’t go back to again. But I’ll confess that when Gary suggested we go (for several days, even!) to Death Valley National Park I wasn’t that excited. Death Valley? Didn’t sound like a place I needed to go and see. Well, I was wrong – big time wrong! Here’s a memory from our visit there 10 years ago!
3/31/2010 – Death Valley – Second Day
OK, dinner’s over – back to the memories.
I forgot to mention one other stop that we made on our first day –
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
We didn’t actually get out and climb those big ol’ dunes, but there were others who did –
They were pretty amazing!
But, back to Day Two –
Remember how this is the largest park in the lower 48? Well, we were camped close to the middle of the park, and we still had a forty mile drive to our first stop –
We splurged and did a “combo tour”, so we got to enjoy both an Inside Tour (along with lots of stories about the castle and its builders), and the Underground Tour, which included details on the mechanics of the castle, which was quite an engineering feat.
As you can see, it is pretty remote and in the desert after all, but it did have access to an underground spring that produced 300 gallons of water per minute, so they had that going for them. Can you see the big hole in the ground in the front of castle?
Here are some close-ups –
That was going to be the swimming pool!!!! Check out the viewing windows in the deep end – how crazy was that?
I was standing on that center bridge when I took the pictures of the deep and shallow ends. I can’t imagine how over-the-top this pool would have been (not to mention how quickly the water would have been evaporating there in the desert) had not the owner run out of money. It was a fascinating tour – and I took lots of pictures. Here are just a couple –
and plenty more HERE!
Next Stop -(down a 20 mile dirt road) – The Racetrack, home of the mysterious moving rocks.
The Racetrack is a large dry lake bed called a playa. It was pretty fascinating just to look at-
from a distance
and close up –
and very close up –
But what really draws people to this remote spot are these rocks
that move across the lake bed
leaving trails behind them.
I haven’t a clue how this actually happens, but I’m glad we got to see them. Quite an interesting phenomenon, don’t you think?
After the Racetrack (and back that 20 miles of dirt road), we took a quick stop at the Ubehebe Crater –
and then we were on our way back to Lizzie,
and a beautiful sunset.
Another good day in the valley!
Here is this week’s mystery location. Any guesses?
(The pebbles are also from the same spot. Just sayin’!)
That’s the number on our motorhome’s odometer.
“Wait. That’s all??”
“How many years have you been traveling?”
“We just finished our thirteenth year.”
“Is that the rig you started with?”
“I’m surprised it’s not higher.”
And so it goes. That is actually a respectable 7100+ RV miles per year for(on average) and even if it doesn’t seem like much, it’s been enough for us to
Continue reading Mile 92658.3
We still had a couple of National Parks to check out before we made that final dash to Waco –
This was another one of those ‘lesser known’ parks in the Four Corners area of the country, but we’re glad we stopped!
Here’s the opening blurb from the website –
For nearly 5,000 years, people have lived in these canyons – longer than anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau. In the place called Tseyi, their homes and images tell us their stories. Today, Navajo families make their homes, raise livestock, and farm the lands in these canyons. The National Park Service and Navajo Nation actively work together to manage park resources.
Because we were stopping here on our way to our next campground, we opted to do the driving tour rather than a more extensive tour of the valleys. Once again we were treated to beautiful views and lots of pueblo ruins.
Here’s a bit of a zoom-in at the base of the canyon wall –
Pretty impressive views all around!
It was a great stop and we’re glad we put it into our itinerary!
(More pictures of the Canyon deChelly HERE) 🙂
Next up – The Petrified Forest and The Painted Desert.
The petrified wood was so interesting –
and very beautiful!
The drive through the painted desert
was spectacular, and the combination of the painted desert and the petrified forest
was pretty amazing.
Lots more pictures of this area can be found HERE. (Funny story about first world problems with the picture taking on this trip. Theoretically it was daylight savings time and I made sure my phone and big-girl camera were set to the same time so when I combined the pictures they would all be in order. HOWEVER, since Arizona does not do daylight savings time, every time we drove into AZ, my phone would change – but of course my camera would not. And then, if we were also in Navajo land, where they do do daylight savings time….well, let’s just say, getting these pictures in order was quite a task. Every park we went into in that Four Corners area had three clocks – Arizona time, whatever state we were in time, and Navajo time. Crazy!)
After the Petrified Forest, we put the pedal to the metal, and pointed the RV to Waco!
Back to Gary’s Journal –
[Following the Petrified Forest] we reconnected the truck and drove to the NM Welcome Center and stayed the night.
Left NM Rest Area @ 6:30. Stopped @ Denny’s for breakfast, drove East I40 to Rt 84. Stopped at Walmart in Lubbock, TX.
Left Walmart and drove East on Rte 84.
Arrived Waco 2:30PM
And that finally wraps up our very long drive from California to Waco long, long ago…..
Thank you for your patience – and for coming along!