Friday, April 8, 2011

Death Valley and Zabriskie Point

Wednesday morning in Pahrump we woke to cloudy skies so we decided to put off our trip to Death Valley until the next day.

Our hot water heater was making a funny noise anyway so it was an opportune time to give the mobile RV repair guy a call. He was here by noon and replaced the check-valve. Cost $72.00. It's always a good idea to ask in the RV park if there is a mobile RV guy around because they work cheaper than the dealers, and usually come recommended, or not.

Because we're only taking carry-ons on the plane to Tulum, we went and got Janice a used one at the thrift store. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting a few more details in order for the trip.

Pictured is a, (you tell me Rhelda) cactus at the Preferred RV Park in Pahrump. The blooms are six to eight inches across.

On Thursday we drove an hour to Death Valley, which was full of surprises for us. We had no idea it was so beautiful. As our friend Lynda would say, "Yowsers." Sure, the valley floor itself is not much to look at because it just looks like the bottom of an old sea bed. It's easy to see though why mirages in the desert were so real to people because, in some spots, you'd swear you're looking at water, when in fact all you're seeing is more salt and sand.

Is anybody old enough to remember the TV show Death Valley Days, with the twenty-mule teams? Those teams were hauling the Borax crystals that Chinese labourers dug out of the valley floor. Some people still use the stuff for cleaning.

Pictured is Badwater, the lowest point in North America, at 282 feet below sea level.

Pictured is the Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley where we went for lunch. The Borax Company built the inn in the late 1920's. It's truly an oasis in the desert but rooms start at over $300 per night and our lunch; a sandwich for Janice, a soft appetizer for me with two small scoops of ice cream and two coffees was $50.00. Fuel in the park can be as much as $6 per gallon.

The wind blew hard all day, producing dust devils all afternoon, like the one pictured here from the deck of the Furnace Creek Inn.

Pictured is the park road just before the turnoff to the Artist Drive. Furnace Creek would be just over the hill.

Pictured is the Artist's Palette, along the Artist Drive loop. The colours are produced by different ores and minerals.

Pictured is one more shot along the Artist Drive.

The Golden Canyon Trail is between the Artist Drive Loop and Furnace Creek. The trail is just a four kilometer round trip but takes you thorugh an incredible number of weird and wonderful rock formations.

Like I said, weird and wonderful - kind of like layers of candy.

Pictured is the rock formation they call The Cathedral, at the end of the Golden Canyon Trail.

Also seen from the Golden Valley Trail is the back side of Zabriskie Point. Zabriskie Point, the movie, was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in the 1970's and was a big disappointment at the box office. He also drirected the movie Blow-up. I was only twenty-four or twenty-five at the time I saw it on the big screen and, while I don't remember that much detail about the movie, I know it had a big impression on me as twenty-five-year-old.

One more image from the Golden Valley Trail.

Pictured is Zabriskie point from the familiar side. What a magical place.

Another view of from the Zabriskie Point lookout.

Tim and Janice pose at the Zabriskie Point lookout.

The literature I had didn't tell me if the white compound pictured below was part sand, part Borax, or what, but I sunk into it up to my ankles when I walked on it. This was on our way out of the park.

I thought I had better get this blog off today because tomorrow evening we're heading to Tulum, via Las Vegas, where we'll spend most of the day. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to take the computer. If I don't it'll be ten days or so until the next blog...

1 comment:

  1. Well Tim,
    As you didn't show much of the Cacti where the flowers come from I can only give you a rough guess as to its' actual name. I do believe it is on of the Echinopsis family, possibly Eyresii or Multiplex. It could be also referred to as a night bloomer or torch.
    Borax is a water softener and can be used to clean out the washing machine in diaper pails etc. Of course I have a box and it has the mule team on it.
    Love the pics. may have to go there.
    Be Safe in Mexico