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Down in the Valley

Death Valley National Park, California: Greetings from 198 feet below sea level! We had a long day of driving... not too many miles, but over rougher terrain than we usual traverse. My Driver handled the narrow, winding and steep ups-and-downs with skill. He is awesome.

We both ran this morning before heading east on 58 over a very foggy Tehachapi Pass. As soon as we crossed the summit, we saw the sun and enjoyed sunny skies for the rest of the day. Our route took a left, north on Highway 14, then into Ridgecrest, through Trona and finally into the Panamint Valley, over the Panamint Mountains and into Death Valley National Park on Highway 190.

I took many photos and we are operating on solar/battery power, so this evening I will post many photos, with long captions... instead of my usual chatty column. Many of the photos were snapped through the windscreen again today - no place to pull over on these narrow roads.


Red Rock State Park on Highway 14

Awful Trona, California - Searles Valley Minerals extracts Borax here

Borax mining in Trona, California

The air quality sucks and I am pretty sure they do not have an organic grocer

After happily passing through Trona, we climbed up a steep pass into the Panamint Valley. Again, a very interesting road.

Watch the passenger side!

What a view!

The road into the Panamint Valley

At the bottom of the Panamint Valley, we stopped for lunch at a road-side turn-out.

What a beautiful spot for a lunch break!

Our view to the Panamint Range from our lunch camp

But after lunch... we had to climb from 1500 feet elevation, over the mountains, to reach Death Valley:

Death Valley... here we come!

But again... what a view!

Then we reached the pass... only to have to make the plunge down to below sea level


The Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley National Park

We went right to our reserved campsite at Furnace Creek Campground and called it a day. DT figures from leaving Bakersfield and climbing up and down all the passes, we traversed 18,000 feet up and down today. He is tired.

Camping here is actually "camping". No hook-ups, no electricity. No treadmill for miles. Just us, our 3000 watt generator, roof-top solar panels, battery-bank, satellite HD television and satellite internet system. I cannot use my washer/dryer, nor the dishwasher while we are here, so it is basically "roughing it" as far as I am concerned. No cell service either!

The details, from our GPS

Furnace Creek Campground in Death Valley National Park

RV Park:  Furnace Creek Campground. Large back-in site. No hook-ups. Fresh water and a dump station available. Flush toilets and hot showers. Store, visitor center and restaurants within walking distance. Golf course. $18 per night, plus reservation fee and park entrance fee.