Friday, March 27, 2009

We Made it to Death Valley!

We left my folk's house yesterday morning about 7am, give or take a few minutes and headed east into the mountains. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground up in the pass, but the roads were good. I got messages from my trucker friend letting us know what the weather was up on Donner Pass. Threatening clouds and a drizzle or two. No snow!

We stopped for breakfast at a little cafe in downtown Truckee. Food was pretty good and their bakery stuff looked yummy. My stepdad bought 2 Apple crisps and presented them to Mom and I. Since we were pretty full from breakfast, we carefully placed them in the car so we wouldn't lose them.. lol.. The weather there in Truckee was pretty good. We could see the threatening clouds that my trucker friend warned us about, but we didn't get any of the drizzles until we got closer to Reno. We stayed on I80 until we got to Fernley and then headed south on Highway 95. The drive down to Tonopah wasn't bad, if you don't count the wind we had to fight almost all the way there. We pulled into Tonopah about 3:30 or so and decided to stay for the night instead of heading down closer to Death Valley. There are a lot more choices of places to stay in Tonopah than there are down in Beatty or one of the other small towns along the highway. Tonopah is in the high desert. 6000 feet above sea level! The wind was still blowing hard last night, but this morning, it had calmed down. So, after having a lovely breakfast at the Tonopah Station, off we went.... Southbound on Highway 95. By the way, those apple crisps that my step-dad bought in Truckee yesterday morning made a lovely snack last night..

DSC01743-a This is one of the views out the windshield as we headed south.. Long straight road, desert, mountains and blue skies...

Our original plan was to drive down 95 to Scotty's Junction and then head west into Death Valley. One of the concerns my stepdad had was buying fuel here in Death Valley, so we planned on fueling up before heading west. Well, when we got to Scotty's Junction our plans changed. Scotty's Junction consists of a turn-off towards Death Valley, an abandoned building that looked like it might have once been a store/gas station and a brothel off the road to one side... Plan change! lol, We headed further down to Beatty and fueled up there and headed west into Death Valley.


Here's the first indication that we've reached the park... One lonely sign and nothing else for miles.. lol.. Scotty's Castle was the first stop here in the Valley (Fabulous place!), then we headed to Furnace Creek and got a room at the Furnace Creek Ranch...

I've got a lot more photos to share, but It's late, I'm tired and I'll have to do some more writing tomorrow when I get a chance.. But I'll leave you with a "teaser" and I'll tell the story of the encounter and the picture when I get back online...DSC01778a Yes, it's a coyote and yes, he's walking straight towards me on the road between Scotty's Castle and Furnace Creek. And yes.. I was out of the car... lol

More tomorrow... I hope! After all, it's now after 10pm and I just know my stepdad is going to be up and ready to go with the sun in the morning... LOL

Saturday Morning:

I forgot to mention in the post above that if any of my family are trying to get a hold of me on my cell phone, I'm sorry... My cell phone has NO signal here in Death Valley... lol.. The ranger we listened to last night told us that there are only about 3 or 4 spots in the valley where you can use a cell phone and none of them are here in Furnace Creek...

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