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Death Valley Was Infinitely Better Than Las Vegas

21 May

We checked out of the Embassy Suites in Las Vegas on May 21 after two nights and one full day of realizing that I really hated Las Vegas. I couldn’t leave that area soon enough and while the name Death Valley is rather daunting, Jim really wanted to see it so I figured I should let him. After all, there was always a chance that I would run into another casino that wasn’t in Las Vegas and that I would really like.

Before we even got to Death Valley, Jim and I stumbled on some ruins that looked like they could have originally been used as cave dwellings by Native Americans befpre being taken over by miners later on. We’re not sure. There were no signs other than a warning to be cautious so it was apparent that we could explore. It was really interesting that such a site could exist without even a simple explanation of what they once were. Jim explored. I stayed back a bit due to a fear of rattle snakes and such.

Jim checking out some ruins we stumbled on near Death Valley

Jim checking out some ruins we stumbled on near Death Valley

The temperature soared as high as 115 degrees in Death Valley and the wind was intense. In some places it actually made you stumble when you tried to walk. I resorted to taking most of my photos from the stillness of the car, but Jim was braver and got out of the car for a few minutes at a time. I even forced him to take some photos. You have to make him feel useful sometimes, you know.

A view of Badwater Basin in Death Valley

A view of Badwater Basin in Death Valley

Along the way we passed a lot of people that actually did get out of their cars and walk, but between the wind, blowing sand, and heat, I’m not sure how they stood it. Even opening the car window for a few minutes to snap a photo was uncomfortable. Some areas, though, were so indescribably beautiful that I just had to get out. One of those areas was called “Artist’s Drive” which was a narrow one way road that looped through colorful rock formations. The colors were difficult to capture with my camera but the rocks were shaded with pinks, blues and greens.

Artist's Pallete in Death Valley

Artist's Pallete in Death Valley

It was also astounding to find flowers blooming in such a harsh dry place. This little flower seemed so delicate and was being jostled so badly in the wind that getting it still enough to snap the photo was difficult. It was really hard to believe it could even survive. It’s the only one we saw. I hope another one popped up so that many more can bloom in the future.

A Delicate Flower Blooms In Death Valley

A Delicate Flower Blooms In Death Valley

After visiting Death Valley, we returned to Nevada to spend the night at the Best Western Motel in Tonapah. Tonapah was a cool little town in that it seemed almost as if the whole town was a museum. There were pieces of mining equipment and mining related relics everywhere. There was also a small casino (Tonapah Station) that was much better than any in Las Vegas. That made me happy. The restaurant served a mean prime rib that was better than some I’ve tasted in the most expensive restaurants.

Jim's Duck at The Best Western in Tonapah, Nevada

Jim's Duck at The Best Western in Tonapah, Nevada

 
 

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  1. Patti

    June 6, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Great Pictures! Death Valley is a dangerous place to be in the summer. See the dead bodies along the road!!! Do you remember that old hat that John wears; that is where he got it. Hope your trip is going well. Where are you now?

     
  2. Edie

    June 6, 2010 at 5:10 am

    We’re in Jackson, Wyoming tonight. We saw Yellowstone yesterday and today and the Grand Tetons today. We’ll be doing a little more exploring around here tomorrow before heading on to Utah.