Thanksgiving, Utah (Part 2)

November 25

Death Valley

Continuing in Death Valley – yes, we went “there” anyway . . . 

there

[When last we left you (OK, “yesterday”), we were at the Furnace Creek Information Center in Death Valley National Park . . . ]

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[It was lunch time, so we went in search of a dining facility.  We initially found a golf course but no food . . . ]

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[If we had food we could have used the picnic tables in the shade of the palm trees . . . ]

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[And thank goodness these palm trees provide ample shade for the hottest place on the continent . . . ]

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[This looked nice . . . ]

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[We found food but not to our satisfaction – not their fault, we caught them in a changeover between breakfast and lunch.  Then back the visitor center . . . ]

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[We’re 190 feet below sea level – almost as deep as Lake Carlos!  When you leave the valley, you have to drive very slowly so you don’t get the bends . . . ]

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[I know I’ll never find another ewe . . . ]

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[The rocks had wandered out of our sight lines when we were there . . . ]

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[Now time for a movie on Death Valley.  Who’da thunk?]

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[We’ve risen 90 feet since Furnace Creek . . . ]

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[Not on the first pass, but we’ll be back . . . ]

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[The traffic, such as it was, had come to an unknown standstill.  Then we saw the source – Wiley Coyote . . . ]

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[Yet another golf course?]

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[We passed on this – it looked like a dirt road . . . ]

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[Our destination, before retreating back . . . ]

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[Millions of tourists, in late November?]

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[No parking available in the parking lot . . . ]

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[So we drove on till we found parking on the road miles and miles past the entrance . . . ]

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[We’re looking for a way to get to the “walking area” (where the distant people are) without going all the way back to the entrance . . . ]

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[One can almost walk out of sight . . . ]

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[Again looking back at the entrance parking lot . . . ]

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[Now we found the going tricky because one foot was always above the other . . . ]

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[We made it!]

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[Several hundred yards back to the true entrance . . . ]

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[And a long way out to the salt flats . . . ]

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[The sign well up on the cliff marks sea level . . . ]

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[A constant parade in both directions . . . ]

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[In my Minnesota garments, I was getting quite uncomfortable.  It was 75 degrees down here, for Pete’s sake!  I already had Minnesota cold weather antifreeze flowing through my veins.  I was just too hot to wander any further out into the valley . . . ]

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[So I walked back toward the entrance for photo ops; the Super took the route back through the moonscape to get the car and pick me up . . . ]

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[All alone . . . ]

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[More all aloner . . . ]

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[Look up to see sea level . . . ]

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[Briny water where there actually are living things . . . ]

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[Out on the road hitchhiking and hoping the Super would pick me up . . . ]

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[And now back to Artist Drive . . . ]

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[A little background.  We (Ruthie, Rita, and me) were first in Death Valley several years ago.  The day we were going to “tour” Artist Drive, my camera battery died.  So Rita let me use her camera to take pictures on that day.  And then the next day Rita’s camera “went missing”?  So, all the good pictures I had taken on the day were gone.  We knew we had to go back some day – so we did . . . ]

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[An uphill walk to an overlook . . . ]

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[We went up this far.  Walking out to the end seemed a trip too far . . . ]

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[But we could see the “palette” from where we were . . . ]

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[The arrays of color in the rock seem to indicate a differentiation of wave lengths in the light reflected back . . . ]

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[Makes it pretty . . . ]

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[And so I blessed them . . . ]

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[And tried to act fast before my troublesome pants fell down . . . ]

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[Wow?]

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[Back on the one-way road through Artist Drive.  It’s really, I think the scientific term is, nifty . . . ]

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[Sometimes you wonder how some of those boulders hanging over the roadway manage to stay in their place . . . ]

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[And here’s a real palette . . . ]

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[Some people just have to go up and experience it all first hand . . . ]

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[Just going for a ride . . . ]

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[That was a special drive . . . ]

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[Now we’re back on the Valley’s main thoroughfare . . . ]

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[And here’s our turnoff to leave the national park . . . ]

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[A mini-natural Stonehenge . . . ]

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[On the drive back to Las Vegas there were occasional radio cut-ins warning of dust storms in the area.  And here’s one of them . . . ]

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[And even a permanent sign in that regard . . . ]

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[At one time we were attacked by a tumbling tumbleweed, one much larger than the one that just crossed in front of us on the right side of this picture . . . ]

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[More dust . . . ]

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[We’re back at Creech Air Force Base . . . ]

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[I had no idea I was closer than I appeared . . . ]

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[Likely good advice . . . ]

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[And there it is . . . ]

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[If you’re going to escape from that prison, you probably need one of these . . . ]

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[Back in our hotel room . . . ]

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[I, with my booty from the day . . . ]

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[Good night from Las Vegas.  Off to La Verkin on the morrow . . . ]

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Most turkeys taste better the day after; my mother’s tasted better the day before.  ~  Rita Rudner

Up Next:  Part 3

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