California

Death Valley National Park

Saturday, March 24, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

Scotty's Castle: A multi-million dollar villa in the middle of nowhere.

We broke camp early this morning and drove down to Stovepipe Wells where it was already 83°F in the shade, three degrees above the average high temperature for this time of year, making our chances of camping in the valley look pretty slim.  Most people believe Death Valley is the hottest place on earth.  But it’s not. The honour actually belongs to Aziziya, Libya which beat the park by 1.9°F with the recorded high of 136.0°F in 1922.  But hot is hot, especially to a fifteen year-old dog, even if it is a dry heat. 

So we cranked up the air conditioner and drove on to Scotty’s Castle for a quick walk around the property and inside the Visitor Center before hitting the road again and driving up to Ubehebe Crater where it was so windy that we were barely able to stand in one spot long enough to take a picture and my sunglasses were blown from my face.  From the elevation of the crater, we had a clear view and knew right away that we wouldn’t be staying in the valley, which was fast becoming a bowl of dust, tonight. 

With the decision to move on to Las Vegas made, we hurried down to Badwater, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.  It was getting late in the afternoon and we had a few hours of driving ahead of us; so we left the park, a little disappointed that we didn’t get to spend more time enjoying the area, but it seems we’re too late in the season for that.  Maybe next year. 

We arrived at Lake Mead National Recreation Area around six in the evening and set up camp in Las Vegas Bay before it got dark.  What a difference a day makes!  Last night we were sleeping in the middle of nowhere with the sky ablaze from the stars, and tonight we’re tucked in between a pack of RVs listening to the loud hum of generators withthe only light in the sky coming from the Luxor.  Welcome to Las Vegas!

Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park.

Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, Death Valley National Park.

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