Death Valley

The next day we checked out of our hotel after breakfast and drove towards the Death Valley.

This national park is completely different to the ones we’ve seen so far, but stunning in its own beauty.

We stopped at the green and later at the yellow sand dunes,

at Zabriskie Point, and where ever we thought the view was especially breathtaking.

In the late afternoon we checked into a motel cum casino in Pahrump, which is a far less glamorous and smaller version of Las Vegas. In order to get to reception, we had to walk through the casino, where people were allowed to smoke while gambling, and the smell was absolutely revolting. The room was OK and at least didn’t smell of cold smoke. We went out for pizza and had an early night.

On Friday, 29th December, we went to a French café for breakfast and then to the post office, so I could finally get rid of my postcards. There I met a retired guy from Liverpool, who worked for an airline and lived in Zimbabwe for most of his life. We drove to Dante’s View, from where Mount Whitney (4421 m) and Badwater (-86 m), the highest and lowest points in the contiguous 48 states of the United States can be seen.

Before we’d left Pahrump, we’d planned to fill in petrol but completely forgot. So I was worrying all day if we would get back to our accommodation alright or if we’d at some point break down in the middle of the desert. We went to Ash Meadows, an oasis in the middle of the desert with a nice boardwalk along a stream and some pools.

It was absolutely beautiful and astonishing to find a place like that in the hottest place on earth. The world record highest air temperature of 57°C was recorded at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913.

A good part of our way back was dirt roads and I was glad I had some experience in driving on them from my trip to Namibia. Luckily we got back alright, stopped at a petrol station and had dinner at a Thai restaurant.