Re-visiting Death Valley
This was a much needed weekend just to ourselves. The group meetups are always a blast, but after a few days of it solitude is the medication I need. It was good timing as the group had broken up by early Saturday and Kerri and I took off on our own to visit Death Valley National Park for the weekend. She had never been, and I have only had a 1 night sample of the park back in 2011.
We took it slowly, driving North first down into the valley and then up the old dry lakebed that is the valley floor, stopping breifly to walk the trail at the lowest point in the USA. It took a few hours to drive the 72 miles to the first campground (Furnace Creek) in the park, but our plan was to pass it by for the Stovepipe Wells campground another 30 miles in. There we were able to setup camp, relax with a cocktail, chips and dip, and some down time as the sun began to set.
Once that show was complete, we packed up our toiletry bags and walked in to the lodge where a cool $4 each gained up access to the showers in the pool area. Far from the greatest showers but damn good after a week unshowered and properly stinky. Going to bed clean is always a nice feeling.
The following morning we took off early (for us) and started the long climb out of the valley to pickup fuel before dropping right back down into the park. It was then that we came upon the 20-mule canyon road. Big Blue could finally try out the new all terrain tires! We took off down the dirt and sand road, even after the sign at the entrance warned of numerous ways it would end in death and destruction for us. It turned out to be the highlight of the park for me, as the miles of trail slithered through and over the badlands. Not really all that 4WD in all honesty, but secluded and photogenic it was.
We had planned to stay a second night in the park, but as van dwellers do, we left without notice for other adventures down another road. South again, actually down the same roads we came up North just a day ago, to stay a night on BLM land and to make our trip to Joshua Tree a little shorter. There we meet back up with the friends (and more) again for a final hurrah before our Baja adventures begin.