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To hot to Death Valley??

Aalborg, Denmark
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To hot to Death Valley??

Hi,

We are planning a trip mid July from Las Vegas through Death Valley, over night in Lone Pine then on to Yosemite. I have read and heard various comments concerning the intense heat of Death Valley. Will it be possible to drive through DV in the middle of July - or will it be stupid. We have rent a Suburban for our trip. Any comments or advice will be appreciated? Thanks !

Vancouver...
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1. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

Of course you can drive through Death Valley in July. Many people do. People used to do it years ago with no air conditioning and cars that over heated. When you pick up your rental, make sure: (1) tires are properly inflated (2) coolant level is topped off. (3) oil level is correct. (4) take plenty of drinking water. (5) have your camera handy. Chuck...

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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2. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

It's always possible to drive through Death Valley in summer. I don't think it's ever too hot to enjoy it, but everyone is different. Folks from northern climates will feel it more.

See the FAQ section in the top right hand corner. There is a thread about how to be safe in Death Valley in the summer. If you want to stay over one night, you'll have time to see more and have an authentic desert experience, and you can tell your friends that you did it.

In three weeks, I will be able to go again. (\\//) Applause.

Uden, The...
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3. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

Las Vegas already will be extremely hot so you already more or less are used to it. Never miss DV. Instead Lone Pine you could stay at Panamint Springs for a unique experience. Great bar but don't expect luxury. From Stovepipe Wells to Panamint is a steep uphill climb. Shift down.

Tet

Tucson, Arizona
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4. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

Agree wholeheartedly with Tet. Do not stay in Lone Pine. Opt for Panamint Springs. They recently renovated some of their rooms...see my recent review. I also stayed one night at Stove Pipe Wells. IMHO, do go to Death Valley, stay on the pavement, and do stay the night in Panamint Springs. You will remember the experience, and the views from the deck are just great, as is breakfast on the deck. This is a friendly place where you can start up a conversation with most folks. I love it there. It is a bit like Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in the middle of nowhereville.

ZB

San Francisco
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5. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

Can humans survive Death Valley in summer? People survive Las Vegas in summer. If you do, Death Valley will be not only a piece of cake, but a welcome relief. They are both in the Mojave Desert ecological province, with similar climate, but there is a world of difference between them because Las Vegas has been transformed by human activity.

Death Valley has only a tiny proportion of its land paved, very few buildings, none over two stories, light traffic, extremely sparse population, and very little irrigated land or artificial water impoundment. There is not one electric traffic signal in the whole park. The biggest cultivated area is the Furnace Creek golf course and date palm grove. Much of the power for Furnace Creek comes from a solar generating plant which you can see at the Ranch, and water for human use is from springs or wells.

In contrast, Las Vegas, while also part of the Mojave, is covered by concrete and asphalt and stuffed with buildings made of masonry, steel, and glass, many of them 400'/120m or taller. All this acts like a giant oven. Light and heat are trapped and recirculated rather than reflected and dispersed, and not much fresh air gets in. There are acres and acres of golf courses, thousands of home swimming pools, bigger pools at public settings, and ornamental fountains everywhere. Not only do these golf courses and pools use huge amounts of water; they also evaporate tons of moisture into the air, raising the humidity tremendously. If it's 50°C or 120's F in Death Valley with 8% relative humidity, in Las Vegas the temperature may be few degrees lower but the relative humidity can be 25% or more the same day. Yuck.

Another thing Las Vegas has is congestion in the tourist areas. People everywhere, crowds, traffic, blaring horns, smog, all the niceties of urban living. I’m reminded of the rat mazes used by psychologists to study the behavior of creatures that don't have enough space, air, or privacy. Death Valley is different. Even if you stay at a resort, you can walk for 10 minutes and have the whole world to yourself. You can enjoy the stars without light or chemical pollution, listen to birds or insects, see animals other than mangy stray dogs or cats, and hear yourself think.

Many people like to fly in or out of Las Vegas at night. It’s an impressive spectacle, lit up with zillions of neon signs, street and traffic lights, vehicles moving around. It takes a prodigious amount of hydroelectric power to make all that happen. Las Vegas uses more water and electricity per capita than Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles, or other Southwest cities. None of that electricity, or the water to generate it as well as keep the grass green and the fountains filled, belongs to Las Vegas. It comes from the Colorado River, which was dammed upstream to provide all this energy. Without that, Las Vegas would just be another dry spot in the desert.

The first non-Native Americans in what is now Las Vegas were Mormon settlers sent by Brigham Young in 1856. Part of the original colony still stands and is a state historic park. The reason they left after a few years was the scarcity of water. There weren't many people, but they couldn't support homes, crops, or livestock on what came from groundwater. They didn't have Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.

For an interesting perspective on Las Vegas, take Bonanza Road all the way east to Frenchman's Mountain at the edge of the city. Mormons are back in Las Vegas, and there is a modern temple on the hillside at the end of Bonanza. From there, you can see the valley with the city spread out, every inch lit up, and mentally hear the utility meters ticking away the gallons and megawatts. Then look at the statue on the temple of the Angel Moroni, who is the resurrected embodiment of a prophet from the Book of Mormon. Notice he is facing the hill, his back to the city. This doesn’t mean Moroni has anything personal against Las Vegas; Mormon temples typically face east in anticipation of the return of Christ from the east as mentioned in the Biblical books of Ezekiel and Matthew. But there’s something quite symbolic and evocative in Moroni’s stance. Try it. Death Valley is to the west of Las Vegas, not the east, but you get the idea. :)

Buenos Aires
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6. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

Hi FriscoRR,

It seems incredible that in a few days we will finally be enjoying DVNP!

But now I'd like to know more about the place in Las Vegas you mentioned in your last post. I'd like to drive there at night to see the city lights from a different perspective, as I understood that was a possibility. Is it reasonable to try reaching this site at night? And if so, could you please give some directions or specific address for the Temple? I tried to find the place at google maps but there are two Bonanza Roads (East and West) and couldn't find anything called Frenchman's Mountain (only the town of Frenchman, NV which is far away from Las Vegas).

Thank you in advance for any information you could provide.

Thousand Oaks...
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7. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

@ friscoroadrunner-

Nice essay contrasting and comparing those two areas!

Dr. Z

Uden, The...
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8. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

Frenchman Mountains are east of Las Vegas. Take Lake Mead Blv east (nv147) from I15 to Northshore Rd along Lake Mead. Bonanza Rd is one road. East of I15 its called East etc. Many roads in Las Vegas with east en west. Tropicana, Charleston, Paradise, Tropicana etc etc. It can take one hour to drive the whole of, let's say, Charleston.

Edited: 10:40 am, May 21, 2011
Tucson, Arizona
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9. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

The best view of Las Vegas is over your shoulder as you are driving away from it.

ZB

Las Vegas, Nevada
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10. Re: To hot to Death Valley??

if you go to google maps and type in Las vegas LDS temple in the search box it will give you directions.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

btw, las vegas is more than just a tourist attraction, there are millions of people living and working in the valley, and the strip is just one aspect of the whole part which lots of people who live there do not even pay much attention to

Edited: 11:34 am, May 21, 2011