I spent a couple days touring around Death Valley as part of my first trip of the new year. It was part of a longer loop, which would include Las Vegas, Hoover Dam,Oatman,Lake Havasu,Parker Dam, and ending up back in La Quinta, CA.
I left La Quinta at the crack of dawn on New Years Day,which was not easy, believe me. I headed up to Lone Pine,with the idea to drive thru the park from west to east and spend the night in Beatty, Nevada.
Upon arriving in Lone Pine, I headed to the movie museum and took a tour.I had passed that museum numerous times on other trips, but this time I was determined to see it.
The museum is pretty cool.Costs $5 to get in.You start the tour with a movie that chronicles the history of movie making in the Alabama Hills, which are just outside town. After the movie you wander around the museum, and look at all the movie displays.
From there, I headed to the visitor center at the junction of Hwy 395 and Hwy 136. Lots of good information about the region in there.The building has a wall of glass that faces the Sierras and Mt. Whitney.Had to sit in one of the chairs and take that in for a little while.
Speaking of the Sierras , the mountains were almost void of any snow.Very odd for January.In fact, the highway signs were flashing that all the major roads over the mountain passes were still open, Tioga Pass included.
After checking out the visitor center,I was off for DV.
Made a stop at Father Crowley lookout,Panamint Springs, then Stovepipe Wells.Then walked out into the dunes a short way.
It was starting to get late in the afternoon and I wanted to see Rhyolite before getting to Beatty so I got back on the road.
Too bad there are fences around everything at Rhyolite, but I'm sure they would have more vandalism if the fences weren't there.
Ended up staying at Motel 6 in Beatty and eating at Dennys.
Day one pictures.
Got up the next day, planning to enter DVNP via Scottys Junction, since I have never entered the park that way.
I stocked up at Subway, which is inside the candy and nut store.Everything looks so good in the candy store, you could spend a fortune!
Headed up Hwy 95 to Scottys Junction, and turned on Hwy 267 to come in the back way to Scotty's Castle.As you leave Nevada and enter California and the park, the road turns from a two lane highway to a lesser maintained paved road about 1 1/2 lanes wide.
The road winds down the canyon, and when you start seeing palm trees , you know you have to be getting close.
This was my first trip to Scotty's Castle. What a cool place.My only regret was not taking the tour. I just walked around the outside and took a bunch of pictures.
From there I headed to Ubehebe Crater then Furnace Creek.
The visitor center at Furnace Creek is being remodeled, so there is a temporary one in a nearby trailer.Supposed to open June 2012.
Went back past Furnace Creek Inn and saw Farabees Jeep rentals were across the street from it. They had a booming business going. There were Farabees Jeeps all over the place.
I hit Zabriskie Point before my final destination of the day, Dante's View.I had never been to Dante's View before.I have to say, that was probably the highlight of the trip. The views are amazing.From the snowcapped peak of Mt. Charleston one way, to the snowcapped Telescope Peak and Badwater Basin the other way, it really was quite a sight.Had to pull out a lawnchair and my Subway sandwich, and spend some time admiring the view.
From there it was off to Vegas and a night on the 23rd floor at the South Point before taking off for Hoover Dam the next day.
Second day pictures.