Amelia, awestruck by one of the slots in Sidewinder Canyon.
Pro tip: If you are visiting Death Valley be prepared to drive a lot!
We boondocked twenty miles east of Furnace Creek at a spot known as “The Pads.” It used to be a company mining town until 1995 when Death Valley became a National Park and mining operations ceased. There are over forty concrete pads, where I’m assuming singlewide trailers used to sit. There’s also a huge pad where the clubhouse must’ve been because it’s next to a swimming pool filled with dirt. At times it felt haunting knowing that people used to live their life there. I would rate “The Pads” as a great boondocking spot. The only negative is zero cell phone reception.
At this stop we experienced a real wind event. On Monday evening while waiting for the moon to rise, Amelia’s phone blasted a weather alert noise. It startled both of us, especially since there’s no cell reception. Amelia grabbed her phone, and on her screen was: Tormenta de Polvo (dust storm). When she tapped it thinking she could read the rest it disappeared. We had no idea why it was in Spanish.
Thirty minutes later the wind became strong and the mountains to the east were shrouded by a huge dust cloud. We collapsed our chairs and table, brought in all our shoes, and hunkered down inside the Airstream. It was noisy. Anything that could rattle did. We ended up closing all the vents. The wind continued until sunrise.
We went outside to assess the aftermath. Our large patio mat was still staked down but covered in dirt and small pebbles. The chairs only moved a few feet. However our recycling bin was two hundred yards away stuck under someone else’s trailer!
Once we saw a person emerge from the trailer, Amelia went over to get the recycling bin and pick up as many scattered cans as she could find. That’s when she met Thelma. There were two gals traveling together and they referred to themselves as Thelma and Louise.
Thelma was probably in her late fifties, super chatty and proud of her 2001 Suburban. After they exchanged pleasantries Thelma says, “I hope this doesn’t offend you but I’m a deplorable.” God bless my non-political wife, she had no idea what a deplorable was. Then Thelma launched into a diatribe about stolen votes. “Millions of votes were sent to China, Germany, and Iran. Can you believe that? I Ran!!” She quickly calmed down and said, “I don’t blame people for not knowing. The problem is everyone gets their news from the same major networks. You have to dig deep to get the truth.”
Finally, Amelia was able to escape. An hour later Thelma and Louise hitched up, drove by our spot, honked and waved.
You meet the most interesting people while traveling!
We got a picture of a tourist at the fancy sign!
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, quite a bit smaller than Eureka, but still beautiful.
There were a bunch of little basins between the dunes were water would collect and dry out.
We did the seven mile Zabriskie Point, Badlands, Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch loop hike.
The beautiful entrance to Gower Gulch.
Here’s a perspective shot on the tall canyon walls.
Bend over Rover! The station is unmanned on Tuesday and Wednesday. We were there on Tuesday. I inserted our debit card, did all the steps to begin fueling, but the regular unleaded 87 wasn’t working. Nothing came out of the nozzle. The other travelers were experiencing the same issue. They were out of 87! We badly needed gas, so I reinserted the card and starting pumping the unleaded plus 89. It got to $1.34 and stopped! The 89 was all gone. On to the premium unleaded 91. I inserted the card and it was denied, because it was already inserted twice! Shit! Good thing I carry two credit cards, especially since Amelia forgot her wallet at home. I inserted the new card and tanked up with the premium for $105.00.
Love the tortoise sign on the road to Dante’s View.
Dante’s View of Badwater Basin
What a trippy place! It just has a feel to it.
Early morning at Badwater Basin.
Be smart and wear sunglasses. It is a bright white.
Mosaic Canyon. The walls are polished marble.
Towards the end of Mosaic it gets real tight.
We drove up to Grotto Canyon. It’s the most technical canyon and as we expected, it was over our head. But not all was lost, on the drive out we saw three Bighorn Sheep. A ram, ewe, and lamb. We saw the lamb go underneath her mom and latch on to a teat. Eventually they all sprinted across the road. This is the ewe and lamb.
A good look of “The Pads” during the evening. Our Airstream is the furthest one away.
The swimming pool
Definitely not a super bloom year in Death Valley! There were hardly any flowers. This is a Desert Stingbush.
Our favorite hike was our last one; Sidewinder Canyon. Amazing would be an understatement. It’s a wide canyon with six side slot canyons. Some of the slots just keep going and going. Here’s some pics.
Oops! We had a casualty from the dust storm. The little Playmate cooler was stuck under the Airstream. I didn’t see it and completely forgot about it. As we were leaving there was a loud noise. Amelia put on the brakes. I looked under the Airstream. Shit! I felt horrible. Amelia has had the cooler since she was a teenager and had the nickname AMP for Amy Marie Perkins.