Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tour of the West: Death Valley

As plans for our vacation shaped up, I realized that we were generally going from cold to warm: from near-freezing at night at Wheeler Peak, through warmer temperatures in northern Utah and Colorado, to downright hot at the Utah/Arizona border.  It therefore only seemed appropriate to head through Death Valley on the way home.

In late June.

Mwahahahahaha!!!  Ma is so mean.

I was actually kind, and sprang for an air-conditioned room at Death Valley Ranch.

It was rather warm when we arrived at dinnertime.  This is a whole three degrees cooler than the high temperature for the day!

Our adventures earlier in the day included coming into Death Valley from the east, through the ghost town of Rhyolite.  This gold mining town was founded around 1905, and was largely empty by 1920.

Just outside of Rhyolite is the Goldwell Open Air Museum, an outdoor sculpture museum created by a group of wacky Belgian artists.

Not what one would expect to run across out in the desert.  We were highly amused, and wandered around in the heat to explore the site.

Click on the picture to enlarge it, and take the time to read the inscription -- it too is art.

As we were leaving Rhyolite, a whole string of highly decorated expensive cars came zooming in.  We suspect they were heading in to do some sort of photo shoot in the late afternoon light.

After we got settled at Death Valley Ranch, marveled at the heat, and had some dinner, we enjoyed the hot-spring-heated pool in the dark.  There were actually quite a few people there; most of them were tourists from various parts of Northern Europe.

On our way out of the valley in the morning, we took the time to visit Scotty's Castle, an ornate mansion with a colorful history in the northern part of the park.  It was well worth the time to take the guided tour, which was finished off with music from the player piano/player pipe organ in the music salon.  Player pipe organ???  Most unique.

Chad liked the "touring car" that had belonged to the original owner of the castle.

 I liked Scotty's weathervane.

Eventually, we headed out of Death Valley to the north, with a brief stop at Crankshaft Crossing to adjust the stuff on the top of the truck after hitting a bump harder than expected.  From there, it was a relatively easy drive up 395 to a campsite for the night, before heading over Tioga Pass and home sweet home.

(End of vacation)

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