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2005/11/06 02:51 EDT
Death Valley
We drove from Las Vegas here to June Lake today. The drive through Nevada was uneventful. You can see why the government decided to test all their bombs there. The whole state -- at least this part of it -- seems to be nothing but a desolate wasteland. We drove through Death Valley National Park, stopping at various scenic overlooks. There's really some fantastic scenery there. So many interesting rock formations -- must be a geologists dream. Eventually we made it down to the Badwater area which is 282 feet below sea level. It is a huge plain that looks like a big snow-covered lake. But all the white stuff is salt, not snow. It's the driest place in North America apparently -- although there was some water at Badwater. But as the name indicates, it's salt water and not drinkable. Looks nice and clear, though. This area is also famous for being extremely hot with temperatures of 130F or more. But it's November and temps were great for us. It was probably about 70 to 75. I should have brought some bottled water for the car ride, though. The dry air was even drier than Las Vegas, I think. Got parched quickly but we stopped for lunch at the Furnace Creek restaurant where the ice water was plentiful.

The route took us by various sites in the park including Devil's Golf Course, Devils Corn Field and the Sand Dunes. Unfortunately we didn't have time to dally since we still needed to get to June Lake, just outside Yosemite National Park. The route out of the park was a mountainous climb with many water tanks strategically placed for overheated cars. So we went straight from below sea level to over 7000 feet here at the Double Eagle Resort here in June Lake. We had dinner in the resort restaurant which was rustic and actually pretty fancy. More than you might expect out here in the middle of nowhere. After that we went to find our cabins. We had rented two -- so there was three per cabin. The cabins were quite nice. Two bedrooms (three beds) with a small living room (with fireplace), kitchen and dining table. Definitely a great place to take the family.

Before retiring, we gazed at the night sky. Really awesome with the milky way as clear as day. Probably the clearest night sky I've seen in over a decade. When I was in Australia several years ago, there was a similar sky but I only saw it from the car because by the time we stopped for the night, the sky had clouded over.

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