2013 Trip Four, Out West, May 9 and 10

Well rocks seem to be the theme of the trip recently. Our drive from Vegas ran up a steady incline by Red Rock Canyon, Spring Mountain, etc. As we approached Death Valley, the mountains continued on both sides and grass was rare.

Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park

Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park

Artists Drive, Death Valley

Artists Drive, Death Valley

In Death Valley, we stopped at Badwater, the location of the lowest elevation in the U.S. (282 feet below sea level) We drove Artists Drive, an area where the rock colors vary dramatically, although noon sun light is not the preferred lighting to show off the colors. We had our PBJ sandwiches for lunch in the shade at the Visitors Center (103 degrees at this time.)

Lunch  time in Death Valley

Lunch time in Death Valley

Sand dunes, did not  see many of these

Sand dunes, did not see many of these

Chris and I had seen Death Valley previously, about 3 years ago during the month of January. We knew that we would only view a few places in Death Valley and then keep moving on to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range where we would spend 3 nights. Thus, the drive from the middle of Death Valley over to the eastern border was new to us-and a complete surprise.

Part of the drive out of Death Valley

Part of the drive out of Death Valley

We thought this drive would be mainly flat, a continuation of the desert floor. Instead in the space of about 15 miles we went from 280 feet below sea level to 5000 feet in elevation, back down to about 700 feet above sea level, up to just under 5000 feet in elevation and back down to about 3000 feet. This route is rated as a scenic drive, no doubt due not only to the fantastic views of mountains and valleys, but also because of the curvy road. What fun driving can be!! Pull outs are rare so pictures again are frequently windshield shots.

The road sign advises one to turn off their air conditioning to avoid having your car overheat. We complied, our Saturn worked well and had no difficulties but why take chances?

View from Father Crowley overlook

View from Father Crowley overlook

As we came over the last mountain of the East Mountains, the Sierra Nevadas are directly in front of you. Both ranges have numerous peaks in the 13,000 to 14,000 foot elevation and the valley in between seems hemmed in due to their heights. One of the lakes we passed, Owen Lake is basically a sand pile as the City of Los Angeles years ago bought the land around it and diverts the water from the Owen River via aqueducts to LA for its citizens.

First view Sierra Nevada Mtns

First view Sierra Nevada Mtns

Sierra Nevada Mtns at Lone Pine, CA

Sierra Nevada Mtns at Lone Pine, CA

The Sierra Nevada range is impressive as it rises steeply in front of you. Our hotel in Independence CA is right in front of Mount Williamson and Mount Whitney is just a short distance away. The mountains are snow capped right now and two of the places we were considering visiting are not open. The East Mountains get very little rainfall as the Sierras create a rain block and suck up the moisture before it gets to the East Mountains.

Mount whitney

Mount whitney is to the far right with just its peak visible, Lone Pine Peak is large peak in center of image

View by our motel

View by our motel

Mount Williamson

Mount Williamson

Dinner was at Jennys Cafe, a local, home cooking type of place in this town of about 600 souls. Food was very good with hefty quantities. The piece of strawberry rhubarb pie is still in the room fridge, to be eaten shortly.

Ed May 10 10 pm

Categories: road trip, travel | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “2013 Trip Four, Out West, May 9 and 10

  1. bernie

    Sounds like a fun drive. Were there gas stations along the way?

    • Yes and no. We topped our tank in Pahrump NV at $3.39 a gallon. We could have bought gas at the one station in Death Valley at about $5.59 per gallon.

  2. Joyce

    Very nice photos. One of my favorite types of pie! Yummy!

  3. Jim

    In the image labeled “Mount [W]hitney,” Lone Pine peak is the large mountain toward the center of the image. Mount Whitney itself is barely visible, showing only a small portion of its peak just over the ridge on the right. 😉

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