Before we hit Death Valley we had to swing back thru Vegas, to add another couple of parentals to the mix. We are very lucky that our parents get on so well, they go on vacations together often (without us). This was obvious when we met Heather’s Mum (Cathy) and Dad (Dalton) at the rental car centre, we shuffled luggage from the back of the Hulk in to their rental car, and my parents followed the luggage, oh well H’s parents will want to ride with us, wrong the four if them got comfy in their plush minivan. To be honest having the Hulk to ourselves for a bit was kinda nice, even when we did realize that we were not the cool car.
A few weeks before they left Canada to meet us I had a brain wave, they should borrow a set of walkie talkies* so the two vehicles could keep in touch. Fat lot of good these did us as our convoy split up at the first junction, us going left and them straight on. We both had newly updated Garmin GPS units, but theirs apparently was feeling jet lagged, we eventually pulled over re grouped and decided that we would be the lead vehicle and they would just follow us.
I had read about Death Valley a few times, but still didn’t know really what to expect. We had hot weather in Vegas and on paper It didn’t seem like it was going to be all that much hotter, how very wrong, there was a constant wind and I would compare it to the rush of hot air you get when you open an oven door. We were all melting (it was 120 F), we had planned to do a few short hikes, but it quickly became clear that this would be foolish, so instead opted a driving tour.
The park is vast so we kept our touring centred around Badwater and The Sand Dunes.
Badwater is the second lowest point below on earth, well if you don’t count points actually below the sea. Very stark place with a salt flat, a bit of bad water and a good number of visitors. Also it part of the iconic Badwater ultra marathon course, which after 25 years of being “the toughest foot race in the world” has been forever altered by a change in rules by the National Park service, sadly the race can no longer run through the park, so this 135 mile monster will have to find a new home and maybe a new name. In honour of the race I did go for a run, it was thoroughly unpleasant.
The sand dunes were an unexpected treat as we left the park and headed for Panament Springs and our lodgings for the night, the place boasted 180 beers, and the cheapest way to buy it was by the litre and that is just what the we did as the six of us got a proper chance to sit down and catch up.
*Thank you Krista and Brandon for the use of your walk talkies.