Saturday, 6 October 2012


Oct. 4th - Thursday

It seems like we keep going for extremes. From silent, moonlit  night in the desert  to the very busy, loud, bright light filled night in Vegas.

The night sleeping in the desert was well really hot and dry! Seems obvious I know but really.. It was intense! I couldn't sleep because my throat was so dry and hot- it felt like the heat and dryness was going down right into my lungs! We had all the windows open and slept with the back hatch open and any bit of clothes felt incredibly pronounced and intrusive. The moon light was so bright and the night so quite! It  was really amazing to experience that kind of remoteness- so isolated from it all.

We decided to get up before sunrise so we could drive before the sun's heat hit- and thought we'd catch the sunrise. I loved being up so early and the moon was still up and bright enough that it lit the way for us. The morning was so  still, so solitary feeling. We moved Sean and Liam to the lower bench still in the Pj's and sheets ( no need for their sleeping bags!) and fueled up at the lone gas station. The night guard was super nice and led us to the staff coffee maker so we could get coffees for the road ( just another example of the many acts of kindness and generosity we've encountered in the States). Plan in motion, we were on the road as we saw the first day light hit the desert hills. Amazing! One of my all time best experiences in this trip! 

an old Borax processing plant

tired but happy

Eric was worried about the van overheating again but, in the end, the drive out towards Vegas wasn't as steep and in fact our trusty van hit a milestone 300,000 km on our drive out of Death Valley ( as if to say I'm not going yet!).

But we did linger in the valley, and didn't rush out too quickly -  we did a short scramble at the Red canyon while we waited for the visitor centre to open up. The scramble was fun and when that sun did come out.. it was intense! The visitor centre was great (as usual), satisfied my curiosity about a lot things, made me feel like the boys were being educated, and as a bonus - we saw a lizard. Seeing a lizard has been on  Sean's wish list since the beginning of our whole trip - a very happy moment for Sean.  Liam was pretty impressed that we wished for it to happen and it did! We also saw a road runner - very neat as the boys have seen the road runner and coyote cartoons.

a slight detour.. following a wash out

sun hitting the valley

not as easy going down

the real heat creeping over the valley

Then the hot drive out of the valley- stopped at Badwater ( where the salt flats are and is the lowest point in North America-  282 ft below sea level) and enjoyed the scenery - very dramatic in it's barren-ness. 

Death Valley

Decided to go for the Vegas experience and booked in at The Tropicana on the strip. We looked so out of place- the boys had dust and dirt all over them and Eric and I looked pretty travel weary too. We ended our day with the lights of Vegas out our window and the sounds of sirens going up and down the street and helicopters and airplanes coming and going. The geological world to the man-made world. 

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