The famous, notorious Death Valley was more or less on my way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and mustn’t be missing on my road trip. In the morning I already woke up in the dry shrub landscape that covers large areas of California.
And before I even entered the National Park, I already drove way slower than allowed, being impressed by my environment. Over the way, I took, astonishingly, not very much visitors came to the park and I drove almost alone on the endless, straight roads. Once more the best opportunity to enjoy the freedom of life!
Then, just as I arrived in the park, the first wild animal welcomed me. Wonderful.
And then I went on to the real Death Valley. But first I had to pass the Towne Pass on 1500 meters, what challenged my car pretty much.
On the other side, it, therefore, went down quite a long way again. Below sea level to be precise. The first attraction, next to the already incredible landscape, were the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, that ran through the valley close to the Stove Pipe Village. Wonderfully, the wind formed those dunes into the barren landscape.
From there I drove on to the village Furnace Creek, where I spent some time in the air conditioned visitor center to check out the exhibition about the valley. After that, I had my lunch at one of the picnic tables outside. At 45°C (about 113°F)! I haven’t experienced such a high temperature before, but with enough water, I managed to stay fit pretty good. Once I’ve finished my lunch, I drove on to the Zabriskie Point, that offered a view over the bizarre rock formations in the valley.
Through flash floods, that happened during the seldom rainfalls, this landscape was formed.
And with seldom I mean only once or twice a year, or sometimes not even once. Next, I drove through the Artist Drive, which is a narrow one-way road, winding through the beautifully colored rocks and the narrow, rain washed canyons.
And at last, I came to the final highlight of the park. The Badwater Point. The point of the lowest elevation in North America. 83 meters below sea level.
There, I could see a small salt pond and the vast crusts of salt, for which the Death Valley was famous for.
And then there was something else. It was one of THOSE days. A day, that it actually rained in the Death Valley. I drove towards the little-frequented exit of the park close to Shoshone and experienced, how such a flash flood at the driest place on earth felt like.
In addition to the rough road conditions, which reminded me a bit of the Alaska Highway, I now had to handle hydroplaning as well. In the Death Valley! I’m getting crazy. I even got an official alert from the authorities on my phone, as soon as I had reception again. And the downpours went on like that for the rest of the afternoon. At least I got a comfortably cold night by that. I already worried that this would be the hottest one in my life so far.
But seriously, those thunderstorms in the deserts are a spectacle of its own class. You don’t experience that every day, but I luckily, happened to experience it.