Death Valley

Hank – We left Tahoe early since we had a six hour drive ahead of us to a campground in Death Valley National Park. The drive on US Hwy 395 south through various national forests, mountains, and high valleys was gorgeous. Topaz Lake and Mono Lake are beautiful. The roads going into Yosemite are still closed due to snow so this is another place we need to return to.

Death Valley is quite breathtaking. Again, like the Arizona desert it’s beautiful but it’ll kill you, too. The temp was in the 80s when we arrived. We got a campsite at Sunshine Campground. There are so many overflow areas there that you have a 99.9% chance of getting a site. But it’s pretty basic. You get water and a bathroom. Quite a few of the RV campers had generators. Those had to be turned off at 9:00 pm.

I elected to put up the tent and sleep there instead of in the van. Kathy chose the van because she thought the temp was going to drop a lot and it would be warmer there. She was half right.

A little after 10:00 pm a strong wind came up and almost flattened the tent. I didn’t stake the corners down because the ground is hard packed gravel. Consequently, I had tent wall and sometimes tent floor blowing into my face. I grabbed my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow and other small items and opened up the side door to the van. Kathy had just fallen asleep and my rude awakening was disorienting for her. Once she caught on that the winds were bad we rearranged everything to make room for me. Breaking down the tent was fun because we had to keep all the parts from blowing away. I wadded it up after collapsing all the poles and stuffed it in the front seat.

The van was too warm so we left the side door open. Then the rain started so we had to close up. I cracked open the tailgate and used the tent poles to keep it from completely closing. That let a breeze in and helped cool us off. I tossed and turned for a couple hours and then slept fitfully until 7:00. Kathy didn’t sleep much better.

In the morning we had a light breakfast and hit the road. We stopped by Zabriskie Point and took in some great sights of the surrounding terrain. Hikers were out and about. This is another place we need to return to.

In Las Vegas we checked in and then relaxed during the evening. Tomorrow, our two sons and one daughter-in-law join us here for a long weekend. We are looking forward to spending time with them.

Kathy – Lake Tahoe was just as majestic as everyone has told me over the years. I’m looking forward to coming back to this area to do some hiking in the future. The drive out of Lake Tahoe and into Death Valley allowed us to see some absolutely stunning landscapes. We saw so many breathtaking mountains. We climbed up and down mountain areas the entire day. We varied from 7,500 feet to down below sea level. The snow capped mountains at higher elevations and the desert mountain areas as we descended were totally amazing. It is hard to believe, but very time you looked in a different direction you would see something even more beautiful than you saw before. I took hundreds of photos and now I have to sort though them and only pick a few for this blog post. It’s a hard life choosing. 😊 Hank and I definitely want to return to Death Valley National Park to do some hiking there as well. It really was an absolutely gorgeous drive.

We spent the night in Death Valley and then drove the last two hours to Las Vegas, Nevada. We are meeting Geoff, Josh and Amanda there for the weekend. So looking forward to seeing them. I’m sad Steph cannot join us because she has to work. We will miss her. Our plan is to get a little hiking in just outside of Vegas and then wing it for the rest of the weekend. Excited for a fun weekend with the kids. 💗

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  1. Sounds awesome, great pictures

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Barbara Gingrich March 22, 2019 at 10:41 am

    I’ve been following your journey since you left our house in DE last fall. Loved seeing your pictures of Death Valley. In a month we will be camping/hiking there for 5 days/4 nights. We’re doing 4 weeks of camping/hiking in the SoCal national parks and monuments like our Colorado trip last Sept. You’ve seen a lot of great places in your journeys.


    1. Hey, Barbara! The time has flown since we stayed at your house–thank you, again. Wow, four weeks of hiking and camping. That’s awesome. You and Dave have a blast.


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