Thursday, March 1, 2012

Death Valley 2012 Part 2

Day two was a very busy one for our group.  Our tour guides wanted us up and moving no later than 0700 in order to see everything there was to see.  We asked for 0900; we settled on 0800.   The morning was very windy and cool.  The sand was blowing from the nearby dunes and everything was in a hazy sand fog.  The campground across the street was being pummelled by the wind and the tents were in danger of blowing away.  We were glad to have the motel to stay in!   After driving only a few miles we left the wind area and the blowing sand and headed to out to our busy day.

Our first stop was an extinct volcano that  rivaled the meteor crater in Arizona for awesomeness.
Better than the Arizona meteor crater because you can walk down into this one.  The volcanic ash/pumice was deep and loose.  I knew that going down was going to be easier than going back up. 

The view from the bottom.  That tiny ant on the side of the crater is a person!

A path completely circles the crater rim.  Brave folks were walking it but we didn't have the time.

The Missus and the Grouch at the very bottom of the crater.

Next we stopped at the site of the original 20 Mule Team Borax processing plant from the 1880s. Like the Pony Express that only lasted a year or two, the 20 mule team imortalized by the TV show and the household cleanser of the same name was also comparatively short-lived, only being in operation for less than 10 years before relocating away from Death Valley.

One of the original mule team wagon train.  20 mules doesn't seem enough to move this when it was fully loaded!

On to our next stop, Scotty's castle.  It is truly an oasis in the desert with a running stream that produces 300 gallons per minute.  If you have water, then you have everything.
The official name for the place is Death Valley Ranch but it is better known for Scotty, even though he contributed nothing but his name.

Some very nice and very expensive firearms, all working guns back in the days when the ranch was a vacation get away.
The main room with young son on the right and one of our tour guides on the left.
Our house tourguide

The dining room with place settings from Spain as was much of the interior fittings.  The Spanish civil war put an end to the decorating of the place as the war cut off exports.

A chest from Spain made in about 1500, in the bedroom of Albert Johnson, the owner of the ranch.

The courtyard.  After a very quick lunch from the tailgate of the Jeep we headed off to Rhyolite in Nevada.  We left the park, drove into Nevada and bought gas for $3.70 a gallon compared to $5.70 a gallon in DVNP.  At the town of Beatty in Nevada there was a derilict Beech D18 that looked like it had slid off of the runway at the town airport, just sitting there lookingforlorn.  An interesting sight but I didn't take any pictures of it.  The ice cream at the gas station was good!

The bottle house made from (wait for it....bottles!) at Rhyolite
One of two banks at the town.  This one was large enough to have a basement and a second floor.  How did it end up looking like this?

Now for the off roading:  Titus canyon; 27 miles of washboard road, spectacular vistas, and narrow canyons.  The Missus said the rocks looked like every other rock she has seen on previous off road trips.  Sheesh!

Some of the abandonded building from Leadfield, a boom and bust mining town that lasted all of 6 months.  Some of the buildings remain as well as the mines that produced nothing but hard work and monetary losses for all involved.

The trail entered a very narrow canyon that was twisty and fun to drive.  At one point we came to native American petroglyphs.  From here we went to Artist's Palate, an area of very colorful rocks and then back to our motel.  A very full day!

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