Posted on March 15, 2017
We are still in the process chronicling our travels during 2016-2017. This chapter of our blog covers the 3 months we spent as Camp Ground Hosts for the National Park Service at the Furnace Creek Campground in Death Valley National Park from November 1, 2016 to about January 25, 2017. You won’t read much about the actual time we spent working (4 days on, 4 days off, usually, and we worked hard.) Rather, this post covers all the great things we saw during our off time. This installment is a l-o-n-g one, so crack open a beer, kick back and take your time. We hope you enjoy the read and the pics.
Category: 2016-2017 Travels Tagged: Aguereberry Point, Beer, Big Pine, Butte Valley, Charlie, Cottonwood Canyon, Dante's View, Death Valley, Dylan, Eureka Dunes, flash flood, flood, Fremont Street, Furnace Creek, Furnace Creek Inn, Gauvreau, golf, Grapevine Canyon, Grapevine Road, Highway 190, Hunter Mountain, Landscape, Las Vegas, Marble Canyon, National Park Service, Nevada, Owens Valley, Photographs, Photography, playa, Racetrack Playa, Saguaro, Scotty's Castle, slot canyon, Stop Rock, Stove Pipe Wells, Teakettle Junction, Texas Springs, The Grandstand, Warm Springs Road
Posted on November 27, 2015
So, one of the problems with blogging while travelling is having to deal with crappy connections to the Inner-Net. I sit here at the Furnace Creek Campground in Death Valley. It’s the Day-After-Thanksgiving Day and I am thankful for being here with Dee Dee and our crazy friend, Gary (whose back has gone out – he is really suffering, poor guy.) What I am not thankful for is the fact that every man, woman and child in the western United States is emailing, texting, browsing on their phones, most using Verizon. Access to the Inner-Net is non-existent…the Personal Hot Spot on my iPhone has puked… And, the camp ground here is packed with Thanksgiving visitors.
OK, enough whining!
I actually started writing this chapter two days ago, but suffered a brain-fart, probably due to that Bloody Mary I decided was an important element of the creative writing process. Maybe I can become a vegan and live solely on BM’s? Or not.
I have posted a few more photos of our Farabee jeep-rental travels; Titus Canyon (this was our 3rd trip through…that’s enough for a long while), Cottonwood Canyon (out of Stove Pipe Wells) and up Telegraph Canyon (near the Mesquite Dunes). Lots of fun…but made for a loooong day. I think everyone had a good time. BTW, John, Gary told me I had to mention your name in this post…so I did.)
We continue to delight in the wonders of Death Valley, sometimes travelling around, sometimes just sit’n and think’n. Except for Gary, who is always moving, moving, moving – we keep telling him his is now RETIRED and to lighten up. I think he is trying…but it’s a slow process for him. He keeps us on our toes, that’s for sure. We encourage him to relax, but our advice falls on deaf ears.
Last Sunday, we ventured over to Pahrump (sometimes pronounced ‘Pa-Dump’) where we blew in for shopping at their Super Walmart – mainly to buy ice and vodka for our Bloody Mary’s. I swear that this is the store where all those Inner-Net Walmart photographs come from! It was a visual wonderland. Gas in Pahrump was $2/gallon for regular, so we were happy about that.
I have enjoyed playing crappy golf at the Furnace Creek Golf Course. The course is good…I am not. Both times I have played I have been by myself, which is sorta fun. I have seen the occasional other hacker out there, but not many. No coyotes, either…which is unusual. Maybe they all headed up to Pahrump to visit their relatives for Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday (November 24th) we headed up over Towne’s Pass, across the Panamint Valley, up the other side towards the Owens Valley. It was a beautiful drive. We stopped off at Father Crowley Point, which has one of the more spectacular views of the Panamint Valley. Lots of tourists…just like us, I guess. While we were there, the United States Government (‘your tax dollars at work’) treated us to an absolutely spectacular air show. The mountainous terrain here is a training ground for fighter pilots. A couple of jets came blasting up the canyon in front of us, at a very low altitude, several times. On their last pass they exited the canyon right in front of us and climbed straight up doing spins and wing-overs, and flying upside down. Wow! The noise literally shook your rib cage. We had the feeling the show was just for us…and I bet it was. What a thrill.
On the way back from Fr. Crowley Point we stopped off at the Panamint Springs Diner for a beer and lunch. Still the great place we remember from our past 3-4 visits there. Panamint Springs Resort is in Death Valley National Park, but it’s an ‘island’ of private land, family owned. There is the restaurant, an RV park and a gas station ($5.50 for regular, but it’s the only gas for about 100 miles in either direction, so they sorta gotcha.).
As we departed Panamint Springs, the wind really started to howl. It was blowing so hard across the Panamint Valley that visibility dropped to zero and the road was almost impossible to see. The cross-winds were at least 60 MPH, and we were worried that the blowing sand and pebbles were going to pit the paint on the car. (Not the case, fortunately.) Once we started ascending Towne’s Pass again, the wind seemed to abate, but by the time we got back to Furnace Creek it was still blowing like Hell. Tents flying through the air. People running around trying to find all of their stuff that had taken flight. We had packed up pretty good before we left, but even so, a lot of our stuff was scattered around. We managed to find all of it…some was 3 campsites over.
The high winds lasted until about 4 the next morning and pretty much cleared out about 50% of the campground. We don’t know where they all went at 10 PM, but we assume either Pahrump or Las Vegas motels/hotels as all the lodging here was pretty full. And once again, we had to pull in our slide-outs as it was blowing so hard. Charlie and Marshall Dylan were pretty freaked out by all the noise.
We had a nice visit with our good friend, Shellye, who is a Ranger here in the Park. She is the one who hired us back in 2010 when we worked as Campground Hosts in Stove Pipe Wells. Shellye is a real hoot and fun to be around…and extremely knowledgeable about Death Valley. We always look forward to these visits with her.
So, there ya go, folks. A lot less words than last time. Enjoy the pictures. We are here for a few more daze, then off to Sam’s Town in Las Vegas for a week. One of our favorite spots. But all that is the next chapter…
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
Category: 2015-2016 Travels, Photographic Adventures Tagged: Badwater, camping, Charlie, Cottowood Canyon, Death Valley, Dylan, Farabee Jeep Rentals, Father Crowley Point, Furnace Creek, Furnace Creek Inn, Gauvreau, golf, jet plane, Landscape, Photographs, Photography, Raven, Stove Pipe Wells, Thanksgiving, Titus Canyon
Posted on December 5, 2014
So, after 5 days in Sin City, we were really ready to be ‘Leaving Las Vegas.’ We parted friends with the KOA People at Sam’s Town, even though this stay was a mild hassel. The drive to Furnace Creek in Death Valley was an easy one, with very little traffic. Better yet, by the time we arrived, the Thanksgiving Crazies had left and the park was quiet and almost empty. A great time to be here: post-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas.
We experienced the same heavy rains as many other southwest US areas. Some roads here were closed due to washouts (Twenty Mule Team Canyon and Titus Canyon), and there was a lot of water flowing across asphalt roadways, flowing down washes and alluvial fans.
I played golf a couple of times at the Furnace Creek Golf Couse, a nice track in good condition with lightning-fast greens; the 2nd time I had the entire course to myself for the first 15 holes. Dee Dee took several long bike rides and got to know the area around Furnace Creek a lot better. This was a somewhat off-year for coyotes; I only saw 2, on the golf course, and Dee Dee did not see any. Charlie-The-Dog spent a fair amount of time smelling them. Dylan-the-Cat was kept on-lease; no coyote bait for him.
We rented a jeep one (very rainy) day and explored Hole in the Wall road, Echo Canyon Road to the Inyo Mine, Chloride City and Titus Canyon (our 2nd trip through). All of the roads required 4WD high-clearance vehicles. The road to Chloride City got pretty technical. Lots of big rocks and steep, slippery turns, due to exposed bedrock and the fact it was raining. That drive was white-knuckle all the way. (Ted and Mary Ellen, you would have loved it; I would have jumped out, only I was driving.) We were probably the last vehicle through Titus Canyon. It was raining hard and the road on both sides of the pass was starting to wash out. And, we never saw another person. The parking lot at the end was empty. This was one of the very best days we have had in our 40+ years and many visits to Death Valley…lots of excitement and we saw new stuff.
Last night (Thursday, December 4th) Dee Dee was outside and saw huge flames and lots of smoke coming from the historic Furnace Creek Inn. It looked like the whole place was on fire. This morning (Friday) we drove up there and found that it was the laundry building across the highway that had burned. Totally gutted and still smoldering; no damage at all to the Inn. The entire Valley was filled with haze-induce smoke from the fire, that must have taken most of the night to extinguish. When we got there, about 9:30 AM, it was still smoldering and they were still doing ‘spot-squirts’ on hot areas. The Park Service had closed Highway 90 in front of the structure and was routing traffic through the Inn’s parking lot.
Of course we had to visit the local saloon and have a beer (or 2) every day. Our theory is that beer is good for your health, at least in our book. We rode our bikes the mile up and back, so that balances off the beer (and some days French fries and blue cheese dressing dip.)
Tonite we are having dinner with our good friend, Shellye Poster, who was our NPS Ranger Supervisor when we were Campground Hosts at Stove Pipe Wells in 2010. Shellye has also published a wonderful book, “The Photographer’s Guide to Death Valley.”
OK…enough words…here are some images (and captions) for our latest installment. (Our next stops will be Bullhead City, AZ, the Grand Canyon, Prescott (where we are visiting our friends Gary and Debbie), and then Apache Junction (where we will meet up with long-time friend, Neil, who I met in graduate school at ASU, in the early 1970’s.)
(Sherry, this post is dedicated to you…not many words, lots of pictures, just the way you like it…)
Category: Photographic Adventures, Travelling To Florida, Uncategorized Tagged: Chloride City, Chloride Cliffs, Creosote Bush, Dylan, Echo Canyon, Funeral Mountains, Funeral Range, Furnace Creek, Furnace Creek Inn, Furnace Creek Wash, Gauvreau, golf, Highway 190, Hole in the Wall, Inyo Mine, Jeep, KOA, Landscape, Las Vegas, Leadville, Mining Equipment, Photographs, Photography, Rain, Sam's Town, Space Aliens, Titus Canyou