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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley

Well it's Saturday and we're still stuck here in Vegas. I talked to Shane at Findlay Chevrolet yesterday who told me it was still going to be early next week  getting our truck repaired. I had hoped we might get it Friday, but it didn't happen, so we're making the best of our situation, and checking out all the sights we can think of near Vegas.

Thursday we decided to ride out through the country and see if we could find Red Rock Canyon which we did. Red Rock Canyon is about 17 miles northwest of town and is at the base of a large mountain range and is in the Mojave Desert. The property is designated as a National Conservation Area that is owned by the Department of Interior and is managed by the Bureau Of Land Management (BLM).  The park is visited by over a million people each year. There's a 13 mile scenic drive through the property that showcases large red rock formations, multiple sandstone peaks and walls and is set in beautiful desert surroundings. Towards the southern end of the National Conservation Area are Spring Mountain Ranch State Park,the western ghost town replica attraction of Bonnie Springs, and the village of  Blue Diamond.

Yesterday, we decided to head out on a long day trip and explore Death Valley, which is a little over a hundred miles northwest of Vegas and lies in both California and Nevada. I've heard of Death Valley all my life and had a picture in my mind of it being a hot desolate barren land where nothing could survive, which is mostly true, but we soon found out there is so much more to it than that. The park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve.There are colorful and beautiful mountains and sandstone formations that are some of the most picturesque we have seen. We're told there are many species of plants and wildlife that live here that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The highest temperature we saw, while there, was only a balmy 103 and was exceedingly dry. My lips and contact lens  were rapidly drying out and had to use chap stick and drops all day. We did carry extra water with us (as recommended) and I would suggest anyone contemplating the trip do the same.

 The America The Beautiful Card (old fart's card) was good at both these parks. We've certainly got our money's worth out of it!

Entrance to Red Rock Canyon.

I had no idea this was part of the Mojave Desert.

Visitor's Center

Here's our free rental truck in front of a scenic bluff.

Looks like a turtle to me. Can you see the resemblance?

Shot of the desert floor.

Some type of cactus.

Another type of cactus.

And, yet another!

Entrance to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

Wild Burro sign.
Sure nuff, we found the burros!

Very docile and gentle creatures.

You can see the cross on the hithers or shoulder on this burro. You can read about the Biblical legend of the origin of the cross on the burro here.
Pretty Desert Scene.

The Pink Jeep Tours. We've seen these everywhere.

One of my favorite shots.

Entrance to Death Valley.

You Betcha!

I had no idea Death Valley held this kind of beauty.

I can remember using Boraxo Soap back in the day! Never thought I would be at the place it was mined. The borax is actually colemanite and uluxite and used to be mined here. It was shipped out of the valley on 20 mule team wagons. Pictures are below.

As in Zero feet above sea level!
This shot and next two taken at Zabriske Point.

Pretty Cool rig to haul Borax out of the valley.

Original 20 mule team wagons

Entrance to Furnace Creek Resort.

Furnace Creek Visitor's Center

Crickett said it was PDH!

Glad I didn't have to buy any fuel here! In fact, it was the only fuel we saw anywhere.

Beautiful colors formed from different minerals in the rocks.

Very scenic loop.

One way road.

Artist's Palate.  I see different hues of brown, pink, and green.

If you look very close at the top middle of this picture, you will see the below sign showing how far below sea level this is.

Lowest point in the western hemisphere.

Salt flats at Badwater.

On salt flats looking back toward parking area at Badwater.


  1. Great pictures as always and good history,I guess you are half way through your trip?

    1. Thanks Malcolm, yes we're over half way. Going into Utah from here.

  2. Love y'all. We miss you. Love Sharon Carson and Chloe

  3. I had no idea Death Valley is so beautiful. Barren, desolate - but still beautiful. Great pix!