Friday, December 11, 2015

Yoo 683 - Death Valley National Park

I don't remember exactly how this trip came about. I know it started with Morgan seeing her work schedule and realizing she had almost a week off in, I think it was September? October. Beginning of October. And then I was texted and it didn't take long until we'd schemed up some trip ideas. I had Southwest miles to blow and am always up for a good adventure.

We had no concrete plans but we did have a car and a National Parks pass. And thus began our journey.

A couple days before I flew up, Morgan texted me for approval of our trip food. She did pretty good.

Then she went to work all night and I woke up super early and got on the first flight to Las Vegas, where she was to pick me up after working all night. She told me she'd need to take a nap before driving to Vegas from St George so I spent several hours in the airport listening to casino ads while reading Merle's Door.

Except what did she do instead of taking a nap before coming to pick me up? Watch an old episode of Oprah. That girl subjected me to extra boring hours in the airport so she could watch Oprah.


But all was soon forgiven and we grabbed burgers at Inn N Out and got out of dodge. Where were we headed? Wherever highway 95 took us.

So Area 51.

Not really, but close.

It was at out first gas stop at one of the alien gas stations that we saw a brochure for a place not too far away. Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Sounded cool enough.

"I won't see that one until the resurrection." - Morgan, as she throws one of her hairs out the window.

Ash meadows is a desert oasis not far from Death Valley. We were one of maybe three visiting groups at the time. Got the whole informational video to ourselves! Good thing, too, because Morgan slept thru it. We explored all the trails and springs and I took one whole picture.

Mostly, we joked about the goats, but never got to see one.

And we made up a song out of a quote we liked on one of the placards about mountains, but I forgot it.

Then we ended up on a dirt road heading for Death Valley.

A couple of baking scenic stops later and we were at Badwater Basin!

Start of the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon. It was hooooooot. 109 degrees hot. I ran about 100 meters before considering my homage paid.

At some point, to liven up one of the long desert drives between scenic stops, I handed Morgan my phone with a little picture pulled up.

I'm really horrible at sharing news and let her stare dumbfounded at the picture for a while before confirming that it was a little niece or nephew in the works. It definitely livened up the drive.

Post baby announcement, we played on the sand dunes and then found a place to pitch tent for the night. It was called Emigrant and consisted of a glorified parking lot just off the main road. But it was free! And scenic.

The weather was perfectly calm and we enjoyed dinner before settling in for the night. I think it was around 7:15pm. We were both exhausted! Sleep happened easily enough for the first couple hours...until the wind kicked it.

I woke up at what felt like 3am to the tent beating me up. We had no choice but to pitch on gravel and stakes were not an option. So the tent had little supporting it besides the weight of our bodies and the flimsy poles. Thus, I was getting pelted with the side of the tent. It was actually only 9:15pm. And I'll spare you a detailed description of the many sleepless hours that followed until my phone alarm started blaring Taylor Swift for the rest of the camping community at 4am. And then all the hours after that until the sun decided to make its appearance.

What should have been a restful night was anything but. Though waking up to this was decent compensation.

We were one of the first cars on the Death Valley roads that morning and the driving was incredible. I decided I love Death Valley, from the car, in the morning. It's so much cooler.

And a couple photo stops.

And in slow motion....

Still makes me laugh. I don't know what she's doing at the end there?

We had a whole lot of beautiful driving ahead of us. On to our next stop...

PS - I was terrible on this trip and took maybe three photos. Morgan did a lot better and all of these are from her phone.

Have a great day :-)

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