Death Valley National Park

To me, being spontaneous every once in a while just makes me feel so alive.

We were supposed to be staying at The Four Seasons Las Vegas, but I woke up with an adventurous spirit.  We were either going to drive East (Zion National Park in Utah), or West (The Pacific Ocean).

Due to an incident with a lost cell phone which was safely found packed in a suitcase, we were running late.  Death Valley and the Pacific Ocean it was.

Death Valley is a pleasant 2-hour drive from Las Vegas.  On the way there, you will go by a place called Area 51 Alien Center.  I was so excited to see this!  You can’t miss it. It is a green building with grey aliens in it. They sell alien everything in there.  I went to the restroom and when I came out I went to the register to see just where Area 51 was and how to get there.

© 2017 Ricki K Ewing
© 2017 Ricki K Ewing

I was told Area 51 was nowhere near there.  Someone else told me it was by a black mailbox down the road. Somebody outside said it was 90 miles from Vegas in the opposite direction. Another told me I wasn’t even in the right state. I was expecting some government suits to show up and tell me it never existed. So it still remains a mystery.

All my life the name Death Valley has intrigued me. A whole group of pioneers died there during the winter of 1849-1850. People have died from the heat. Oddly, the people who named it survived. Most people think of it as miles and miles of hot dry nothingness, but they are wrong. There is much beauty to be seen there.

The entrance is nothing special. A way stinky bathroom (think outhouse), a few informational signs, and some self pay admission booths. ($25 per car/$20 per motorcycle for 7 days or free with a US National Parks America the Beautiful pass)

© 2017 Ricki K Ewing

Drive down the road and the scenery is spectacular. This National Park is contradiction after contradiction. Bring water because looking at the dry cracked ground in some places makes you thirsty. Near that ground is a caution sign that if it rains, there is a high chance of flooding. The record high air temperature was 134 degrees in 1913. That same year was also the record low of 15 degrees in the same location. You see wildflowers and sand dunes. You will see a sign that you are at sea level and 10 minutes later you are 5,000 feet above sea level. There is an abundance of wildlife here but we only saw 1 lizard that my sister said was Jim Morrison, and a raven that technically wasn’t in the park.

© 2017 Ricki K Ewing
© 2017 Ricki K Ewing

It took longer to go through Death Valley than it took to get there. This put us somewhere in small towns, no service California for about 45 minutes. Finally we found some Interstate freeways and all was well.

I went to Castleberry High School with my friend, Michael. He is working in California right now. He met up with us in Palmdale at Habit Burger.

I am going to shy away from writing about chain restaurants in The Blog Cabin unless it is worthy enough to write about. Habit Burger made the cut.

They have been around since 1969. Mostly in California, they have expanded to 10 states now and are planning more.

The onion rings were crispy perfection. The burgers are charbroiled. They offer superfoods. They have a pepper bar. The tea is fresh and abundant.

© 2017 Ricki K Ewing

Habit Burger, please come to Fort Worth.

I wanted to stay up all night and go to Los Angeles, see the Hollywood sign, walk Sunset Blvd., go to Santa Monica Pier, get a donut from Randy’s and a hot dog from Pink’s and then drive back to Vegas to see the sun rise.

My friend convinced me this was just crazy talk and we should get some sleep. So we got a place in Palmdale and got some rest. Pink’s closes at 3 am anyway.



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