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Published: February 22nd 2018
I wake up and check the old man has survived the night, despite his encounter with a power cable. He is feeling better so we set off for Death Valley.
The road climbs and climbs until we reach the top of Towne pass. We’re at 4956 feet and it’s zero degrees. Then we descend into the valley on a road that it is more like a roller coaster. By the time we reach the bottom, we’re below sea level and the temperature has risen by 18 degrees.
The variation in the landscape is astounding. We pass the sand dunes of Mesquite Flat, walk through the yellow rocks of Golden Canyon to Red Rock Cathedral and wander across the salt flats of Badwater Basin. Next, the stunning Artists Palette with layers of rock in every imaginable colour.
We make our way out of the park via the folding yellow and black rocks of Zabriskie Point and the ghost town of Rhyolite, an abandoned gold mining town. Nearby are a house made of bottles and the quirky Goldwell Outdoor Museum with sculptures made of bandages soaked in plaster.
Home for the night is the Exchange Club Motel, Beatty. Lonely
Planet describes Beatty as ‘broken-down’, so expectations are low. The receptionist suggests we have dinner at VFW. We’re through the door, into a room with camouflage covered windows and tables inset with medals and bullets, before we realise VFW stands for Veterans of Foreign Wars. Not surprisingly, most of the patrons are vets (think British Legion with a sprinkling of Hells Angel). But they’re a friendly bunch and we’re made to feel very welcome. The food is good too, although we skip the deep fried Oreos. All in all a very pleasant day.
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