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Published: September 10th 2007
Sand dunes on desert floor
Elevation -200 feet below sea level- temp was 111 degrees
A lazy Sunday morning here in Mammoth Lakes, CA. We took our time getting going this morning, a well deserved break. After breakfast we went into town, did laundry and grocery shopping. We found a free wi-fi at Looney Beans. I was finally able to download Verizon Wireless software on to the new Vista computer (after 4 months of waiting for the software to become available). Now we have a reliable computer to get on line with if the old Toshiba craps out again.
Had lunch at Subways and hit the road about 12:30, heading for Death Valley. We were driving south on Route 395 through a lovely valley, with towering mountains on either side of us. We were looking at this unusually high mountain and I looked on the map to identify it, and it turned out to be Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states.
Once we headed onto Route 190 into Death Valley we were on a straight - and I mean straight road. After all the mountain roads we’ve been on it was nice to finally nice to have some sanity instead of nail-biting. But once again we encountered snake-like roads, going
Highest Point in Lower 48 States
down the mountains into the valley. I always pictured the desert as flat, but there are quite a few mountains in Death Valley. We came to a colorful box canyon and then to a view point into it, Father Crowley Point. I believe I saw and eagle with a nest in the side of the cliff.
There was a false bottom to the desert. We thought we were there and the temp was 103 degrees. But then saw a sign that showed the elevation at 2000 feet. We kept traveling down until we hit the bottom and the elevation was 200 feet below sea level and the temperature hit 111 degrees. This is the hottest temperature we have ever experienced and the lowest point of land we have ever been to.
We looked for campsites all the way to Las Vegas, but there were none to be had. We stopped in Pahrump and learned that only RV’s are allowed to park in the city. Maybe it’s a snake thing. We thought we’d get a motel room - for the first time this trip, but couldn’t find any of them either. We decided to keep driving to Lake Meade,
our next destination and got there about 8:30. In the dark we sat on our picnic table (me in my underwear) at 93 degrees. People tell you the desert gets cold at night - that is BS. It was still 93 degrees at midnight. We had a hard time trying to sleep. I wet my head and got a little sleep. Dave got up at midnight and stretched out the drivers seat to recline and shut the windows except for an inch for air to come in with the motor running. He turned the AC on until it got cool enough and then shut it off about 20 minutes. He did it again around 3 am and then it stayed cool enough to sleep the rest of the night. At 7 am it was a balmy 78 degrees.
Footnote: I saw a bobcat yesterday in Yosemite. I was on the cell phone talking with my Mom and did not get a picture - darn it.
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