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Published: August 23rd 2010
Death Valley viewed from Zabriskie Point
We made sure that we had a full tank of petrol and a lot of water and we headed off to Death Valley. Las Vegas was hot, but it got progressively hotter as we drove. The highest it reached was 112°F (or about 44°C to us). Quite cool by Death Valley standards apparently.
We were driving to the aptly named Furnace Creek and we were five miles away when we were stopped and the road was closed because of a fire that had broken out by the side of the road. They estimated that it would take two hours to sort out, but the last thing we wanted was to be sat in a traffic jam in Death Valley, so we took an alternative route - a route that was 110 miles and took two hours. When we got to Furnace Creek, we found out that the fire had got worse and one of the firemen had been taken ill due to heat exhaustion. At least we had the benefit of air conditioning, which is more than could be said for that poor fireman.
We went to the Visitors’ Centre in Furnace Creek to find out what we should
Zabriskie Point Panoramic
Panoramic view from Zabriskie Point
do whilst we were there - although we now had two hours less than we thought we were going to. There were some salt flats and the actual lowest point in the USA (Furnace Creek itself was 190 feet below sea-level), but that would meant driving in the wrong direction for us. Given that there is a fire risk at the time, meant that we picked to go in the right direction and check out what was on the way. There were some sand dunes that were well worth seeing and a lovely little canyon called the Mosaic Canyon, which was a short drive from the main road. Also on the way to Furnace Creek, before the diversion, we had stopped at Zabriskie Point, where there were some excellent views. The annoying thing was that if we had not stopped there, then we would probably have got to Furnace Creek before the fire closed the road.
We knew that with the diversion to Death Valley, it was not going to be possible to get to Yosemite in one day. We came across a Best Western hotel just outside Las Vegas and we had checked the location of some other
Mosaic Canyon in Death Valley
hotels and booked into one in a place called Bishop, which was on the road north of Death Valley.
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