Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

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The lesser-travelled National Park Entrance from the North via Big Pine / Death Valley Rd I had worked up a pretty ambitious plan for Death Valley, so that when we left at 9pm, it was already pretty late. We would not take the west entrance via Hwy 190, but rather enter from the very top, via dirt roads.

So we entered via Big Pine Road, took a 20mi detour to the Eureka Sand Dunes, continued through Hanging Rock Canyon, passed Crater Mine and Crankshaft Junction, without seeing a single soul. Driving over dirt roads was easier than I had thought, and I was making quite a bit of progress. Only once, I I almost failed to see that a wash was crossing the road. I stepped on the brake with both feet, and managed to slow down the car enough to pass it without any trouble.

All the while, we didn't see a single soul, and it was only close to Ubehebe Crater that I passed a minivan, who was perhaps going 25mph... had I gone at that speed, we wouldn't have managed to arrive in Las Vegas that evening.

Ubehebe Crater was quite impressive. There was so much wind that I barely managed to setup the tripod for a panorama shot. It was also one of the only places we visited that didn't have a restroom. Even the pretty remote Eureka Sand Dunes had pit toilets, another thing you don't see all that often in Europe.

Scotty's Castle seemed pretty out of place in the middle of nowhere, and as such we only stopped there for a short while before heading south to the other tourist attractions in Death Valley.

I only photographed the Sand Dunes at Stovepipe Wells from a distance, and we drove by the Old Harmony Borax Works.

Somewhere along the way, I saw a strange-looking car with taped-over lights and features, and guessed that this could only be the new Porsche SUV... The guy didn't seem to pleased though, as soon as he saw I was taking pictures out of the car, he drove off.

View of the Zabriskie Point badlands, looking left Next stop was Zabriskie Point. A very scenic point, but I'm sure it's even nicer when not in summer. The heat was simply unbearable, and I spent way too much time setting up the tripod for two panorama shots. I would have liked to head on to Dantes View, but we still had a lot to drive, and it was getting pretty late already.

I stopped along the way to take a picture of a Elevation: Sea Level sign, and I suppose that quite a lot of people must have done the same in the middle of the highway, for they had added a smaller Park Off Pavement sign to it...

We then drove the Artists Palette Loop. This place is famous for volcanic deposits that are colored by various mineral pigments, but the drive as such is also pretty nice.

Devils Golf Course was another obligatory tourist spot, where a family did its minor contribution to vandalizing the place, similarly to Bad Water which was equally invaded by people who absolutely had to stand next to the sign for the Polaroid moment. Only few seem to notice the small Sea Level sign fixed in the mountain on the other side of the road.

Some time later, I was driving at 75 MPH towards Pahrump, and then Las Vegas.

I didn't like Las Vegas. It smelled bad, there was too much traffic, and I couldn't stand the masses of old, overweight people feeding quarter after quarter into some random machine, looking miserable and pissed off with life.

Miles driven: 377mi (607km)

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Golden Nugget (Las Vegas, NV): $59 plus 10% tax