I talked Greg into a road trip this weekend because the kids had Monday and Tuesday off school for President's day and I figured if Greg was in a vehicle, he couldn't hurt his arm or anybody else.
Since Greg's arm is in a sling, I had to load the motor home for our maiden voyage, which means I had to walk in and out of the house 5,000 times on Saturday. We are experienced RV people, but I've never had to do anything to get a motor home ready to go because I have Greg. So I wasn't prepared for all that comes with that, which included a late night trip to Walmart for a sewer hose I didn't need.
I didn't even notice this on the back of our motor home until we were in Death Valley. I told Greg, "OMG, what does that even mean? Is this a Tea Party tour?"
"It's the last sentence of the Declaration Of Independence."
"Wow! Did you Google that?", I pondered.
Since this sign pretty much declares we are White, armed, and pissed off, I guess it's better than a sign,"Attack Dog On Board", right?
Greg was mad the whole first 6 hours we were in the National Park because he couldn't believe he was there.
He doesn't appreciate the desert like I do.
This was our first stop at the badlands at Zabriskie Point.
According the the visitor's guide:
"Zabriskie Point: Surrounded by a maze of wildly eroded and\vibrantly colored badlands, this spectacular view is one of the park’s most famous. Zabriskie Point is a popular sunrise and sunset viewing location."
How can you not be impressed by this?
"We've seen this in Utah.", Greg said.
From there we headed to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. It was a gorgeous 80 degrees. The kids became Junior Rangers here on the way home.
Although Amanda bailed on the oath when the lady said, "You must promise to listen to your parents."
From Furnace Creek, we headed to the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail to see if we could see the endangered pupfish.
We did not find the pupfish, so we declared it extinct. We did, however, find the endangered Tootsie Roll fish.
Greg was so mad by now, you have no idea. Thank God we pressed on and made it to the Mesquite Flat Sand dunes at Stovewell Pipes. Did you know that Death Valley is 3.5 million acres and people die there?
We ended up at the sand dunes about 15 minutes before dusk and Greg said, "We're just going to go to the first ridge."
I know him so well, I knew there was no way he was going to go to the first ridge, so I opted to do what any sane person would do.... I stayed with the shoes.
I cannot even begin to tell you how anxious I was during their sand trek. It was almost dark. We had no reservations or campsite. There was no cell phone service. I kept trying to will him back.
His contribution to the trip was a box of Klondike bars in the freezer, so I started singing, "What would you do for a Klondike bar? What would you do for a Klondike bar? What would you do for a Klondike bar?" in hopes I could "pray him home."
Do you see them? He's the little blue speck.
I finally gave up hope and then I could see them running straight down the side of the furthest dune. We ended up pulling into the campground at Stovewell Pipes and finding a spot. $12 a night. It's dry camping with no hook-ups, but the RV was perfect. We had plenty of water, propane, and our coach battery lasted all night.
The kids loved it!
They spent the evening running around in the desert and playing Scrabble. We all slept pretty well, although it got really cold before morning and I made a mental note to turn the heater on before we went to sleep the next night.
The next morning I hung out with Bill and Agnes From Idaho, our neighbors, as they were broken down and waiting for a service technician to drive out from Nevada. Agnes invited me and gave me the tour of their 30 foot Class A motor home. Agnes is waiting on the birth of her 20th grandchild, so she was eager to get back on the road.
We wished them luck and headed to Panamint Springs to hike to Darwin Falls. Unfortunately the trailhead was 2.5 miles down a dirt road, so Greg decided that wouldn't be a problem for us.
And it really wasn't, if you don't count all the cabinet doors flying open and pummeling the kids with chairs and tables.
This was actually a beautiful hike inside a canyon, with water, something you don't take for granted in one of the driest places on Earth.
Sarah is the only child who will wait for me anymore. She's my favorite now.
There's a beautiful year-round waterfall at the end of the trail.
From there, we headed to Father Crowley's vista.
"Father Crowley Vista: A landscape of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders abruptly gives way to the gash of Rainbow Canyon below this viewpoint. Walk the dirt track east of the parking lot for a grand overlook of the northern Panamint Valley."
Why walk the dirt path, though, when you can drive your motor home on it? I seriously freaked out the entire time we were on this ledge.
We were barely there and Austin chucked an empty water bottle over the side. Greg tried to beat him and couldn't because his arm was bound.
"I knew he was going to do that.", Greg said, "I knew it before he even knew it. I knew because it's exactly what I would do."
From there, we drove to the Mesquite Springs campground and spent the night.
|Is that you, Walter White?|
It was really nice. It was way better than the first night.
I was making dinner when I looked out and the boys were standing on the edge of this cliff. I had 75 heart attacks on this trip. Even Greg had a heart attack and they were forbidden to go that direction. They have not one shred of fear. Not one shred.
We had a huge fire and gazed at the stars and the kids saw a coyote and giant jack rabbits. We can't see many stars in Las Vegas due to the light pollution, so we spent a long time talking about the universe and the solar system and the vastness of it all.
The coyotes ran up the wash we were on and they were howling and making the other camper's dogs bark. It was so exciting!
The next morning we got up and went to Scotty's Castle.
"Scotty’s Castle: Prospector “Death Valley Scotty” claimed this elaborate Spanish-style mansion was built by gold from his fictitious mine. In reality, it was the 1920s vacation home of his wealthy friends. Today, living history tours of the castle’s richly furnished interior are given by costumed park rangers."
We hiked up to Death Valley Scotty's grave.
Death Valley Scotty was a philosopher. From his gravestone:
Four things to live by. Don't say nothing that will hurt anybody. Don't give advice -- nobody will take it anyway. Don't complain. Don't explain.
Our next stop was Ubehebe Crater.
"Ubehebe Crater: Just a few hundred years ago a massive volcanic explosion caused by magma mixing with an underground spring, shattered the silence of northern Death Valley. When the cinders and dust settled, this 600 foot deep crater remained. Although easily visible from the paved road, hikers may want to circle the crater rim to see smaller craters."
I put my foot down here. There was NO WAY I was letting Greg hike around the rim of a 600 foot crater with my children. NO WAY.
I can barely keep them in the motor home safely.
Our next stop was Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America, at 282 feet below sea level.
Then we took the motor home four wheeling again. We lost a drawer on this one.
Greg was so mad.
"How can Al and Misti have this thing for three years and we have it for two days and wreck it?", he bellowed.
Uh, maybe they didn't take it four wheel driving? That's just a guess.
All in all, it was a great trip. The motor home is absolutely PERFECT for us. It's small enough to drive around as a car, yet big enough for us to live in it. We should be able to see a lot of things this summer. I really enjoyed Death Valley.
"When we come back here next time, Dad....", Gregory started to say and Greg interrupted him and said, "I'll never be back here, son. When you bring your own children here, you can do whatever you want."