Tuesday, November 24, 2015

RoadTripNine: Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is more or less what the name suggests. Barren desert, bright sun, roads that go on forever, and place names that refer to death and satan. Apparently it began as a borax mining site. You youngsters might not remember back when Borax was all the rage but in the 1880s we always used Borax for cleaning stuff. Now it's just weird natural people who use it. But when the Borax mining stopped being profitable the mining company decided to turn the area into a tourist attraction.

It IS a big hard sun, Eddie Vedder.

Sandcastles.


A lot of Death Valley is below sea level. We went snorkeling while we were there. The marine life was a little disappointing to be honest. We saw a sea rabbit. It just kind of looked like the rabbits above sea level. Also no water, which is weird. Overall I wouldn't recommend it as a snorkel/scuba destination. 

Hope we don't get the bends.


Naturally, because Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in the United States, and therefore, highly opposed to the survival of all forms of life, they decided to grow grass and build a golf course lined with Palm Trees. Not so impressive now, are you Scottsdale? Granted, if you're able to get over your tree hugging preconceptions of where golf courses do and do not belong, then the golf course's bright greenery is a welcomed sight after driving through different colored dirt for so long. In the end we decided not to play a round of nine because they were allowing people on the course without Polo shirts. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Stolen from Internet. Forgot my helicopter.


The real magical part of Death Valley is the nightlife. And I'm not talking about an evening mixer at the country club. I'm referring to the sunset. 

Blood red skies in Death Valley.


The sunsets in Death Valley were magniferous. Magniferous isn't a word but I feel like I'm getting a little heavy on the use of “spectacular” in this blog. I should have brought a thesaurus on this trip. I write all of these things away from internet access and by the time I get near WiFi I forget to fact check or look up synonyms and I just post. Although, I'm writing this right now so I could just make a note to look up a synonym as soon as I get to WiFi. But then I would have to erase the last few sentences. The problem is that if I have WiFi I won't write any blogs because I get too distracted with more important things like the weather in Scotland (note to self: look up the weather in Scotland so I'm not lying). That's why the only two times I've consistently posted blogs are the Peace Corps and this road trip, both where I had very limited internet access. Ironic, no? No? I'm planning on getting self-discipline some day but until then I'll just continue to seek out places without WiFi, for as long as they still exist.

Rainy I guess.



Which brings me back to point. Death Valley. No WiFi. Amazing sunsets. Even amazinger (note to self: real word? Look up) starry night skies. We happened to be there during Leonids Meteor Shower. I'm not familiar with Leonid's other works but he had an extraordinary meteor shower, which peaked on Wednesday from Midnight to Dawn. Little know fact: Wednesday from Midnight to Dawn refers to the first five or so hours of Wednesday. As in a second after Tuesday ends. It does not mean 24 hours of Wednesday and then Midnight to Dawn. That's Thursday. Luckily it was a multi-day event so we still got to take in our fair share of meteor sightings.  

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