Death Valley Daze

Well, we’re home safe from our oddball Thanksgiving weekend in Death Valley. There were moments of disappointment, such as when on a cold and windy and damp Saturday morning from Ubehebe Crater looking at the snow-dumping serious storm parked over the road to Racetrack Playa that I made the right but tough decision to delay again my long-wanted goal of  mountainbiking the 26-plus miles to the famed dry lake. And there were moments of exhilirated triumph, such as this one on Thanksgiving Day captured by Susan from her vantage point at the base of the 680-foot Eureka Dunes of me and Ranger way up at its summit. We’re the little black speck right of center where the sand meets the sky (click for the bigger picture):


With such magnificent ups and despite such frustrating downs, it was another remarkable Death Valley excursions. We toured the phenomenal Scotty’s Castle for the first time, and the camper van rental performed beautifully for every one of the 750 miles we traveled. Plus, the change of Saturday’s itinerary left Susan and Ranger and I to much more leisurely pursuits enjoying Zabriskie Point followed by lunch up Dante’s View. And instead of a soggy bitter-cold night at the Racetrack Playa, we ventured onward out of the park to spend Saturday night marveling at the wonder of Marta Becket’s surreal and magnificent Amargosa Opera House and Hotel at Death Valley Junction, replete with encounters with wild horses and nesting bats while also planning our next visit — in the spring — for another go at the Racetrack ride.

There are tons of pix, of course, and I’ll point you to them after I get them uploaded. But for now just one more, of the best sand-climbing dog otherwise known as Ranger at the top of the dunes looking in the general direction of her momma down at the bottom:


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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."