Saturday, January 12, 2008

Death Valley NP

We rolled into Death Valley after dark last night. It was a relatively long day of driving. As I’m writing this, we’re having trouble with our propane generator. We’re not sure if it’s a problem with the generator or the propane. The latest theory is that there is some problem with the pressure regulator on the propane tank. However, I’m now hearing a report that it decided to start working. Mike says that when something fixes itself without intervention, the problem will reappear down the road. Since we’re virtually in the middle of nowhere, it would be better if it did break down the road. Please, not here. Wow! And my screen just got brighter. It looks like things are working now. Hm. We’re taking the head-in-the-sand approach for now. (My personal favorite.)

We are parked in a national park campground, which is very cheap for us--$6 per night. However, there are absolutely no amenities. It is, in essence, a parking lot with numbered spaces. There are no trees, no fire rings, no tables, nothing. There is a public restroom with showers, but that’s it. I read an article in a motor home magazine that urged the national parks to cater more to RVers as a way of making up for funding problems. I must say that I agree. We have ways of getting around the problem of no hook-ups, but it does require a different living strategy. Hook-ups, even just water, would be very nice. And this is the way it has been in all of the national parks where we’ve stayed. We love the parks, but hate the campgrounds. And since most of the parks are in remote areas, staying at a privately-owned park is often not an option. Okay, enough whining.

We drove through some beautiful country yesterday, albeit rugged. There were towns where people lived, but many of the buildings were boarded up. They look like towns on the verge of becoming ghost towns. Indeed, we passed a sign directing us to a ghost town. There were mining operations evident, but we’re not sure what they were mining for. I took a picture of what appears to be salt or borax at one place. I’ve posted a couple of pictures, all taken out of the window of the truck as we drove by, and so they’re not great pictures. (In case you missed Felix’s dad’s comment, if you click on the pictures, you can see them full screen.) The mountains were snow-capped and very beautiful as the sun was setting. The geology of the mountains was very interesting. Some of the ground appeared to have been pushed up, while some of it looked as if it had been formed by blowing dust. There were a couple of dry lake beds, and we saw many alluvial fans from snow melt.

We also drove through an area that had been built up into a wind farm—the biggest I’ve ever seen. We got out of the truck to see if we could hear the windmills running, but all we could hear was traffic and the sound of the wind. It was terrifically windy in this area, and when I opened the truck door, the force of the wind nearly tore the door out of my hand. This wind farm was just outside some medium-sized town, the name of which I cannot remember. But we figured that the windmills we saw could easily generate enough power for the whole town, with power to spare. We were encouraged to see wind power on such a grand scale.
We will spend the day exploring the park. More later. We’re out of cell phone range, and therefore, we have no internet connection. I’ll post these together when we get to the next place.


Lisa said...

I am NOT older -- she's LYING! :o)

And hey, where are those great pictures -- or are you waiting to post them all via slide show?

Barbara said...

Such a protest! I wonder why? Just waiting for a good internet connection to post that slide show. Maybe tomorrow.