Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Welcome to Pahrump!


"Well Glady's, I am so excited that you are excited about it. Have you had your CBD today?"

What can I say about Pahrump? It's in the desert, there are casino's here. It sits near the Nevada-California border. It is about an hour from Las Vegas and an hour and a half from Death Valley.

Why did we choose this place? We got a heck of a good deal to stay here from the Quartzsite RV show. We are at the Lakeside Casino and RV Resort.
An Oasis that is lush and green.
Our coupon was for a week at half price and if you stay one week you get the second for free. That's 14 days at a full hookup park (that means no hauling the stool bus around) for just 10 dollars a day. Two weeks for $140. We talked to our neighbor when we pulled in and they were charged over $600 for 2 weeks. So this is someplace we would not normally stay at because of the price but we will enjoy it while we are here.
Our site is nice. We have no neighbors on one side because we are at the end of the row. The casino has a great lunch special. A finger pork sandwich and fries for $4.99. Deuces wild breakfast special for $4.99. Two eggs, sausage, hashbrowns and toast. Plus we joined the VIP club so we get comps. Chaching baby! As I sat for breakfast by myself, I couldn't help but think how I have turned into my Mom and Dad. My mom loved the gambling and my dad loved the breakfasts.

Well we have 2 weeks here, what are we going to do?

One day we went to find the Devil's Hole. It's not what it sounds like. It is in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and the Devil's Hole is actually part of Death Valley. It is an underground cavern that is filled with water. They have been down it up to 500 feet and they haven't found the bottom. They also discovered a rare fish that lives in that hole. The Devil's Hole Pupfish.
That is the only place in the world that these pupfish live. They are protected. So we wanted to see what it was all about. They don't want you to fish for them or disturb them at all.
This is what you see of Devil's Hole. It is fenced off and the only viewing area is through a cage.
There is another entrance to the cave system also. So we took the short march over to that.
They are serious about people not disturbing the Pupfish. We had to take their word for it that there were Pupfish in there.

Another day we drove into Las Vegas and walked the strip. We always like to do that whenever we are in town.
We got there early before all of the street people got up. The problem with Las Vegas is that we always spend too much money there.

We also took a day to drive back into Death Valley to see some things that we hadn't seen before. Like  Ubehebe Crater. That was at the northern end of Death Valley. It was a couple of craters that were caused by molten lava hitting water above it causing a steam explosion.

It was very interesting to see it. Next we stopped at Titus Canyon. There is a Jeep trail that goes through this canyon but we were at the exit and it was one way. The entrance was many miles away and we didn't have the time for that.

So we just walked in a little ways to check it out. It would be a neat drive that we will save for next time. Next up was the sand dunes.
It was another full day in Death Valley. We decided to go out the south entrance this time. So we went from the north end to the south end and stopped along the way for scenery pictures.

This Jeep photobombed me.
We also drove up into the mountains around Pahrump. As we sit in the campground and look into the mountains you see roads. I said we should see where it goes. So we did.

This road was called Wheeler Pass.
That is Pahrump in the valley as you look back.

Some horses we saw on the way back to town. I don't know if they are wild or not.

On another particular day we did something very exciting. I have documented our search many times for the elusive Sasquatch. We searched for proof of Mermaids along the Texas coast. Also the Graboid hunts in the deserts of Arizona and California. So I am excited to announce our search for proof that Aliens exist. Pahrump is very close to the mysterious Area 51. Alien activity goes without saying here. So we jumped in our alien chaser and headed out into the desert.

We headed north out of Pahrump and we knew we were getting close to seeing aliens when we came across this.
They have an alien welcome center. We went in to look for info and to take a quick break. That's when my first close encounter happened. I was sitting on an EMPTY bench when Lisa took my picture. When she looked at the picture there were honest to gosh aliens next to me. That bench was completely empty, I swear.
My butt was puckering after seeing that. A little freaked out, we left. We finally got to what we were looking for.
To say that this is out in the middle of nowhere would be an understatement. Area 51 is part of a huge government base. I think we put on over 300 miles to go all of the way around it. There is just nothing out there at all. I think that is what the government was planning.
We maybe met just a handful of cars the whole journey. As we were driving we spied an unusual cloud formation. It appeared to be following us. I am not sure if it is government or alien in origin.
It was just too symmetrical to be natural. Freak out number two. Lisa did some research when we had cell service. There is a black mailbox out in the middle of nowhere that seems to be a focal point. So we went to see if we could find it.
I don't know if it is like that Sandra Bullock movie where you leave a note in it and then later you get one back from the aliens. As we opened it up and not knowing what might be in there, we were a little apprehensive.
There was indeed a note inside it. I can't tell you what it said because we are unfamiliar with alien languages. The final piece of proof I would like to offer as to the fact that we are not alone is this. 
Dead cows. We passed several. Upon further examination it looked like they had died from anal probing. "Let's get our butts out of here!" In conclusion, we feel that man would have to be ignorant to think that we are alone in the universe. They are watching and waiting.

Something else weird happened on that highway. We came across this motel.

I thought of a few friends and relatives that should be staying there. They shall remain nameless, but I think they know who they are.

Our time is winding down here in Pahrump. We had lots of time to explore and just to relax also. We keep checking the weather up north because we are getting anxious to start working on our projects. The weather still looks cold so we will have to keep wondering the desert like Moses. 

I wanted to include this picture of Lisa with her duck friend.
I think she put her hand down and the duck thought she had food in it and bit her. Although ducks don't have teeth so how can it really bite?

On a more personal note. With the little bit of gambling I have done, I was able to win enough to cover our campground expense here.  I like it when that happens.

"Put your seatbelt on Gladys, it's time to get your rump out of Pahrump."

Monday, February 17, 2020

Take Me Someplace Lush and Green

The last blog ended with Glady's saying, "take me someplace lush and green". Lush and Green? Does she mean Hawaii? This is the closest we have ever been to Hawaii. Or does she really mean someplace warm? Maybe even hot! That's it! No wonder I am the best husband in the world. I can read her mind. To Death Valley it is!

We left Lone Pine a day early because of the wind expected on our original travel day. We put the Sierra's behind us and started the trek to find Death Valley. Just the name is not friendly and neither of us knew what to expect, since we have never been here before. Boy were we amazed. The sheer emensness of it all. The contrasting colors from one mountain range to another.

From Lone Pine, we took highway 136 in the Owens Valley. There it joins highway 190 that takes you into the park. This route into Death Valley takes you over two mountain passes and through 2 valleys. I would not recommend going that route with a big rig. One climb I remember was 7 to 8 percent grade for 9 miles. The grade for going into Death Valley was 18 miles at 8 percent. So you really need to be confident in your brakes.

Once in the park the first overlook we came to was Father Crowley Vista Point. It was truly spectacular and the size of it is phenomenal. I may run out of adjectives by the end of this post describing Death Valley.
Panamint Valley.

Rainbow Canyon.
This was the first set of mountains you climb. At that viewpoint (4500 ft.)you look down into the Panamint Valley. Now you continue on a narrow winding road to the valley floor, just to reach the bottom and then climb up the Panamint range to Towne Pass, elevation of 4956 ft. Then it is 18 miles down to the Death Valley floor at an 8 percent grade. Breathtaking views are all around.

We found our campground in Furnace Creek near the Visitor Center. Here you are at a negative 190 feet below sea level. There are 4 campground here. One private with full hookups. One National Park one with full hookups and two dry camps that are really just parking lots. Sunset and Texas Springs. Texas Spring doesn't allow generators. Sunset does and is only $14.00 a night. We stayed in Sunset. All set up we just waited for the wind to start blowing the next day. 

It blew all night like a wild banshee and all day. We just walked around the visitor center and then hung out until the following day when we could unload the camper and explore.

The next day we unloaded the camper and left it and the cats in the camp ground. Our first stop was going to be Badwater. The lowest spot on the North American continent. It is minus 282 feet below sea level.

That little white sign above the pickup is where sea level is. The water at the bottom is very salty. It leaves behind white salt crystals.

Next stop on our agenda was going to be Natural Bridge. It was not too far away. It was going to be a short death march to the natural bridge, uphill.
This is the view from the parking lot. To get to the parking lot it is about a 2 mile drive uphill on gravel. It gives you a great view of the valley.
Here's a panoramic shot of the valley. The next photos are of the 1 mile death march uphill.

As you march in there it turns into a giant wash or maybe a small canyon. I'm not sure what you would call it. My only concern was to stay upright at this point.

As we continued to march up, I couldn't help but think of how much water must of flowed through here to make this as wide and deep as it is. Also how long ago did water last flow through here.

Finally the bridge. There were some dry waterfalls. They would cut out chutes in the rock were they once flowed.
As you march up all you do is look forward. Then when you turn around, you see the scenery that was behind you.

Coming out of there was much easier than going in. It was all downhill. Next stop was going to take us to the Devil's Golf Course. The Devil's Golf Course sits out in the middle of the valley floor, so I was assured that there was no climbing involved. YAY!

These salt crystals have been here a very long time. You can walk amongst them and they advice you to be careful. They are hard as concrete and are 1 to 2 feet tall. Falling in there would would cause a lot of cuts and bruises.
This is a close up of one such salt column.
This is a photo of the surface of one salt column. You can see that falling on this would not be fun. 

Next up on the road was called Artist's Palette. It is a vehicle tour into the foothills of the mountains and there is a vehicle length restriction on it. Vehicles longer than 25 ft. are not allowed because of some tight switchbacks.
Here we stopped at a pullout and walked amongst the rocks. I looked back at the truck and took this picture of Death Valley behind it to show just how big this valley is. The valley is 140 miles long and varies from 5 to 15 miles wide.

We were talking pictures and then realized how quiet the world can be when you are all alone.
I took this picture because of what looked like trails coming down the mountain. They are trails made from rocks. It's funny, the rocks didn't roll down the mountain, they slide. Zoom in and you can see one half way down.

It's called Artists Palette because of the many different colors of rock here. All of these things that we have done are in a small part of the valley, so you can see quite a lot in a short amount of time. Lunch is next.

We were going to stop for lunch at the Oasis Resort in Death Valley. We looked at the menu and got sticker shock. If I am not going to spend $9 for a beer in Disneyland, I sure as heck ain't going to spend $24 for a hamburger in Death Valley. The same goes for fuel. Hot dogs it was!
Our next stop was going to be Dante's view. On the way to Dante's view we saw a road that needed to be driven. It was called 20 Mule Team Canyon Road. They don't post a sign at this one but I would not bring a large vehicle through here..
This was and image I borrowed off of the internet. My co-pilot must have been closing her eyes during this road. The road winds through these yellow hills. It is very narrow with a couple of small steep crests. I told Lisa that this would be perfect to do in a Jeep. Not as fun in a 1 ton dually pickup. I thought we were going to scrape the sides at a couple of points, it was so narrow.

It was a nice drive and worth seeing if you are in the area. Next stop Dante's View.

This is another drive not to be taken with large vehicles. The last quarter mile has switchbacks and is steep. With an incline of 15 percent. We started this drive in the valley at -190 ft. below sea level. When we get to the top we will be at an elevation of 5475 ft. above sea level. Even with my Ram one ton with duallies it was narrow at the top. One guy in a Prius coming down had some very wide eyes when he rounded a corner to see our truck coming up. Once at the top you are greeted with some spectacular views and some cooler temps. It was in the 40's at the top and the valley floor was in the 70's.

It was incredible. The beauty of this place never stopped amazing us. As you were to look straight down, you are looking at Badwater, the lowest spot in North America. So you are looking nearly 6,000 feet down.
Badwater below.
Ironically that across from the lowest point is the highest point in the park. Telescope Peak at 11,049 ft. The contrasts are many here. At this point we are getting tired but there are a few more things we wanted to check out. Next up Zabriskie Point. Another short death march.
It is a short march uphill, paved with benches.
I almost made it. Next was a quick stop at the Harmony Borax Works. They mined a lot of Borax out of Death Valley. They used wagons and teams of 20 mules to haul it out.
After that it was another short auto drive into the Mustard Canyon. The hills are a mustard yellow and we didn't get any pictures of that. That is it for our tour of Death Valley. You can see a lot in one day if that is all you have and there is more of the valley we would have liked to see. We will save that for another time. 

Gladys said to me,"Tango. Thanks for the great visit to Death Valley, but since you didn't understand my meaning the last time, I am going to make it more clearer. I want to see glitz and glamour. I want to go to a place with Casinos".

"Say no more Gladys. I know exactly where you are talking about!"