Finally have wifi again! It's been pretty spotty this last week. Sunday we drove from the Grand Canyon to Death Valley (one of the longer drives of this trip) and when we got there in the afternoon it was around 85 degrees, and the winds were probably about 30 mph. You could see huge sand plumes blowing across the desert floor from far away. We spent longer than usual in the visitor's center looking at all the exhibits, and decided to do a couple of scenic drives, and see what we could without getting out of the car much. We drove the Artist's Palette road, which had a bunch of really interesting rock formations with different mineral colors all jumbled together. We didn't expect to see so much color in the desert. We were also surprised at first how narrow the valley seemed, but that's just because the mountains surrounding it are so tall. The distances are deceiving, and our drives and walks were definitely longer than they looked at first.
We went to the Zabriskie Point overlook. We decided to brave the winds to look out over the badlands there. It was high enough that we weren't getting sandblasted, and it was pretty funny fighting against the wind just to get up the hill. The we drove the 20-mule road (a twisty old mining route that was a bit of an off-road adventure).
We had planned to snag a spot at the camprgound at Furnace Creek, but when we got there, we saw how the winds were blowing all the sand right through the campground, as there were no trees or anything to provide shelter. It seemed a better idea to head back to the town outside the park and treat ourselves to a hotel for the night. We explored a little mining ghost town right outside of the park on the way back. It had been such a long drive getting there, we couldn't do much that day, and we had another long drive to Sequoia after this, so we decided to spend an extra day hike the desert the next morning, and drive to Sequoia and camp there for the night, so we would have a full day in Sequoia as well. Glad we planned for a couple of extra days in case we wanted to spend a little extra time somewhere.
The following day was really cool, although I can't seem to find the pictures I took, so I'll have to steal them from Tim. We went to the "Devil's Golf Course", a section of desert floor that's all jagged salt and mineral formations. We also went to the lowest place in North America, Badwater Basin, a salt flat that is 282 ft below sea level. Again, distances were quite deceiving- we walked out it for quite a while before we reached what seemed to be the middle. The white was blinding in the sun, thankfully I brought my sunglasses. We drove to Sequoia that night and found an RV site to plug into.