We set out on a long weekend adventure with the Jeep and the vast 4x4 roads in Death Valley. Our hopes were to see the moving rocks, the lowest point in the US, and some wildflowers. Two out of three wasn't bad, it was too early for wildflowers.
After a quick 2-hour drive from Vegas, we were at the park welcome sign. Then on to Badwater, the lowest point in the US. With a quick check of the Jeep GPS you can see we were pretty low.
Next we took a tour of Scotty's Castle in the North end of the park. It was pretty neat to take the tour and hear the story of the con-man Scotty (maybe the US's first ponzi scheme).
After a very long wash board ride (25 miles at 25 miles an hour) we got to the Racetrack (home of the moving rocks). There was one small rock that had some tracks, but you could certainly think the wind has something to do with it, it was extremely windy as we walked on the playa.
Back past Tea Kettle Junction (a crossroads where the guide post is actually covered with tea kettles from previous visitors - note for future trips). We found our campsite in Hidden Valley. As we were "attempting" to set up the tent and get camp settled in for the night, the wind was crazy. We made the snap decision to take down the tent and camp, and actually hunker down in the back of the Jeep for the night. While we were expecting 45 degree weather over night, when we woke up, the temp gauge read 28! Yikes! They arent kidding when they say the temps in Death Valley are extreme, easily a 50 degree swing in one day.
After some stops the sand dunes, Dante's view, and some old ghost towns, we found a very nice campsite for night two in Gold Valley, on the opposite side of the park. We had great views for sunset and sunrise. We made a quick exit from the South end of the park and were on the road back to Vegas.
We may go back in a couple of weeks just for a day or a night to grab that third goal: wildflowers.