I’m late posting this, as the Interweb access in our Vegas hotel was decidedly ropey. Anyway, on the days I’m writing about, we crossed out of California into Nevada through the Mojave Desert and Death Valley. What can I say? Mile after mile after mile of complete bugger all apart from painted mountains, sagebrush and Joshua Trees every fifty metres or so. Then we ran out of road. Literally. On the run up from Ridgecrest, some bugger had scraped up the road surface and left about four or five miles of gravel. It certainly caught us off guard, but to safeguard our paintwork we took to the sand on the side of the road. For around five miles. Then the asphalt was back through the wasteland, and it is a wasteland. It’s like the surface of Mars with sagebrush.
Seriously, this is what Highway 178 looks like at the moment for around four miles. The main road up from Ridgecrest literally disappears. Gone. Vanished. Like one of the Las Vegas big magic acts had been practising making things vanish before your very eyes.
Once we had doglegged off the 178 onto the 190, when we came to the park entrance proper at Stovepipe Wells, a huge convoy of over twenty asphalt carrying trucks were resurfacing miles of highway 190, and I mean miles. After that some stunning geology and incredible vistas with valleys you could drop the entire inside of the M25 into with room to spare. Temperatures in the mid-30’s Celsius. Near-endless roads. Rocks and brush, Canyons, dry washes as wide as the Thames. Salt pans the size of cities. Oh yes, and the Area 51 diner which has had a bit of a makeover since it got a mention in the movie “Paul“. Then more Buttes, Gulches and Arroyo’s, not to mention the occasional canyon on our way South and East into Lost Wages.
Which is another story altogether.