(Day 14: Road Trip from Springdale to Furnace Creek)
We got up, not too early, but early enough as we had to pack up and move on. We had decided to skip Valley of Fire State Park. I think it needs more time then we would have, unless we had got up much earlier and we had both decided that we didn’t want to do that! Andrew wasn’t hungry so we decided to pack the car, I would grab something to eat at the hotel and then we would leave. By the time we packed up, Andrew was hungry. So it was back to Cafe Soleil for a final visit!
We left Springdale with the sun shining on the red rocks.
Our car gps suggested going north to reach I-15 south, rather than following highway 9 the whole way. We had never tried that, in either direction, so we gave it a go and it led us though a nice little town and was an easy route to the interstate. We drive south through Utah and were soon crossing the northern corner of Arizona, including the Virgin River valley, our last brief sight of the river.
The road then climbs up to a plateau and enters Nevada. There are miles of nothing but desert, with a mountain range paralleling the road at a distance. Eventually, could see Las Vegas in the smog…we turned west and away from the city. We stopped briefly at a petrol station in a mall area on the outskirts of the metropolitan area. It was packed and busy and a full culture shock. We drove away as quickly as possible.
Soon enough, we were back to the desert. The lower elevation and warmer temperatures resulted in Joshua trees growing. We had the MP3 player on and listening to the Eagles, Hotel California as we drove towards the Nevada/ California border seemed hugely appropriate.
Then we were descending into Death Valley, the salt flat visible in the distance.
We still had several hours of daylight so, after calling in briefly at the visitor centre, we went to the Harmony Borax works, followed by Salt Creek, location of the famous pupfish. We didn’t see any fish, but did see dragonfly (no photo), birds, lots of lizards (most of whom seemed to find it fun to run across the boardwalk right in front of you to see if they could either make you jump or ruin your stride) and a butterfly.
From there we continued north, to the Devil’s Cornfield and the sand dunes for a sunset stroll, not that you can ‘stroll’ in the sand, more ‘wade’ in the dunes.
We left as the sun set and returned to Furnace Creek to check in. We quickly unloaded the car and went for dinner. Andrew ordered chicken, which unfortunately arrived partly cold. The waitress was excellent though and immediately agreed to replace it with a burger, as Andrew no longer fancied the chicken.
Back in our room we discovered the door to the balcony wouldn’t open. A call to the front desk resulted in a speedy visit by maintenance. It will be properly fixed tomorrow while we are out, but is good enough to enable us to sit out in the morning.
There may have been problems but they fixed them speedily and that is to their credit. Oh, and before coming I had emailed to say how much we liked the room last year…and they have given us either the same one, or the one next door! So we are, generally speaking, quite happy. Looking forward to an extra hour in bed though as the clocks here go back tonight!
(Editor’s note: I have no idea if the photos will work properly due to wifi speed, but hopefully…)