Wednesday, September 8, 1999
We got up at seven and drove back towards Apple Valley on Highway 247, but turned right to Barstow. We stopped there for breakfast and went on to Death Valley National Park which we entered near Shoshone.
We arrived at noon, and it was much hotter than the day before. We had about 120°F (50°C), and whenever we left the car, I felt like somebody hit my head with a club because my body could not adjust to the heat properly.
Death Valley was more desert-like than Joshua Tree because it’s almost empty. There’s hardly a leaf of grass, leave alone bushes or trees.
We stopped at Badwater, the lowest point of the U.S., which is 282 ft (80 m) below sea level. Badwater is a little waterhole, but it’s salty and full of tiny insects. It looks good, though.
Yup, that’s me with the headscarf.
I only lasted about 10 minutes outside the car, then I had to get back in and turn the air-conditioning on.
From Badwater, we went to the Artist’s Pallette, a range of hills where the rocks are colored yellow, red, green, violet and almost every other color!
After that we went to the Visitor Center to watch the slideshow and then drove on to the sanddunes at Stovepipe Wells, but only an unpaved road leads there. Our car wasn’t insured to drive on gravel roads, so we had to turn back.
We left the park near Beatty, Nevada, and went to Las Vegas where we got a hotelroom for only $25 plus tax in the older part of the city. After a refreshing shower we decided to take a look at “The Strip”. We took the car and poor André had to drive our car along the four-lane street and look out for traffic lights among the millions of lights of the casinos and hotels.
I was just stunned. Being exhausted from the heat in Death Valley, I thought Las Vegas was a terrible place to be. The contrast between desert and civilization could not have been more distinct!
We had a late dinner and went to bed, saving the sights of Las Vegas for the next day.