Thursday, 4 July 2013

Furnace Creek, Death Valley

We ended up taking the 395 from Lake Tahoe to Vegas.  This should be on everyone’s bucket list if you like to drive.  We started in mountains, and ended in the desert.  It was worth the 10-hour drive.

When we started off in the morning, we did discuss whether or not to go through Death Valley because of the extreme heat warning.  Tim being Tim – we are going! This is a once in a lifetime experience.  I gingerly agreed, and followed. 

The views were to die for, and the road kept you totally engaged with the twists and turns.  About two hours into the drive we came to a summit of one of many passes, and as you reached the top, looking down was a huge lake nestled in was looked like a volcano plume. We had no idea that it was coming, and wished we took a picture, but it becomes problematic when you are traveling at 80mph, and fly but the only scenic look out point.

The heat started to crank up a bit by Bishop, California so it was now top up for the rest of the day.

Well…… was time; the Death Valley sign was right in front of us, and no turning back now.  It was a cool 37 degrees C, so I thought we would be okay. 

The road itself is like riding on a rollercoaster.  No sure how someone in the passenger seat would survive.  It was so fun, and the temp was now 43 degrees C.  As we head through the desert in is like you are on the moon.  There are quite a few big hills. You go from below sea level to 5000ft above sea level.  At the highest point, there is a pull out you can look down the whole valley.  It was like a mini Grand Canyon, but the coolest thing was as we were standing in the 45-degree heat, an American Fighter Jet did a fly by in the canyon.  It was the best thing ever to see that.  He did a little flip, and everything.  Total Top Gun.

Now… the pit of despair –Furnace Creek.  Hottest place EVER!!!  I truly did not believe that it could get that much hotter, but is so did!  52.5 degrees c.  We got out, and it was like a blow dryer on hot blowing on you.  I really loved the signs to they had posted as you went back up in altitude.  Turn off air conditioning for the next 10 miles to prevent over heating.  Ah nope, that is not gunna happen!!!  I was actually panicking because this is the first time in this trip that my engine temperature gauge moved.  If it to over heat, I am in the middle of nowhere, not a busy road at all.  (could be that the smart people did not go through Death Valley)  I was going to melt in the middle of the desert.  We did make it through, but the cars were definitely cranky.  I was never so happy to see 47 degrees C in my life; which was the temp all the way to Vegas from there.

Once we arrived in Vegas, we were greeted with a frosty cold beer, and Tim and I discussed that was probably a bad move going through Death Valley, and our friends agreed.  We can say that we have done it, and don’t have to do it again in the summer
Now please enjoy this brief interlude, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!!!!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Oregon. Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, California

What a drive from Baker City to Lake Tahoe.  It was so boring; we thought we were going to poke our eyes out.  Here are the “highlights”
  1. It does get too hot for the top down.  We have decided that 33 is the max
  2. Wondering if your car is going to melt at 42 C.
  3. You should never hear the same song twice in one day on satellite radio!
  4. Was never so happy to see a little shack on the Indian Reserve in Nevada, in the middle of nowhere that served hot dogs! 
  5. If you have ever driven to Regina, Saskatchewan….that had more to see than this leg of the trip.
  6. Was sooooo happy to see our hotel in Lake Tahoe 11 hours after we started.

Lake Tahoe

We took a break today and stayed in Lake Tahoe, on the California side.  This place is amazing.  Our hotel was close to a little town called Truckee.  This was the coolest little town.  It has the Banff vibe, but it is a functioning Heritage Park.

All the building are historic, and have been restored.  Right down to the old school gas pumps, though they didn’t work, added charm to the whole thing.  The restaurants were quaint, and the food was nothing short of spectacular.  One thing we are doing from now on is sharing a single serving of whatever.  We keep forgetting how big the USA portions are.

Of course what would a trip to Lake Tahoe be, without going to the lake?  It is the clearest lake we have ever seen.  You can see the bottom, and the fish swimming in it.  Kinda sucks for them!  There is so much to do there.  Hike, boat, bike, paddleboard.  It would worth staying at least a week here, just to do everything.

Now is the time to start the final leg to Las Vegas.  We have asked around, and the consensus is the 395 the whole way.  It would appear to be like our first day of driving, which was great.  This will take us through Furnace Valley, of which the forecast high is 127 F by the tine we reach it today.  This will be officially the hottest place I have been.  Might be a little frightened to get out of my car.  Vegas or bust baby!