Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 2 continues

So before we entered "Death Valley National Park" we visited the Ghost town of Rhyolite. The town began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding hills. During an ensuing gold rush, thousands of gold seekers, developers, miners, and service providers flocked to the Bullfrog Mining District. Many settled in Rhyolite, which lay in a sheltered desert basin near the region's biggest producer, the Montgomery Shoshone Mine. After 1920, Rhyoliite and it's ruins became a tourist attraction and a setting for motion pictures. Most of it's building crumbled, were salvaged for building materials, or were moved to nearby Beatty or other towns, although the railway depot and a house made of empty bottles were repaired and preserved. 

Bottle house by Tom Kelly

The ghosts of Rhyolite

After our short stop in Rhyolite we finally entered "Death Valley National Park". We only have one word for it, well maybe two......WOW and HOT! Death Valley was always something that interested me and something I always wanted to see, so there is was and it was just beautiful. We drove for hours through ever changing scenery, and we were just in awe of its beauty. Even though the vegetation was bare and pretty much the same all along the route, the ever changing mountain ranges were just amazing and ever so often you would see sand dunes along the road.
At this point we got out of the car to feel what 113 F feels like.....HOT! The car windows were so hot that you could barely touch them....but we were happy!

sand dune

There was a 20 mile long strip where you were asked to shut your air conditioning of so your car wouldn't over heat...another of our "we are going to die" moments lol. We had one of those pretty much every day. 
Just before we came out of Death Valley we stopped for dinner at the Panamint Spring Resort, which was a quint little place with an incredible view.
After a little bit under an hour we finally arrived in Olancha. Well there isn't much to Olancha, a Mobil gas station, Adrianne's Mexican Restaurant and pretty much that sums it up. We stopped at the restaurant where we asked for directions to the Wild burro Refuge. By the time we got the directions it had turned dark which made it even more difficult to navigate in the unknown territory. We eventually found the road after a few wrong turns a search party was sent out for us in the form of a young man on an ATV. We followed the red light that bounced up and down in front of us like a bouncy ball all the way to the gate....we had finally arrived. After another long slow drive  up the lane way we finally made it to our final destination....the home of Diana Chontos. I don't remember too much from that evening/night except that the dark was filled with braying donkeys and the most incredible stars in the sky that I have ever seen. Another WOW moment. We turned in early as it was an early rise next morning.


S. J. Qualls said...

Yes - HOT!

Really like the bottle house, could you go inside? That would make a neat window too, eh?

Thank you for all the beautiful views, love it!

When I die, I cannot make up my mind if I want to come back as a rock in the desert or the beach...

Gee, rescued by a young man. Hmmm.

Tina said...

Lol it gets better Sharon, wait til you see a picture of our cute co volunteer lol.