Day 1-2: Death Valley and Reno Vacation

I just came back from a long road trip with my family yesterday. The trip was five nights which include stops in Death Valley National Park, Reno in Nevada, South Salt Lake City, and Sequoia National Park. It was really long. I am not a fan of long road trips. I also fought tooth and nail with my husband about going to Death Valley National Park but the scenery shown here is well worth it and better than Joshua Tree National Park, which is another popular desert park in California. The temperature was crazy HOT around 118 degrees Fahrenheit when we arrived. At 6 a.m. when my son went for a jog it was 93 degrees. Luckily we only stayed for one night. We hit all the top points of interest either late in the afternoon or early morning around 8. Below are the places we visited with the limited time that we had.

Zabriskie Point

Our first stop was Zabriskie Point on the afternoon we arrived. This is such a beautiful place with the gently sloping white mountains. You have to walk a little bit to get to the top of the hill as you can see one of the pictures below shows our tiny cars below. We were dripping with sweat when we got back to our car.

The Ranch at Death Valley Accomodations

We stayed inside the park at The Ranch. Here is a great view outside of our room. The location is within a short 15-30 minutes drive to all the major attractions in the area such as the ones you will see below. It is very peaceful here. I had the best sleep I’ve ever had at any hotel. I don’t know if it was because the air conditioning unit was humming all night that helped it or the nice comfy bed.

We found a great tip on Yelp about skipping the buffet dinner at this hotel as it is very expensive and food is not all that great. We were told The Ranch has a great General Store that sells sandwiches, yogurts, fruits, and salads. That’s where we bought dinner and breakfast. Food was pretty good and price was just RIGHT!

Badwater Basin

The next morning we head out at 7:45 am to Badwater Basin. This area is 282 ft below sea level and is the lowest point in North America. The picture here showed salt flats which consisted mostly of sodium chloride (table salt), gypsum, calcite, and borax.

Artists Palette

The mountains are covered in colorful volcanic deposits of compounds such as iron oxides and chloride which created the beautiful colors of green, orange, yellow, blue, and pink. The drive up to here from the main road was very scenic and some parts were super skinny and roller coaster-ish. I wish I could’ve stopped to take a picture as I rolled through that area.

Golden Canyon

From the outside of this area it looks slightly interesting as you can see a path leading into the rocky corridor. One of my sons and I walked up a little further inside the corridor and found beautiful rocky walls within.

Yes, we did pay the unleaded price for gas below. Fortunately, we only had to fill up half a tank. This is the highest price we paid throughout the whole trip. Most fill-ups were around $6.59-$6.79 a gallon.

Mesquite Sand Dunes

This is such a nice, white sand dunes area. My husband and I were the only ones getting out for the pictures, my sons were already done with Death Valley.

Mono Lake

Outside near Yosemite National Park is this beautiful Mono Lake. I was so glad to have found it. I heard about it for years. We stopped at the Visitor Center for a bathroom break before we head on up to Reno, Nevada for the night.

That’s all for this morning’s update on my trip. I hope to be able to share the rest of the trip sometimes in the next few days. Have a great weekend!

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