06/13/2013

USA - Yosemite - Death Valley

So The next day, there was no alarmclock from another room that was waking me up from 6 o'clock in the morning. Even Mister E managed to sleep a bit longer. And after breakfast we packed the car and drove off to Death Valley. A long road. A very long trip. But as I said traffic on US-highways is really relaxing. And beautiful weather and again marvelous landscapes. And ok, watch the fuel! And yes there it happens. We're driving for hours in dusty desert planes with no town or gasstations for miles. And suddenly when you think you will get to the next city, the range of miles drops like a rock in the sky. So you drive for minutes with zero miles on your computer till you find a very little gasstation at the side of the road. You also want something to eat because it's way in the afternoon it's hot and you're tired and thirsty. Luckily the lady of the house tells us we can drive the next road off and follow the road for 14 miles to California City where we have plent of choices in gas and food. And so we do.... so the civilization in the desert lies far beneath the dusty roadtracks.
Lots of sand covers the road as do warning signs and yes police speedcontrols like in the movies hidden beyong a littel bush...really...
We entered the city...and had some Subway. We really did get addcited to subway during our roadtrip. And actually i kinda liked it and always took the BMT. Lot's of charcuterie like we call it in Belgium and i love the jalapeños and pickles.

Sand DunesSand Dunes


At the local gas station you see those idiot warnings like "no shirt, no service" and other really offending warnings that makes you watch your moves and behaviour. Anyway the kind of people you see in these kind of town is what you can expect: what kind of business or employment is there here in the middle of the desert?
So now we had our tummy filled the diapers refreshed and hydrated ourselves and our car, we could go on through Death valley. And there it lied, breathtaking surroundings. Panamint Springs Resort.
A camping along the road full of tough bikers and campers, a cottage, the only cottage we had reserved for us and some other buildings with rooms. We had to register ourselves at the gasstation next to the restaurant and bar. The lady at the gasstation is kind of robotic in her answering and doings...i couldn't help laughing. Really really weird lady. Anyway we got the keys of the cottage and installed ourselves and just enjoyed the tranquillity of the vast surroundings. The mountains at the horizon where the moon rose that evening. Amazing. The restaurant serves quite nice food, not that much choice and if you want alcohol you have to buy it at the gasstation which opens till late at night luckily.
Breakfast is all you can eat for 10 dollars and coffee is not that bad!

BadwaterNatural Bridge


From Panamint Springs you just drive 45 minutes to Stovepipe Wells and the Mezquite Sand Dunes: amazing again and early morning it's still not that hot in the sand. From Stovepipe Wells you drive further to Furnace Creek: the most recent village and resort. We moved further on the Bad Water: the lowest point of the park beneath sea level: salt lakes But when you have seen Uyuni Desert in Bolivia: this is nothing. Actually whole of Death Valley reminds me of the Bolivian Andes but less pretty. Anyway the desolated vast landscapes still are mindblowing and makes one wonder about existential things. But maybe that's just me. I love this kind of nothingness. You can learn a lot about the history, geology and things like that. So there we went back to Zabriskie Point: the most amazing look out I've ever seen. Such colourfull rocks, mountains, i never could have imagined that.
Really die hard people can go hiking in Death Valley and even to the famous Peak you see from everywhere around 12.000 ft high.
I'd do it on other occasions!

Zabriskey PointZabrisky Point
Zabriskey PointZabrisky Point
When we returned after lunch in Furnace Creek and after I send some postcards to the home front, of which the most important one arrived, the one to my grandmother arrived at the wrong adress and the one to my godchild never came through as I was mistaken in the road...again, now that i had the housenumber right..., we stopped by a old mine. This was where the 20-mule -team was going back in the dark days. Borax transported by a 20-mule-train over hundreds of miles.
Chinese workers sleeping on the spot. Tough life conditions...

Death ValleyDeath Valley
Panamint Springs Sunset


After we returned I went also to visit the Mosaic Canyon but it was not that spectacular.

08:01 Posted by Jeronimo in travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: usa, yosemite, death valley, bolivia, desert, bad water, zabriskie point | |  Facebook | | | Pin it! | |  del.icio.us | Digg! Digg

06/11/2013

USA - San Francisco - Yosemite

El Capitan
El Capitan, one of the famous peaks you can see along the road to Ysemite village


At our last day in San Francisco it was time to pack the luggage and leave for Yosemite National Park. On that sunny morning. Me and P left with the cable car to the Alamo Rental Car center. Just as we arrived we claimed our SUV which was not that easy as they were short on SUV and tried to give us anothe car a huge Chrysler 300 but alas the trunk isn't that big. The people that entered the room jsut after us also claimed a SUV so we were lucky to have the first chance. It was a Huyndai Tuscon, which hasn't got that big trunk either but no had to take it and we got it without any further trouble. So getting used to the automatic transmission and finding the warehouse to buy a babyseat. I went for a starbucks while my friend was searching his parking ticket which he lost and had to go to a lot of administration and 24 dollars to have his car out of the parking lot. So there we went, after a short puzzle we managed to get all the luggage and the baby in tha car and of we went to Yosemite. Ok we missed one of the highwayroads but then we were on the road to nature. And what kid of nature. Amazing landscapes just out of the city.
After a few hours we arrived in Oakhurst where we stayed in Best Western Plus Yosemite Gateway Inn shared accomodation as my bedroom was apart from the other, wi-fi not that good except in in the restaurant, TV full of white noise except in the bedroom of my friends. And of course Mister E made his terriotory all over the place ;-) They got a nice restaurant there where i ate a burger. Alas for me. the little guy had a little illness and the next day i really was sick....
but after breakfast we went to Yosemite, we already had paid for our annual park admission fee. The road were full of curves and yes it's not easy when you're sick...
In the park we stayed in teh valley and after a while we found out how the shultte worked. Everythign in the valley you just can do on foot. The waterfalls, you see El Capitan on the way to it, lots of other mountains and you can go for a hike, even small ones but anyway quite steep when your not that fit. So we still enjoyed the trip but it was a long first day in nature.
And all of the parks have visitor centers where they help you out with almost evrything you may want to ask. A pity if you're queueing and some tourists are asking irrelevant questions bout the weather elswhere and the road to undefined other destinations. We hadn't got time to visit the Sequoia's due to tiredness and of course Mister E needed food and to sleep.
That night luckily i got better and the next morning i even could eat some breakfast, except no pancakes for me.

08:26 Posted by Jeronimo in travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: usa, west coast, san francisco, yosemite, best western, alamo rental, el capitan | |  Facebook | | | Pin it! | |  del.icio.us | Digg! Digg