We left REALLY early. Here's a shot after about 45 minutes on the road. Karen wanted to take a picture of the moon rising over the mountains. One of the main lessons I've picked up in trying to learn photography is Always Crib Other Photographer's Shots. They may see something you don't. So here is a crib of Karen's shot. I don't have the pictures from Martin or Karen yet, so these are all my shots in the post...
This next shot was just really California Desert for me. It was taken in California City, outside of Mojave. FYI, for the two of you who don't know, those are Joshua Trees in the foreground.
On our way to Death Valley we drove through Red Rock Canyon State Park (map) (wiki), which was too photogenic to not stop and snap some pictures of. This next two pictures are available as a desktop in a larger size, if anyone is interested.
Martin, in the park.
We also drove through the Coso Junction/Little Lake area, which had a bunch of lava rocks and a cinder cone. I'd give you a map, but the internet is being a little bitch about it. This picture is also available as a desktop, BTW.
I got several shots of wildflowers whenever we stopped. Some I could identify, some I couldn't. I'll be posting a Wildflowers picture post later with the identified ones, but for the moment, does anyone know what this spiky stuff is? It looks SO distinctive, but I can't find it in any of my guides or online. This was taken near the Coso Junction/Little Lake area in Inyo county, again.
There were also man-tall shrubbery by the side of the road that were nodding in the breeze with a beautiful mauve color all over them. I can't identify these either, obviously.
Our last proper bit of civilization, before we hit the area considered to be generally Death Valley (but not properly), was in Olancha. We had been seeing ads for "Fresh Jerky", in which the very term amused us, and decided to pop in. We were all pretty glad we did.
Here's the shop indoors. It was tiny, but carried a bunch of different types of honey, flavored jerky, flavored nuts and dried fruit.
Karen and Martin split some jerky, which they made last through the next few days, but my favorite is down below.
See that second one over? Garlic and Onion pistachios. I might well have bought some, but the ones in the samples were the only ones in the store at that time. They tasted AWESOME and if the idea of Garlic and Onion pistachios appeals to you, I recommend going to their website and buying some. Otherwise I don't really recommend it, because the website bites.
Do you remember the picture I posted from Death Valley back in this post? It turns out we weren't by Death Valley yet, but in the Panamint range, about the center of this map, at a place called Father Crowley point. Here's about the best picture I got of the area, although I'm always disappointed at my inability to capture the yawning depth of this sort of thing with a camera.
I also got a video of it, which I think does SLIGHTLY better...
We had lunch in Panamint Springs, which is about 3 buildings big, other than a bunch of campers.
If you're there in the future, though, the food is delicious.
Here's some machinery the desert killed, also in Panamint Springs.
We eventually got to Stovepipe Wells (motel)(map)(wiki) and unloaded our things into our motel rooms. Here's Karen in the courtyard/patio between our rooms.
After this, we pretty much did a little souvenir shopping at the motel, I "squee-ed" on the internet for y'all, and then we had dinner. The restaurant didn't photo well, as it was one of those rustic little steak places that have lots of sugar in their barbecue sauce, but here's an example of the place...
Later, before bed, we did some stargazing at the airstrip across the street, before heading to bed. I failed to be bitten by a scorpion, although later an owl flew low overhead at the motel so, fauna-wise, I did well.