Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Las Vegas and Death Valley: Death Valley Day 1

Today was getaway day so we were up and on the road to Death Valley by 10:00.  We had a pleasant surprise when we checked out this morning, all of our food was comped as well as our room so our trip didn't cost us anything ... unless of course you want to include the money we lost gambling.  ;-) 

Our plan was to head north out of Las Vegas on highway 160 towards Pahrump, and take the Old Spanish Trail Highway to Death Valley which looked like an interesting way to go.  Unfortunately we missed the turn-off and rather than go back we decided to go on to Pahrump and have lunch and then take a different route.  After an unexciting lunch at Denny's, we took Nevada Highway 372 (which turns into California 178) west towards the town of Shoshone and on into Death Valley National Park on Badwater Road.  It was an interesting drive, but if you've ever been to Death Valley you know it's a stark barren landscape which is part of the allure of the area.

We decided to splurge and stay at the Furnace Creek Inn this trip, and we would be meeting our friends Michael and Mikie who were coming in from Atascadero.  We reached the Inn around three and were soon in our room awaiting the arrival of Michael and Mikie.  

The main entrance to the inn.

The Furnace Creek area is an oasis in the middle of this barren land.  The Furnace Creek Inn is considered one of the great lodges of the national park system and you can see why.  It is a historic building, built in 1927, and is very elegant inside.  The grounds of the Inn are beautiful with waterfalls, ponds and palm trees all accessible by wandering paths and stairs.

The pool is fed by a spring which keeps the water a constant 85 degrees year-round.  There are no chemicals used in the pool as the water is constantly being replaced by the fresh spring waster.  There are two fireplaces at the pool and at night you can sit by the fireplaces when you're not in the water.

Just outside of our room, a doorway leads to a spacious deck overlooking the grounds and Death Valley beyond.  We would be spending a lot of time here during our stay.

Our room is circled in red, you can see the deck to the left.
It was a beautiful, balmy late afternoon so we decided to wait out on the deck for Michael and Mikie.
The deck outside our room.
The view of the grounds and Death Valley from the deck.
Val relaxing.
Michael and Mikie soon arrived and we all gathered to catch up and make plans for tomorrow.
Val, Michael and Mikie enjoying the beautiful evening.
We had dinner reservations for 7:00 and since the weather was so nice we decided to eat outside on the dining room patio.  I wouldn't call the dinner great, but it was very good and the service was excellent.  After lingering over dessert, Michael and Mikie decided to check out the pool and Val and I headed up to our room.  Tomorrow we are planning an off-road drive up into Echo Canyon and then show Michael and Mikie some of the sights of Death Valley as they have never been here before.

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