We left Vegas after having a great few days there (and an amazing wedding) but we were ready to get back on the road again!
We arrived at dollar car rental and the guy behind the desk could not hide his amusement to the fact that Mr. Sealey (Emma's dad) sounded like Mr. Silly. We and he soon lost humour when they tried to rip us of for the car rental though!
While we were waiting in he queue we saw the news on TV and it said someone had been shot at a university campus. They then showed the states that allow guns on campus. We were pretty shocked by the map which showed about half the states actually allow their students to carry a gun on campus. Crazy!
We eventually hit the road with a Jeep this time. Sounds good but it was no where near as good as the KIA Sorento we had previously! I don't want to keep biggin' up the KIA but it was really good!
We stopped to get a cup of tea for the road from MacDonalds (they do bloody god teas) and get some cash. Now ATM's and drive throughs is not something I would necessarily associate together but that's just what they've done here. We thought we'd do it for the novelty but Kris didn't park close enough to the ATM so had to get out anyway!
Our first destination was Death Valley which was about a 2 hour drive away. Don't worry we were completely safe, it's called Death Valley because the temperature is often over 100 and this became a deadly place for migrating Americans to travel through. We were fine in our airconditioned 4x4! We had been told by a women in the tourist information not to bother going as this area was just desert and very samie. She couldn't have been more wrong. The rock formations, salt flats and sand dunes were incredible! If I hadn't seen it myself I would have thought it was clever editing or a camera trick on TV. Our problem was deciding which areas of the park to visit as there was so much to see and we had so little time!
We decided our first stop would be Dantes Peak which overlooked the salt flats. We then headed down past Zabriskie Point which had incredible multicoloured rippling rock formations caused through the stress and strain of earthquakes and eruptions thousands of years ago.
The next stop was bottom of the valley at a place called Devils golf course which was a pot holled landscape formed by crystallised salt that went on for miles. We then stopped at Badwater which was the salt flat we had seen from Dantes Peak. It's situated at 282ft BELOW sea level which was rather strange! Those with a keen eye can spot the sign in one of the photos.
We then carried on to find the completely different landscape of miles of sand dunes. The sun was just starting to set so the whole area looked very impressive!
However, one problem with the sun starting to set, was that we were still in a national park running low on petrol without anywhere to stay. We drove to the nearest 'big' town called Trina and stopped at the first petrol station we saw. Unfortunately we were greated with a 'no gas' sign on the pump. Emma went into check and was told by the cashier (in a very strong American country accent) 'theres no gas in Trina honey, you gotta go 22 miles to the next town'! We made it luckily to the petrol station, but the town of Ridgecrest wasn't exactly picturesque. We stayed at a dingy motel with the usual provision of a fridge, microwave and musty smell. The Indian guy running the place couldn't understand a word we said and kept offering us different rooms so we sped off to Denny's for another huge and tasty meal.
We were up and out fairly sharpish as we wanted to get to Yosemite National park before it got too dark. En route we had time to stop at Sequoia National Park. We didn't know if the road was open going to the park as the tourist information centres in other areas didn't know. We risked it and were fine as it hadn't snowed in a while! The biggest draw are the sequoia trees which are the largest trees in the world. One tree in the forest here is the largest tree in the world! Its not the tallest or the widest, but its the largest volume wise. Its called the General Sherman tree and it was unreal. It was so wide and tall (see photo). Driving and walking through the giant sequoia trees was like something out of a fantasy film, especially as the mist was setting in as we were at 6800ft with the snow 1 metre deep in places. It was getting dark as we left and we got some fantastic pictures just below the cloud at sunset.
We got to our accommodation in Yosemite pretty late so went for fast food. We found a Taco Bell which does Mexican and was pretty good, surprised they're not in UK!
Altogether we travelled 1042 miles from Vegas and we forgot to mention from LA to Vegas (older blog) we travelled 1000 miles.