Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Listen to the silence.

We spent last night at the Mineral Hot Springs RV Park in Beatty, Nevada at about 3,300 feet elevation. Silly me, I just went looking for a website, but it isn't the sort of place that has a website. The park office is a run-down RV, and the sites are pretty basic -- electricity and water. The mineral baths themselves are enclosed in three buildings that are barely more than sheds. Residents are free to use the baths. You just go up to the office, pick up a key for the bath you want to use (#2 is the hottest, then #1, then #3) and go on up. Once you have the key, nobody else can get in, so you have your own private mineral bath. There isn't really room to swim around (each pool is about the size of a comfortable living room, floored with gravel), but you can paddle a bit, then just sit or float in peace until you're warm right through.

It turned out that there was wi-fi after all. I discovered that on the way to the bath house, so on the way back I stood and memorized (I thought) the 14-digit WEP key, then tried to get online when I got back to the RV. I found out this morning that I had reversed two of the digits, and that was why I couldn't get on. Note to self: Always carry a pen and notebook, even when you're going to take a bath, because you never know.

We amused ourselves by playing cards last night, then went for another bath this morning before we left. We decided that we really needed a break from all the driving, so instead of moving on, we just drove down into Death Valley, and we're spending the night here, at the Furnace Creek Ranch's RV park. At the rim of the valley, we were up over 4,300 feet. Then we drove downhill for thirteen miles. I think we're just about 190 feet below sea level right here at the campground.

As soon as we got into the valley, we drove to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, where we ate lunch and then went for a walk (trudge, climb, clamber) for half an hour out, fifteen minutes back. That was because we did it the hard way on the outward hike.

Climbing the dune pictured above at the right was a matter of taking a stride forward (up), then sliding about 2/3 of a stride backward (down) -- over and over and over again. We did make it to the top, though, and there we rested. There were a lot more people around today than on our last visit, so we watched other people running up the dunes (they were much younger) and taking each other's pictures. For the most part, though, people were quiet. The dunes do that. They have their own song, and when you're among them, you want to listen.

Once we settled in at the RV park, R went for a bike ride and I went for a walk. Now, at 7 p.m., the two of us are struggling to stay awake.  Two mineral baths and some unaccustomed exercise have taken their toll! We both want to do some stargazing tonight, but that may not be possible. There's a bit of (high cirrus) cloud cover that is getting in the way. We will keep checking, every few minutes, until either the clouds wander off or we fall asleep.

Tomorrow we'll be driving again, on our way to Las Vegas.


Rachel Fox said...


Linda said...

The pictures are beautiful. Haven't been to Death Valley, so this is a treat to see.
We played around in Coral Sands State Park in the dunes in Utah a couple years ago.
I loved seeing the desert vegetation, the dunes, the views and the silence.

One guy from Illinois said to us as we looked out over the dunes, "my bottom jaw has been dragging on the ground for over a week." We agreed. I found I love the desert.

Didn't love Vegas in any way shape or form, so enjoy the big city!

hugs from K and me to both of you

Sandra Leigh said...

Hi, Rachel. I can't remember - did you get to Death Valley on your cross-continent tour?

Linda, I share your attitude toward Las Vegas. We will be paying a brief visit to a friend there. Otherwise, we would just drive through as quickly as possible!

As for the desert, it never fails to fascinate me. I love it.

Dunkle said...

It looks beautiful. I wish I could be there to share it with you. I love you.

The Bug said...

I've never been to a desert before - I've always assumed that I wouldn't like it. Silly me! I should at least check one out before I make that pronouncement!

AngelMay said...

Those mineral baths sound wonderful. I tried to take a look at the furnace thingy RV park and couldn't find a word about RVs anywhere in their ad - just motel rooms. I guess my searching abilities are going - like everything else on me. Sounds like you are having a great time.

When you are in Texas be sure to get some spiced peaches. I wish I was there - I'd get a dozen jars! :)

Sandra Leigh said...

Good morning, Dunkle. I love you, too.

Bug, there's something about the desert that slows my heartbeat and makes me want to simply sit and watch and listen. I love that.

AM, I will definitely look for the spiced peaches. As for the link, yeah. It's not great. The park is huge, but a lot of it consists of cabins and such. I'm not sure how many rv sites there are -- plenty, though. $32 a night.

John Hayes said...

I never have made it to death Valley, tho I've always wanted to go! Sounds splendid.

Sandra Leigh said...

It is splendid, John. It's one of my favourite places -- at least in the winter.

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