Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Greetings From What May Well Be The World's Largest RV Park

When you google “largest RV park” most of the results go to “best RV park.” Size apparently does not matter as RV parks go. But we are staying in what may well be the world's largest RV park, and I want confirmation. Still, the only thing I can find is an amateurish YouTube drive around the RV area outside the Talladega race track. This is not a permanent facility, I'll warrant, although I do wish to record that I am a huge Ricky Bobby fan. 

No, I think Don Laughlin's Riverside Hotel, Casino, and RV Park, with its 900 spaces (older literature says 740), is the largest. Certainly the largest we have seen on several continents, although I admit we generally avoid such places. Anyhow, check out Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort at http://www.riversideresort.com/. And let me know if you find a larger RV park.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! We'll be dining over at the Riverside Thanksgiving Buffet. A prayer of thanksgiving from Ricky Bobby seems particularly appropriate:

Dear Lord Baby Jesus, or as our brothers to the south call you, Jesús, we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Domino’s, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell. I just want to take time to say thank you for my family, my two beautiful, beautiful, handsome, striking sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, or T.R. as we call him, and of course, my red-hot smoking wife, Carly who is a stone-cold fox.”
So large it can be seen by extraterrestrial aliens from outer space













The 900 spaces do not include RVs parked overnight in the
hotel lot...thanks to this helpful legal interpretation

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Death Valley Out-Takes

Extreme western scene out our window one morning
















One day, to get our steps, we walked over to the ("historic")
Furnace Creek Inn

















We got our steps
















And passed by this historical marker
concerning the Death Valley 49ers, who had
a rough time crossing the Valley; they killed
their oxen and burned their wagons, having
resolved to make jerky and walk out (over the
Sierra Nevada mountains and Mojave Desert);
today's San Francisco 49ers are still in Death
Valley


























Moon over the mountains
















Best moon shot ever, so far, by me
















Among the out-takes were ourselves, heading east from the
Valley, we drove up to a place called Dante's View (get it?),
which does provide an impressive look at the waste and
desolation below; more than impressive, it sort of redeemed
our visit to Death Valley


















Badwater Basin from the heights















Closer up, including the line out which we walked a few days
before

















Small crater in the Badwater area
















Looking south, bad storms brewing
















Us, there, already gale force












Driving ever on into the waste and desolation, approaching a
sand storm
















Finally reaching our destination, Don Laughlin's Riverside
Casino, Hotel, and RV Park, the Caras Galadhon, the heart of
RVdom on earth...we have a coupon...900 campsites...Vicki
says we may have to stay more than a week...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Death Valley Days, 5

Our excellent Sunday continued with a drive up into the Stovepipe Wells part of the Valley and then a short hike in Mosaic Canyon.
Near the fair community of Stovepipe Wells, some small dunes
















In Mosaic Canyon, you can see the stratum whereby it gets its
name

















Beneath the mosaic layer is another, almost marble-like layer,
very smooth--a light, light, brown, of course

















A narrow but not deep canyon
















More marble, and a big step
















Interesting layers
















Looking back to the valley on our return
















"Nevermore!"
















Postscript: most nights here we stayed at the Sunset NPS
campground, just across the highway from Furnace Creek and
it manifold amenities; it is gigantic but minimalist, that is,
a place for hundreds of rigs to park, with toilet blocks but not
much else; $6/night for us Elders; the ranger said come winter
all of DVNP's campgrounds will be full (some require
reservations, some don't), including the huge over-flow lots





















Postscript continued: one night we stayed at the much nicer
Texas Springs campground, just up the hill from Sunset; far
more scenic, with such amenities as fire rings and picnic
tables; $7/night; many tents-only sites and no-generator zones,
which is fine with us; anyhow, the point of all this is the
observation that, if El Nino plays out at worst (for us) and
there is insufficient snow in the Inland Northwest, then we'll
be looking for a warm place in the sun in February and March,
and a return to DVNP just might be in the cards...

Death Valley Days, 4

Sunday was certainly our best day in Death Valley: we toured the Borax Museum in Furnace Creek. Under the roof it is small and compact, but the yard contains a great variety of implements related to mining, particularly borax mining in the Valley. The woman who staffs the museum was quite knowledgeable and could name nearly all hosts of the famed radio/TV show Death Valley Days. I was impressed.
Thus
















You have to be of a certain age...




















Actually, there were never more than 18 mules since the last
pair, closest to the wagon, had to be horses; see below

















Thus
















Wagon routes in the Valley




















The last round-up
















Many mineral displays
















Death Valley Days ran on radio or TV pretty
much continuously from 1930 to the early
1970s, certainly the longest-running western
of any sort; looking at the long list of episodes
and actors/actresses, one can see virtually a
who's who of people looking for work in
Hollywood in the 50s and 60s; Reagan both
hosted and starred in many episodes; his last
acting gig, unless, of course, you count his
terms as California governor and US president...




























Thus












Anyhow, out in the yard, some impressive stuff
















Impressive to the impressionable, that is











































































20 mule team feed wagon
















BIG wheels















"Dinah, won't you blow, Dinah, won't you blow..."

Death Valley Days, 3

Our second day in the Park was really big, taking in the Devil's Golf Course, Badwater Basin, and then, below, the Artist Drive and the Gold Canyon hike, below.
Note the many shades of brown
















Thus; really burnt sienna
















A few colors that are not brown
















Ditto
















Now on the Gold Canyon hike; it was once paved...probably
before the place became a National Monument/Park

















Lots of erosion going on here
















Thus
















Side canyon
















More shades of brown
















Matterhornish peak near the end of our hike
















On the whole, it was a very dull hike, although the rock 
was more interesting than the crumbly conglomerate of the 
previous day