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 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

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

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

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


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.

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


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 early1970s, 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...


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


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


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