Spring Break Death Valley Trip – Day 5
June 4, 2012
Wow, is it really day 5 already? Time sure files when you’re out shootin’!
So, the alarm goes off at 4:45AM and it’s time to do my morning check. Regular readers of the blog know that I like to have some clouds in my skies most of the time, so I always check conditions before I drag Grant out of bed. (And I gotta say he’s been pretty good about getting up this time). However, the sky this morning was completely barren – not a cloud in sight anywhere – so we got a little extra (and much needed) rest. These 5:00 AM starts with late bedtimes wear on ya after a few days.
Of course, Grant popped out of bed a couple hours later, looked at the time, and yelled, “Dad! You missed sunrise!!!”
Since the sky was clear and most of the scouting for the trip was done, we decided to try out Titus Canyon. It’s a winding, one-way 4×4 road that takes you through a narrow canyon – at least that was the description.
Little did the brochure prepare us for that drive – it was absolutely fantastic! I can’t believe I haven’t done it before! The road was pretty easy for a 4×4 road (although I’m sure the condition varies) and the views were more than spectacular. Might be a good place to explore with a camera down the road.
Here’s just a snapshot of one of the dozens of views I took with my iPhone:
I could gush on and on about it, but the video takes you through the canyon much better than I can describe it – see below.
Next it was lunch (yup, my fav - Prickly Pear Chicken again), a quick fill-up, and a trip to the Racetrack.
The Racetrack is located in a very remote area of the park – it’s about an hour or so worth of paved road, followed by 27 miles of “knock your fillings out” washboard road. Here’s a dizzying shot I took earlier this year out there (click the photo for more info on it) :
Getting there is always fun though. I’ve been navigating dirt roads, gravel roads, and 4×4 roads since I started driving, so when I’m trying to get somewhere fast, well, I know how to make it happen
It was actually kind of funny. There’s a place that rents (mildly) modified Jeep Wranglers and I think they tell everyone to check out the racetrack. So, the renters kind of feel like they’re on a big adventure down a remote 4×4 road, picking their way along – you know, until some guy in a rented (and very much stock) Jeep Liberty flies by them, tail-sliding around the corners
Also, Grant kept asking how much longer it was going to take to get there. I told him it was about 6 miles from Tea Kettle Junction. He asked why it was called that, so I stopped to show him:
Upon arriving, I think Grant was expecting, well, more of a racetrack with cars and stuff. I had him stand in the Grandstand – a really strange rock formation right in the middle of the otherwise flat playa - and told him this was as close to Nascar as we were getting today.
(Just kidding – he knew what he was in for )
Initially, I was pretty excited about the location – we had some really sweet looking clouds hovering overhead and I knew it could be good if the sun didn’t get choked out at sunset.
Then I went out and examined the “moving rocks” (they actually move and no one knows why for 100% sure – they think it’s a combination of wet playa and high winds). Well, they didn’t look so good this time. The trails weren’t as clear as I’d seen in the past and worse, it looks like (despite the signage), that people went walking around out there when the playa was wet and left foot prints that might last for YEARS – not cool.
Still, I managed to find a rock with a track that was good and gave it a try.
…But the sun was snuffed out at sunset – no color at all. Just dull grey…
So, it was back to the hotel at the end of our last full day here – no photos.
Check out the day’s video to take a ride with us through Titus Canyon, see the Racetrack, and even have a solo from the “Crocodile Man” at the end
PS – As always, your comments are welcome
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