Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Death Valley Days

We are at the Furnace Creek Campground, behind the visitor center and next to the golf course (map).

We've actually been here since Thursday, and, in fact, will be leaving tomorrow morning. But we've been wrapped up in other things, and I just have not gotten around to blogging.

After we left Shoshone, we headed up 127 to Death Valley Junction, where 190 took us west into the park. Along the way, we spotted the power company repairing the high-voltage line entering the park -- the wooden pole they were working on was snapped in half by the storm. Sure enough, upon our arrival at the check-in kiosk for the campground, the ranger told us that the power had been out since 3pm Wednesday. It was finally restored around 4:30 or so, making it a tad over a full day.

While the campground was without power (not that you could tell -- there are no hookups anywhere in Furnace Creek), the resort was still humming along on backup generators. When we wandered over to the steakhouse for dinner, you could tell they hadn't missed a beat.

Friday morning was given over to R&R, with a handful of bus projects thrown in, including verifying that our solar panels are still helping out (they are, kicking a full seven amps into the mix around mid-day, and that's flat panels in the winter, no less). Our friends started showing up around four-ish, and we hung out with then at the cabins until all were in quarters, then headed over to the cafe for dinner. The cafe, unfortunately, proved incapable of seating sixteen of us in even close proximity, let alone at the same table, so we ended up at the steakhouse for a second night in a row.

Saturday was campsite cookout day, and we spent most of the day getting the coach, the site, and the food ready, whilst the gang mostly rode out to Ballarat. Most of them were pretty beat when they all showed up at the appointed 6pm, nevertheless grillmaster extraordinaire Dale still managed to cook up some great flank steak over the coals we started ahead of time. Several people brought vegetarian options for the half dozen veggie-heads in the group, and dinner appeared to be enjoyed by all. We had so many leftovers that Monday was designated a follow-on cookout to eat them all. We had a good campfire going and most folks hung out until nearly 11 sipping port and slurping down Bananas Foster. We were up an hour beyond that cleaning up.

Sunday morning was spent recovering and with the rest of the cleanup, after which we wandered over to the cabins to hook up with several friends who decided to take it easy for the day. A bunch of us ended up at the Ranch pool for an hour or so, and it was a perfect day for it, with temperatures in the high 70's complementing the pool's 85 degree thermal spring temperature. Then it was off to an early dinner at the Furnace Creek Inn, which, like the cookout, has become an annual tradition with our group. The only time they could accommodate 16 of us (at two adjacent tables) was 5:30, but dinner was lovely as always.

(Photo by Linda Cicero)

I spent most of Monday working on a PowerPoint presentation for our Red Cross technology training, something we've been involved with off and on since just after we started volunteering. It was due tonight (Tuesday), which is why I'm up at the wee hours typing the blog -- I spent several hours after another steakhouse dinner this evening wrapping it up.

The remainder of the gang left this morning (some left yesterday), and we joined them for breakfast before saying our goodbyes. We had booked massages up at the Inn for this afternoon, which gave us an excuse to be in their fancy pool as well, although today was not nearly as warm as it had been, with the high just under 65.

Our friends are gone, our camp site is already booked by someone starting tomorrow (this is the very busy season here), and we are out of water, so tomorrow morning seems like a good time to leave. Besides, I need to be on a conference call about my presentation Thursday morning, and there is no cell service here, which would put me at a payphone someplace for two hours balancing my laptop on my knee. We'll probably spend the night somewhere near Baker, so we are in cell range.

I'm a bit sorry to be leaving the park -- it is one of our favorite places and it is so lovely and peaceful here. We'll try to make up for it by drifting through the desert the next few days.

1 comment:

  1. i am so sorry I missed the bananas Forster, but Tarzan was at meltdown.... was great to see ya'll.....


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