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Death Valley Days

Updated: May 2

Travels with Heart, May 1, 2024, Vol: 13

I’d never been to Death Valley but I've always been curious about this place with a forbidding name and reputation.

I finally got my chance and though I wouldn’t want to live there or even visit in the summer, which lasts about 5-6 months and is often 130 degrees, it certainly has its own kind of stunning. The rock formations are beautiful and unpredictable- a sculpture's and a geologist’s dream!

Badwater Basin, at 282 ft below sea level, is the lowest point in the North America. Nothing flows out of the Basin, thus all the water, salt and other minerals flowing from the high mountains to the west have created a huge, salty crust that looks like a moonscape. We were lucky that the Badwater actually had some water in it. Death Valley had a good rainy season compared to their average, which is a mere 2” each year. We hiked in lovely but barren Golden Canyon; it’s where some of the early Star Wars movies were filmed. We were on Tatooine! We also hiked to Zabrinsky’s Point, with its incredible views of the mountain ranges in all directions. We spent time in Furnace Creek, the biggest “town” in Death Valley; with it's huge swimming pool and nice restaurants, it was a welcoming spot after so much sparse desert.

My favorite, though, was finding the many tenacious wildflowers that are blooming in Death Valley in April; many were growing where it seems nothing could, proving again that life is fragile yet so very strong. We camped in a van that was clean and had all the basics but was short and quite small. After a few days, it was clear we’d like a van that you can stand up in!

All in all, it was a truly memorable adventure.

Adventures Continued

It was 97 degrees in Death Valley and with our van being short and our bed stupidly narrow, we decided to head to Las Vegas and find a more comfortable abode. John and I have only been to Las Vegas for soccer tournaments, (with numerous kids in tow) so this was our first adults-only experience in this crazy town. We stayed on the strip and had ourselves a grand evening; I will leave it there.

The next day we headed to Phoenix to celebrate John’s sister, Barb Predmore, and her husband Bob’s 55th wedding anniversary.

Special Times

Barbara and Bob have a lively, very honest relationship and have been loyal to each other through great distances, health challenges and all that life has thrown at them. They have supported each other, allowing each other to pursue their individual dreams. It has always been clear they love one another deeply. This is a relationship that deserved to be celebrated and we did just that.

Speaking of Dreams

The celebration was held at Alcantara Vineyard, which was Barb’s dream that she founded with Bob and their son Brian’s help about 20 years ago. Few thought she would be successful starting a winery in Arizona, except Bob, who not only supported her, but continued to work overseas to make enough money to fund her dream. Barb worked her tail off and before long, had a fine winery and was a leader in Arizona’s growing wine industry.

Barb and Bob sold the winery a few years ago, so it was wonderful to see how Alcantara Vineyards has grown to become a beautiful and popular venue for weddings, river rafting on the Verde River, horseback riding, and of course, wine tasting.

A plus for me was getting to raft the Verde River, which borders the winery. It is a relatively calm river but the fun little rapids made it exciting and it was simply beautiful!

Sheets anyone?

As someone who’s changed my share of sheets and had many a struggle with the fitted ones, this tickled my funny bone.

Lively Times

Life’s been lively on the home front recently… Here are a few photos to enjoy.

Our Greatest Gift

We’re so lucky to live on this amazing planet. Happy spring to each of you! During April, we celebrated Earth Day; I hope you will join me in doing your best to take care of our amazing home not only in April, but all year long.

These are a few photos from here in Placer County. Enjoy!

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1 Comment

May 03

Love your travel stories

Stan and I spent a week in Death Valley quite the place!

Have a happy day


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