Wednesday, September 19th we headed out of Yosemite after taking a look at all the big sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove.
We started driving towards our next destination, King’s Canyon, but didn’t make it quite that far after resupply and all that. Instead we found a kind of decent KOA (not as nice as many we’ve stayed at) and did our laundry and clean up, and posted the overdue blogs. We headed out early on Thursday, but once on the highway Dave had trouble getting any speed and felt like there was something wrong with Ginger. We immediately turned around and headed back to town to find a service station and have her looked at. Our master brake cylinder was broken, which was allowing the brakes to drag. Getting this fixed took the rest of the day and we didn’t get back on the road until 5pm. We forged ahead and made it to King’s Canyon/National Sequoia park by 8pm and found a campsite.
Friday we made our way through all the sequoia forests and saw the largest tree in the world (by volume). His name is General Sherman and he’s huge!
Once we were all tree-d out we left the park and headed east towards the next park on our list, Death Valley. We didn’t make it too far before we hunkered down in a Walmart for a few hours of sleep. Early the next morning we tried to get on the road and beat the heat. It was already sweltering and the expected high in Death Valley was 44C (111F)! We topped up our radiator and our water tanks and headed for the hills. Ginger is not a fan of the offensive heat and we had to stop every few minutes while we were going up steep hills because she was overheating. A 2 hour drive took us well over 6 hours.
We got to the mini town in the park called Stovepipe Wells, the official hottest and driest place in North America. And we both agree with that statement! We got a campsite in the middle of the desert with no shade or protection. The saving grace was the motel pool that campers were allowed to use. It was heavenly and we spent pretty much our whole time hanging out beside it. Needless to say we didn’t sleep so well in our little van despite using our new fan. Oh and the smell of the open sewage tanks wafting across the desert also didn’t help the sleeping situation!
We hightailed it out of Death Valley after seeing the lowest place in North America. Dave was certain the lowest place in America would be a Walmart, but apparently not. It’s a basin and salt flat that is -282ft below sea level, and is caused by the tectonic plates below pulling apart here.
Again, we crawled up and over a pass, stopping every 10 minutes or so to cool off Ginger and fill up her radiator with water.
We found our way to the Valley of Fire State Park, just about an hour North-East of Las Vegas. Yes, we’re finally out of California and into our next state, Nevada! It had been recommended to us and certainly didn’t disappoint. There are huge rock formations and it kind of reminds us of parts of Cappadocia in Turkey.
Very cool and you get to camp right in the middle of it all.
And the best part is the temperature! Compared to Death Valley, it’s so much cooler and only reached a high of 35C (94F) and was a much more reasonable 23C for sleeping at night. On Monday we explored the park a bit by bike but took the afternoon off to get out of the sun and relax.
Tuesday was an early morning to get on the road to Zion National Park in Utah. We did stop and check out a few more of the parks attractions on the way out though.