Indeed, coffee was required this morning. Did feel like death warmed up so it was appropriate that we were heading for Death Valley today. After a healthy debate about where to stop for breakfast it was agreed that I was right all along and McD’s was the easiest and best place to stop before heading out of Vegas into the wilderness 🙂 I knew there had been a heavy storm in the Mojave Desert a few days before we arrived in the US but I didn’t know that it was so bad that a major road on our route this morning was closed, we had to improvise. What was going to be one of our last stops of the day turned into our first stop, Zabriskie Point. The lovely public toilets were in evidence again. Had to mention them, made you want to vomit. Enough of that..after taking in as much as we could in such a short space of time we headed to the ‘centre’ of Death Valley, Furnace Creek where we picked up a paper map at the Visitor Centre. Turns out satnavs aren’t great for improvising with at all. Was a balmy 71 degrees farenheit today, very pleasant. I think the record is 134f in the height of summer, that’s 56.66c!!! After getting water and buying some momentos for the kids, obligatory t-shirts of course, our next stop takes us from 190 ft below sea level at Furnace Creek up to 5476 ft at Dante’s View, the cover photo shows you the vista we took in. Amazing sight. It might have been sunny and 71f down at sea level but it is was windy and up at that height, bloody cold. Some of you will recognise the view from the first Star Wars film. It was used as the establishing shot for Mos Eisley where Obi Wan tells Luke, “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” 🙂 Next stop was Bad Water Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 ft below sea level. We walked out as far as we could, across the salts to take in the view along the valley floor. Wow. Back into the car to take in the Artist’s Palette but that road was also closed because of the recent storm. Gutted, supposed to be amazingly colourful. So next stop was Natural Bridge Canyon where we took a short hike to see the ‘bridge’, the top of which was lit up by the setting sun and looked like a giant golden nugget. From there it was down to the Devil’s Golf Course. Hard to describe, not flat and level like Bad Water Basin but more like a tractor had ploughed the surface and then sprinkled salt on top. You would definitely find it a little difficult to have 18 holes there. Back to the Ranch at Furnace Creek now as the sun was coming down. We had done loads today but time had flown by, made us think we’d been slacking, but the detour had taken a chunk out of our time. After checking in to our accommodation we headed for the bar which also did some great food. Met a wonderful fella from England who comes out this way every year on holiday to paint for 7 or 8 weeks at a time. It might have been longer but the Bud really was going down well tonight and things got a little hazy. If it had been the height of summer I would have been in real trouble. Note to self, loss of bodily fluid from desert conditions should not be replenished with alcohol. After having my fill of pizza and beer I zig zagged back to our room on my tod. It was only 8:30pm but as soon as my head hit the pillow it was lights out.