Sunday, March 29, 2009

Death Valley Rumble

The uncompromising name of Death Valley gives little sign that this area is, first and foremost a place of contrasts. One of the world's hottest sections of desert is situated only a few miles from forested and often snow-covered mountain peaks. What may appear to some observers to be a barren, monotonous wasteland reveals itself to the inquiring eye to be a landscape full of remarkably diverse forms and colors. The terrain, which looks too harsh for life, is in fact the natural habitat of a wide variety of well-adapted plants and animals. And man, who seems very out of place in this demanding wilderness, has in reality inhabited the valley continuously for several thousand years.

When I left Lake Havasu City, my travels took me through the Mohave National Preserve. I had never been in that area of California before so the area around Kellso was new to me. During my first night in Death Valley, around 3:00 am, I kept hearing a faint beep... beep... beep... and thought it was a truck backing up. I wondered who in the world was backing up a truck in a campground at that time of the night? I got up to check where the beeps were coming from and found that my refrigerator was the source. I looked at the control panel and saw "NO FL" flashing at me. I knew I had a full tank of propane, so it could not be that I was out of fuel. I reset the LP setting and everything was OK and I went back to bed and fell to sleep for a couple of hours. Then beep... beep... beep... was heard again. I got up and checked the refrigerator and sure enough, the same error message was flashing at me. Again I reset the LP setting and all was well. I thought. At 7:00 again beep... beep... beep. I turned off the refrigerator and got dressed. While doing that I thought of what could be causing the problem. I remembered that the previous day I had driven over several cattle guards and each time the coach vibrated violently. I figured that maybe some rust from the inside the burner flue had fallen onto the burner and was deflecting the flame from the flame sensor. I went outside and opened the access door to the refrigerator and looked at the burner and sure enough there were tiny pieces of junk in the burner under the sensor. I got an old tooth brush and cleaned the burner and went inside and started the burner again and there were no more problems with that from then on. Always something to keep a guy on his toes. Then it was picture taking time, so I walked over to the Furnace Creek Ranch and took several pictures. The first of which was of Old Dina (above).

The next morning about 6:00 am I was at Zabriskie Point to watch the sunrise. What wonderful lighting from the sun accrues at sunrise. Below are just a few of the pictures:

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