Denise Goldberg's blog

Friday, December 03, 2010

A traveling day

Flying... the big airplane is carrying us across the country. The sun is shining, and when I peek out the window I can see bright blue skies with hazy white on the horizon and some scattered wisps of clouds under us. I really wish I could bounce on the wings - I think I could see more from there. But Denise told me it is really really cold outside, so I think I'll stay here and write instead.

We were talking to some people when we were waiting for our flight. They are heading to Death Valley too. It turns out that there is a marathon there tomorrow morning. Uh oh! I wonder if that means we won't be able to move the car. Hmm... I thought that Denise might be upset about a possibly constricted travel morning. She wasn't planning on a sunrise walk tomorrow morning (which would allow us to leave Furnace Creek before the start of the marathon). I can hear her thoughts though, and it sounds like she's already figured out tomorrow morning. There is a short loop through a canyon called Mustard Canyon. It's not too far from where we are staying (the little road guide that Denise picked up on our visit last year says the start is 1.7 miles from Furnace Creek). We usually stop there on the way to somewhere else so we usually travel there in a car. But I think we might walk there tomorrow morning. I guess I should have known that Denise wouldn't get upset by possible road closures.

We've been in the air for just under two hours so I think we're still on the eastern side of the country. It's funny, the flight out is scheduled for just over 6 hours, and the flight back is 4+ hours. I guess that's because of the very strong winds blowing across the continent from west to east. I know we can't be over Nebraska yet, but I want to take this opportunity to say hello to my friend Gromit.

He lives with Marilyn and John, and he likes to travel too. Gromit, I'll make sure to wave when we get a little further west. I hope you can see me! Oh, and thanks for your email yesterday. You're right, we really should visit Hoover Dam to see the new bridge. I looked it up after I read your message, and it sounds like there is a pedestrian walkway on the side overlooking the dam. I pulled out the map of Nevada, and I showed Denise a route we could take on our way back from Valley of Fire State Park. We'll take the highway there, then we'll follow back roads to Hoover Dam. Denise has been to the dam before, many years ago, but I've never seen it. I hope that we get there. I think we will.

Look! we're flying over Lake Mead. And I can see the Hoover Dam off the left side of the plane. Almost there...

Denise decided to take a different route to the park this time. There were four sets of directions on the park's web site. We have always taken the route labeled "easiest" before. Today we took the route labeled "shortest". Once we passed the city limits of Las Vegas the road varied from 2 lanes (one in each direction) to 4 lanes and back to 2 again. It was a good choice.

It's so incredibly beautiful. We passed through desert with low brush, and mountains in the distance. The road gradually ascended to 5400+ feet, then went down again. At the high point there were even a few patches of snow on the ground. Denise thought the snow was my imagination, but then she saw it too. The sky was painted with light from the setting sun, rays coming through the clouds, highlighting the mountains.

Denise just checked on the marathon route tomorrow and it turns out it's not on the paved road. From the race organizer's site:
Death Valley Trail Marathon & 30K 22nd Annual
This scenic wilderness trail run is on a gravel jeep road from Beatty, NV through the picturesque Titus Canyon, finishing in Death Valley (entire run is in Death Valley National Park).
Ah, good. That means there are no limits on our wandering for tomorrow other than our own desires and energy levels. I think that's good, don't you?

It feels like a good day for an early sleep.
--- Rover