Day 7 – Death Valley California Part One

After a quick stop in Beatty for gas (we crossed the CA/NV border 4 tines today), we were on the way again, this time to the sand dunes.

14 square miles of velvet soft sand – just smack in the middle of the valley.   It was stunning to see the dunes on the horizon and as we drew closer they become even more ominous.

At this point because we had stayed longer than anticipated at the ghost town, we were chasing the light, and the sun was setting fast.  So no sooner than Rob had stopped the car, Dar took off at a run, camera in hand.  Rob brought up the rear, with extra lens and tripod – he makes an awesome assistant!

Dar didn’t really get “the” shot she was looking for, as we really needed to arrive there about 30-45 minutes earlier and get out to the dunes further off in the distance, ones without so many human footprints on them.  It is what it is though, and she still thinks she got some good shots, including some of us together on the dunes in the setting sun.  Yay for self timers and tripods.

Death Valley Sand Dunes

Death Valley sand dunes

The obligatory shadow self portrait.  In this shot, Dar and Rob are the same height!

Death Valley sand dunes

Death Valley sand dunes

Death Valley sand dunes
Rob, showing perspective on how high the dunes are

Death Valley sand dunes

Death Valley sand dunes

Death Valley sand dunes
Yeah for self-timers on cameras
Death Valley sand dunes
A spectacular sunset

Death Valley sand dunes

You can’t tell by the photos, but the sand dunes were filled with people. They were everywhere. It was quite tricky to get a shot without someone in it. Rob is convinced that at least one of these photos has had multiple people edited out of them, but I’ve assured him that they’ve not. He’s right though, there were people literally everywhere in the sand dunes.

Stovepipe Wells for Diner

A stop in at Stovepipe Wells told us there isn’t much there besides a hotel, gift shop, saloon and restaurant.  The restaurant didn’t open for another 30 minutes, so we had one drink in the saloon then moved over to eat.   The lady bartender told us there is about 50-60 people that live there, some full time, some leave in low season.  Not much to do here if you aren’t working – I can’t imagine living there.

Dar took the driving duties back to Pahrump this time (in the 90 minute drive we only saw 22 other cars between Death Valley and Pahrump) and after stopping at Walmart yet again (we need a membership there apparently) to find they have NO mens swim trunks this time of year – we were back “home” by about 8:15pm and off to the showers and hot tub for some R&R after a long day.

***Things we saw:  tumbleweeds actually tumbling this time, volcanic rock, rabbits, a house made of bottles (in )

Lessons learned:

  • even in Nevada it gets chilly at night (around 0c) and a heater or propane is really helpful
  • when the photographer/ranger says to be at the dunes by 3pm to set up for sunset – listen to him!   3:45pm means you have to run across the sand and don’t make it far enough out.
  • That many other more experienced RVers have electric space heaters and don’t use their furnaces and propane for heat.  They run the cord outside the RV and plug in directly, so as not to use any of the precious few 30 or 50 amps of power you’ve got inside.
  • That the guy at the RV park gate when we checked in lied to us!  He told us the campgrounds right IN Death Valley had no services (power, water, etc) and were the same price or more, so most people choose to stay in Pahrump.  NOT!   The campgrounds at Stovepipe Wells had full service, we could have stayed right there. But it is what it is now, and it’s all good.

This was the final page of a 5 part series on Death Valley. Click here to read our Death Valley trip from the beginning, starting with the

Images in this post are available for purchase on the Her View Photography online gallery at

12 thoughts on “Day 7 – Death Valley California Part One”

  1. Dar will put them in eventually Jan. With our travel schedule and stuff, the biggest challenge right now is time for her to do the photo editing. To be honest, she’s not even done editing our own wedding photos!

    as soon as she’s got them done, they’ll be put up.

    I’m assigning her a “photo of the day” and we’ll soon have a gallery up as well. Even if we dont post a trip log for the day, we’ll have a photo of the day

  2. Hey. love those photos…thanks! I really like the angle on the opera house, inside and out, and the wagon wheel and the dunes, and…you get the idea! Places like that are really awe-inspiring. Thanks again. And I do know how hard it is to get the photo stuff done. Since we got home from Malawi I have made only one post to our blog. However, it’s a philosophical one that needed some time to process before posting. Check it out at

  3. Hi Jan, there’s still more coming for this day yet, including ghost town and sand dunes. Check back again tomorrow, I hope to have them finished. Just downloading 300+ from my memory cards now.

  4. Thanks for sharing your stories! They are great! I am a young snowbird too so I have had some of the same challenges. I would like to know how you were getting internet service in these remote places?

  5. When we book our sites, we ask about wifi. All our wifi is provided by the parks. Most are free, but we’ve had to pay for some Tengo at times. Next year we’re going to get our own wireless modem and hook up with “Clear” who provide a signal in both Arizona and Texas

  6. On another trip to Death Valley, it is most worthwhile to visit Scottys Castle. The story of Scotty and the castle and how it came to be built is fascinating. It is a US National Parks historic site. Good luck with your continued snowbirding (we are young ones too).

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