Whether you are in search of your next vacation adventure or looking to add something to your bucket list, this is it people! Death Valley, California!
Until I began planning our California trip I never really took the time to notice the fact that deserts are cool AF! In fact the Death Valley National Park is the largest National Park in the world, and has the hottest,driest and lowest points in the world as well! Seriously!? So this is a brief recap of our time spent enjoying two full days of seeing the most amazing sights of my life. It was like being on mars. All you Star Wars fans, yes it was filmed there! Oh ya!
I will finish the series, before I die, and many other movies…
By now we had been driving for what seemed like an hour but was about 3.. There was so much sky above and so much land, with not a single soul. Sadly we saw no authentic tumbleweeds in real life, but the picture is pretty clear. It was miles of no humanity. It was a very real reminder of the fact that the earth is a planet like the rest of them…
It was strange and intoxicating to be in such a quiet, intense place.
Luckily it wasn’t hot, but it does get to about 125 degrees f in the summer months. No that isn’t snow. It’s salt! Crazy right!? So we saw some crazy mountain terrain and rugged hills. We saw colors in the earth that were like cryptonyte, or at least what I picture it looking like. We saw LEGIT purple mountains magesty. This place was incredible!
The one stop we made en route was at this groovy 1940s, perfect place for a murder- serial-killer- sex- trafficker, pit stop. It had all the makings of one of those drive America roadside attractions, with flare!
I must say it was everything I expected and extremely disconcerting. The place had vibes, ghost town vibes, of the west coast gold rush. The sign was cool and for the price of gasoline in the middle of the desert it deserved a photo op. I was also documenting for whoever found my phone when I got kidknapped.
The gentleman who pumped the gas was extremely nice, so I’m sure it wasn’t really thaaat bad. I used the bathroom, let’s just say, it was an experience… it was your standard high school bathroom length, with stalls. Most of them were broken, waterless, brown, or didn’t have toilet paper. I’ll be honest washing my hands was out of the question. Purell or bust around there. It was a sight. As uncomfortable as a woman could feel it still really had a vintage USA freedom vibe that was unmistakable! I mean only in America would a guy have a gas station in the middle of the desert! It’s a pretty good opportunity when you are the only show in town!
We entered into Death Valley proper at dusk, which was pretty incredible!
It was just the most incredible desert highway ever. It really made me want a drag race car, because you could go 200mph and have no chance of hitting anything except a mountain. The majority of the roads were straight-away with smooth turns, basically built for cruising at unreasonably fast speeds.
We passed one other area that seemed to have life, minimum life but I bet they had WiFi! I was certainly preparing for a Wild West adventure at this point. It was so bare, and a saloon would definetly feel right under the circumstances. We did see an opera house, which felt strange, haunted and very out of place. Yet, we later discovered more details of the desert-opera origins, and success!
Just as the sunset, our gps started to pick up the pace, not that it was necessary since we did map out the details in advance. It was reassuring though.
So the sun set.
It was black.
Then we arrived.
what I wanted!
However, because of my scholarly knowledge of hospitality, I found this place to be extremely “corporate” in the sense that it clearly had organization/ sophistication that was surprisingly unexpected. In a place that probably had a multitude of legitimate barriers, the check in desk and hotel room were clean, organized and down right classy for a desert. It was so well designed with photographs and decor that I was impressed. So when we got to the restaraunt naturally I inquired about the way the place is run.
It was basically corperate, so it’s well oiled machine swagger wasn’t a mirage. The staff was brought in like Disney land, seasonal and housed on campus. Weird! They were so nice though! Who knew there was this gypsy hospitality life out in the world. So the bar tenders and wait staff gave us the full run down, perhaps because we were inquisitive or maybe they give the details to everyone. Either way, we were impressed!
So the food was awesome!
The drinks were great!
There was Hollywood memorabilia.
Also! Star Wars!
No that is not a typo! Fun fact: the original name of Return of the Jedi was “Revenge of the Jedi” only 10,000 copies of the movie poster exist and because they filmed it in Death Valley, guess where the staff slept!?
The story started with this painting, it was covered up and curiously so. I guess kids these days can’t appreciate art. The woman in the painting was said to have a Russian Ballerina who’s car broke down in Death Valley. She came upon the theater and loved it so much she decided to open a world class opera house. It was speculated that she was too burnt out to continue with New York City Ballet so this was in essence her retirement. Luckily she was well connected and folks from all over the world came to enjoy her opera house in the desert.
This was a glorious story… not totally accurate but pretty close! Amargosa Opera House was rented and repaired in by a gal named Marta Becket. She was an exceptionally bad ass lady who had the gumption to put an opera house in the middle of a desert and man did she nail it!
It was a great success, oh she wasn’t Russian, she was a dancer, singer choreographer, actress. She was a radio city music hall ballerina. She also got a flat tire en route somewhere with her husband in the desert when they discovered the then social hall turned opera house.
So basically ballerinas rule the desert!! If you would like to hear how amazing the actual adventures within the glorious Death Valley National Park were stay tuned, the next part is coming soon! Yes we have officially been to the lowest point in the world! It was salty, sandy and literally the most amazing place I’ve ever seen!
So this turned into a two part blog only because there really is so much more to tell!
See y’all soon!