Day 11: From Visalia, CA to Las Vegas, NV

In Destinations by Ramble Love2 Comments

There is one thing that keeps us going each day on the road trip. One thing, two words. Shadow. Bear.

Shadow Bear

We left our crazy (and kinda gross) little campsite in Visalia to head toward Death Valley National Park but stopped in Bakersfield to walk the streets along the way. Well, we didn’t actually walk the streets but we did stop in at the 24th Street Cafe for a bite to eat.

24th street cafe

The cafe is small and vintage and we loved the setup. Bar seating, endless coffee and a couple of delicious omelettes to really seal the deal. Check it out if you’re ever in town.

breakfast in Bakersfield

Before long we had made it to the outskirts of Death Valley National Park. Rather than trucking right into the hottest place in America we made a stop at a gas station to fuel up and pick up a few jugs of water. It wasn’t all that hot when we reached the entrance to the park, Mark even kept his long-sleeved shirt on. That was all about to change…

drive into Death Valley

Death Valley Entrance - christy Death Valley Entrance mark

We drove, drove, and drove off into the desolate landscape not really knowing what to expect. What we found were desolate landscapes and straight stretches of descending roads.

Death Valley 1 - desolate overlook Death Valley roads death valley desolate landscape

Just before we hit the sand dunes we got our first official warning. Hot mama.

Extreme heat in Death Valley

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are remarkable, but it was so hot we couldn’t hike too far out into them. Maybe another time.

sand dunes sand dunes 2

Christy started to feel the burn and water became her best friend.

Need water need water

Our next stop was a loop around Artist Drive, which is just what it sounds like. It’s a lovely blend of reds and grays all splattered along the hillside. It’s an extra 30 minutes or so on a 1-way road but is totally worth the extra time.

Artist Point Artist Point Artist point Artist point Artist Point

As we pulled into the Devil’s Golf Course the mercury kept on a risin’. Our rental car was sweating and the thermometer said 120 degrees. Yowzah!

Devils Golf Course Devils Golf Course Devils Golf Course

120 in Death Valley

Along the route in the park we passed through Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America. We’re not sure this is true, but it seemed like it was the hottest place in North America too!

Badwater Mark Badwater Christy
Hot and fatigued we left the park and made our way through Nevada toward Sin City. Our abode for the night was an Airstream trailer. We’d both been looking forward to camping out on the Las Vegas strip. Finding out that Celine was in town just a bonus. A really awesome bonus.

Entering NV 2 Entering NV 1 Celine Airstream Vegas


  1. Hello Mark and Christy, I just read your account of your trips. Especially interesting to me was your description of your trip from Visalia, CA., to Las Vegas, NV. The reason your trips caught my attention, is because I’ve travelled these United States, from Key West, FL., to Seattle, WA. Most of these states, I’ve been to more than once. I’ve taken countless photos of my travels. Travelling has really been an education for me. I’ve been to Las Vegas many times, for it’s one of my favorite vacation destinations. I just wanted to leave a note to let you know that I appreciate your sharing your travels with others. I live in Austin, TX., and am retired. Thank you, Melvin

    1. Thanks for reading, Melvin. Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun seeing the world! We have learned a lot over the years as well. Keep on traveling!

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