Hanna Below the Sea

Hanna Below the Sea

It’s been a while – Sas explained why – so we are now in a warmer and significantly quieter place – Death Valley, CA.

The ups and the downs (literally and figuratively) of driving through such a diverse landscape are fading in to a warmer glow of memory, the nights of freezing head and warm body fade also as the desert temperatures reassure us of some of the reasons we set out with – as an aside it is amazing what being 6 weeks later than planned has done to all sorts of the parts of the plan, from closed attractions to temperatures and seasonal sights – and here now it has finally come time to write of more wonders of the world as viewed from Hanna Hymer.

So what did I expect from such a grand title as Death Valley? Hollywood images, half remembered pictures, stories and books all form together to provide my vivid imagination with a lot of pre-conceived ideas and cartoon pictures – none of which prepared me for the vistas to come.

So the first thing that anyone driving into this landscape cannot fail to notice is the literal other-world geology and landscape so different from where we left in the morning and still in California too.

 

Planet Earth?
Planet Earth?

 

Alien Landscape - Death Valley CA
Alien Landscape – Death Valley CA

 

That morning we left the California coast at 7am and drove our final bit of the California route 1 along the stunning coastline called the Big Sur. A place of breath-taking views of coastline, cliffs and waves. Via an Elephant Seal breeding beach …

Stretching in that Morning Sun
Stretching in that Morning Sun

 

… then a left turn across to Bakersfield and beyond. This was the day that the dash cam failed us for the first time and that it wasn’t shooting the view from the windscreen as we drove has to be one of the biggest technical disappointments so far.

But after 10 hours of driving from coast to desert and as the dusk settled, we still had another 50 miles to go (to get to our chosen RV site – Furnace Creek Inn Resort) we decided to push on and with the previous experiences of thinking we could drive x amount of miles in x amount of time we knew that 50 miles could easily be 2 hours or an hour or anything in-between. So on we went and then we hit the ‘hill’ – that was a drive for 45 minutes up at 17mph hoping that our still un-fixed gearbox could take the strain. Switchback after switchback – chugging away watching the temperature gauge and thinking walking might have been faster!

Then finally down, oh yes down and down with elevation signs at the roadside counting down from 4000ft, 3000ft, 2000ft, 1000ft and all with switchbacks and blind corners; so that finally when we saw the first sign which said ‘Sea Level’ we thought we had arrived.

But still down … and then up … past another sign saying Sea Level – below sea level?. Onward in to the dark dark night … Furnace Creek Inn appeared (as do all things come to those that wait) and we checked in and parked and ate, slept and woke to … that landscape.

 

Badwater Basin Salt Flats - Death Valley CA
Badwater Basin Salt Flats – Death Valley CA

 

Salt or Snow? - Death Valey CA
Salt or Snow? – Death Valey CA

 

Badwater Basin Salt Flats
Badwater Basin Salt Flats

 

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Natural Bridge Canyon – Death Valley CA

 

So we took Hanna out for some sight-seeing – Badwater Basin and Salt Flats first on the list –  we parked Hanna under a cliff with a sign saying ‘Sea Level’ – this was pinned to the sheer rising face of the rocks behind us at 282 feet up.

Badwater Basin - Death Valley CA
Badwater Basin – Death Valley CA

 

So without any additional water proofing or specialist gear we can say with hand on heart Hanna has been below the level of the Sea.

Hanna Below the Sea - Death Valley CA
Hanna Below the Sea – Death Valley CA
Airport below the sea - Death Valley CA
Airport below the sea – Death Valley CA

 

We are staying here until Amazon delivers us a new Dash Cam so there will be more to see like the ghost town at Rhyolite, the Golden Canyon, The Artist’s Drive and the Artist’s Palette, Mosiac Canyon, Ubehebe Crater and Mesquite Flats Sand dunes. More to come then …. 🙂

Cocktails at Sunset
Cocktails at Sunset

 

13 Responses

  1. Jürgen Weigmann
    | Reply

    Wonderful posts and pictures.

    JW

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      Thanks Juergen! I’ve sent you a Skype connection request, but will try your phone again too. Love to you both from us both. Can’t wait to see you, hopefully in the not too distant future 🙂 xx

  2. Jo
    | Reply

    You guys are getting really good at this blogging business. Really good post. Hope you enjoyed Furnace Creek Inn…did you take a walk to Dante’s View? I remember that being quite spectacular. xoxo

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      We didn’t make it to Dante’s View, but we saw some AMAZING stuff! Thanks for the blog encouragement 🙂 xxxx

  3. M & D
    | Reply

    Fantastic sights looks amazing hope you both have a lovely Christmas XXXXXX

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      Thanks Jenny! Lots of festive love to you both. xx

  4. Clemencia Salmon
    | Reply

    Dear Saskia,

    Thank you also for your answer. I want to ask you if I can posted our conversation in our blog. I think it is a very important isue I would love also to share with my friends. May be we can cross the border together going to Mexico. Love y saludos, Clemencia

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      Hi Clemencia, we’re happy for you to share our conversation on your blog 🙂 Besos, Saskia xx

  5. Clemencia Salmon
    | Reply

    Saskia, we tryed to call you by phone, but we could not get you. 🙁

    • Saskia
      | Reply

      It would seem that AT&T (our cell/ mobile phone provider) don’t cover the desert! We’ve had no cell reception for days at a time – Death Valley, Mojave Desert, Grand Canyon! Anyone else reading this comment, go with Verizon 🙂 Speak again soon Clemencia. Xx

  6. Dan
    | Reply

    It was a definite pleasure meeting the both of you! Paula and I agree that the best part of our little wanderjahr was the time we spent chatting (okay, chewing your ears off) and laughing in Rachel. An unexpected and delightful meeting. Did you make it to Area 51?

    We returned home on the 27th in a rush to stay ahead of the winter storm that rolled in a couple days after our meeting. Pretty sure you missed it as it was ahead of you, close to Albuquerque and Roswell by the time you were in Vegas. (Did you get to enjoy Vegas’ first white Xmas in some 7 years?)

    We were watching the weather after our arrival in Flagstaff, and decided that 1/4 mile visibility; icy, snowy roads; and wind gusts up to 40 mph was not a good recipe for driving the rim of the Grand Canyon, so went on to Holbrook. Beautiful weather there the morning of the 27th, but all reports were that by the time we arrived in Albuquerque that evening it was going to be ugly, with blizzard and total white-out by the time we arrived in Roswell. (Roswell police were warning against *any* unnecessary travel.)

    So straight down Hwy 180 to Las Cruces (where the storm nearly caught us), thru El Paso and on home. 18 hours straight thru staying just ahead of the weather (we chose wisely). We missed the last half of our trip, but that was a small price, to be sure. At least we didn’t miss the best part!

    Hope the rest of your amazing journey is as fascinating as it’s been so far. Safe travels!

    • Mark
      | Reply

      Hi Dan and Paula,
      Thanks for the updates, we really enjoyed meeting you both too. A great day of aliens, new friends and general Mojave Desert wonder. Seems that you chose wisely on the route home, we didnt get any of that weather as we drove over to the Grand Canyon although we did break down and experienced 2 of the coldest nights so far (-13 and -15 degrees C) both the night before the Grand Canyon and the night after we left, whilst waiting for 2 different mechanics shops to open first thing. The south rim drive was awesome and we boondocked the night after in the wilds just outside the GC park. We had to be towed back to Flagstaff on the 30th with a major fuel/air problem and left there for Sedona on the 31st for a boondock night on New Years Eve.
      So now we are in Tehachapi waiting for yet more parts from the UK and hope to be heading for Mexico in the next 10 to 14 days.
      Glad that you found the blog – please stay in touch we would love to hear how you guys are doing and we will try to keep this site a little more up to date too.
      x Mark and Sas x

  7. […] a week and Mark burst his eardrum equalising in the pool at Furnace Creek (here’s our post on Death Valley) . Then we headed to Area 51, where we did our first bit of wild camping in the hope of seeing […]

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