Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hiking in Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Some things go fast, and some things go slow...

Well, that was a pretty interesting day!

The entire last three weeks could have easily taken us three months. There has been so much that is worth seeing and doing, and we've been skipping most of it. But we're on a deadline, so we're trying to see the highlights, and we're doing the best we can under the circumstances. But there is so much more.

First thing this morning, we did the very short hike from where we had overnighted, to the Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California.

This area alone, we could have spent a week and we were only there overnight.

Sherman's overnight spot.

Pretty easy to see why this is called the "Heart Arch".

The trail to Mobius Arch.

Can you see me?
Remember, you can click on the photos to make them full screen.

Hmm, where does this go...?

Ruth, with Mount Whitney in the background.
California's highest mountain, at 14,505 ft.

Cool rock formations.

There's me, inside Mobius Arch.

And Ruth.

And the view through the arch.

And this was all before 9:00am in the morning!

From there, we continued south into Death Valley National Park.

This is a great time of year to visit this area. In the summer, it would simply be too hot.

We stopped at the visitors center to pick up a map of the park.
Notice the flag... there has been very little wind this week.

First stop was the Rainbow Canyon viewpoints. Not that the canyon itself is that spectacular... although it's worth a quick stop for a photo or two. However, it's what sometimes goes on in and around the canyon that makes it worth a stop. The military uses Death Valley as a training area for fighter jets, and if you're lucky, you can see them doing training in the area, and sometimes right in the canyon itself.

Well, we got lucky!

We stopped at the first viewpoint and hiked up the hill. There were about a dozen people set up at the viewpoint, and you could tell they were there for the fighter jets. Quite a few of them were set up with scanner radios so they could listen to the channels that the pilots use. We spoke to one guy who said that some of them come up here every single day to watch the jets. It's like your own private air show!

Rainbow Canyon.

Here comes one now!

Some of these people sit here every day.

The problem is, you never know when they are going to show up. You could sit here for hours and not see a thing.

Or like us, you could walk to the viewpoint and wait five minutes!

Here's a couple of videos. Sorry the quality is the greatest... these things go really fast! Turn up your volume...

We totally enjoyed this. It is so cool! In fact, it was hard to leave. But we knew that we had quite a few more miles to do.

We moved on down further to the next viewpoint, and had our lunch there. Sure enough, another jet came by. It turned out we spent a total of an hour and a half waiting for and watching the jets.

Flying through the canyon sideways!

Very cool!

From the viewpoints going east, you head downhill... a lot! Steep, curvy, narrow road. Into the valley from about 4,000 ft almost to sea level.... and then back up again, almost back to 4,000 ft again! At the bottom of the hill, it said "8% grade uphill, next 10 miles. Turn off your air conditioner to avoid overheating."

And boy, Sherman had to work hard. While those jets go really fast, Sherman goes really slow! We were in first gear crawling up the hill. Good thing there wasn't much traffic. Half way up, we pulled over to give him a break and let things cool down for a half an hour or so.

Made it to the top, and then it was down again, this time below sea level.

Going down and straight across Paramint Valley.
We then need to climb the mountain on the other side!

Heading back up.
This is where we pulled in to give Sherman a break for a half an hour.

And then back down the other side into Death Valley.

Meanwhile, the scenery was stunning. Or at least we think so. Death Valley is a different kind of beauty. Very desolate though, there's no question about it. Feels like you're in an alien environment.

Once again, we could have spent a lot of time here. But we know now that we have to come back some day.

Elevation, sea level.

But we continued going down. I think the lowest I saw the GPS read was 187 feet below sea level.

Death Valley.

Scenery along the way.

We had read about an RV Park that never was... a place where someone had a grand idea and the concrete pads had been built, but it was never completed. Just outside the park boundary towards Death Valley Junction, and that's where we stopped for the night. GPS 36.340282, -116.598911.

Yesterday's drive, 129 miles (207 kms).

Today, we're headed into Pahrump for "cheap" fuel, and then around the south part of Las Vegas and into Arizona. No idea where we're stopping for the night.

Great deal on a Six Knife Block Set.

And in Canada...

Fisher Price Smartwheels Mustang


  1. Very cool! We had those jets flying overhead while staying in Alabama Hills. Just incredible to see them. And so glad you hiked Mobius. Just a stunning area. You must come back and spend some time...there's so much more to see. We planning a trip back mid-October 2019!! Continued safe travels!

    1. Yep, it was really neat to see. We definitely got lucky with our timing. :-)

      We will make every effort to come back some time. We loved the area so much and were disappointed not to have more time there.

  2. Fun! I like the free airshow! Sherman did well climbing the hills.

    1. We thought it was definitely worth the admission price, lol!

      Sherman was slow going up but he made it, we knew he would. :-)

  3. Lone Pine is where lots of western movies used to be made, I believe. You're getting not only a great air show, but a great "ground show" too !

    1. Yes, we saw that and wished we had time to check out the museum but that will have to wait for another visit some day down the road.

      Both shows were amazing, what a great day! :-)

  4. We live in Goodyear, AZ near Luke Air Force Base. We are treated to aid shows daily. Our home is about a 3 hr. drive South from Flagstaff. You are welcome to come if we are not too far out of your way. Continued safe travels & great adventures. Larry & Nancy

    1. Wow, that would be great to see. Do you ever get tired of the noise though?

      Thank you very much for your offer and if we were going through your area we would certainly take you up on the offer but we are going across the I-40 to Holbrook and the southeast from there. Maybe some other time. :-)

  5. Glad you got to see some of Death Valley. If you go back, make sure it is in the winter.

    1. We are glad that we got to see some of Death Valley as well and if we ever make it back there again, it will definitely be at this time of year or a little later, certainly not in the summer.

  6. We love Death Valley. In the winter, of course. The stark beauty and quiet is a wonderful experience.

    1. It certainly has a special appeal to it, that's for sure.

  7. We were in Death Valley LAST week. We go every year at this time for the 49er Encampment at Furance Creek, Sunset campground. You are so right that it has it's own type of beauty. Love all the different colors from deep purple to almost blinding white. It is a very unique place! We have not come in from Lone Pine and after seeing your pics are now planning to do that for sure.

    1. We really wished that we had more time! It is frustrating to be in the area and not be able to spend more time exploring. You are right, so many different features that are so beautiful and interesting.

  8. Replies
    1. They used that canyon for some of the filming of Star Wars!

  9. So much fun camping and hiking around Alabama Hills. Lots of old-timey TV shows were filmed in that area, too. And Death Valley? That place is fascinating, and we could spend a whole lot of time poking around there, but not in summer. Glad for you guys that you could get a taste of these really neat places.

    1. Yep, we could have spent a month or two just doing Highway 395, Alabama Hills and Death Valley. Looks like we are going to have to fit another trip into our plans somewhere down the road. There are just too many places and things to see in the world and not enough time.


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