Death Valley. Shouldn’t they have known by its name, maybe this won’t be the most welcoming place.  Las Vegas was the last stop on their trip that they had actually planned, now which route should they take? The girls whip out the Atlas, Smarty points her finger at Death Valley National Park which is pretty much a straight shot from Vegas into California. They have been loving the National Park route so why not?

Smarty proposes the idea of driving through Death Valley into Sequoia National Park, it’s 2 hours through the Valley and then 4 more to get to Sequoia, 6 hours this should be a breeze! Before they pack their bags, Boots makes everyone head to The Mirage pool, it’s the only reason they stayed there after all.

Boots guides them to the pool, it’s like a beautiful oasis in the desert, palm trees, waterfalls, cabanas, lounge chairs, it’s luxury so far from what they have known the whole trip. Brownie again gets this look in her eyes as if she is a little kid! 

Brownie, “Oh my gosh, look at those waterfalls! I am going in!”

Brownie bolts into the pool leaving Bootsie and Smarty, they follow after her. 

Boots, “Where did mom go?!” 

Smarty, “She said she was heading into the pool.” 

Boots looks across the pool, Brownie is sprinting (sprinting in a pool looks like bobbing up and down) but she is sprinting toward the man made waterfall. The girls watch from a far, Brownie gets right underneath the rushing water and stands there, opens up her arms, smiling ear to ear and laughing hysterically. Boots and Brownie join her, they laugh splash and swim, it is so refreshing. A whopping 30 minutes at the pool and they are off to Death Valley.

Here is a little tip, if you ever decide to venture into Death Valley National Park, please do not go during the hottest time of year to one of the hottest places on the planet. Also please make sure you know that Death Valley is a desert and not a valley of beautiful flowers that, Boots had some how thought.  

As the car winds down the road, the land gets dry, traffic is dwindling soon they are  the only car on the road. Entering the park, it’s different than any other they have been to, no one is there to greet you or check that you have your park pass there is only a porta potty. No one is around, a tumble weed blows past them, it’s eerie. And it’s 115 degrees. 

Brownie goes into the Porta Potty, in a mere 30 seconds she is running out of there and back into the car! 

Smarty and Bootsie scream “Ewwwwww!!!!! Mom you smell like a Porta John, it smells like something died ah!!!!” Brownie is almost crying, no one had cleaned that porta potty for a long time and the desert heat was cooking whatever was inside! They start spraying Brownie with perfume, it doesn’t work, they can’t open the windows it’s way to hot so they bare with the stench. Poor Brownie. 

A 2 hour drive through the “Valley” turns into 5 long hot hot hours. Half way through there are signs for the Visitors Center... yes some sign of life! 

The visitors center is bumping compared to the rest of the desert, Smarty spots a huge thermometer outside, it reads 124 Degrees! Holy Moly, Brownie isn’t looking thrilled she is definitely missing her waterfalls in Vegas.  Brownies got that look on her face that is saying “Get me the heck out of here!”

Back on the desert road, it should only be an hour out of this hot place. Slowly they all lose service, there is only one road, signs start saying “next 40 miles, turn off your AC so your car won’t over heat.” Boots looks at Smarty who is driving, they turn it off. In 124 degrees it’s dangerous, they are sweating perfusely, somehow Bootsie the co pilot, gave Smarty the wrong directions they missed a turn a long long time back.

It’s  getting hotter, gas is running low, as they drive they spot dozens of Crosses and Memorials along the road for the ones who had passed. This does not make them feel any better. On the brink of freaking out, 5 hours they make it through the desert alive no over heating and so grateful! First stop is “Loves” Gas station, it’s very rare that they eat “Subway” but it looks so darn good to them right now! They each order a sub and some potato chips, it is heaven!

Plans didn’t go as planned but do they ever? It’s getting dark now, looks like Sequioa will have to wait, what do you know they find another Best Western to lay their heads at, and they only have a King size bed left. Sharing a king size again, it feels like home, although this time only 2 people were allowed. So James Bond style they went and snuck Bootsie in through the side door. Success!  Welcome to California!