Death Valley

February 7-13, 1981

For the mighty mountains bold and clear
that hinge the earth and sky,
Whose colors range from pink to blue
then sunset. brings a different hue;
And for nature’s beauty that we view
our thanks to God Almighty is truly due.

The mountains were very spectacular. Tier upon tier and each a different formation. Some of them didn’t look real, but like a painted backdrop. Lots of climbing could be done here. Only drawback would be the rattlesnakes, sidewinders, scorpions and tarantulas.

Our trip could be described as a timely one. We left each day on time and arrived at our destination on time. We left on the dot of 7:45 a.m. on a beautiful day, going via the Clear Lake cutoff to Bend where we had our coffee break (it was cold). Lunch stop was in Burns, then on toward Nevada, but there was a little trouble with the motor overheating, so stopped for about forty-five minutes out in the desert. We had our afternoon rest stop in McDermitt, Nevada. This was our longest day of the trip, and it was after dark when we arrived at Winner’s Inn in Winnemucca. There were no elevators and we were on the second floor, so got lots of exercise. We were given a free drink and a roll of nickels to play the machines. It was Saturday night and all the local people were out too.

The next day our coffee break was at Frontier—unique in that it is only a truck stop and the only buses it will serve are Trailways. We arrived in a snow storm at Tonopah where there was quite a lot of snow on the ground, making it a little slippery for walking. Our rest stop was in Beatty, Nevada, then we stopped for sightseeing in Rhyolite (a ghost town). We arrived in Furnace Creek to find it was raining. Our rooms were all on the ground floor, but considerable distance from the dining facilities—stumbling back to the restaurants in the dark and rain was a little daunting.

Monday morning the sun was out and we had no more rain during our stay there. We spent the day with our guide from Furnace Creek Ranch going to Scotty’s Castle. We were given much information concerning Scotty and Mr. Johnson, and learned that Scotty had been married and had a son. Scotty was never allowed to stay in the Castle because he only took a bath about once a year. Not all the Castle was open for viewing, as scaffolding in the center of the building to prop up the tile roof prevented this. We went to Ubehebe Crater, Zabriskie Point and other points of interest. In the evening we went to the Amargosa Opera House to see Marta Beckett in the ballet. This was one of the high points of the trip. Viewing the murals and Marta’s dancing was delightful. (Worth the trip).

Tuesday was free to wander around, see the museum, take nature walks, play golf, swim in the heated pool, etc. That night we went to Furnace Creek Inn for dinner.

Wednesday we started home by way of the Devil’s Cornfield and the Sierras. We crossed two mountain ranges on our way to Bishop. We were guests of Lee World Travel for lunch at Hobo Joe’s; the food was good and the service outstanding. We stopped for the night at the Ormsby House in Carson City where we were housed on the top (10th) floor and had a grand view from our windows. We each received six dollars in nickels—one of our group were lucky with one person winning $75.00 on the $1 machine.

Thursday we made a circuit of Lake Tahoe, and saw the most snow of the trip. (The next day was a blizzard and some of the roads were closed.) We stopped in Reno to have the bus serviced and for our coffee break (and more gambling). We arrived in Mt. Shasta where we stayed at the Tree House Inn. The emphasis on wood in the Inn was very interesting. We were hosted to a prime rib dinner by Grand National Tours. The dinner was great! Friday morning we found it was pouring rain, just to make us feel at home for the last day of our trip. We arrived home thirty minutes ahead of schedule.

We had a most congenial group, very cooperative, making a most delightful trip. Some wanted to stay longer in Death Valley. Our tour guide, Faith Fischer, and our very good driver, Arnie, and last but not least, my partner, Buck Carter helped to make it a good trip. Those making the trip were Julia Barnhill, Buck and Grace Carter, Frances Carter, Jewell Geiger, Rita Gorrie, Laura Hayes, Vera Heidenreich, Virginia Horton, Frankie Kardell, Merle McDonald, Larry and Virginia Pagter, Jan and Pat Pattison, Bertha Richardson, Lois Schreiner, Grace Smith, Myrtle Smith, Ethel and Robin Steussy, Dorothy Stewart, Helen Stovall, Paula Vehrs, and Betty Stamm co-leader with Buck.

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