We planned to get up early today so wouldn't be in Death Valley at the hottest part of the day, but we didn't wake up till 9 and had a few things to do in Vegas before we left. So we quickly showered and packed, then popped across the road to Caesar's to the gift shop. Had to wait for it to open at 10 and bought a few things. We returned to the hotel and checked out. We found out last night that there was a shopping center which had the 50% of red line sales out of town called town square, so decided we'd head there before hitting the road. Started off by driving north up the strip instead of south, but once we had turned around it didn't take long to get there. It was really quiet, and we stopped in Hollister first. There were a lot of empty shelves so we were glad we had bought so much back in Flagstaff. Jon managed to get a couple more things though. We went to A&F but the 50% off part was rubbish so didn't get anything. Also pretty much everything that wasn't on sale had a tag on it saying "not for sale", weird. We then filled up the tank and bought some snacks, making sure we had enough to get us through Death Valley.
We drove the 'local' route, passing through Pahrump and into the valley.
We were now in California where we will stay for the rest of our trip. The temperature was starting to rise, although in the distance were big rain clouds. The views were amazing, and we stopped off at Zabriskie point for our first view over the valley. It was a short walk up a hill to the viewpoint, totally worth it though and we snapped some pics at the top. The sun was really hot, but we were expecting it to feel alot hotter, we must be kinda getting used to it I guess lol. We got back in to the car, and decided we'd take the drive down to Badwater Basin, the hottest, driest and lowest place in the US (282ft below sea level)! The temp reached a max. of 116 even with clouds around. We arrived at Badwater and it felt alot hotter here. There were quite a lot of people about which felt good, wouldn't wanna be here on our own incase anything happened! We were suprised to see a pool of water here, but apparently that's the reason this is called badwater - as a man tried to get his mule to drink from the water but it refused. The salt flats were so white and you could see the heat radiating off the floor. Took some pics as we walked out onto the flats, started to get really hot so decided to walk back to get in to the air con.
Back on the road, we headed off to artist's drive, a one-way road which was pretty fun - lots of dips and turns. Stopped at artist's pallette where there are so many different colours on the rocks. We continued to drive through Death valley before stopping off at Stovepipe Wells to fill up on drinks. For me Death Valley is a definite must do - the scenery is awesome and the whole drive has been the best so far.
Heading out of death valley and up over the mountains the temp was beginning to drop. Funny moment when a pickup truck overtook us and a guy was sat in the back looking like a hillbilly. The clouds were getting closer and then it started to rain in the desert! We saw signs for flooding so were a bit worried but luckily it wasn't too deep so could drive through fine. Passed through Lone Pine which looked like a cool town, from here you can see Mt. Whitney the highest point it the US at 14505ft. Crazy to see the lowest point then the highest within a couple hours! After a long driving day (around 360miles) we arrived in Bishop and looked around for a motel. Sat in our room now at TownHouse Motel, it's like a granny cabin but quite big for the price.
We have now passed the 2000mile mark today. Don't like to think we are over halfway now... have so much more to look forward to - off to Yosemite tomorrow! May not have internet then till the 10th when we'll be in San Fran :D Hopefully by then we'll have seen a bear(but not too close), fingers crossed!