Making full use of every minute we paid for, we checked out of the hotel in Lone Pine at 11. Eastbound we drove, loosing more elevation as we dropped in to the desert known as Death Valley. The temperatures soared as we entered the national park, eventually hitting 120*. We stopped at the visitor center and saw one family trying to cook an egg on the asphalt. As our faces were melting off, we didn’t wait to see if they were 100% successful, but it looked like with enough time, someone would be eating a gravel filled sunny side up breakfast.
Death Valley’s main claim to fame (aside from being one of the hottest places on earth), is that is has the lowest elevation of any place within the US. So in just over 24 hours we went from 14,496 feet above sea level, to 282 feet under sea level!
We got out of the White Rascal at Badwater Basin, and walked about 15 minutes. The hot breeze that came across the valley made us feel as though we had been placed inside of a convection oven. This place is hotter than hot. Getting back into the van was even worse, as the interior temp had already soared.
Eastbound we continued, crossing the Nevada State Line, and straight into Zion.