When in doubt, head west Desert Downpours & Flowers in Death Valley

Lodging: The Ranch at Furnace Creek, Death Valley

Food: The 49-er at The Ranch at Furnace Creek (no longer there)

We were up early on our first day, and ready to have breakfast, hit up AAA, and get on the road. The showers in the North Towers of The Las Vegas Hilton are for shrimps. Seriously. My mother barely stands at 5' 2" and I'm 5' 4" on a good day. I almost had to contort myself to fit under the shower head. I hope their other rooms aren't like that. Anyone's who's 6' or taller will have to shower on their hands and knees.

I also learned that Garth Brooks was playing in Las Vegas the day after I leave. Not fair!

Garth Brooks ONE Day Late!

According to the weather forecast, Death Valley was supposed to have a high of 81-degrees. We decided to head west, and made a reservation at The Ranch at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. The Inn at Furnace Creek was closed for the season. In fact, it closed the weekend before we arrived. We missed staying there by a few days.

After our stop at AAA for maps and tourbooks, we headed west, and found a dollar-store where we picked up picnic basics, including a small, perfectly sized cooler for the trip. The first rain shower arrived at this time. Why does it rain every time I go to Las Vegas?

Our first stop was the Pahrump Valley Winery. Mom's been going there for years, and I've been enjoying the wine she sends back.

This was my first visit, however, and it didn't disappoint. Beautiful vines of grapes out front, amazing roses, and a nice tasting facility.

The Winery Entrance, Their Rose Garden, and The Grapes .... Mmmm, The Grapes!

When grapes are first planted, it takes 7-8 years for the first "usable" grapes to grow. You don't just start making wine right away, I'm afraid. So the folks over at PVW planted their grapes, tended them, waited out the desert heat, and just as they were getting ready for their first harvest ... wild mustangs trampled the vineyard (and ate their grapes)!!

No joke!

And you can't do anything about or to the wild mustangs, which are protected by Nevada state law.

Mom claims PVW has a picture of the Mustangs trampling the vines, but we didn't see it (and I couldn't find it or the story on their website).

Wine for the trip purchased, we had lunch in their lovely Symphony's space.

Back on the road, and the surrounding areas are showing torrential downpours.

What it SHOULD look like, What it DID look like, Menacing ...

We drove off to Beatty, NV where they have a wonderful 49-ers museum and an oddly large candy store before our next stop, beloved Rhyolite.

We've been visiting Rhyolite for (almost) as long as I can remember. Less and less remains. At one time there was a working phone booth; the number of which was Rhyolite 2.

Snapshots of Rhyolite

A quick hello, and we were on the road to Death Valley where we had reservations for the evening.

Death valley in bloom

It rained on the way to Death Valley, and even rained IN Death Valley.

The Ranch at Furnace Creek was quite nice and full of "greenie" goodies like recycling along the walks and in the halls, using recycled paper, and getting 1/3 of their power from a solar farm they run. However, I was surprised that their organic, "greenie" toiletries were from Sweden.

We were so excited by all the recycling opportunities! You'd be amazed at how hard they are to find!
There's a solar facility, naturally.

We could use a beer at this point, so we headed over to the saloon, and asked what they had on tap before heading over to the 49-er for a delicious and friendly dinner.

This unforgettable chair is at the 49-er Restaurant

Our evening concluded with a walk around the Furnace Ranch Museum.

Created By
Meredith Rendall
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