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Road Trip through the death valley

Photo by Alistair Corden

Originally Posted On: Road Trip through the death valley – Wanderer Wannabe


One of the main points on this trip to the US was trying to spend the least amount of money possible, while at the same time trying to enjoy all the experiences possible. This meant that on this trip through the death valley from Mammoth Lakes to the Grand Canyon we had the fantastic idea of doing it at night, being 4 meant that we could rotate the driver, and make sure that at least one other of us was awake. What we still didn’t knew was that this journey had almost all elements available to become a horror movie.

This idea meant driving around 1000km through the night and through a place called the death valley – not forgetting that we had to pass way to near the Area 51 border for those of you who like me like your conspiracy theories, and making movies of what can be the worst-case scenario.

After our last journey from San Francisco to Mammoth lakes, we should be ready for another adventure, but no, once again we were surprised.

Before leaving on this journey we spent a morning in the national park of mammoth lakes – and that along with the town itself made me want to go back one day – but let’s go back to our adventure.  While on that national park we struck a conversation with a very nice guy who was there with his kid, not only did we get to know that he was married to a polish girl, but he also gives us some tips on our travel plan, including the city where we should sleep that night, before entering the death valley.

Like any smart people, we didn’t follow his advice. 

After this, – and following every road trip movie ever done – we stopped at a dinner and had our dinner experience, once again I’m not sure why we did this, but each one of us asked for a different item on the menu, even knowing that these are normally enormous, and even the waitress tried to advise us, that it was a bit too much. As a result, we left the dinner ready for a nap with all the food that we had just eaten.

After this meal, that was enough to be a mix between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a stop at a market to grab enough candy and energy drinks to get us through the night road trip, we were finally on the road.

Getting on the road meant that we remembered what just happened just 2 days before, that the f*cking GPS barely works, the network is rubbish – I still don't understand how does the US has such a rubbish mobile reception -, and that everything is enormous in the US.

The first part of the trip wasn’t too bad, it was still the afternoon, we were on some kind of highway and we kind of knew where to go … but, – and this was becoming a recurring theme – as soon as the night falls on us the size of everything in the US came back to the front of our minds. We were in a desert and everywhere we looked we saw nothing more than darkness, after a few hours – it could be less, but my memory and imagination are making me say hours – we were still on the same road, not seeing a car or town, or even just a bit of light, when far away we see just a tiny light, and my overacting imagination starts thinking on all the horror movies possibilities:

well, we don’t see people, cars or any town for god knows how long now, this means that if the car breaks down now, we are entering every horror movie scenario, just going to the house over there with the only light that we saw in the last couple of hours, and we live here? it has to be some kind of serial killer!

As it was, and like it almost always happened to me, I was creating more films in my head, than what actually happened, the reality was that the car didn’t break down, and we did not enter a horror movie.

But this didn’t end up here. After a few more hours (minutes?), we started finally passing troughs some towns, or at least we thought that they were towns until we passed through the first one, where we saw only a gas station, a motel, a truck stop, and a strip club (or at least that was it looked like), this didn’t give us a lot of security when we finally had to stop in a gas station to buy a coffee and go to the bathroom, since we were a car with 4 girls in the middle of the desert and on this kind of towns.

After a night of driving through a desert, with an amazing name of Death Valley, imagining all the nightmare scenarios possible, we ended up in one of the most amazing places I ever been on, especially taking into account that we were able to see the sunrise on the Grand Canyon valleys.

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