Death Valley to Santa Barbara, an idyllic, late-winter sojourn – Times-Herald

With the bloody and senseless conflict in Eastern Europe and the specter of war crimes, as gas and food prices rise, Arizona GOP lawmakers appeared at a white nationalist conference and acted like myna birds for 45 years. high tail to Death Valley National Park and Santa Barbara for a few days.

Returning to the low desert of southeastern California after almost a week, then to the stunning, green and blue beauty of the south coast of Golden State at the end of winter, I can say that it was a good decision, punctual, necessary and refreshing.

First there was the drive, east of Fairfield on Highway 12, past Isleton, ready to be planted in the spring, ready to be planted in large and small farms, ready to be planted in the sun by any tree with reddish eyes, the earth. Flat as a frying pan next to Woodbridge, then turn right down Interstate 5.

Stockton went 75-80 mph, like miles and miles of blooming almond trees that blossomed southward, the soil of the orchard seemed to be covered with white petals, then Lost Hills, Wasco, pasture fields gave way to pasture land, after Merle. Haggard Drive and Bakersfield east to Highway 178.

In some places I was on the freeway that embraces the Kern River, 45 years ago. The blue river water falls, twists and leaps across a gorge lined with rugged white bread-colored rocks. As I passed Isabella Lake and reached the southern end of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center and Ridgecrest, I could only imagine that, based on the surrounding sunny lands, it would have drowned in the summer heat.

The Death Valley National Park was located to the east, my map showed that beyond the Panamint Mountains, some peaks reached 7,000 to 11,000 feet. It was a good time to stop after driving for more than eight hours.

This morning, the trip took me through the mining town of Trona, a 50-year-old national advance that seems to have been avoided, and towards Panamint Springs and Highway 190 to Stovepipe Wells Village, a sort of resting place and gateway to a national park. . There, I took an orange national park walkway with the NPS logo.

Beyond were the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, carved up and down the sharp-edged lines, golden in the morning sun, and surrounded by rocky, sparsely covered shrubs.

I made my way along the two-lane road past Beatty Junction, east of the Amargosa Mountains, past the abandoned Harmony Borax Works, knowing that my next stop would be a two-night stay at Furnace Creek, The Ranch at Death Valley. a green oasis filled with palm trees and tamarisks. Not surprisingly, it had all the concessions of a U.S. national park: newly renovated comfortable cabins with satellite TV, gift shops, restaurants and bars, an ice cream parlor and an 18-hole golf course, the world’s lowest 214-foot golf course below sea level, and Furnace Creek Those who feed the wash fountains, they told me, give the fairways a kind of “squishy” feel.

In the morning, as the sun set over the mountains, I passed the village of Timbisha Shoshone, home to some of the ancestors of the first people in the valley, and I have always wanted to visit Zabriskie Point since I saw Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 film. “Zabriskie Point”.

After climbing up the lookout point at Zabriskie Point, I looked at some barren peaks and ridges, Manly Beacon, with a sharp hill surrounded by a yellow clay hill eroded by rain, the most notable of which.

Returning to Furnace Creek, I descended Badwater Road to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level, another landscape in the world where the vast salts stretch for miles.

This and other parts of the Death Valley were geographically featured in the 1960s Death Valley Days TV series, and a park ranger said it was used for at least one scene in a Star Wars movie.

Death Valley National Park 48 is the largest in the Low Countries (3.2 million acres designated federal desert), and the hottest spot on Earth, with a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913, and arguably one of the driest. with a rainfall of 2 centimeters per year. No, don’t visit during the summer.

Leaving Death Valley in Santa Barbara at the end of winter was an exercise in remembering how beautiful California is. From the desert, from Palmdale to Santa Clarita to Highway 14, and to the Padres National Forest, then to Ventura, orange trees, one after the other, for miles, against the dark green leaves of orange fruit, turned into eye balm.

Mount Santa Ynez, high, majestic, green, and beautiful, like Big Sur, rose from the coastal plain. Once inside the city, with its port and leisure reputation, Spanish-style downtown architecture was welcome.

At night, the Santa Barbara Art Museum was alive, with an exhibition entitled “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources,” a 19th-century exhibition of the legendary Dutch artist. Among the works of the end of the twentieth century, he showed how his painting techniques had evolved over the years. and who and what influenced him, including The Wheatfield (1888), Hospital at Saint-Remy (1889), and Roses (1890). Until May 22, it was well worth a visit, a pleasant peak for a week’s rest.

– Richard Bammer is a reporter for the group

Death Valley to Santa Barbara, an idyllic, late-winter sojourn – Times-Herald Source link Death Valley to Santa Barbara, an idyllic, late-winter sojourn – Times-Herald

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