Day 3, Sunset
Back in Death Valley I went to Mesquite Dunes – my favorite place in Death Valley. The wind was strong I saw dust storms on the way to Death Valley and there was a dust storm in the valley too.
As sunrise was getting closer the wind was picking up more and more. Visibility dropped. The wind was continuously moving sand. Bare legs were getting a treatment with sand paper. Sand was getting everywhere.
The sand was getting into my eyes, my eyes were teary and I could not see anything. I had to retreat back to the car, wait for my eyes to clear out and then drive away to observe this from safe distance.
Day 3, Noon
With a spare tire that I put the day before I could not get far, since it was not regular size. I needed to fix that problem first. The closest town – Big Pine – was over an hour away, especially with spare tire with a limit of 50 mph.
The drive to Big Pine turned out pretty interesting and picturesque. From there I decided to drive along Sierra Nevada mountain range south and re-enter Death Valley from west. That way I would have entered the valley from every road available.
The road was very nice. If I were to go to Eureka Dunes again that’s probably the way I would approach it. And for convenience I could even stay in Big Pine for a night.
The drive to Big Pine and then driving west of Death Valley turned out very picturesque. Here is a road from Eureka Dunes with snowy Sierra Nevada in the distance:
Here is a nice roller-coaster ride to the west entrance to Death Valley with mountains in the distance hidden behind dust storm:
And here are the curves of road descending into Death Valley with its colorful mountains (click on the image to see it larger):
The first day of the trip I’ve experienced a dust storm for the first time. I’ve never been in a dust storm before. At some point of the driving to Palouse I had to stop completely because there was no visibility at all. Then I started moving slowly ahead hoping there is nobody ahead and nobody will smash into me from behind.
When there was visibility it looked like this:
While visually dust storm was as interesting a fog, it was practically impossible to photograph. Strong wind was knocking off my camera on a tripod. I was trying to shoot handheld but I could not stand still because of the wind. Dust was getting everywhere – into my ears, nose, eyes and, worse of all, into my gear. I had to give up.