Daylight Pass is the name of highway, Nevada 374 and California 190 but if you are traveling west from Beatty Nevada to Death Valley that’s the road you take, and if its 90 degrees in Beatty, and you know its at least triple digit heat in the valley, then you know that when you roll over the 4000ft. + summit and start your descent into the valley that the heat is going to surround you, and you are going to enjoy it because it’s raining at home.
We had to stay in Beatty Nevada. Furnace Creek Ranch wanted too much to stay in their lodging. Over $200.00 A night. At that price, you might as well pay the extra $100.00 or so and stay at the posh Furnace Creek Resort, as it is closer to the cactus cosmos, and after a couple of those you really do not care what you are paying for a room.
The Atomic Inn in Beatty is dated. It was built when atomic testing was taking place in the Nevada desert, and the crews would stay there. The place has always been clean but on this visit we were disappointed to discover rubbish in one of the drawers and some left over clothes in another drawer but they made up for the not so spotlessness by finding my traveling compadres forgotten electronics.
The ride in, around, and back through Death Valley couldn’t have been better. The first day we rode in, and checked into the visitor center for trinkets and a park map. Once we knew how to find the road to the Charcoal Kilns we headed that way. It was a great ride up to the Kiln’s. The weather was perfect and the temp. cooler at 6600ft. I also discovered after crawling up a hill to get a photo of the Kilns the air is rarer at that elevation than it used to be.
The next morning it was another run over Daylight Pass, and west on 190 through the park. Back to the El Camino de Sierra highway 395.
Highway 190 at the western edge of the park goes by Panamint Springs, another option for lodging. After the spring the road begins to climb, and before you know it you are twisting through miles of rock before reaching the 4900 ft. summit of Towne Pass.
At the summit rest area, we were surprised by fighter jets on strafing runs through the rock canyons. The kiosks explained that this was perfectly normal, and that this was the only place near the national park where the war on the environment would be visibly fought with fighter aircraft.
The War Goes On
Desert plant persists in clinging to the rocky slopes of the battle zone, and proved to be quite specular.
Traffic was light and a semblance of peace was restored once back down in the Owens Valley
El Camino de Sierra