Road Trip Day 3: Death Valley, CA

June 11, 2019 Day 3             Miles  Road Trip Pause Day                   

The View  Death Valley 

Slept at The Inn at Desert Valley

Tennis Bub wins 6-2

This morning’s panoramic view of the Paramint mountains turning pink at sunrise greeted us from our patio. Few clouds and a promise of a sunshiny day lay ahead. We will be spending an additional night here. I’m calling the days we aren’t in the car Road Trip Pause Days.

On the pause days, I’ll tell you about the view and our adventures. Sorta like “at sea” days for the cruise ships!

The Inn at Death Valley sunrise
Pink Mountains at Sunrise

We decided, at 6 AM and 88 degrees, this would be a good time to play tennis. I’m not sure what effect the 190 ft. below sea level altitude had on the tennis ball bounces, but it must have favored Bub since he won 6-2. It could be, though, that his knee is just almost healed and he can get to my wicked drop shots. The Inn has two beautiful courts right next to the pool and fitness area.

Tennis at the Inn at Death Valley

Our breakfast was graciously included because of my travel writer status. I don’t usually eat a big breakfast, favoring smoothies or fruit for breakfast, but will take advantage of the morning meals that are included. The sour dough toast was especially good. A real treat was the date nut bread made from the dates trees that are planted around the property. 

Breakfast at the dining room of the Inn at Death Valley

I tried salmon, Swiss and spinach in my omelet. I don’t think I’ve ever had salmon in an omelet and it was good, but I don’t think I’d order it again. The tastes melded together were too odd for me. An interesting touch was melting the Swiss cheese over the omelet after it was folded. That I may try at home.

Some History: The Timbisha Indians inhabited this area oasis for centuries. They provided many of the artisans and builders to construct the original Fred Harvey Company resort buildings, the Indian Village, and Park Service structures.

In 1883, Greenland Ranch was established by the William Tell Coleman Borax Company. It was named after the green alfalfa fields planted at the location. A weather station was established at the ranch in 1891. Greenland Ranch was renamed Furnace Creek Ranch in 1933.

Death Valley 190 ft. below sea level

 Furnace Creek was the center of Death Valley mining and operations for the Pacific Coast Borax Company and the historic 20 Mule Teams hauling wagon trains of borax across the Mojave Desert.

Death Valley is the lowest, hottest and driest spot in the US. Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest recorded temperature in the world, reaching 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913.

The Ranch at Death Valley

Fast Forward: This area, owned by Xanterra, is now called The Oasis at Death Valley. In 2018, The Inn and the sister property, The Ranch, underwent a $100 Million renovation. We spent the morning and afternoon walking around both. The Inn, with 66 rooms and new casitas, is designed for a high-end destination experience. The Ranch with 224 rooms is geared towards family and adventurers. 

Saloon at the Ranch at Death Valley
Inn at Death Valley

I had an opportunity to interview Trey Matheu, the General Manager, and will be writing some articles about Death Valley and these properties. He told me they are now calling the $100 Million restoration “Phase One” and will be enlarging and enhancing both properties in the future. Additional date trees will be planted and harvested as well as some experimental fruit trees at the Inn. More lodging and some stores and an old time ice cream parlor will be added to The Ranch.

Date Tress at the Inn at Death Valley

Our afternoon was spent lazing around the pool. The temperature this afternoon climbed to 121 degrees. Not for the feignt at heart! But, hey…we are from Tucson (and have escaped some of the hot summer). The 87 degree temperature in the pool cooled me down. It must have some minerals in it because I floated easily.

Pool at the Inn at Death Valley
Pool at The Inn at Death Valley

The Inn Dining Room was our choice for another delicious dinner. I started with dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with prosciutto and a pomegranate reduction. The perfect meld of tastes and presented beautifully. 

Blue Cheese Wrapped Dates

Bub’s Shrimp Cocktail featured huge shrimp cooked to perfection.

Shrimp at Death Valley Inn

The Kale Salad included radish slices from gigantic radishes that were crisp and tart. Additionally goat cheese, cranberries, and apples with an apple cider vinaigrette dressing convinced me I was eating healthily!

Kale Salad at Death Valley Inn
Those pink things are radishes

I ordered Mahi-Mahi and Bub choose the Lamb.

Lamb at Death Valley Inn

He wasn’t impressed with the Lamb but liked the fish-so we switched plates. This is his birthday trip, after all. It was all good. 

Mahi-mahi at Death Valley Inn

Another day in Paradise

Spring fed pool at Death Valley

With God’s watercolors in the sky to end it.

Sunset at Inn at Death Valley
Sunset at Death Valley Inn

I’m posting articles on the places we visited. This one appears on a great blog called The Traveling Fool

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