DEATH VALLEY & BEYOND
Submitted by: Kathie McCall - Feb. 2005
February 11 through 14, 2005 in Death Valley National Park in the winter is a beautiful and unusual place to visit. Never having been there in spite of living in California all of our lives, we felt the tug to participate in this most unusual Model A trip. We weren't disappointed. Glenn Johnson put together a fabulous itinerary, covering every detail imaginable. We drove our “A” all the way, along with Richard & Jeannie Parrish and Glenn & Sharon. Piet & Judi Dwinger and Fran & Greg Earhart trailored their cars, with Chris Foster and Everet Parker in their ‘modern'. We visited and drove through towns we had never heard of before.
The first day we met up with other Model A members from Palomar, San Fernando and Santa Anita Chapters in the ghost town of Randsburg. Then we set out as a caravan of 20 cars heading towards our destination of Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley . We stopped in the towns of Trona, Panamint Springs, Stovepipe Wells and finally Furnace Creek. Cool crispy weather accompanied us the entire time. At times we were at the snow line as well as the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere all in the same day. Of course, we were treated as celebrities all along the way, with people waving, picture taking and videotaping from passing motorists. We felt like the Park Ranger who pulled us all over while we were traversing the countryside just didn't appreciate our claim to fame. It seems we “could have been cited as an illegal caravan”, but we did notice a smirk on his face as he admonished all of us together.
We became famous in the little ghost town of Goldpoint , Nevada , where the mayor (also serving as the fire chief, historian, and ‘owner') welcomed us with a tour and fireside chat as we all high tailed it to the public restroom (outhouse) and had a cold one at his combined saloon/town hall. We continued our journey through the gold rush countryside to Goldfield, where we were again welcomed as celebrities at the Mozart Club Restaurant, where they hadn't experienced a ‘crowd' such as ours for over a year. Again, the local historian provided us with much trivia, including the little known fact that Fed Ex actually was started in this little town during its heyday. We had stopped earlier in the town of Beatty , Nevada in the smoky Burro Inn and Casino, where locals came over to the parking lot to visit and look at the cars. Glenn had us going every minute but all of us were fascinated with what we were seeing and hearing about the early pioneers and the gold seeking ‘49ers and the struggles they endured. We experienced mind-boggling ecological formations, snow covered peaks, even sand dunes, as we drove through and stopped at such places as the abandoned Borax mines, Badwater Basin and the ghost town of Rhyolite. We spent a half-day touring Scotty's Castle and learning about Scotty and Albert & Bessie Johnson (the millionaires who financed the project and eventually sold it to the National Parks Services). The frosting on the cake was our drive out of the park as we headed for home. The surrounding mountains were green and spectacular and the desert was abloom with pink, purple, yellow and white wild flowers. What a show!
I'm sure I'm forgetting much and space does not permit the detailing of just how great this trip was. We met many new friends and shared the experience of just how vast and diverse this area is.
We had no problems at all with any of the cars, not even a flat tire. A big thank you to Glenn and Sharon who hosted several social times in their
room and made sure everyone was having a great time. Also to Piet Dwinger who always remained the rear car looking out for anyone who might be experiencing problems and helping us stay together.
Photos by Glenn & Sharon Johnson
Picture Link -