2008.05 | Las Vegas, NV | Our First Cadillac Vacation
Death Valley National Park is one of my favorite places on Earth. While many people describe this place as an unbearable and desolate wasteland, I see nothing but intensity. Intense heat, intense light, intense colors and even when there are other people around, an intense and peaceful feeling of solitude.
We drove into the park through the Furnace Creek entrance, which is a challenging road that can be a real treat for a driving enthusiast in a great car. From an altitude of 3040 feet above sea level, the steep and winding road quickly takes you down to valley floor, almost 300 feet below sea level. This was my best opportunity to push the Cadillac CTS, and finally discover for myself, what all the buzz was about. The car responded beautifully. I pushed through corners with incredible ease – braking later and accelerating sooner than any car I had ever driven. Perhaps even more impressive was that despite my aggressive driving, Kelly never once told me to slow down and didn't complain about being car sick. The Cadillac CTS is a true joy for both the driver and the passenger.
Once in the park, we ate lunch in the 49’er Café at the Furnace Creek Ranch and picked up a few essential supplies. It was still too early in the year for the serious heat, but by the time we left the visitor center, the temperature was closing in on 100F. After doing an automotive photoshoot on the Devil’s Golf Course, we hiked up to the Natural Bridge (foolishly left our water bottles in the car), walked on the salt flats at Badwater, explored the sand dunes, and bought some much needed ice cream at the Stovepipe Wells General Store.
As evening came on, we drove out of the park through Daylight Pass (too tired to stop at Rhyolite) returned to Vegas on NV95. Our only disappointment was not seeing a Roadrunner.
Visit the Death Valley National Park pages on the nps.gov website for maps, photos and more about the hottest, driest, and lowest place in the Western hemisphere.
If you want to do Death Valley in style, try a weekend in the Furnace Creek Inn.
Did you know that I once rode my bicycle into Death Valley from Las Vegas? In fact, on the second day of this 8 day adventure, I set my all time distance record for a single day, 126 miles and two mountain passes. I don't have any pages up yet, but I hope to someday post stories and photos from my 1999 cycling adventures.