Here is the link to a short video on our Arizona travels.

Feb 14-15
Heavy rains in the Palm Desert area – they got more than their yearly average in one day!  We do manage to visit Sunnylands Center – beautiful gardens and a retreat for world and national issues.  The gardens feature drought-tolerant plantings.

We also drive up to the Coachella Valley Vista Point where we can see from Palm Springs all the way to the Salton Sea.

Feb 16-17
We brave the winds and head north through solar fields and windmill fields.  The rains have mostly dried up, the sun is out, but the winds are fierce.  We find our way to the Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark.  The pinnacles look like nothing we have ever seen.  They are 10-100 thousand years old and consist of calcium carbonate formed in an underground sea so long ago.  They are slowly wearing away into this desolate landscape.  Lots of day use ATVs and off-road vehicle traffic, but only a few campers.

Feb 18-19
A scenic two days driving in Death Valley.  Beautiful mountain ranges with deep valleys between and desert landscape, even sand dunes.  The Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level, with huge salt flats stretching for miles surrounded by mountains all around.  It is really a gorgeous national park – well worth the visit.

The mountains and canyons are colored by mineral deposits and volcanic activity.  Borax was mined here in the 1880s.  Wagon trains of 20 mules pulled the 36-ton loads at a speed of 2 miles per hour to the railroad.  Each round trip took 30 days.  The borax was known as the “white gold of the desert” as it was basically the only profitable mining in Death Valley due to the extreme conditions.

Feb 20-21
Back down to farmlands and vineyards and even oil fields!  We carry on to the coast and drive through Big Sur and Carmel-by-the-sea to Monterey.  The highway winds up and down and hugs the coast, very narrow, along the glorious Pacific Ocean.  The water is turquoise blue/green with whitecaps and swells.

We stop to view about 100 sea lions and elephant seals on the beach with their newborn pups.  Very cool to see these creatures up close.

The Monterey Aquarium is very well done – we enjoy the jellyfish particularly.  We walk along Cannery Row where sardine canning was the major industry.

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