Today we got up and took the boys for a walk around the RV park in which we were staying before heading back to Harvey the RV for breakfast.
Cooper took an intense interest in the preparatory activities (probably because there was butter and bacon at nose level to him).
However, he showed a bit more restraint after I banished a spatula at him. I love him and all, but bacon is bacon...
Rufus observed all this with usual sangfroid from the bed at the rear of the RV.
Preparations complete, Kelly and I sat down to a tasty meal of french toast, bacon, icy milk, and hot coffee. YUM!
All this hubbub exhausted Rufus, who elected to start his daily nap early.
After breakfast, we packed up and headed out. Kelly volunteered to assume the driving duties for the day with oversight from Rufus. His perspective is that, just because he is too young to have a driver's license and lacks opposable thumbs does not mean that he is not capable of providing navigational input.
With Rufus up front helping Kelly deal with the severe cross winds which were buffeting Harvey the RV, Cooper decided it was his turn to nap.
We spent the next several hours driving through an arid valley flanked on either side by snow capped mountains.
Rufus (possibly picking up on Cooper's habit of using him for a head rest), alternately leaned on Kelly and I to gaze out the window.
We had converted the dining area just behind the driver's seat into a bed, which Cooper discovered positioned him perfectly to be able alternately doze and take in the passing scenery.
The terrain grew noticeably more arid as we drove south along long miles of blacktop flanked by scrub brush.
We passed a large dry lake bed, which the howling wind was whipping into a nasty dust storm.
Then, more miles and miles of straight highway and high desert.
Cooper decided he had not slobbered on my face recently (this being one of his favorite forms of expressing affection).
We finally began to approach Death Valley, and stopped to check out a view point before starting our descent.
We also decided to let the boys out to stretch their legs as well.
An interesting point of reference for our descent was the progression of altitude signs we passed.
[I was too slow to grab the camera for the 1,000 ft sign]
We finally passed into Death Valley itself, and were greeted by (guess what?) miles and miles of ruler straight desert highway.
The scenery, however, was amazing.
As the afternoon wore on, Cooper became less and less patient with Kelly and I blathering on about how beautiful it was outside.
He and Rufus both leaned on me (literally) to take a rest stop.
We finally relented and pulled over at Furnace Creek.
This place turned out to be appropriately named, given that the temperature at 6:40pm was 120 degrees...
It now became clear why the windows of the RV had grown hot to the touch, and why sticking my hand out the window to take pictures felt like someone had suddenly turned a blow drier on it.
The boys decided that they were not so desperate for a rest stop after all, and elected to stay in the air conditioned RV. Cooper amused himself by chasing reflected sunlight on the floor.
We were now on the final leg of the trip for the day, headed towards an RV park in Pahrump, NV. Along the way, we continued to pass fantastic vistas as the sun began to sink.
We finally pulled into the RV park after dark, and settled in for the for the night. Tomorrow, Las Vegas!
All the pictures from today can be found here.