Day 2: Surviving Death Valley | Cross-Country Morgan Retrieval

Part 2 of the Cross-Country Morgan Retrieval.

Sight unseen, we bought a 1952 Morgan on the other side of the country. Now the fun part: Tim and Margie Suddard get to retrieve it.

Death Valley’s claim of being the hottest place in America is well earned. When we woke up the next morning in Furnace Creek, California, the thermometer was already claiming a temperature in the mid-90s. By the time we headed out to see some of the sights, the temperature had climbed north of 100 degrees. We headed out on Artist’s Drive, which is a fantastic loop, both from the scenery side and the driving fun side of things.

We loved Death Valley, and it is certainly a place worth visiting; however, even though we survived the heat, a return trip in January would perhaps be more pleasant.

Our stay at the Ranch at Death Valley took us back to the days of the Old West, and the bar and food were first-rate. The only unusual thing we noticed was the way the sink faucets delivered both hot and warm running water–yes, the place is so hot that they don’t even have cold water in the faucets.

But it was time to head west. The easier and more boring way is to head southwest to Bakersfield, California, and then up I-5 through California’s Central Valley.

We took the much more interesting and challenging route and headed up the east side of the Sierra Nevada, through Carson Pass and Devil’s Gate Pass, and then down into Stockton, where our Morgan was waiting for us.

When all was said and done, we ran up over 500 miles in the Suburban–the Aerovault trailer easily in tow. The truck drove well and, other than really wishing I had taken the time to install the brake controller we had brought with us, we had no issues.

After making a few stops along the way–most notably the Manzanar National Historic Site, a former Japanese internment camp located in Owen’s Valley–we made it to Stockton at 10:00 p.m. We celebrated our long day of driving with only the most gourmet of dinners: a couple of Coronas and some snack mix.

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Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/1/21 7:32 p.m.

In the hotter areas of CA, many old timers turn off their hot water heaters in the summer.  That becomes the "cold" water side since water stored in the turned-off hot water tank invariably feels a lot cooler than what's coming out of the ground.  Showering and washing are accomplished by using straight city water from a main buried no more than a foot below the surface and often less than that.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/1/21 7:40 p.m.

I was also hoping you'd catch a shot of the Alabama Fire on Whitney Portal Road just west of Lone Pine.  Manzanar is between Lone Pine and Independence.  A couple of years ago, climbers found the long lost remains of a Manzanar internee who snuck out of the camp and headed into the Sierra for some fishing at the end of the war when security was more lax.  Others in his party said he fell and hit his head on some talus.  They buried him under a rock cairn but could not find the place again.  The Forest Service identified the man using survivor DNA.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
7/6/21 7:31 a.m.

In reply to Jerry From LA :

Cool stuff Jerry. Thanks for sharing.

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