#wontEatWillTravel – Death Valley National Park

Venue: Death valley national park
Duration: 1 or 2 days
Best time to visit: October to April
Visitor Center: Furnace Creek
Accommodation: Few hotels/motels inside. We stayed in Las Vegas, NV
Entrance fees: $30

Death Valley national park is the hottest, driest, and lowest national park in the US. It covers an area of 3.4 million acres! Despite that, you can cover the national park in a day (if you utilize the daylight well). It is barren, bold, and beautiful. It is hostile and diverse. We had only one day to spend here, so we kept away from all hikes. Please make sure you wear sunblock (for summers), have enough warm clothes (for winters), your car has enough juice to survive the day, and carry enough food for yourself. Death Valley is one of the not-so commercialized national parks. There are hardly any restaurants and gas stations inside. If you are traveling from Las Vegas, the last stop to fill in gas is Pahrump. We picked up food in Las Vegas. The route we took is as indicated in the map below.

Dante’s view: This point offers a premier outlook of the national park. It is at 5476 ft. above sea level. It gives splendid views of the Badwater basin that is 282 ft. below sea level.
20 Mule team canyon: We did not know what to expect here. It is a beautiful drive surrounded by white mudstone hills. This one-way road starts fairly wide and narrows towards the end of the canyon before joining the highway. Statutory warning: The road gets curvy later.
Zabriskie Point: This is a good sunrise point. It offers a stunning overlook of the badlands full of canyons in all directions. It is a must-visit point.
Furnace Creek Visitor Center: This is the main visitor center. It has campsites, drinking water, restrooms, and a gas station.
Artist’s palette: There are multiple attractions en route to the Badwater Basin. The hills at Artist’s palette are green, pink, and yellow due to the presence of mica, manganese and iron salts, etc. We were losing daylight, so we drove straight to the Badwater Basin.
Devil’s golf course: The valley floor surface is jagged and uneven, unlike the Badwater basin. This quick stop is necessary.
Natural bridge: This 2-mile round-trip takes you to a natural bridge (1 hour). We skipped it.
Badwater Basin: The valley floor is a salt pan and the lowest point in the US at 282 ft. below sea level. It was our sunset point for the day. The feeling was surreal. You can walk as much as you want in the basin and come back.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: This was our stargazing spot.
6 PM: It felt like 9 PM. We got a good and clear view of the stars and the milky way. We spent an hour talking about the stars, the milky way, and ancient aliens.
7 PM: An animal ran across. We stood up. I turned on my flashlight and directed it to the animal. It was out of the reach of the light but stared right back at us. We decided to leave. We continued our conversation in the parking lot during dinner. Suddenly the car behind ours turned on the headlights and moved. We could see a set of the prying eyes around the vehicle. They left the spot.
On further research, we realized that we had been surrounded by a pack of kit foxes all this while! It was our first rendezvous with wildlife from up close. We left immediately.

I recommend you spend at least two days here and stay at a hotel inside the national park if possible. One can only imagine the sunrises and sunsets here. A few captured moments below.

PC: Ninad/Ankit/Me
Next: Zion National Park

#wontEatWillTravel Road trip Christmas 2020

Day 1/6

We wanted day one to be light. We left home at noon.

205 miles. 3 hours.

Punjabi Dhaba, Kingman, AZ: We stopped here for lunch. This one was a surprise. The restaurant hides behind a Love’s truck stop. You know it is an authentic Punjabi restaurant when you see Canadian truck drivers stopping for a take-out. The menu is limited but will more than satisfy your taste buds.

+85 miles. 1 and 1/2 hours.

Hoover Dam, AZ/NV: We reached this beauty a little before the sunset. All tours are closed owing to the pandemic. So, this was quick.

+38 miles. 45 minutes.

Las Vegas, NV: We went into full tourist mode and clicked a picture under the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.


We stayed at Caesar’s Palace hotel for the first two nights. Despite the pandemic, Las Vegas was pretty crowded. Only a few selected businesses remain closed. We were checked for temperature before check-in. The check-in procedure took almost an hour. The room was beautiful and had a pool view! Statutory warning: Parking is a pain.


We decided to walk the strip in the evening. We also took a ride in the Linq high roller. You can practice social distancing on the ride as every pod seats only 5-6 people. It promises fantastic views for sure.

We returned to the hotel at around midnight.
Next: Death valley national park.

PC: Ninad aka The Husband

#wontEatWillTravel Road trip – Christmas 2020

Almost 2000 miles. 6 days. 4 states. 4 national parks. The greatest road-trip of all times.

Ankit is visiting! My boys met each other for the first time.
Ankit and I hadn’t been to this part of the US yet. So, we decided to take a road trip to major destinations in and around Arizona. The destinations were a good mix of places we had visited earlier as well as new ones.
This post only outlines the trip. The upcoming posts shall go through all the days/national parks in detail.

Day 1:
Punjabi Dhaba, Kingman, Arizona (Must visit)
Hoover dam, Arizona/Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Night @ Las Vegas

Day 2:
Death Valley National Park, California
Night @ Las Vegas, Nevada

Day 3:
Zion National Park, Utah
Night @ Page, Arizona

Day 4:
Horseshoe bend, Arizona
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Night @ Page, Arizona

Day 5:
Lake Powell, Page, Arizona
Bearizona, Williams, Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim, Arizona
Night @ Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Day 6:
Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim, Arizona
Home Sweet Home.

A few tips if you are going on a road trip during the winters:
1. Clothing: You may need to wear layers. It can get windy, cold, and snowy.
2. Hiking: The major hikes may be closed during the winters. In the event you decide to take the trails that are open during the winters, I would recommend hiking/snowshoes and gear.
3. Gas: Across Arizona and Utah there are stretches with absolutely no civilization. Make sure your gas tank is always full.
4. Food/Drinks: We had a cooler bag full of adult/non-adult beverages at all times. We carried a month-worth of snacks as well. Most restaurants shut down at 9 PM. Depending on where you go you would want to check ahead and schedule accordingly.
5. Stay: We stayed at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, Marriott at Page, and Yavapai Lodge at Grand Canyon. I’d recommend going for lodges inside the national parks if you can.
We changed plans on the go and ended up traveling a lot more than we should have. For example, Bryce Canyon and Zion were last minute additions. Had we planned better, we would have stayed at Kanab (a place between both the national parks) rather than driving down to Page for the night.
6. Please mind the road closures.
7. Spontaneous changes are good. Make sure you have enough fuel for it.
8. We tried to see sunrises, sunsets, and do star-gazing wherever we went. We are sunset-chasers. So, we made sure all the sunsets were picturesque.
9. Don’t approach the wildlife. If you suspect wildlife is around you, excuse yourself. (Story in the upcoming posts)
10. Make sure your team has more than one driver. The more the merrier.
11. Try to drive as little as possible between two consecutive destinations. That saves time and miles.
12. With the sun setting earlier during winters, try to maximize the daylight.
13. We preferred not to spend time at breakfast and lunches. So, they were always on the go. This helped us utilize the daylight better. We made a point to return to the hotel by 8-9 PM. So, our dinners were relaxed and we could call it a day early.
14. Don’t try to pack a lot in a few days. Keep it relaxing.
15. Please download offline maps. None of our phones had a network for long hours.
16. Make sure you have phone chargers in your car.
17. Mind the speed limits. We saw innumerable speed traps, especially in smaller cities.
18. The sun is brutal even during the winters. Make sure you have a pair of sunglasses.

Here’s how our road trip looked on Google Maps.

A few highlights from the trip –