2016 - 2017 Trip to the Southwest

Day 116

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Thursday, February 23, 2017, Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA, 168.2 Miles, 4,718.3 Miles For the Trip

It was fairly dark last night (and cool, 35°F by morning) so I took a couple of star circle photos. The first one shows the formations in the background because a car went by twice (in each direction on a one way road). Still, to light them up with a flashlight would have been difficult, so I can't complain. The second one was shot aiming at Polaris, the North Star. Because it is in the center of the image, the rest of the stars appear to circle around it due to the turning of the Earth.

For those interested, the 1st image was a 20 second exposure at f; 2.8 & ISO 2500. Any longer exposure, even at 17mm starts to change from stars as dots to streaks. The first circle was a 52.5 minute exposure at f:4.5 & ISO 640 and the last one 54 minutes at f:4.5 & ISO 320. All three shot with a D800 & Nikkor 17 - 35mm lens @ 17mm.

Looking West North West & Car Lights Looking North


After breakfast, I had to drive out of the park the wrong way myself. There was a backhoe set up in the middle of the road around the corner from my site. I'm glad the trailer is short enough that I could turn around in one of the sites so he didn't have to move out of the way.

I drove north on CA 14, then US 395 to CA 190 which runs through the park. I stopped for gas at Stovepipe Wells ($2.95 per gallon vs close to $4.00 here at Furnace Creek) and checked at the ranger station for conditions at the racetrack. Now I've been coming to Death Valley for years (first time in 1950) and never had a vehicle I'd be comfortable driving to the racetrack. Now that I have a truck with Kevlar tires, the Playa is flooded, so you can't see the rocks or tracks. The ranger said it may dry up by the time I'm ready to leave on Tuesday, so I'll keep checking back. For those that haven't heard of the racetrack, it is a flat area where rocks mysteriously leave trails behind them as the "move" around the Playa. No one knows why they more, but there are lots of theories...

There isn't really a bend like the image shows in the panorama below; it is distortion caused by assembling a 180° panorama without proper panning of the camera (it was handheld).

Along CA 190 (Full size JPG (3.1 MB))


Along CA 190 Along CA 190 Site 68

Another interesting note. I'm set up at Texas Springs campground in site 68, a dry campsite for $8.00 per night with the Senior Discount. Last time I was here there was no AT&T coverage & a strong Verizon signal. Now AT&T has 3G coverage and there is no Verizon, even with the amplifier. So, since I can only use the AT&T data on my phone, not the laptop, it may be awhile before I post anything, including the large images from yesterday.

Dinner was a grilled turkey Bubba burger & Knorr's Chicken Flavor Fried Rice.

Until Tomorrow -


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Last Update: February 24, 2017