Cross-Country Trip, Days One & Two: From Oakland, CA to St. George, UT

So, the old lady and I are moving to North Carolina.  En route, we're taking a couple of weeks to drive across the country
and see all the insanity we can...


And so it begins!


From Bakersfield we took a scenic drive on Hwy 178 towards Lake Isabella...the drive through the canyon to get there
was pretty awesome (the lake...not so much). 


It made me think of the Scottish Highlands...rocky, grassy, very few trees.




En route to our first night's lodging, a cow had gotten loose and was in the road...I was too slow getting the camera out
so here it is trying to get back in the damn field. 


This is the little cabin we stayed at in Independence, CA (Mt. Williamson Motel)  - run by a nice elderly couple, and they
fix you a tasty breakfast in the morning.  Highly recommended. 


The next morning I woke up early for whatever reason, so I went outside and took a few photos of the sunrise...




We had a mountain range on either side of us.


The sun just starting to peek over the western hills that ran next to Death Valley, and shine on the snow-covered
Sierras on the other side.






On our way towards Death Valley, we were given a tip to check out the Alabama Hills, five minutes west of Lone Pine.
It was a great tip - this place was awesome.  They have filmed hundreds of movies here, mostly westerns, but for my
money the most noteworthy one is the modern classic "Tremors". 


Rock foot.  Just down the way from the rock lobster. 


Chelsea practices her "spokesmodel" wave while I climb around on the rocks.


Looming over the Alabama Hills is Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous U.S. at 14,505 feet.  And just
an hour drive from one of the lowest points in the world!  Crazy stuff.


Some of the crazy formations in the hills...




On our way out, we were greeted by a rock ape!  Very exciting for all concerned. 


A total creeper though, look at him lurking over my shoulder while we take a portrait. 


And if that wasn't bad enough, he tried to eat Chelsea.  He went from awesome rock ape to asshole rock ape pretty
quickly. 


The drive to Death Valley.


Death Valley - it's flat.  This is 200+ feet below sea level. 


The place was pretty other-worldly, like being on the surface of the moon.




I think they call this desert holly, but I called them Death Valley bonsai trees.  Because I can, damn it.


I took a photo of a rock.


This spot is called the "Artist's Pallette".  Really strange and colorful (but not as colorful as it could have been had it not
been overcast). 


Proof that we were there and that this I didn't just poach these photos from elsewhere. 


On our way out of the park, we stopped at Zabriskie Point...the following snaps were taken from there.










We stopped for gas in a middle-of-nowhere town outside of the park and saw this amazing sign...saw tons of great
signs like these on the trip, wish I could have photog'd them all.


We stopped in Pahrump, NV to get some ice cream at the "world's tallest ice cream stand", but both of us weren't
believing the claim...it was maybe two stories tall if that.  Liars!

After that, we hauled ass to St. George, UT, ate some Cracker Barrel, and hit the hay.