On the way back north from a wonderful time in Quartzite to the cold and wet of Washington State we had a wonderful stop at Death Valley NP. It was 87 in Death Valley and 19 and snowing at home.
Death Valley was beautiful except for one event.
We went to "The Racetrack" to see the moving rocks. After about two hours of driving (actually bouncing would be a better description) on the 27 miles of narrow very bumpy dusty road to The Racetrack we arrived safely and enjoyed a pleasant late afternoon. We headed back to the campground and I was prepared to do most of the 27 mile return trip in the dark. About 2 miles into the return trip on the aforementioned narrow very bumpy dusty road there was a loud noise almost like an explosion and lots of grey smoke coming from the back of my Toyota Tacoma. I said "oh poop" or something like that and stopped to take a look at the situation. Now it's almost dark, 25 bumpy miles to a paved road, another 35 miles on the paved road to a telephone, (no cell service) and then about 70 miles to the nearest repair shop in Pahrump, Utah. I smell burning oil and have oil spray all over the side of the truck. I'm thinking broken oil cooler line or transmission cooler line or a busted oil pan or transmission pan and a long expensive tow. I'm also thinking a night sleeping in the truck before help arrives. I was a wee bit stressed. Kathi was even more stressed. It turns out that one of the expensive Bilstein heavy duty, off road shocks had exploded and they have oil in them that hit the exhaust and smelled bad. Everything else was OK and I carefully made it back to civilization and had a few beers and everything was fine. I thought Bilstein shocks were lifetime guaranteed but since they are original equipment from Toyota, Bilstein does not warranty them and the Toyota PLATINUM warranty does not cover shocks. I'm out of luck, but I had visions of a much more expensive repair. It sure could have been worse.
Other than the one issue with the shock, it was a great trip. Death Valley has some very beautiful areas and the trip was well worth it. Excitement, beautiful weather and incredible scenery all made for a great experience.
Photos are of: Badwater, the lowest point in North America, Scotty's Castle, Titus Canyon, the moving rocks of The Racetrack, glass bottle house in the ghost town of Rhyolite, Leadville in Titus Canyon, and a view of Artist's Palette.