Sunday, October 6, 2019
After seeing the Charcoal Kilns, we drove down Wildrose Road and turned north on Panamint Valley Road. Turning left on CA-190 we drove to Panamint Springs to eat lunch and explore.
Panamint Springs Resort Restaurant is easy to find. It faces the road and the sign says what it is, restaurant. Just like in Furnace Creek, we were the first, and for a while only, ones seated for lunch. We did arrive around 11:00 AM.
The inside dining room is small and rustic. American Food. The service was snappy. Of all of our recent waiters, I liked this one the most.
We both had fish and chips. Three pieces of Alaskan Cod on a bed of French Fries. The fish portions were smaller than usual. The food was hot and the fish was good quality. I would eat here again when passing by.
The Gas Station and General Store is small. The gas station carries Diesel and three flavors of gasoline. The General Store also functions as the RV Park office and the hotel/motel desk. Guests staying at Panamint Springs would stop off at the General Store to get the room and campsite assignments.
The campground was underwhelming and way too rustic for our taste.
Each site is marked in red paint on white painted rocks. However, the campsite boundaries weren’t always as clear and knowing where to place the RV in the site could be a challenge.
The good news, this is another campground in Death Valley with full hookups.
After we were done exploring Panamint Springs, we headed east on CA-190 toward Father Crowley Vista, number 9 on the map below.
Father Crowley Vista provides a view of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders. Rainbow Canyon is a short hike from the vista point. Military Pilots practice low-level high-speed maneuvers through Rainbow Canyon making the vista an ideal place for fighter jet fans to see and photograph US military jets in action.
What we didn’t know when we left Panamint Springs that morning was CA-190 is the road from hell. The 8 mile Panamint Springs to Father Crowley Vista serpentine road twists, turns, bobs and weaves. It clings to steep canyon walls and perches on ridges. There are no shoulders. Guardrails are on the lines. Hairpin blind corners are common. Few pullouts are available. Lots of 8% grades. Lots of 25 MPH turns. Lots of bicyclists.
Lots of Bicyclists riding bikes on a road where cars can’t pass without going over the double yellow line. I’m not sure what is more amazing. That bicyclists would risk their life on a road like this or that they could maintain 10 MPH going uphill on an 8% grade.
The third time passing a bicycle I had to slow down to 10 MPH on a blind corner. There was no room for the bicyclist to move over. No room for me to pass without crossing the yellow center line on a blind curve. I waited what seemed like an eternity for an opportunity to pass safely. Finally it was safe to pass.
Linda, sensitive to the danger, was having a loud and distracting anxiety attack next to me. She kept explaining to me that we were in immediate mortal danger. The explanations grew louder and more frequent. Pleading, demanding and ordering something be done to save our precious souls.
No longer able to concentrate on driving, I looked for a place to turn around. Even with a small spot to pull off the road, the lanes weren’t wide enough to just do a U-turn. Turning my wheels hard to the right, I backed off road up the gravel incline then cranked the wheels to the left and headed back down the hill.
I figure we turned around somewhere around mile seven of eight. Linda’s panic attack subsided when we passed Panamint Springs Resort. We went straight back to our Stovepipe Wells campsite where we quietly hung out for the remainder of the afternoon.
We won’t ever be seeing Father Crowley Vista together taking this route.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!