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Death Valley and Eastern Sierras, April 1978 - David, Kay, Laura, and Bill Bushnell took a trip to Death Valley and the Eastern Sierras during spring break. Winter extended into April in the mountains, so we had some interesting weather, not at all hot and desert-like in Death Valley. The Eastern Sierras were cold, snowy, and magnificent as viewed from Owens Valley.
We started our trip by flying from SFO to Bakersfield--they flew 737s in those pre-deregulation days--, then driving to Death Valley in a rented Ford Fairmont.
We spent two days in Death Valley, staying at the Furnace Creek Inn, which in those days required all men to be properly attired at dinner. I carried or wore an old dinner jacket, a rumpled white jacket with thin green/blue vertical stripes that was borrowed from the hotel office, apparently for the use of guests who forgot to bring one of their own. On one occasion a gentleman exiting the dining room, upon seeing that I was not wearing a jacket, handed me the hotel loaner as I entered.
Our stay at the then-Fred Harvey hotel was on the "American Plan", which meant that meals were included in the price of the room. I don't recall much about the food except for desserts that were served from a large, heavy multi-level dessert cart with baroque decorations that staff rolled with some difficulty over the plush carpeting when a guest expressed an interest in one of the desserts. Mom and Dad thought the desserts on the cart looked "tired", whether from being on display throughout the dinner hour or from being wheeled from table to table in the dining room to be sniffed over by the guests, I don't remember. I did order a piece of chocolate cake at one dinner.
Laura and I spent quite a bit of time exploring the gardens and tunnels under the hotel and riding up and down in the old elevator with manually-operated doors, the elevator attendant having been dismissed long ago.
We visited Artist's Palette, Zabriskie Point, and Mosaic Canyon. We may have visited other spots, but we took no photos.
Upon leaving Death Valley we returned to Owens Valley and drove north to Mammoth Lakes. The next day we took the gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain to enjoy the view. Then we drove north on US-395, spending the night in Carson City at the Ormsby House.
On the last day we drove to Reno to inquire about flying back to the bay area, but decided in the end to drive home. I'm sure driving an already-paid-for rental car cost much less than buying four airplane tickets.
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