Today we were Death Valley bound. We fueled up before leaving at Herbivore in Berkeley - this particular branch (there are three in the Bay Area) is located in a beautiful green art deco building with a light and airy interior. Everything on the menu was vegan, which lead to a protracted series of negotiations as to what we should each order (and share). We settled on:
Pesto Tofu Scramble (for T):
Fruit Pancakes (for me):
Wow! They were some of the fluffiest, tastiest and lightest pancakes I have ever had. T's scramble had just the right amount of pesto, and the sides of potatoes, tempeh bacon and sourdough bread were just fantastic.
We got some vegan donuts to take away (glazed and chocolate!), dragged ourselves away from Herbivore's extensive menu, and began the long (8 hour) drive to Death Valley Junction. The changes in landscape along the way were phenomenal. It began with the lush Yosemite National Park (which we will spend more time at at the end of our trip when we get to San Francisco proper). This led into the Eastern Sierra, where we had a break at Lake Mono. It is a surreal landscape, kind of like the Dead Sea. White sandstone type structures grow out of and around the water looking like semi washed away sandcastles.
The Sierra Nevada desert and even more so Death Valley are eerie places. We drove through Death Valley in the dark for the most part. This made me feel like we were in a horror movie that would see us breaking down, and some terrible creature hunt us down and smoke us. This was compounded by listening to Circular Sounds by Kelley Stoltz, as it is like music from a diner in the 50's (I consider this a great thing). We would occasionally put our arms out the window as the temperature display in the car got up to 104 F outside. At around 10 pm!
Seeing the Amargosa Hotel glowing white in the distance was a beacon in the middle of all the darkness. This hotel was used quite extensively in the filming of Lost Highway, a film that really creeped me out when it was released in 1997.
I was particularly creeped out by The Mystery Man, played by Robert Blake:
The Amargosa was used in scenes involving The Mystery Man, so when we rolled up near midnight, I was quite terrified. This was particularly when T kept saying he saw Robert Blake checking in, in the carpark, getting a drink, going into his room - you get the picture. We both managed to sleep quite peacefully despite all the self-inflicted torment : )