I have three options of routes to take when going to Death Valley from my home. First, I always head up 14 from L.A. to Mojave. From there, I can either go east on the 58 to Barstow, where I hook into the I15 to Baker, and from there to 127 and then 190. Or, I keep going north up 14 to 395 and catch the west end of 190 out of Olancha to take “the long way” in to Death Valley. This is the way I usually go because I don’t like the I15. People don’t drive nicely on the I15 between Los Angeles to Las Vegas. They’re all in a hurry to gamble and cutting in and out of traffic while driving 90 mph is the modus operandi. I don’t like it. Plus, it’s prettier going into Death Valley from the west end. The fun option, though, is to go through the Panamint Valley via Trona.
Trona is fantastic. It’s like something out of a novel. The mineral plant looms over the small town and valley, going day and night, with beige and rust-colored trains stretched out across the valley, smelly steam coming out of stacks and stark vistas that look like they’ve been colorized from a black and white photo. There’s an epic story that is hiding just under the surface of Trona.
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