The US has some amazing national parks; Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Redwood to name a few known ones. I've always heard of Death Valley, but I never thought of going there, simply because while the name sounds like mysterious running down the back, the prospect of seeing a land of "dead" in my mind wouldn't entertain for maybe more than 2 mins tops. But go we did, and I'm glad, because yes, it's beautiful, it's frightening, a bit eye opening, but sincerely it just reinforced my notion of never put me in a survival race on the desert please.
After the initial "oohing" and "aahing" at Zabriskie, it was off to Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in North America at 282 ft below sea level. The ground was made of hardened salt. We tasted it, and that was some pretty good preservatives.
Of course, some of the most impressive sights involved the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. I had never seen real sand dunes, and even at the considerably smaller scale they were at Death Valley, I was bloody impressed. Every movie that involved any sand dunes flew through my mind, and nothing compared to the sight of those endless peaks.
It would've been the icing on the cake to stay the night in the desert, as half of it does come out at night. But we have a four day grand trip coming up, and there was a martini with my name on it waiting back at home, so we had to make due with a shot of golden hour as our tiny car pulled away from big desert.