Scotty’s Castle
Today started with the sunrise special breakfast at Panamint Springs -- eggs, bacon, pancakes, orange juice, and coffee served outdoors on the porch.  When we had this breakfast on our summer trip, we decided to try staying here for a night.  We’ll probably STILL come back for breakfast!
We packed up and left about 9:00 am.  After a gas stop at Stovepipe Wells, we headed for Scotty’s Castle.  (In case you didn’t know, it is neither Scotty’s nor a castle.  It was built as a vacation home in the 1930s by Scotty’s good friend Albert Johnson.  Scotty just claimed it as his castle.  For more information, see Scotty’s story.)
We got to the castle about 11:00, and signed up for both tours -- the underground and the house.  Under the house, we saw the boiler, the 100 batteries that kept the fuel pumping to the generator, and the amazing Pelton water wheel that originally supplied most of Mr. Johnson’s power.  Standing in an underground tunnel full of building supplies, we peered through windows that would have been underwater had the lake/swimming pool ever been finished.  One tunnel under the house also provided much of the cooling -- it was fitted with giant fans and water-soaked burlap.
The house itself was lavish and elegant -- particularly for a mansion built in the 1930s in the desert.  Massive waterfalls gave at least a psychological cooling effect.  A dine-in kitchen, formal dining room, and Scotty’s room flanked the two-story main hall.  Up a curving stairway, you reach the bedrooms of the Johnsons, several guest rooms, and bathrooms that put our Death Valley room last to shame.
After about a three-hour break at the castle, we headed out on the last stretch of highway to Las Vegas.  By the time we got there, about 6:00 pm, it was getting dark.  Although we had a reservation at Motel 6, it took three tries to get an acceptable room.  Even then, there was only handicapped parking outside our door.  So, we found a really nice parking place for Harley... in the room!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Traveling through Death Valley
Scotty’s Castle
A castle turret
Telling time by sundial
The Johnsons travel in style in a 1933 Packard
The true name above the door:  Death Valley Ranch
Interior courtyard
The Johnsons couldn’t play a note, and used player rolls to make music behind the screen
In the upper music room, there is a gigantic pipe organ
There are plenty of dishes in the dining room for entertaining
Parking for Harley only