Leaving Las Vegas we weren't sure what was awaiting us in Death Valley. Since the Federal Government shut down the preceding day all the national parks have been closed. If the situation continues it will really put a dampener on our plans. We had been hoping to go to Death Valley,Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP in the next few weeks. Mind you it is just a small inconvenience to us compared to everyone who works there who have been put on unpaid leave until they can get their acts together in Washington. We figured Death Valley was a good test to see what the situation was as it has a main road running through it which they can't actually close. Driving through we were able to experience the desert: 38 degrees Celsius and the beautiful desolate scenery.
However nearly all the side roads to overlooks and places of interest were closed, as were all the campsites.
Eventually when we were almost through the park we found a lodge that had a few RV sites open. It was right next to the official NP campsite which was completely closed but they were still open for one more night, so we quickly pulled in.
Cutting our Death Valley plans short we headed west. We drove through some fantastic scenery through rocky desert canyons until we hit Bakersfield.... suddenly the sky turned brown and constant oiled refineries and dusty farms was up there vying for our least attractive drive spot.
So we decided to press on, after a mammoth 9 hour drive we arrived just after sunset on the stunningly beautiful pacific coast at Montana de Oro State Park. The following morning once we could appreciate how unexpectedly lovely the place we just picked off the map was we decided to stay for 2 more nights. The coast here is wild and untamed with rocky outcrops, sea lions and howling coyotes at night. We are now looking forward to driving up the Big Sur and seeing what delights that the State Parks might have in store for us while we wait to see if we can make it to Yosemite next week.