16 April 2006 Sunday – Easter Sunday

We continued on our way from Teakettle Junction to the Racetrack Playa.  The Racetrack Playa is the location of the famous moving rocks.  There are rocks on a dry lake bed that move, leaving tracks in the mud behind them. It’s been guessed that the small amount of water that gets here allows the ground to become slippery enough for the wind to blow these rocks.  We saw several rocks that had clear tracks on where they had been!  Weird!

Andrew was checking a map to see if there was another way out to avoid the washboard road.  We talked to a ranger we passed on the road and he said that the road Andrew was looking at was far worse than the one we came down.  He said we shouldn’t even be out here without 2 spare tires and then told us some automotive horror stories from the park: if you break down on a dirt road, a tow truck may refuse to come and get you, if they do, it can cost $1,500.00 to $2,000.00!!  If you break down in a remote area of the park (and there are LOTS of remote areas) you may be stuck with your car for 3 or 4 days before anyone can get to you.  And there is NO cell service in the park.  He told us that just yesterday, a brand new Volvo SUV broke a tie-rod end (a part that holds the wheel on) on the road we were on.  We were anxious to get off this road and onto pavement.  On our way out, we smelled something wrong on our truck.  We got off the dirt road ok, but we ended up breaking both rear shocks.  We had to get this fixed, so we asked at a gas station about a service station (that won’t gouge us!) and they sent us to the town of Tonapah, Nev, about an hour away.  We got a cheap hotel room next to a full service garage in Tonopah.

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