Badwater - Run to Furnace Creek

Mention the word "Badwater" to someone who has toured Death Valley in a Ferrari and you will very likely see a grin begin to spread across their face. Badwater is the lowest point in the continental U.S. and as a result the air is more concentrated than at higher altitudes. A better place for an engine to breathe. Badwater is about 17 miles from the Furnace Creek Inn. This 17 mile drive is on a great road with great visibility, sweeping curves and spectacular straightaways. The trip from the Inn to Badwater can be completed in considerably less time than it takes to cover the corresponding 17 miles of its celebrated counterpart in Carmel. It?s a trip you can take in the early hours of the morning when the air is still and most people are still enjoying the last hour or two of restful sleep. You can also enjoy this trip after breakfast before settling down for a relaxing day on the shore of the naturally heated pool at the Inn.

Ferraris and Panamints The Furnace Creek Inn, the Panaminits, and the Ferraris.

Late afternoon is a perfect time for a run to Badwater. The shadows are long and on the way back you can visit the Artist?s Palette Drive where the waning Western sunlight illuminates multicolored minerals spread over the vegetation free landscape. Badwater can easily become more of a concept than a location for the Ferrari enthusiast who visits this region. Something like a Zen experience. I hope you will all have an opportunity to make the pilgrimage to Badwater sometime during your span of years as a Ferrari owner. A group from the Southwest region of the FCA made such a pilgrimage over the weekend of Nov. 1-3 with very pleasant results.

I have written about the Death Valley region several times over the past few years, and it is getting hard to come up with new superlatives. It is a special place in a number of ways. There is the history of the old west, the beauty and grandeur of the region, the comfort and style of the Furnace Creek Inn, the traffic free roads and the fun of spending time with some very nice people. This year our caravan to Death Valley began on a Friday morning. We left the city and made our first landfall at the outlet stores near Barstow. This was not part of the official plan (the one with the history, grandeur, comfort and all that), but it is often one component of our trip to Death Valley. After tempting ourselves up to and beyond our limits, we continued on our way and arrived in Death Valley about 3:30 PM in time to begin exploring all that the Inn offers. A pleasant surprise was roped off parking right in front of the Inn.

It doesn?t take much more than this to make a bunch of Ferrari owners feel like the weekend is off to a good start. After settling in our rooms and relaxing for a while, we gathered in the ?Library? for a wine and cheese get acquainted party. After that Jack from the Inn trucked us down to the saloon for cowboy sized meals consisting mainly of steaks. A few beers and some more wine helped to bring down the barriers and anyone could see that the group was bonding well. My wife is not going to let me reveal all of the conversation topics, but I can tell you that we did come close to the edge of propriety while discussing some personal hygiene matters.

Vail, Ellen, Bill and Bonnie Vail, Ellen, Bill , and Bonnie at the wine tasting reception.

On Saturday everybody did their own thing which included driving to Scotty?s Castle, swimming in the pool and yes, a run to Badwater. After darkness fell, the schedule called for a leisurely four course meal in the dining room of the Inn. I guess leisurely would be something of an understatement. It turned out that most of the ki