So the folks and I are entertaining the idea of a mini excursion (Roadtrip #6A if you will) in the next few months. (No big trips for any of us this year due to time and budget, y'all know how that works.)
We're thinking of a 4-5 day roadtrip that would have us re-visit Death Valley NP in a little more detail (in contrast to the quick taste from 2007, where we missed Scotty's Castle and Dante's View), and also cover the wide swath of desert that is the Mojave National Preserve. I didn't realize the plethora of geological features there. We've passed right by it so many times on previous roadtrips, but never thought about what it had to offer.
I'm thinking in the time frame of mid- to late-April since that usually seems to be peak times for wildflowers (if the season turns out), although with the mild weather we've had so far, I wouldn't be surprised if peak time showed up much earlier, if at all.
I've read Mark's report from 2002, so I already know Kelso, Hole-in-the-Wall and the Sand Dunes are definitely on the list (provided the hiking isn't too strenuous). But how about things like the Granite Mountains? Rock Spring trail? Mitchell Caverns? Zzyzx? Any particular roads with spectacular scenery? We'll have 2-3 days to explore this area so I'd love recent feedback from past visitors about their highlights.
I'm also looking into local accommodations (I wouldn't mind camping but mom has quite a few personal objections about that, haha). We have a few free nights saved up at the Best Western chain but the closest ones are Ridgecrest and Needles, which isn't the most optimal solution as far as distance goes (maybe Ridgecrest as a viapoint between Death Valley and the Preserve) but are there other places that are economical yet comfortable?
Just trying to get a feel for what we're getting ourselves into. :)