As tempting as the town of Death Valley Junction, CA, sounded, we decided to enter Death Valley National Park from the southeast, via Shoshone, CA. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, this is the way to go (just make sure you have a full tank of gas — unless you want to pay $5.10/gallon). We found some very interesting spots, from natural hot springs (clothing prohibited), a date palm plantation with a charming junk shop, to a museum in Shoshone that had actual mammoth bones and lots of cool rocks. After Shoshone, it’s 70 miles of lonely road through the park before the first named attraction, Badwater. When we got to Badwater, it was like a rude awakening — it was absolutely packed. We’ve got more stories to share from this leg of the journey — for now we’ll whet your appetite with a few snapshots.