Why did we create
In a word: Frustration. Being back road explorers
ourselves, we were constantly frustrated by either incorrect information
and/or lack of any information at all. Most of the time, we just
wanted to know "what is there to see in this area?" or "why would we
want to go there?"
Finding the answer to those questions required
time-consuming research from so many different sources - books, the
Internet, old maps, etc. We spent many more hours on the researching of
an area than we did in all of the other parts of preparing for a trip. A
lot of the information we gathered wasn't written down at all; it was
gathered by word-of-mouth from other explorers we met along the way,
helpful Rangers or friendly people at the various Visitor's Centers.
Having spent years gathering information this way for our
own travels, one day we thought how nice it would be
if there was a single-source for all this. As we searched for this
single-source, we quickly realized that such a thing did not exist. We
just knew that other explorers must be having the same problem and be just
as frustrated. So, why not create this single-source ourselves and
share it with our fellow explorers? Why not put all that knowledge we
had gained into a kind of travel/tour guide? A "virtual" tour guide!
As our idea took off, we realized that these Guides would
also be a great way for us to share the awesome beauty of
these out-of-the-way places with those who, for whatever reason, are not
able to get out and go there themselves. We enjoy and appreciate
nature so much - we are always amazed at what She can show us - her
wonders are endless. We try to "take you there in pictures" and
descriptions so that anyone using the Guides will get the "feel" of the
area and, hopefully, enjoy it as we have.
We love to take pictures but sometimes we don't have very many (or
any at all) for a particular area. There are several reasons for this.
Sometimes the lighting conditions aren't very good so we take the best
pictures we can at the time; hoping we'll get back to that spot sometime in
the future to take some better ones (and get them to you via
What's New). Sometimes the beauty and grandeur
of a place is just too much for us to capture with our cameras and it
becomes one of those places you "just have to be there" to see. And,
sometimes we don't photograph everything because we want to leave you
a few surprises and let you enjoy the "wonder of discovery" for yourself.
We hope to provide you with just the right balance between information and
Computer System Requirements
install our Virtual Tour Guide CD,
computer needs to run a Windows™ 98 or
above operating system. If your computer runs a
different operating system (like an Apple Macintosh), then you will need
to Purchase a Subscription.
We have found that our pictures look their best
when your screen resolution is set to 1024x768. We ask that,
before viewing a Sample Guide or a Virtual Tour Guide CD, you check your
monitor display settings and see what "resolution" you are using.
Your computer's display screen has the ability to
let you view information at different "resolutions". Typical
resolution dimensions are: 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, etc. The
higher the dimension values (resolution), the smaller the images get
because more information is being displayed on the screen.
To check and/or change your computer's screen resolution,
follow these steps:
This should change your computer screen and give you the
best "look" for our website text and pictures.
Our Virtual Tour Guides also run on Apple products,
such as Mac and iPad. However, the standard CD only ships with a Microsoft
There are two ways to use our guides on Apple products.
One is to purchase a
subscription. Then you
can use our guides when your Apple is connected to the Internet.
Two is to special order an Apple CD. This CD will
include the entire Virtual Tour Guide. Once you receive the CD, you will
need to copy the files from the CD onto the hard drive of your Apple computer.
Once the files are on your Apple, you can create a shortcut that will start the
guide. Contact us before you purchase a CD
copy of a guide so that we will send out the correct CD.
How to Install
the Death Valley CD Onto Your Computer
Our December 2005 version of our Death Valley Virtual
Tour Guide was designed to run directly from the CD. On some computers, CD
drives are slow, which means our guide will run slowly. It runs much
faster if it is installed directly on your computer. So if you would
rather have the entire guide installed on your computer's hard drive (i.e. C
drive), then click on the link below to open a PDF file and read the
Something you may notice about our Guides is that they tend to talk
briefly or not include the more popular or well-known attractions
of the area. There are two reasons for this. One is that we
prefer to explore the less-crowded, off-the-beaten-path locations. The
other reason is that those popular spots have already been photographed and
written about many times and we want to offer you
We would like to thank all those who have helped us along the way
in the creation of these Virtual Guides. We know that books have
"dedication pages" and wanted to do something like that for our Guides.
Thanks to all the helpful people we've talked to over the years -
in museums, in restaurants, in Visitor's Centers and alongside the road.
We have run into so many nice people over the years who were willing to
spend some time with us and share their information freely. And
special thanks to our friends - Jan, Bobbi, Connie and Ivan - and our
families who were
so patient when we asked them to "hold still" for the multitude of
pictures we've taken.
Other people around the Mojave Desert we would like to thank are Rob
Fulton of the Zzyzx Desert Studies Center for much of his input and
geologist Lauren Wright for his guidance on geology.