You really do gotta get in your dream trip through our Great Basin area, Michael, if only to actually taste the water at Stovepipe Wells. You can't drink water just anywhere around salt flats, especially if you see animal skeletons laying around the shore of little pools devoid of edge vegetation too. The water at Stovepipe Wells isn't poisonous; but it does have enough borax and minerals in it to make you want to instantly spit it out. Basically soap. You could probably do your laundry in it without added detergent. There are other desert areas where the water is so hard that if a drop gets onto your lens or any other glass item, it will instantly and permanently bond to it.

But Death Valley would be a suitable spot to set up a water distiller if you can find enough water - no need for a burner beneath it. Just leave it outside in the sun. The only real disadvantage is that going back into a darkroom and developing film at ambient air temperatures of 120F might be a bit annoying, if the lethal scorpions running around on the floor don't get you first. ... Just a hint. Visit Death Valley from Nov to April instead, and bring your own water ... and lots of film! ... in a cooler! If you go there in March, you'll spend the entire next month drying to get all the fine clay and salt dust blowing around out of your gear. Feb is awfully nice, but cold at the higher altitudes of the Great Basin. There are times I've camped in snow above Death Valley in the evenings. You'll need snowshoes for trails at the end of the road branching off above Stovepipe Wells, and perhaps 4WD to get there - but the views !!!