The route from Los Angeles to Death Valley takes one through some interesting terrain.  Google Maps plotted a route that went 263 miles or about 4 1/2 hours (longer with stops along the way).  One major town en route is Mojave, which has a population of more than 4,200.  There is a large area where commercial airlines park their jets for storage in the desert.  Mojave is also home to the Mojave Air and Space Port, which bills itself as "the world's premier flight test facility (+)." A Union Pacific train line runs through Mojave, and giant wind generators fill the skyline.  In the Randsburg area, shacks dot the hills like something out of a movie; it is described as a living ghost town.  The Wagon Wheel OHV (off-highway motor vehicle) Staging Area has distinctive groupings of giant boulders.  In the Searles Valley one can see the Trona Pinnacles, a geological feature, and the dry lake which feeds the big Searles Valley Minerals plant.
Recent rains have added a carpet of green to the desert floor on the road to Death Valley.

Wagon Wheel OHV Staging Area, administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
Rock formation near Wagon Wheel OHV.

Searles Valley Minerals has a long and interesting history.  Since 2007 it has been owned by Nirma Ltd., a public company in India.  Facilities produce borax, boric acid, soda ash and sodium sulfate.  The Searles Valley Historical Society operates a museum in Trona which is worth a stop.  Searles Lake Gem and Mineral Society runs an annual Gem-O-Rama event in October which draws big crowds.

In contrast to Trona, other mining ventures have long since ceased operations.

Not yet in the Park, but getting close.