Now, for years and years Las Vegas has been my list of Places I Don't Care If I Ever Go Before I Die. I mean, Vegas--glitz, crowds, lights, noise, gambling, shows, lounge singers. . . not exactly this shy homesteading mama's style. My dream vacation destination is more like miles and miles of wilderness, hardly any people, and the people you do run into are of the quiet keep to themself kind. No neon, nothing blinking except stars, and not much money outlaid. Lots of physical activity--that's what I do for fun. Sitting for long periods of time drives me nuts (one of the reasons I have so many hobbies that involve handwork: knitting, sewing, quilting, counted cross stitch, blogging, writing stories, drawing. . .if my hands are busy I can sit still longer with more contentment).
So, how in the world did I find myself in Vegas, and why am I referring to my 5 days there as glorious?
Because DH finally talked me into going. He's been there several times for work trips; all of which have him sleeping in a hotel room in Vegas, but spending his days driving around. It was the around Vegas part that he knew I would like. Within a few hours drive of the glitzy Sin City are numerous wilderness, quiet, sparsely populated type places where you can hike or otherwise look at scenery.
Plus, we had some hotel points kind of things expiring at the end of 2014, and shortly after moving DS1, K2 and family in with us, DH wisely predicted that he and I both would be in need of a break before the end of the year arrived. With both of our birthdays in December, he suggested that we take a short trip in the week between my birthday and his, and use up those hotel points while escaping from the stress that our larger household has brought. We looked at what our options were of places to go, and Vegas came out the winner. Guess I have to amend my list.
Here are some photos I took while there. Or, mostly, while I was not there. Meaning not in Vegas proper (except to sleep; our room was located 1 block off the Strip), but rather out in all those cool wilderness, quiet, sparsely populated hiking type places.
The city at night:
picture taken out window of our 16th floor room
The city at dawn (my body stayed on Michigan time the entire five days, which meant I saw every sunrise and I was ready for bed by 8 p.m.):
First day trip: Hoover Dam; which we toured, and it was totally cool, from a nerdy construction/architecture/engineering-type of standpoint
view of bridge from inside ventilation duct in wall of dam
turbines in the dam
Second day trip: hiking in Red Rock Canyon (including spotting numerous cougar tracks that couldn't have been more than 18 hrs old--it had poured rain the afternoon before)
oh my, it's a big feline!
followed by a drive up Mt. Charleston
yes, it snows in Nevada
Third day trip: Death Valley! I took soooooo many pictures that day, it was really hard to choose just a handful (well, maybe two handfuls) to share here.
looking for water in the desert (near Panamint)
I would have never expected to see a water lily growing wild in Death Valley
coyote standing near the edge of the road
(pic is taken out open driver's side window!)
DH walking a ridge;
can't tell in the photo, but that is about a 40' drop off the sides of the path
(and yes, I walked it too, I'm right behind him with the camera)
at a lower elevation
end of the day
Fourth day trip: Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire.
northern end of Lake Mead
Photo in which the low water level of the lake is exemplified by DH's GPS. Blue triangle is how far off the main road we drove the car, and were still at least a hundred feet (mostly down) from the real edge of the water. However, GPS thought we were scuba diving, or something.
Valley of Fire was awesome. We spent so much time hiking, and looking at petroglyphs in several different areas.
wish I could read this;
something about goats and people dancing?
trail with high walls
laying on my back on the trail,
looking up for perspective of wall height
A lot of the trails had very steep parts; like grades of 25-45%, which required a bit of rock climbing/scrambling. I loved it!
at the top of one trail
heading back down the way we got up
The fifth day was really the day we flew home, which, with the 3 hr time difference between NV and MI, meant we arrived at the airport in Las Vegas before 8 a.m., and didn't step off the plane in Detroit until almost 5 p.m. No pictures of that.
But as you can see, I had a fabulous time in Vegas. Or, rather, a fabulous time not in Vegas. I saw lots of cool scenery, hiked 5-10 miles every day, and got to speed across the desert in a pretty sweet rental car.
Funny story, that.
When we got off the plane at the airport, and went to get our rental car, we were told to pick anything from a particular row. The vast majority of which were not domestic. Honestly, I saw one that was a US auto company (and, since DH works for one of the Big Three, it is important to us to drive domestic). He'd been hoping for a Jeep Wrangler, to accommodate some of the rougher driving conditions we had in mind, but the rental company didn't have one. The attendant on duty, when I expressed my displeasure at so many 'imports', said "You know what, why don't you take that black Challenger in that other row?"
Sure, I'd take that black Challenger!!
I also learned that the desert floor is not flat, it undulates. Which made
hauling ass driving through the desert in the Challenger quite fun.
The next time DH looks at me and says "Hey Baby, let's go to Vegas", I won't put him off for years. I'll jump at the chance. And I'll bring my hiking clothes. :0)