Showing posts with label nevada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nevada. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 28: Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day in Las Vegas. 

Definitely different than our life in Colorado.

First, a pretty cloudy but nice sunrise:




Martha and I then drove the rental car over to the Mob Museum, which proved to be OK but you really have to be interested in the Mob itself.  We were kind of hoping more for the Mob's history with Las Vegas.



Not a lot to photograph really, lots of photos of criminals, some videos, a display of a "speakeasy" of the Prohibition days (an event which helped grow the mob inmensely) and such.
Just an  artsy shot of a
fire escape on the way back
to the car.

By around 11 AM, we had rendezvoused with our son Patrick in his suite in the Trump International Hotel.  Martha took the opportunity to take a long hot shower and then sport the Trump bathrobe for us:


We left to go seek lunch at the Sugar Factory, but stopped first for a picture of the Christmas Tree in the Trump Hotel's lobby:


 Make Christmas Great Again!

 One of the stranger, to me, sights along the 
Las Vegas Strip

Note: The signature burgers at the Sugar Factory are a large amount of food.  I guess they're trying to make you feel that you got your money's worth (not exactly cheap) but all I felt was bloated afterwards.

Patrick and Martha amid the Christmas
decorations in the Wynns Hotel and Casino

We left Patrick back to his solo exploration of Las Vegas.  Martha and I headed back to the RV where I replaced the vent cap on the black tank exhaust tube with one that hopefully works better to draw out the "gases".

I finished that work in time for Christmas Day Sunset:








Pretty good Christmas Day events, Miles worked but for $25/hr so he was happy...subbing at the local ice skating rink back in Centennial, CO.  Patrick got his explorations done, continued seeking his souvenirs and enjoying his suite.  Martha and I relaxed at the URRV.  Yep, a good day.


Monday, December 24, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Days 25-27: Back in Las Vegas area, Martha and Patrick fly in, and the Hoover Dam

Dec 22:  Drove from Death Valley area back to the Las Vegas area.  The Red Canyon BLM campground I planned to stay at was closed due to the government shutdown annual tradition.

So I went with plan B and went back to the Dry Lake Bed BLM camping area south of Henderson and Boulder City, NV.  I like the spot, good signal and still pretty much had my own personal portion of it all to myself.

Not much to report for today, had a good sunset though:




Dec 23:  Martha and Patrick flew in from Colorado shortly before Noon and they came out to the camping area to drop off her luggage and to pick me up for what turned out to be a small death march of the Las Vegas main drag.

We checked Patrick in at the Trump International Hotel where he'll be staying by his lonesome until the 26th.  It's his Christmas present you see, and he'll be doing solo exploring of the "Las Vegas Experience".

Then, the three of us took a Lyft ride down to the the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign.  We got there shortly after a bus had dropped off a large number of tourists all wanting their own picture with the sign so we settled for one of it from a distance:


We meandered by the Mandalay Bay Hotel thinking to catch the light rail shuttle from there but it didn't really go very far, just to the nearby Excalibur Hotel so we didn't wait for it.  We would end up beating it to the Excalibur!



 One of Patrick's desired locations to check out was the
Luxor Pyramid and Sphinx

The death march continued down to New York, New York.  And yes, that's a hockey jersey on the Statue of Liberty.  Apparently Las Vegas currently has a winning team, the Knights; and there was a game on.


More death marching in ever thickening crowds finally ended with us back at the Trump hotel after a meal of fried chicken at some joint along the strip.  We left Patrick in his room and drove the rental car back to the BLM campsite and the RV.  

I was glad to be away from the crowds.

Had a few moments of difficulty finding the RV in the dark, but we did finally find it.  Sleep would come soon after.

Dec 24: Christmas Eve.

After a mediocre breakfast at a diner in Boulder City, we went and toured the Hoover Dam and the Mike O'Callahan - Pat Tillman Bridge.

We timed things just right and got through with the tour before the bigger crowds showed up.

 Mike O'Callahan - Pat Tillman Bridge

 Martha with a couple of the water intake towers in
the background.

 Martha standing astride 2 time zones in the middle 
of the Hoover Dam

 The Hoover Dam from the O'Callahan - Tillman Bridge


After touring the bridge and dam, we stocked up on groceries, and relaxed for a bit before heading into the Enterprise neighborhood of Las Vegas to visit with friends of mine from my days with IBM/ATT.  Good visit, with a meal at a local sports bar.  

After dinner, we headed back to the URRV after checking in with Patrick who reported over six hours of exploring the strip and aching feet.

Kind of a non-standard Christmas for the Chang Gang this year.  Miles is working at home, Patrick is soloing it on the strip and Martha and I are BLM camping.  Still everyone is happy with the situation and no holiday stress so far.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 24: Echo Canyon, more 20 Mule Team Canyon and a Solstice Moonrise

The official start of Winter found Scarlett and I riding once again back into the Death Valley National Park:


Today's main objective was to traverse the first 6 miles or so of Echo Canyon.  Again, at the advise of Dave H. aka Mr C.O.B. of SovietSteeds fame.  His warning here was to be sure to maintain momentum during the patches of deep and loose gravel; boy was he right!

Today was another day that I was very glad Scarlett had 2WD, tried the loose gravel without it, much harder without 2WD and easier to get bogged down then stuck.

 Approaching the mouth of Echo Canyon, the road'
from the highway was pretty rough right from the start.

 One last look towards the highway....

 Mouth of Echo Canyon, now the road got a bit
rougher and replete with patches of loose, deep, gravel

 Lovely canyon walls


 Then I entered into the narrow portion of the canyon




Not a long time later, Scarlett and I emerged from the narrow walls of the canyon and it was here I saw a female runner run past into the canyon!  Tough lady.

 This is as far as I went, I'd read the rest of the road
was a lot tougher and being alone, I wasn't feeling up to it.

 Looking back towards Echo Canyon

So I turned Scarlett around, which was tricky since anything off the "trail" was basically loose gravel and sand, very easy to dig the pusher wheel in if you're not careful.  Also, when using reverse, take care to not accidentally disengage 2WD!  I did it and didn't realize it until some moments later when it seemed the road was much harder to negotiate!

 Back in the narrows of Echo Canyon
retracing my route back to the highway


At this point I spotted a feature for which Echo Canyon is known, the hole in the rock formation below.  I'd completely missed it on the way out and wondered about that since it's pretty obvious from this side:



So I kept going, then turned around again to find the other side of the hole formation.  Can you spot it in the picture below?

 Not easy to spot, especially when trying to keep the rig
inside the trail and not hit big rocks and/or get bogged down!

 One last shot of the magnificent rocky walls of Echo Canyon

Made it back out, no issues and lots of fun to be had.
My thanks to Mr C.O.B. for this route
recommendation!

I had time so once I was back on CA Hwy 190, I headed past Zabriskie Point and entered 20 Mule Team Canyon once again to see what I could see this time.

I elected to go for higher elevation, hiking up hills to get better vantage points:


 Above and below pics taken from what I believe is the
biggest hill in the canyon.  Not bad going up, but a 
bit vertigo-inducing coming down as the route is a
bit slippery due to loose sand and gravel.  

 Can you spot Scarlett?

Much further down, you can see Scarlett clearer.

I exited the park after finishing with the 20 Mule Team Canyon.  As I neared Death Valley Junction, home of the famous Amargosa Opera (yeah I never heard of it either), I rode perhaps another mile on CA 127 to pose Scarlett next to this interesting yet unnamed rocky hill.


Nearing the Longstreet Casino RV resort, I spotted the Solstice Moon rising above the eastern horizon:


A very good day of riding, no mehanical issues, no more dripping fluid from the final drive (yes, I did check it for correct level of fluid), and I checked off all the ride destinations I'd wanted to do this trip.

I'll be headed back towards Las Vegas tomorrow.