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Viva Las Vegas!

May 16, 2011

Michael had a work-related conference in Vegas, and suggested I fly out at the end of it, to turn it into a mini vacation. Sounded like a fabulous plan to me! I was beginning to feel like the last person alive who’d never been to Vegas, and I wanted to see what it was all about.

We stayed at the Wynn, which, if you haven’t been, is a gorgeous hotel. The bed alone is worth the price of admission.

After spending a few days on the strip (swimming, shopping, Le Reve, Crazy Horse Paris, a ton of walking!), we were pretty much toast. We needed to get away and explore. Our rental car company provided us with nothing short of a gigantic white Crown Victoria, and we trotted it out to the desert. What else would you do with it? 🙂

Rhyolite, Nevada is a nearby ghost town. It’s an old gold mining town, and was founded in 1905. When the mine closed in 1911, it wasn’t long before everyone moved out. By 1920, the town was empty. Most of the homes were deconstructed for lumber, but there are some structures still there. A house made entirely of beer bottles, a school, the jail, a merchant store, and the train depot, and a train car are all there.

After playing around and exploring, we had lunch in neighboring Beatty, at KC Outpost Saloon and Eatery. I must say, it’s a small hole in the wall, and staffed with the surliest one-woman-show you have ever met, but we had some seriously excellent sandwiches! After taking in some of the local color (buying local elk jerky and honey, and antique glass bottles to add to our collection), we thought driving home through Death Valley would be the best way to take in the last of the sights!

We were prepared for the potential danger of Death Valley. We went in equipped with fully charged cell phone batteries, paper maps and several bottles of water. The self-pay toll at Hell’s Entrance is $20, and gives you access to Death Valley for a week. The toll helps with upkeep of the desert.

The mountains are unlike anything we’d ever seen. Unlike the lush mountains in New England, or the red mountains in Sedona, these are windswept and blown into sand shaped formations. We spent the drive marveling at all of it.

When we got all the way down to Furnace Creek (I say down because it’s 190 feet below sea level), we were HOT. Thirty one people live in Furnace Creek. It’s the smallest town I have ever seen! We stopped in the general store, and got ice cream. It’s worth noting that the pints of Ben & Jerry were nearly $6 each! However, it was hot enough that when Michael bit into his ice cream, it pretty much exploded! I couldn’t stop laughing.

On the way back, we passed through Amargosa, CA. And just like that, the infamous (haunted) Amargosa Hotel and Opera House was RIGHT there. It’s about as creepy in person as it sounds. Just google it if you need more info. The place was nearly deserted, save for four people we saw, none of whom were interacting with each other. I can’t even imagine it at night. It was creepy enough during the day. The wind was so loud and blowing through opera house side, that the door (which was locked with a padlock) was creaking and thumping against the wall.

I loved the lights and sights and sounds of Vegas, but the real show stopper here was our trip to the desert. After all, we are road trip people, and what greater road trip than seeing parts of the country we haven’t seen before?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jackie permalink
    May 16, 2011 1:41 pm

    Nicole,

    Your pictures are quite good! You have a real eye for photography.

    I’ve never been to Vegas and I’ve always wanted to go. Now I’m determined.

    Thanks for sharing your stories; your blog is great!

    Jackie

    • May 16, 2011 3:45 pm

      Thanks much, but I have to say, those are all Michael. He’s the photographer! I just write and put it together.

  2. May 17, 2011 4:33 pm

    Cute couple! Fun trip 🙂 Michael is certainly a talented photographer!

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