Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Las Vegas and Valley Of Fire State Park

In my last post I mentioned that we were based in Las Vegas while touring the area.  We stayed in The Venetian Hotel on the Vegas strip.  At this point, Kirk and Joan's daughter Natalie and her husband Burt joined us on our adventure.  Here are a few photos of the Venetian Hotel, then on to The Valley of Fire State Park.

Our Room

The other half of our room.

Our window view of the wheel.

Venetian Hotel Lobby
Ceiling Murals

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The Canal. 
All of this structure is inside the Venetian.  The sky is painted on the ceiling. 
You can take a ride on the canal in a gondola if you like.

All of these structures are inside the Venetian in the area called The Canal.

Close-up photo of the painted ceiling.

More of The Canal and its shops, all of which are inside the Venetian Hotel.

Ceiling dome

Joan, Kirk, daughter Natalie with husband Burt at the indoor waterfall.

Me and G grinning like fools.

Indoor decorations.

The view of the Las Vegas strip from the Venetian.

The wheel outside our window: Red, White and Blue to commemorate Independence Day! 
Happy Birthday, America!

View on our way into the Valley of Fire State Park.


On leaving the park, we drove through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. 

Lake Mead

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 We finished off the day with a show at the Linq featuring illusionist Mat Franco who won American's Got Talent.  He was amazing.
Waiting for the show to begin.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Death Valley National Park

On Day five of our adventure, we arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada and checked in at the Venetian.  More about the Venetian later.  We used Vegas as our base while we explored surrounding areas.

Death Valley National Park was a two-hour drive from Vegas.  It straddles the border of California and Nevada, and is located east of the Sierra Nevada.  Located in a zone between the arid Great Basin and the Mojave Desert, it is a diverse desert environment of salt flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons and mountains.

The sky was a cloudless blue, and the temperature was 107 degrees the day of our visit.  We were very conscious of always carrying an ample water supply and kept ourselves well hydrated.

Death Valley was very quiet with just the sound of flies buzzing nearby.  I spotted a couple of lizards, but we didn't hear or see any other animal life, although bighorn sheep and coyote have adapted to this environment.

Dante's View at 5,475 feet above the floor of Death Valley.

Dante's View

Dante's View

Dante's View

Kirk and Joan hiking out to a peak at Dante's View.

Kirk and Joan standing on a peak at Dante's View.

Joan made us pose for numerous "selfies."  Left to Right: Joan, Kirk, G and me.

If I remember correctly, this is the view from the top of Zabriskie Point where Borax mining took place using twenty-mule teams. It was a short but hot hike up from the parking lot.

Zabriskie Point

Twenty-Mule Team (Wikipedia Image)

Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. It is a surreal landscape of vast salt flats.  It was very hot just walking out on the boardwalk.  Once we stepped off the boardwalk onto the salt flats, it was like stepping into hell.  Terrible heat radiated up from the earth to consume us.  I stepped back onto the boardwalk to escape hell.
Badwater Basin

We didn't visit the area of the Sailing Stones.  Just the same, here is information about them:  For years, scientists have been puzzled by the mysterious "sailing stones" of Death Valley.  The rocks' apparent movement has been blamed on everything from space aliens and magnetic fields to pranksters. But no one has actually seen the rocks move, which only adds to the mystery.A scientific research team calculated that under certain winter conditions in Death Valley, enough water and ice could form to float the rocks across the muddy bottom of Racetrack Playa in a light breeze, leaving a trail in the mud as the rocks moved
Sailing Stones at the Racetrack Playa (Wikipedia Image)