Red Rocks and Costco

Trip Start May 21, 2013
Trip End Jun 02, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Larry got up at 5:00, turned on the light shaved and went downstairs. I never woke up.  He woke me at 5:10 thinking I had been just lying in bed.   We got everything done and were almost ready to leave when Derek came to take us to the airport.  We left at 5:40 and got to the airport at 6:10.  Derek dropped us off and then headed to have a big breakfast.  He will fly on the same Southwest flight on Friday.  We got our baggage to the counter and got through security quickly even though there was a pretty long line.  We only waited about 10 minutes before we started to board.  We were in Group B boarding and when we got on there were plenty of seats free.  So Larry sat at the window and I sat on the aisle to discourage other people from getting in our row.  So we flew all the way with an empty seat between us. We left Columbus on time at about 7:20.   

Larry hooked up to the WiFi on board and pulled up Flight Tracker on his I-Touch.  He watched our progress all across the country.  We had a great track that took us south of Pike's Peak, Colorado Springs, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Valley of the Fire where we are going tomorrow.  We were north of the Grand Canyon but we couldn’t see it from the right side of the plane.  We arrived in Las Vegas early at 8:30.  By 9:24 we were pulling out of the airport in our Alamo rental, a Chevy Captiva a mid-sized SUV.  We headed straight to In and Out Burger arriving there at 9:30 to find that it didn’t open until 10:30.  We were starved because we just had a granola bar for breakfast and small snacks on the flight.  So we went to Subway and split a breakfast sub.  Then we headed to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  We have been there before and done the scenic drive twice.  We stopped at the overlook and the car said it was 81* but there was a nice breeze and it is so dry it didn’t feel that warm.  We pulled into the Visitor Center and Scenic Drive and parked.  We got in free on my Senior Pass for the National Parks which is a great deal.  I got it for $10 and it gets us in to most National Parks etc.  The new Visitor Center is open and it is really well done.  Inside there is a panoramic picture window that outlines the red rocks.  Outside there are four exhibit areas on Earth, Fire, Air and Water that detail all of the natural history of the place.  They have desert tortoises on display.  When we finished the exhibits we got in the car and headed out for the Scenic Drive.  We were very far down the road before we realized we forgot to fill our water bottles for hiking.  We had just a small water bottle mostly full.  We stopped and took pictures at several places.  When we got to the pullover for a Quarry Trail we saw two red-tailed hawks perched at the top of the rocks.  We went on and stopped at the Highpoint pull off. 

Then we drove out to a parking area that was down a stone road.  I can’t remember the name of it.  But we decided to hike the Keystone Thrust Trail which is 1.1 miles and was supposed to only take 1.5 hours.  We got our hiking boots on and I got my hiking poles out and we took off up the trail with our little bit of water.  The trail was rated as moderate but it was pretty easy going.  There was a good breeze that kept us cool most of the time.  We went down into a gully and then out of it.  On the way up the other side a bird caught my eye.  We both watched it for awhile and then I looked it up.  It was a Rock Wren.  While I was looking it up Larry saw another bird fly in.  We both got our glasses on a Scott’s Oriole, a life bird for both of us.  It is a beautiful shiny black and bright yellow.  He even flitted from his far perch and came within 12 feet of us and gave us a good show eating a huge grasshopper.  When we reached the top of the ridge we saw the trail go down into a ravine, across the red rock and up another hill.  We headed down and lost our breeze for a few minutes.  But it soon picked up again and by the time we got down into the ravine the breeze was stronger.  We hiked almost to the end of the trail but since we were low on water and had been out there over an hour and a half already, and because the next bit was a steep downhill and steep uphill we headed back.  We saw many plants blooming that had a long stem and a plume of pretty yellow flowers at the end.  They were taller than Larry.  I’m not sure of the name of it, but it could be desert plume.  When we got back to the car Larry changed out of his hiking boots to drive.  We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to get water.  I drank about 16 oz. right off the bat.  We had been out in the desert for two hours and I was parched.

We headed out of the park and in Charleston Ave. to Costco.  We stopped to get a few things for our trip to the Grand Canyon.  We rented a house near the rim and it has a kitchen, so I am going to cook most of the nights we are there.  So we got Gatorade, a case of Fat Tire Beer, cereal, a huge bag of Doritos for taco salad, salty snacks (Sun Chips) and trail mix for hiking, muffins and bananas for breakfast the next few days here in Las Vegas, and some macadamia nuts just for the heck of it.  From Costco we headed down 215 to Tropicana/Las Vegas Blvd. and headed to the Excalibur where we are staying.  We drove up to the door and unloaded our stuff, including all the food onto a hotel trolley which they took away to store while we checked in.  Then we went and parked the car and went to registration.  There was a long line.  It was just 4:00.  By 4:30 we were in our room and our baggage etc. had been delivered.  We were very hungry by this time even though we had some free samples of stuff at Costco. 

The Excalibur is so big it has many places to eat.  We decided to eat at Buca de Beppo.  Larry had eaten there in Columbus but I had never been.  The food is served family style so we had to order the same thing because a small family size is to serve two people.  Larry got a beer, Peroni, and I got a frozen Bellini.  The waitress brought us bread with olive oil/balsamic dip.  We got Fried Calamari with a very spicy sauce for an appetizer, the best I’ve ever had.  We got Caesar Salad to split and lasagna to split.  We ate it ALL.  After supper we took a walk around to see everything here.  We found a 24 hour store where we can get OJ for breakfast and ready-made sandwiches for our day tomorrow.  We also found a Box Office where we were able to get our tickets for the Beatles Love show on Thursday night.  When we had seen what there is to see in Excalibur we took the walkway to the Luxor.  By the time we got back our suppers had settled a little.  When we got to the room we figured out that we don’t have WiFi but a hard wire for internet access.  So I can get on the internet but Larry’s I-Pad won’t.  While I typed this blog Larry laid down on bed beside me.  He is now under the covers fast asleep.  We are making an early night of it as we are both pretty tired.
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Peg Bishop, osf on

I'm just looking at your first message. The start of your trip looks quite promising. I'm eager to read your other e-mails to see how all is unfolding for you.

I started retreat yesterday and all is going well. Got a cold yesterday morning so this down time will let me nurse myself back to health.

YOU are loved!

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