Las Vegas

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Aug 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lone Pine, CA to Las Vegas, NV

Today, thankfully…was great. First, some good news: Jen's eye is much better. She is reporting less pain, and improved vision. She still had to wear two pairs of sunglasses and a hat….BUT, she can see! Hooray! Now on to the trip.

Our journey today would take us from the sleepy town of Lone Pine, CA, through Death Valley National Park, and finally into Nevada where our destination was Las Vegas. Death Valley was only a 20 minute drive from Lone Pine, but only about 1 minute outside of the town you felt like you were hundreds of miles from civilization. Your cell phone shows it too, service stops almost immediately after leaving Lone Pine.

The drive was amazing, climbing up the mountains to nearly 5,500 feet in elevation, and then quickly dropping off to sea level or lower! Our ears were popping constantly, and the next thing you notice is that as you enter Death Valley is that the little bit of moisture that existed before is now gone. The air conditioning blows cold but very dry, and soon we find ourselves drinking all the water we brought along. The temperature outside at 9am is about 105 degrees.

Finally we hit the lowest point in the valley accessible on the road: -150 feet below sea level. Here, the heat is trapped by the surrounding mountains and the temperature rises to approx 115 degrees (it would hit 120 before the day was over).

We found the small rest area in the park where we had to show our park pass and decided it would be a good time anyway to use a restroom and check out the gift shop. We opened the doors to the car and were nearly knocked off our feet by the heat outside. You have to be there to experience it, but it hurts to breath. There is no moisture in the air and the sun can burn you in less than 3 minutes of unprotected exposure. It…was….hot.

We drove on through the valley and saw a myriad of amazing sights including: sand dunes! Further along the road we came to a scenic view point where we climbed up a hill to get a glimpse of the valley. Climbing up this small hill was nearly paralyzing. It hurt so much to walk through the heat that we quickly understood why Death Valley is more of a winter attraction when temperatures only hit a daytime high of about 85.

We left the park and drove on to Las Vegas, NV which almost magically rises out of the middle of the desert. We drove to our hotel, The Riviera, and got checked in. Our hotel (and casino) is one of the oldest and most famous in the city and thankfully because of the downturn in the economy…was super cheap too. Take a guess how much a night costs in Las Vegas? Keep in mind it has a huge pool, every amenity you can imagine…free parking, great location, etc. Go on..guess. Did you guess $27? If so, you’re right!

We decided to rest for a few hours and then hit the Las Vegas Strip. Before that adventure though, we made sure to waste some money downstairs in the casino. I spent my first dollar…and won 25! Then, lost it all on blackjack. Oh well, but that’s all I spent!

We then decided to head downtown to the Las Vegas Strip and walk back. We took the monorail all the way to the MGM Grand Hotel, the largest in Vegas and began to slowly make our way back among all the stores, lights, and glitz of this desert city.

We went into many of the casino’s, saw the Bellagio water fountain display, and went into various stores. Check out the pictures to get more detailed descriptions of all that we did!

We made it back to the Riviera only moments before a major thunderstorm started, and now that it’s midnight I think it’s time to finish this up. Tomorrow we’re heading out to see the Hoover Dam! Night everyone!
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