Spectacular Nevada Mountain Range/Deserts

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Aug 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Clarion Hotel & Casino Las Vegas
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 13 - Temps in Mammoth Lakes around 70.  The Nevada deserts and Las Vegas where we are headed are in the high 90's.  (We drive 312 miles today- 5 hours)

Mammoth Lakes, where we stayed last night, is a ski resort town, is very laid back  Art always rises very early and goes out to explore the town until I wake up and get ready. He notices that none of the shops open until later in the morning. 

As we drive around this town before we leave, we keep seeing these 6 or 7 foot orange poles on the edges of everyone's yard, every 20 feet or so.. We had also seen them in Yosemite.  It finally dawns on us that these tall orange poles are markers for the snow scrapers to know where the road edges are since the snow gets so deep.

We leave Mammoth Lakes and set our GPS to Las Vegas, 5 hours away. Immediately we find the mountains are unbelievably pretty.  We are quick to learn that between towns out here, there is NO civilization. We turn off the main road onto Hwy 168.  We quickly notice that we are climbing in elevation again, and the mountains around us are high, but are sandy, desert type mountains, with very little vegetation.  The road dips and climbs and dips and climbs and the car almost jumps in the dips. I told Art I felt like I was on a roller coaster.

Soon we are wondering if we are going the wrong way. We have met maybe two cars and we are climbing even higher between the rolling desert mountains.  The road continues to wind around and up and down and we feel like like we are in NO MAN'S LAND. I check the GPS and it is correct it seems. This IS the way to Las Vegas, so we keep going.

It is beautiful, so wild, nothing like we have ever driven through before. Our GPS tell us it is almost 90 miles to the next turn. We cannot imagine 90 miles of this! But we find it is amazing. I hope the pictures capture a tiny bit of what we are seeing. I take so many pictures because it is so beautiful (please forgive me for uploading so many!). We see dust storms, rocks of every size and color and mountains that I know I will never see again.

Occasionally we will see a few green trees or a green area in all the brown. An Oasis with maybe a building or two. This is rare.

We FINALLY reach Hwy 95, and then we have 115 miles to travel to Las Vegas. This road is open and flat and we see an occasional transfer truck. However, it too is unpopulated and wild and beautiful.

We are now seeing the most expansive desert lands with small brush and different types of cactus for miles. And at the edges of the deserts are huge, beautifully shaped rock mountains of every color. We are in awe. Our cameras are snapping pictures every few minutes because the scenery is constantly changing!!  

I cannot describe how far away the mountain ranges are and how beautiful. This wide open space seems to have no end.   We do find one small community along 95 that we stop for food and drinks and I wonder how anyone could stand living here.

We arrive in Las Vegas and I wonder how such a vibrant city springs up in this desert of nothingness. Such a contrast!!!  We locate and check into our hotel, which is a short distance from the Las Vegas strip.It is a super nice hotel and we stay free on our Choice points.  We plan to stay just one night so we can drive the strip and see all the lights.

We first walk to one of the casinos for a buffet dinner, The Rivera. It is further to walk than it looks! We are happy to get back to the hotel and get our car so we can drive down the strip to see the lights. At first we are not impressed as we turn down to the old part of town. I think it was the old strip. But when we turn around and go the other way, we run into the massive hotels and casinos, lights and traffic. The traffic is like driving through the Myrtle Beach Strand at night.  There are several light shows that we miss as we have no clue what we are doing. 

We do not go far as we are exhausted. We head back to the hotel for the night.

So sorry that I have gotten behind on the blog.   was not able to work on the blog along the way because we had little internet connection this day. We have just been on the go, non-stop and uploading the pictures is time consuming. Some of the picture at the end of this day are slightly out of order. With 3 cameras it is hard to upload them in sync although they are all time stamped correctly.  I apologize for so many, but it is all so beautiful and it is hard to not share. I do have even more that I have not uploaded.

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