Luilil - Traveling with the Blue Star

March 2017 — Las Vegas, Nevada
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My trip to Death Valley National Park in mid March was rapidly approaching. Ann was not interested in driving around the parks back roads as well as camping for ten days. The solution we came up with was for her to fly to Las Vegas where I would meet me at the end of my trip. This allowed me to have two extra days to explore the park. The advantage of meeting in LV was that we could drive back to Oregon together. The added bonus was that we would be together for my birthday.

Larie and Ann

Happy Birthday — Photo Galley

The 2-1/2 hour drive from Death Valley to Las Vegas is beautiful. There were lots of yellow, orange, blue and violet wildflowers in bloom at the higher elevations in the Black Mountains. In addition the rock formations had their own unique beauty. In the desert the rock layers are exposed for all to see. It is amazing to see different colored rock layers stacked one on top of the other like different flavors of ice cream.

Rock fromations

Colored rock formations — Photo Galley

The first business to be taken care of in Las Vegas was to get the tire valve stem that I broke while traversing Mengel Pass repaired. Stopping at the first Discount Tire store I came to solved the problem, or so I thought. From there it was on to Albertsons Grocery to get a box of Swiffer Duster refills. Spending ten days traveling dusty roads leads to quite a buildup of grit inside the car. The dusters solved this problem in about ten minutes of careful wipe down in the the parking lot. From there it was a short drive to the New York-New York Hotel And Casino where I met up with Ann who had recently arrived by plane.

As expected the New York New York Hotel has a New York City theme. Each of the hotel towers are named after a famous NYC building. The room was nice and included a two for one breakfast at the Italian restaurant in the building.

After resting for a bit we took a cab to Planet Hollywood. Ann had found a show that included dinner at the Axis Theater inside the mall attached to Planet Hollywood. The show was a review of the major acts and famous entertainers that played the different hotels in Vegas from the early 50's to early 80's. Actors portrayed entertainers like, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Sonny and Cher as well as others. There was also a juggling act and acrobatic act. In addition there was a cancan number and chorus line dancing like the Rockets use to do. All in all it was a fun evening.

Las Vegas at night

Las Vegas at night — Photo Galley

Walking back to the hotel we were amazed at how Vegas had changed since the last time we were there. Along the Strip the city has separated the huge amount of pedestrian traffic from the vehicle traffic by building escalators that go up to elevated walkways. These walkways make crossing intersections easy for both people and vehicles.

The next day we checked out of New York New York. When we got to the parking lot the 4Runner had a flat tire. It was the same tire that Discount Tire had replaced the valve stem on. After changing the tire it was back to the tire shop. They diagnosed the problem as a bad valve stem, fixed it while we had lunch, and sent us on our way. We did a little shopping and then checked into the Mirage Hotel and Casino.

Changing a flat tire

Changing a flat tire — Photo Galley

While researching hotels in Vegas Ann discovered that different hotels have excellent room rates on certain days of the week. We got smoking hot deals at both hotels, but only for one night each. We got to our room and settled in. I took a nap while Ann went down to the Secret Garden to see the white lions, tigers and dolphins.

White Lion

White Lion — Photo Galley

Afterwards we walked over to the Belogio Hotel and Casino to partake of their wonderful buffet. We chose the Belogio because are both fans of the Oceans 11 movie that took place at the Belogio. It was fun being in the building where the movie was filmed. We took a slow walk back to the Mirage along the Las Vegas Strip and admired all of the buildings and night life.

Thursday morning the tire still had air in it so we headed home. The route took us north through Nevada to Winnemucca where we spent the night. The drive north had it all sunshine, high winds, a dust storm, snow, rain and hail. In addition the mountains had a fresh coat of snow and looked beautiful making the drive anything but boring.

Drive home

Snow on the drive home — Photo Galley

Friday we left Winnemucca heading north back to Oregon. I spaced out in McDermitt and forgot to get gas. By the time I remember it was to far to go back. We slowed down to a leisurely pace looking for a gas station. Fuel stops are few and far between in that part of Oregon. We rolled into the Crane Store and Cafe 119 miles later. The 4Runner took 20 gallons of gas in a 23 gallon tank.

We bypassed Bend by taking the S. Millican Road to Prineville. This must be one of the most scenic roads in Oregon.The views of the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood and other snow capped mountains in the Cascades is outstanding. It was a great way to end our trip.

Past Travels
Singing Canyon

Burr Trail

Beach at Conception Bay

Baja California Mexico



282 feet below sea level

Barrancas del Cobre

282 feet below sea level

282 feet below sea level

Summer Lake Hot Springs

Summer Lake Hot Springs

Twin Rocks

Twin Rocks