My next stop was Elko, Nevada to spend a couple days with my cousin, so I headed out of Las Vegas about 1 PM as I had a 6 1/2 hour drive to make. Because I can not drive that many hours straight without a break and because that stretch of road is long and nothing for miles I knew it was going to take me longer to get there, plus I ended up feeling really tired and just needed to close my eyes for a bit, so at one of the rest stops I fixed myself some lunch and slept for about 15 minutes. After that I was fine but I did not get into my cousins until 9 PM that night.
The next day, Saturday, August 25th my cousin, Walt and his wife, Lynette took me on a drive to Lamoille Canyon….21 miles outside of Elko. Lamoille Canyon is a glacier-carved canyon in the Ruby Mountains and is one of the most beautiful ranges in Nevada. The scenic drive is just 12 miles one direction with self-guided interpretive signs describing the geology of the canyon. It’s hard to believe after traveling through much of Nevada that is desert, rock, dust and pretty barren that one would find this beautiful canyon. There are plenty of hiking trails to explore with Island Lake being an easy two-mile hike. I wish I was in better shape and did not have bad knees so I could do more hiking and get into the backcountry a bit more. In addition, there are places to camp as well as picnicking which is what we did, we brought some lunch and found a really awesome place nestled in among the trees after a short trail walk. A few weeks after my visit a terrible fire went through this Canyon so before you pay a visit be sure and check the updates.
I classify myself as an RV traveler, even though at times I am stationary for several months as I work at whatever current job I am doing. As I have mentioned in other blog posts I came to Phoenix in January of this year to take a job here. One of the things that I am lucky to have with this job is “flexibility”. One of the agreements I arranged with staying and working here was to only work 75% of the year so that I could go visit my family, friends and pursue my “adventurous” spirit. So with that in mind, I spent several months saving up funds to take a 5-week road trip which turned into 6 due to my car breaking down (more on that later). For this trip, I was not taking my RV, but just going in my car because for one it was cheaper and I was going to have plenty of places to stay the majority of the time. This was my first summer in Phoenix and the heat was downright miserable, so by the time August 23rd arrived (my departure date) I was more than ready to hit the road and get to cooler weather. On my departure date, I worked until 11 am……I had been packing for a couple of days so everything was ready to go except for a few last-minute items, so within a half-hour, I was in the car and on the road.
My first stop for the night was Las Vegas……The drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas is about 4 1/2 hours but I don’t ever seem to make it in the time frame that mapquest says I should. Maybe it’s because I don’t drive hard and make too many rest stops. I just like to drive at my own pace and take in the adventure and the scenery. To me taking a trip isn’t just about getting to my destination as fast as I can, it’s about the journey getting there. So for me to get to Las Vegas to my hotel was about 6 hours. I had booked a room at the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino online through “Hotwire” for $57.00. I had originally looked to get a room closer on the Las Vegas strip but the additional casino fees were expensive. Boulder City has the casino fees as well but they were cheaper. So anyway the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino worked out just fine. It was really nice, I had a big room with a king-size bed and my window overlooked the pool. I right away got into my swimsuit and went to check out the pool which was really nice also. The water was a little cool getting in but once in, it was fine.
Boulder Station was built on 27 acres at the corner of Lamb Boulevard and Boulder Highway. The site was chosen in 1986, as the company believed that the east side of Las Vegas was under-served and because of its easy access from I-515. Groundbreaking of the $85 million Boulder Station began on August 5, 1993. The project’s ultimate cost was $103 million. Boulder Station opened on August 23, 1994, with a fireworks show. It was the first new hotel-casino to open on the east side of Las Vegas since 1979. Boulder Station’s design is of Victorian architecture.
Day 2 – I was up about 9 AM as I had a ticket for 10 AM to the Neon Sign Museum which was only about a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. The museum campus includes the outdoor space known as the Neon Boneyard, a visitors’ center which is housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery which houses additional rescued signs and is available for weddings, special events, and photo shoots.
My next stop was to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. I had my first visit to Las Vegas in March 2016 when I met up with my friend Becky from Washington to celebrate her birthday. We had 4 great days and did and saw so many things and one of our stops was to the Bellagio and I just loved the Conservatory. The Bellagio has 5 seasonal themes throughout the year and I wanted to see the new one on display which was called “That’s Amore 2018” which was a French/Italian theme and it was beautiful.
The Valley of Fire State Park was such an amazing, beautiful place! It was one of those places where the scenery and landscape just kept changing and dazzling me at every turn and bend in the road.
Valley of Fire is located in the Mojave Desert about 58 miles Northeast of Las Vegas. Valley of Fire is the oldest Nevada state park and was dedicated in 1935 and covers about 35,000 acres. Named for its magnificent red sandstone formations that were formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs more than 150 million years ago. These formations can appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays. A 10.5-mile road connects the east and west entrances to the park.
Rainbow Vista is a viewpoint where the road reaches the top of a low ridge revealing a vast area of multicolored rocks stretching for miles. Rainbow Vista was also carved from sand deposits 150 million years ago.
Seven Sisters are a series of stone formations that were once part of nearby red rock formations. These rock towers are all that is left after the relentless forces of erosion stripped away the surrounding sandstone deposits. Numerous “blow holes” in the formations forecast the eventual destruction of the towers that will take place many thousands of years into the future.