Beatty was just a quick overnight at Beatty RV Park where we'd stayed in late April. Then it was a relatively short drive into Vegas where we spent six nights at Las Vegas RV Resort, a block from Boulder Highway and Sam's Town Casino. Not a bad park for an urban RV park. The deluxe sites have decent separation and road noise is not too bad.
Clark County Wetlands Park is an unexpected oasis of green near the RV park. It was convenient for some easy walking when the temps were in the low 80's and we didn't feel like driving far to hike.
An average of 180 million gallons of water a day passes through the nature preserve on its way to Lake Mead, mostly originating from the water treatment facilities located along Las Vegas Wash. The excellent onsite Nature Center does a great job of explaining the history and environmental impact of these wetlands.
|An unexpected delight in the harsh desert and urban center of Las Vegas.|
Hans and I are morning people, rarely staying out late at night, but when Hans noticed there would be a night of live surf music at the Double Down Saloon during our stay we worked it into the schedule. It was a fun night at a cool dive bar with Thee Swank Bastards (Las Vegas), The Boss Martians (from Seattle) and the Messer Chups (all the way from Russia).
|We walked around vibrant Fremont Street before heading to the bar and discovered the hip East Fremont district|
and its wonderful neon.
|The Messer Chups at the Double Down Saloon.|
Hans has been fascinated by drag racing since he was a teenager and any time we'll be near a city with a drag strip he'll check the race calendar. He got lucky with our stop in Vegas. He managed to convince me I should see drag racing at least once and scored some reasonably priced tickets on Craigslist for a NHRA national event with many top fuel nitro and funny cars racing.
|Several rows of semi's lined up create the pits.|
Here is a funny car chassis with its body sitting off to the side.
|The pits are open to all attendees and it's fascinating to watch the crews at work.|
|The semi's are super functional, with elevated storage for transporting the race cars.|
|We had fantastic seats. Ear protection is a necessity!|
I found drag racing to be exhilarating and exhausting! The thunderous vibrations as the cars pass by is intense, shaking you to the core. The smell of nitro fuel gets in to your pores...we thought we could smell it for an entire day after the event. I wore earplugs almost the entire six or so hours we were there because we were blasted with sound constantly.
After days of urban experiences (including staying in an urban RV park) we were more than ready to get out in nature. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a colorful outdoor lovers haven on the western edge of Las Vegas. Within minutes of the glitter and grime of the big city we found ourselves breathing a sigh of relief as our feet propelled us into canyons free of man made objects and sounds (and, being a Monday, almost free of people too).
|Early morning clouds provide a cool contrast to the bright red Calico Hills.|
|Morning sun peeks through the clouds to throw golden light across the hills.|
|Big valley views.|
|We hiked the White Rock/La Madre Spring Loop and found a little bit of fall color in the washes.|
|Our critter sighting of the day, a small Great Basin Gopher Snake.|
|Wonderful swirly colors in this rock.|
|Ancient hand prints.|
|The canyon we hiked through held a forest of pinyon pine and juniper.|
|Colorful layers seen from the scenic drive.|
|After a bit of a slog up a sandy/gravely wash we had to climb up several pour overs.|
|There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of petroglyphs on both sides of the canyon.|
|This one was hard to photograph because it was high above us, but it held some very interesting designs.|
There seemed to be petroglyphs from different periods throughout the canyon.
|Unfortunately this was the only kind of bighorns we saw on this hike.|
|Pam and John.|
|Looking back into Sloan Canyon Preserve, a harsh desert environment.|
From here, we continue south for more desert adventures...