Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Life in the Mojave
When we arrived in Las Vegas it was after two years in dreary rainy Germany. While Germany was probably the most fun I have ever had the prospect of sunlight was thrilling, plus I had never been in a casino before. We arrived in March it was in the 80s the trees where blooming, things sparkled, there was clinking of coins, flashing red lights and blue lights, dancing fountains, and it never rained. I thought I was in heaven. That lasted about a month and half. About the time we were moving into our house I feared we had made a mistake. The feeling of excitement that one feels when entering a casino was short lived. Now all I noticed was the incredible amount of cigarette smoke filling my lungs. I also had figured out there was little way to avoid entering a casino, movie theatres are in them, as well as restaurants. Seeing movies and eating was the husband and my favorite past-time. You can't even go into a freestanding resaturant, gas station, or grocery store with out seeing a slot machine and the requisite smoking. That's right, you can smoke at a gas station which seems a little counter-intuitive to me. I was determined to come up with other things to do. Mt. Charleston was a God-send. It is a mountain right outside of the city limits of Vegas, you can hike, camp, snow shoe, and even ski there. It was wonderful. While the valley was toping out at 114 degrees Mt. Charleston was a cool 85. It smelled like pine trees, there was ground cover, not free flowing dirt or worse the gravel that is one's yard in Vegas. (Rocks are better than grass in the desert, however). Valley of Fire, Red Rocks, Cottonwood, and Lake Mead all received some of our attention too. Though they were usually frequented in the winter due to extremely hot temperatures. The Strip was neglected. Unless we had visitors from out of town we avoided it like the plague. We occasionally went out to a club (it was the HOT one at the time, but like all things in Vegas lost its luster), but only because we knew a bouncer and could get in free. Plus, the amount of T&A was a little more than this feminista could handle. One place very intriguing near us was Death Valley. Mid-February we were supposed to go to Brian Head, Utah to ski. When 4 am rolled around we no longer felt like skiing we felt like sleeping. So when we finally arose we had to get out of dodge for the day no matter where to. We loaded up the car and headed West into Death Valley. We found Cafe C'est Si Bon in Shoshone, CA. A very small cafe in a town of about 5 people. We had crepes and cappucinos. It was very surreal. We saw the devil's golf course (not an actual golf course, but an evaporated salt field), visted the lowest place in the US, Badwater, and an oasis in the desert: Furnace Creek Ranch. This place is a full ranch in the middle of Death Valley with cabins, horse back riding, golf, swimming, and a Borax Museum. I was informed this is where Borax comes from and the mules too. The Desert is so weird. We hung out for a while and then drove home. It had been warm and sunny all day, but we had work the next day. While most of the time memories of Sin City are filled thoughts of thank goodness we moved, but this was one heck of a day trip.