Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada | Fri 8th May 2015 — Ned Martin’s Dot Org

Friday 8th May – Hoover Dam & the Valley of Fire

We drove from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Hoover Dam on the Nevada/Arizona border, then through Lake Mead Recreation Area to the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada & on to Moapa Valley, Nevada

Hoover Dam

After not getting enough sleep because we went to bed so late, Bronwen and I had a quick look around the unusual hotel we were in, checked out, and drove to Hoover Dam. I do not recommend going to Hoover Dam. It’s not very big, and not very interesting. We also paid $10 for parking (because the signs made it look like it was compulsory) before finding out that there was (very limited and mostly full) free parking on the other side of the dam if you ignored the signs and just drove there.

Hoover DamNed at Hoover Dam in ArizonaNed at Hoover Dam in NevadaHoover DamHoover DamThe Nevada/Arizona border at Hoover DamHoover DamHoover Dam

Valley of Fire

After being unimpressed with Hoover Dam, we drove through Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Valley of Fire State Park in the Mojave Desert, and spent the afternoon clambering around rocks and finding cactuses in it.

Lake Mead National Recreation AreaDriving through Lake Mead National Recreation AreaDriving through Lake Mead National Recreation AreaNed in the Valley of FirePetroglyphs in the Valley of FirePetroglyphs in the Valley of FireBronwen in the Valley of FireBronwen climbing along a pathway at Mouse’s Tank in the Valley of FireBronwen exploring Mouse’s Tank in the Valley of FireBronwen at Mouse’s Tank in the Valley of FireBronwen in the Valley of FireSome of the Aztec sandstone in the Valley of FireInside a small cave in the Valley of FireNed in the Valley of FireAztec Sandstone in the Valley of FireAztec Sandstone in the Valley of FireAztec Sandstone in the Valley of FireBronwen exploring the Valley of FireAztec Sandstone in the Valley of FireAztec Sandstone in the Valley of FireThe road through the Valley of Fire State ParkDriving through the Valley of Fire State ParkThe Valley of FireRock formations in the Valley of FireRock formations in the Valley of FireRock formations in the Valley of FireBronwen with a piece of the set from “The Professionals”Bronwen in the Valley of FireOne of the oldest Ned’s known to manThe Valley of FireAztec Sandstone in the Valley of FireBronwen at the “Fire Wave”The “Fire Wave”The “Fire Wave”The “Fire Wave”Rocks on top of the “Fire Wave”The sun begins to set over the Valley of Fire

Night

We spent the night in a free campsite run by the Fish and Game Commission in Moapa Valley not far from the Valley of Fire. We were the only people in it. We couldn’t be bothered setting up the tent—and after the uncomfortable night at the Grand Canyon, sleeping in the car seemed like it would be more comfortable anyway.

Saturday 9th May – Las Vegas

Morning

After having had a reasonably good sleep in the car, Bronwen and I awoke to find it was raining very lightly. We defogged the car, ate some peanut butter and honey on flat bread, and drove to Las Vegas—via the Valley of Fire State Park again, to look at a few of the things we’d missed yesterday afternoon.

Our free campsiteModern graffiti and ancient petroglyphs on Atlatl Rock in the Valley of FireModern graffiti and ancient petroglyphs on Atlatl Rock in the Valley of FireValley of Fire Beehives

Las Vegas

We spent a few hours wandering around “The Strip” in Las Vegas, which was a lot nicer when it wasn’t windy and freezing cold. After a burrito from Chipotle, we left Las Vegas, and drove towards Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

We arrived at Rodeway Inn (the bullet-proof glass in the lobby added a genuine American feel), in Los Angeles, just after dark, and checked into our room (including the complicated procedure to get Wi-Fi, where they print a special receipt with a unique username for each device). The room is fine, but the most expensive and most basic (it has no iron—making it hard to do our washing and get it dry!) we’ve had so far.

We went for a walk to a nearby iHop dessert/pancake restaurant, where I bought a milkshake in the hope that I’d eventually find this fabled America everyone back in Australia told me about, where everything was large and cheap. Of course, my milkshake (which wasn’t any cheaper than one in Australia) turned out to be very small (much smaller than an Australian one), and of the fake and unpleasant ice-cream free type that the machines at McDonalds make—not a real milkshake at all. Bronwen bought some pancakes, which were pretty much the same as pancakes in Australia. Overall it wasn’t a very good experience. It was also the first time we’d tipped so far this trip.