Friday, October 9, 2009

Road Trip Day 22: Goodbye Las Vegas--Hello New Mexico

This morning we bade a sad farewell to the Stratosphere Hotel and the palm tree-lined streets of Las Vegas. We had originally planned to spend 2 nights, but extended our stay to 3 nights because we were having so much fun! The deskstaff, bell people, and all the staff of the Stratosphere were wonderful to us. All were very friendly, helpful, and kind. I would definitely stay there again; there was much more warmth than you would expect at a 2200-room facility. It wasn't long after we left Vegas that we caught sight of Lake Mead, the beautiful, blue body of water held in place by Hoover Dam.

We had been here before, but we found that construction was taking place and a new bridge is being built which will steer traffic high over the dam instead of along the edge of it at a snail's pace.

Above, are the first sections of the bridge. They are really impressive in their height!

The dam itself is impressive as well. We didn't stop other than to take pictures because we had been here before. Tours of the dam are available; you can actually board an elevator that takes you down inside the structure itself.

While taking pictures, I encountered these South African "Wild Hogs." (If you saw the movie with John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and Tim Allen, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't seen the movie, you should: It's about 3 men in midlife crisis who decide to take a cross-country trek on motorcycles, and it's hilarious.) My "hogs" were adorable and all had charming South African accents. They all had their Harley jackets and had spent the last 9 days touring the USA on their Harleys. (I don't know if they actually were Harleys, but they were nice bikes, as were their riders!)
Hoover Dam is on the border of Nevada and Arizona, so soon after we left the dam behind us, we saw this Arizona Road Sign.
Once we came out of the mountains a little, we were right smack back in the middle of the desert. Some parts of Arizona that I have seen are very scenic: Grand Canyon, Sedona, Lake Havasu and the Phoenix area. However, today the route we took passed south of the Grand Canyon and north of Phoenix, and that area is pretty much desolate. No farms, no ranches,
as you can see--not really much of anything!
But as we neared New Mexico the landscape changed; lots of mountains,

and rocky cliffs. We found ourselves at 6000 feet above sea level. My ears popped several times.

We entered New Mexico and decided to stay the night in Gallup, which is just 22 miles over the border. So we woke in Nevada this morning and I'm saying 'Goodnight, all" from New Mexico!


Cathy said...

A true thank you for posting all those photos, they helped warm me up. I woke up with snow on the ground today!! I love that you ran into the motorcycle guys, I bet they were having a blast!

The Retired One said...

I would love to see the dam someday..but loved the pictures of when you got to mountains again.
What a trip you are having!
I look forward to your posts everyday!

Vodka Logic said...

How lucky to be having such a wonderful vacation.

And Wild Hogs is definitely a great movie.

Meeko Fabulous said...

How wonderful! Thanks for taking us on this trip with you! :) Wasn't Gallup, New Mexico mentioned in the Route 66 song? :)