Nevada Visit with Allie

Nevada Visit with Allie

December 1-4, 2022

We were already enjoying our time in Boulder City, Nevada, but the highlight of the trip was our week-long visit from Allie. She came from Colorado to stay with us and see the sights, and we never stopped moving. There is so much to see and do in that area, and we didn't even go to The Strip or downtown Las Vegas when she was there.

First, we wanted to see Valley of Fire, a cool place to check out weird rocks along cool hikes. On the way, we stopped by the location where the Monolith of Lake Mead is. It's where a bunch of people were boondocking (camping without any hookups or even any established sites), and we drove around for a bit before we found it. We walked around, but it was going to be a trek to get to it. We weren't prepared for that (and we didn't have time), so we took pictures from far away. Margot would get better views of it from the water on a different day.

The rumor is that the water level was down enough in March of 2022 to expose a few feet of the top of the boat stuck in the mud, but now you can see the shore where it's stuck. No one knows who owns it. Weird!

We headed off to Valley of Fire State Park after that, checking out the visitor center before heading out White Domes Road to do the Fire Wave Hike. It was an amazing hike through some really cool rock formations. The start of it was the toughest, up a hill in deep sand before it went down into a crack. After we got through that, we were good to go. There was the set of an old movie down there, too.

The next day was a fun-filled one, with a start at the Boulder City Train Depot to do a Rail Explorers excursion. There are little four-person or two-person cars that ride along railroad tracks, and they are basically powerful e-bikes. You fly through the open air as you pedal to move (they have motors, though, so getting going is easy). We stopped at the far end to relax in chairs at the base of some hills, just enjoying the perfect weather before they turned the cars around and we headed back. It was such an awesome experience, and we'll try to do them again at the other locations where the tours are offered.

After we left the depot, we headed a short distance to the Hoover Dam. It's such an impressive structure, and the visitor center was a really good one. We had seen the dam from the water on our Lake Mead tour, and Allie would see it from the water when she and Margot went back out on the lake.

We were fortunate to get tickets to the dam tour, and it's something we'd do again in a heartbeat. We got to go down into the dam, and having a tour guide was really helpful. They built the dam with tours in mind, and it was perfect. We even got to go down a big, cylindrical hallway to look out a vent to the water below us on the river side. One of the crazy things we saw included a staircase that went the entire height of the dam (they don't use it anymore). No, thanks!

We ended our eventful day with a great dinner in a hoppin' spot in Boulder City. It ended up being a great town for restaurants.

We took a day off to relax, though we spent a lovely brunch back at the Boat House restaurant at the marina. They were getting ready for a Christmas parade of lights and decorating all of the boats. We thought we'd end up going down to the shore to watch it later that evening, but we didn't make it down there.

The next day, we headed off on a road trip to Death Valley. Before we actually got into the park, we stopped at the China Ranch Date Farm, an oasis in the desert. Monica's mom used to live in Pahrump (a town nearby) and Las Vegas, and she'd been to China Ranch a few times. She had lots of good memories of the place with her grandma, so it was a special trip for her. We ate dates and did a lot of shopping in their gift shop.

Then we headed into Death Valley. A lot of the roads were closed due to flooding, so we couldn't see the northern half of the park. But we saw the best of it. We stopped at Zabriskie Point on the way to the visitor center, which was a nice climb to a big view. The visitor center was nice, and we donated to the Death Valley Natural History Association to keep things going. After that, we went over to Badwater Basin and Artists Drive. There were lots of people, but we still enjoyed it.

We stopped at a great diner in Pahrump for dinner. Even though it was a long drive, it was a great day. It's always too much fun when Allie visits!

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