‘Daddy, I’m so exciting to go to the next place, because I get to WATCH A MOVIE!’ (I know, we have to fix Emily’s grammar.)
This basically meant we were on the road again.
From Yosemite to Death Valley was our longest leg – at 6 hrs according to Google, which probably meant 12 hrs after we met all requests for food, nature call, gas call (I meant petrol there).
We said goodbye to Yosemite, where we had mountains, trees and ok, a bit of water.
And now… Look at the big contrast as we were driving into Death Valley.
There were only mountains. No water, no trees. There was NO.THING…
Death Valley is the hottest and driest place on earth. It set the world record for the highest temperature at 56.6C.
And great, now we were in this giant oven.
Before we headed deep into Death Valley national park, we were advised by the great Wikitravel that petrol costs were significantly more in the park. We did try to get some petrol just outside at Lone Pine but the entire town went down in power as we were about to fill up. Argh. I thought we were outside of South Africa!
So we had to pump here:
Remember I had this smart arse quote about converting from F to C, where you minus 30 and divide by 2? Well, for you actuaries out there, this ain’t working in the tail distribution.
In English, this means the rule of thumb doesn’t work for extreme temperatures;
And in other words, this rule doesn’t work in Death Valley.
So 105F here was actually 41C.
I.was.melting… holy cow.
The kids and us braved the heat and we visited something called the Badwater Basin salt flats.
See those things on the floor behind us? Those were salt flats.
But WTH are salt flats?!! Very simply, flood waters formed a lake in the valley. The water evaporated (uh duh in this heat), and we get the salt remaining.
At 86m below sea level, we were standing at the lowest point in this part of the world. Plus it was cooking HOT.
We got to our accommodation at Furnace Creek Ranch, which might as well be a furnace. It was quite amazing that there was this oasis-looking thing in the middle of no freagin where.
Thank goodness there was food in this deserted place.
With Daniel working his way through his nachos. We probably shouldn’t feed him too much of this stuff eh? But he was so happy it made our lives easier.
The next day, we drove to Zabriskie Point. The point where U2 supposedly shot their album cover for ‘Joshua Tree’. Michael was therefore convinced this was the closest we were ever going to be with some rock stars.
Our next stop was Dante’s View. Daddy was checking out Badwater Basin down below from here, and the kids were, well, just running away from him.
From Dante’s View, we got to see, hmm, this.
To be honest, apart from me moaning about the heat here, I am probably not giving Death Valley enough credit. It was a place of extreme desolation, quietness and nothingness. But it had some peculiar beauty to it strangely, and I was glad we made a quick pit stop here, en-route to the City of Sin.
The bling in Las Vegas made us feel like we were on another planet.
Here in Vegas, children were allowed into the casinos. See how the children were fascinated by the slot machines? Ka-chink!
One of the highlights here was to watch the Ballagio Fountains. We could only watch during the day without the lights and all that jazz *blames the kids*.
We tried to take a family portrait on Las Vegas Boulevard. But someone was pulling my hair, another one was saying the sun was too bright, and daddy was fiddling with the camera. Ta-dah!
We stayed at the Trump International Hotel.
Just to be absolutely clear, this was not a political endorsement of any kind (for goodness’ sake). It was pure business and pleasure.
We then wound down for the day by having this massiveeee bubble bath.
This was the night scene in Vegas.
On day 15, we went to the Circus Circus for some free circus shows and some arcade activities.
Both children were mesmerised by the performance. They were honestly not bad at all.
The kids also tried destroying some arcade equipment. Here was some dance moves and grooves.
We had some junior F1 skills going.
This was daddy and Daniel posing, with Emily sleeping, on Las Vegas Strip.
Now guys. Listen up please as this is very important.
It is about food. 🙂
One thing you HAVE to do in Vegas is to have a buffet meal. Thanks to Nick A’s brilliant recommendation, we went to Cosmopolitan Hotel’s Wicked Spoon buffet for our dinner. This was how the place looked like.
Emily ate to her heart’s content.
Daniel stuffed his face.
And dessert was for everyone.
I’m not usually a fan of buffet meals as the food quality and quantity are often inversely related. But here, we got both quality and quantity. Wah, win-win. Very full and happy tummies in the end.
To work off the extra weight, we did some push ups in the hotel room.
Ok. I’m not going to lie. Here’s one of the low downs in between all the fun and food.
We had this young man throwing his toys a few times so he was asked to check if the workmanship in the corner of the Trump Hotel room was good. He was given only a minute or so to check so he better work quickly.
It’s really a blessing that you can’t hear the sound he was making. It was so loud, it was doing my head in.
Despite the noise levels and us adults couldn’t quite achieve much grown up stuff (like I was in bed by 8/9pm…), Las Vegas was great fun and we really enjoyed ourselves.
Michael managed to sneak a few ‘late’ nights out (until 10/11pm) and he told me he donated some cash to the casino charity.
So far, we achieved one major milestone – this is called the ‘first milenium miles milestone’. What a mouthful but that’s the correct term. We drove 1000+ miles! See:
We have now done 14 of the 45 nights, and 1000+ of the 4600 ‘ish miles.
Moving on from Yosemite in California to Las Vegas in Nevada, on day 16 onwards, we will be driving to:
- Grand Canyon in Arizona;
- Gallup (where?! It is really.just.a.random.stop.) in New Mexico; and
- Santa Fe also in New Mexico.
This is us signing off for now.
We will be back peeps.