Death of our budget, or Death Valley – both are applicable. I thought we had a plan to stay in Lone Pine for a night (Lodgepole to Lonepine is 40 miles as the crow flies – or 262 miles on the American road system) but we realised that if we started the day in the valley we would be able to see some of the highlights early morning before reaching boiling point. A lovely lady in the visitor’s centre quailed at the thought of a night in a tent in the Valley before then pointing out to us that there were in fact campsites at elevation that we could reach before nightfall. To cut a long story short (that includes 2 trips to horrendously expensive gas stations and a highly necessary Maccy Ds milkshake) we drove to Mahogany Flats campground where I had to put my jumper on as soon as we arrived. Who knew!. At 8000ft we were happy campers. We went for that early (pre 6am) start and headed down into the heat. Rolling sand dunes, canyons like ovens and a huge oozing saltpan at 282 ft below sea level while basking in 48 degrees made for a sometimes beautiful, very interesting day.
However, by 3pm we soon figured that a) we had seen what we wanted to see and b) a night in a tent at 40 wasn’t going to happen so off we set to the bizarrely named Pahrump, found a seedy bar and booked ourselves into an Airbnb in Vegas.
Truly, a great decision… Justin and Andrew were fantastic hosts and within 30 mins of arriving we were in the pool, beers in hand. 2 hours later they drove us to Fremont – downtown Vegas where we partied with an 80s cover band and once Fi had joined us, went for our first Vegas casino experience in the Golden Nugget. Ending the night up 50 bucks we decided we are rather good at this!
Onto the luxury we had promised and booked ourselves in advance – The Venetian… and it really was. Vegas is completely over the top in everyway you imagine it to be. Neon lights, tiiiiny clothes (on other people), minimal daylight and the sound and lights of pokies filling every corner it’s hard not to be sucked in. We’ve done OK with Blackjack, been completely confused by Craps… and don’t even try to explain Baccarat to me again.
Slightly bizarrely, we knew a fair number of people in town at the same time, Fi (Lane) was here for a wedding and managed to squeeze us in as well – thanks for teaching us how to play the tables – as well as a couple of our hockey club at home (and one just missed). Great to see familiar faces as always – anyone planning a trip to Mexico in the next couple of months??
So Tuesday morning came, and time for us to check out, move back into the tent and reinstate budgetary control… until we realised we have less willpower than a limp lettuce leaf and found out that the hotel across the road had rooms for 40 quid.. so here we are… by the pool and a SGHC night out on the cards…. we will leave Vegas… after we’ve put the car on black…