Sunday, January 25, 2015

December 2nd: A Bunch of Rainy Nature

Good morning, Vegas! This was the view from our hotel room when we woke up Tuesday morning. We grabbed breakfast at the buffet (which was awesome...there was so much food!), then went back up to the room to grab quick showers and repack before checking out. We had more plans for Vegas later, but first, it was time to make our way to California.

When we were driving around last year, we saw signs for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just a bit west of Vegas. Since it was mostly on the way to Death Valley, we made a short side trip to check it out.

The clouds were starting to move in as we got closer, but the scenery was still pretty great. The road through the area is a one way scenic loop with numerous overlooks.

It didn't take long to get to the first overlook, so we parked and got out to wander around a bit.

Mark had splurged and rented a Mustang GT instead of a normal, more low-key rental car. It was a lot of fun for driving on open desert roads!

We walked around on the rocks for a little while, then headed back to the car just as this guy drove by. Must be nice to drive a Lamborghini around in scenery like this!

The next overlook was just as nice as the first one. We spent a few minutes walking around here, too, before hopping back in the car. The clouds were getting closer, and we were hoping to get through most of the scenic loop before the rain started.

One of the overlooks had some very scenic benches.

I took this one from the overlook with the scenic benches. It was pretty cool to watch the clouds slowly creep over the ridges.

We made a quick stop at one more overlook, where I hopped out to take a couple quick pictures. By this point it had started to rain, so we made our way back out to the main road and started heading west toward Death Valley.

A couple hours and a short fuel stop later, we made it to Death Valley. I remember taking a picture from this spot last year; there were all sorts of beautiful gold, gray, and blue rocks in the background. No such luck today...leave it to me to come to the desert when it's rainy and socked in!

When we got into Death Valley we drove a bit south. It was raining on and off, and the road was flooded in a few spots. Many of the scenic side roads were closed because everything was so wet; this was the road to the Devil's Golf Course. It was fenced off, so we turned around and headed back north toward the hotel at Stovepipe Wells.

There were low clouds all around the valley, and the hills kept disappearing into the fog.

It was getting close to sunset as we got further north... we made a quick stop at the Mesquite Sand Dunes to catch the tiny hint of pink in the sky at sunset before heading to the hotel.

We got to our hotel room fairly early, so we used the sodas we had grabbed at Target and the flasks we had packed from home to mix a couple drinks before heading over to the restaurant for dinner. Dinner was good and we had fun listening to the lady sitting a couple tables over complain about everything to her husband. We eventually made our way back to our room, where we mixed a couple more drinks and watched Home Alone 2 before bed. I set my alarm for 4am...hopefully the clouds would clear in time for me to get a few nighttime sky pictures before sunrise!

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