Friday, March 14, 2014

The Snowbirds Return

Yes, we are back. We are back to our 30°F temperatures, but with our sunburns! Just to remind ourselves, even if only for a few days, that we were in warmth and heat. We came back with a few other memories as well...
On Tuesday we visited the Hoover Dam. What an amazing engineering feat!
If you are in Las Vegas you must visit! It's only a 40 minute drive from the strip. We rented a car very cheap for three days for some sight seeing. 
I was most impressed by the monument to those who died building the dam. I did a quick online search about it and can't find any images of the entire thing. What I liked most was the floor mosaic. According to the US Dept. of the Interior, the floor shows the exact date of the dedication of the dam in according to the stars. There are such beautiful details in it.  
On Wednesday we went hiking in the Red Rock Canyon, a 40 minute drive in the other direction of the Las Vegas strip. It was very windy which made it very cold, but we decided to scale the Turtle Head trail. Whew! Talk about needing trail markers! The first mile and a half or so was UP - but reasonably so. The last mile was... difficult to describe. It was something like a 1000ft. climb in about a half a mile. I might be exaggerating a little bit - but not much.  There was no official trail - basically one had to just scramble up the mountain, which we did.  Once at the top - wow. The view was worth it! 
Here's Pedro gazing back up at where we were: 
Yes really! Up there at the highest spot. We did make it. And to give you an idea the trail just sort of goes straight up to the left of his backpack. No switchbacks. Just up. 
But the views, oh the views: This is the top of the ridge before climbing the final bit - the turtle head (on the left). 

Kind of a bad selfie, but the Strip and even part of Lake Mead are visible in the background.   

And yeah, a beautiful view of more geology, but really I was trying to get an image of the parking lot. It's just past all of the white rocky looking stuff in the middle of what looks like a water run off. But, well, you know, that 2000 ft. below us.

Some more views of the area: 
We topped both days off with amazing restaurant experiences. Tuesday was a super fancy french cuisine place with a sommelier who was very excited to talk to someone who knew wine. We now have great suggestions on where to get Nebiolo from California vineyards. (If you don't know what Nebiolo is, find out!)
Wednesday we went to Lotus of Siam. This Thai restaurant is so famous, both cab drivers knew about it. I gave just the address to the first and he said, "Oh, Lotus of Siam, right? Make sure you have the spicy noodles." The second cab driver said in the six years she'd been driving and picking people up from the restaurant, she's never heard one complaint. Pedro was in heaven because the wine list was amazing. We had another bottle of a Riesling we'd been introduced to the night before. The food was amazing too. (I need to find a good recipe for Masama Curry (?) I could eat buckets).
Oh, and we did play the slots. I had five singles and said, let's play them! So we did and in the end we won $13.96 in the penny slots. Hot Dog! 

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