Road post #3

Yet again, just a few days has passed since I last wrote, and it seems like a lifetime ago.  Is this why time passes so slowly for kids?  Everything in the world is new to them, and filled days create more space in your head.  Once we get older and settle into routine, the days drag on and on.

We spent Thursday in Las Vegas with my brother, Steve.  He picked us up for a fun day of hiking, off-roading, and sightseeing.  We started off just outside Las Vegas, at Lake Mead.

Next we bounced over “roads” that were most like rough trails, to the Anniversary Narrows, a slot canyon with vivid colors.

The best time for photos would be in the late afternoon because the bright sun obliterated the pastel hues of pink, orange and cream.  We even explored an old mine shaft (don’t try this at home, kids!) and had the most amazing potty break ever.  There’s not exactly bathrooms in the wilderness, so we went behind a huge rock to pee.  Just after I squatted down, I heard rustling behind me.  “Great”, I thought, “I’m mooning some other hikers!”  But it wasn’t hikers, it was a herd of big horn sheep!  “Holy cow!  Look at that!”, I yelled.  My brother couldn’t see the herd from his vantage point, and just thought that I was crazy and commenting on my peeing experience.  The herd tore down the steep slopes, into the valley floor, and careened back up the other side, sure footed and nimble.  We watched them continue on their way, the babies just as skilled as the adults of navigating the rocky hills.

Next we went to Valley of Fire State Park, which was wonderful.  It was so awe inspiring that it seems like it should be a National Park!  It features deep red rock formations of all kinds of strange shapes,

petroglyphs,

and lots of fun areas to climb and scramble.

We went out for fabulous tacos, visited my nephew, and then Steve drove us around the Strip in his Jeep with the top off.  We had 360 views of all the lights and meyhem.  I made the fatal error of ordering a scoop of gelato in a casino without looking at the price.  Two smalls came to $14!  When I lamented my stupidity, Nat shrugged and said that was my version of Las Vegas gambling!

On Friday, we drove to our new home, the Serrano campground in Big Bear Lake, California.  The mileage was the shortest of any day on our trip, so we had a leisurely morning and left in the early afternoon.  Those 270 miles took us almost 8 hours!  L.A. traffic is famous for a reason, and the mountain driving was even slower than in the Rockies.  As we turned onto the last road into Big Bear, I knew those 50 miles would not go by fast.  We watched the sun set over the mountains, and poked along at 25 mph.

We got in about an hour after dark, disoriented, hungry and tired.  Our new boss, Susan, led us to our campsite, through a sea of huge pine trees.  Thanks to a week of practice, we were set up in no time, fed, and passed out in the cool mountain air.

Next up: first impressions of Big Bear Lake!

 

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