Trip Report: Las Vegas and Death Valley, Part 1

The last trip I have to blog about (til January, anyway) is the trip I took to Las Vegas and Death Valley. I was out there for the Blogworld convention with my friend/co-worker – but Doug and I went out early, where we met up with my officemate, Don. He’d gone out early to see the Grand Canyon and Bryce. He picked us up at the airport on a Wednesday in October, at 9:30 am. The time change was in our favor — and so was the fact that this was four days after we got home from Spain, so we weren’t really back on Eastern time yet, making our 7am flight not terribly painful.

So, Don picked us up, and we headed out for Death Valley!

First, some photos from the flight. We flew over the Grand Canyon, which I love doing. It’s so beautiful.

We took off on a pretty fall morning:
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Not long into our flight, the clounds and fog were all filling the valleys.
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I was *really* excited that we flew over the Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado. I love that place so much, and I really want to go back. The dunes are at the foot of the Sangre de Christo mountains:
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This might be the Vermillion Cliffs:
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Grand Canyon!
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I think this is the Kaibab Plateau:
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The South Rim:
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You can still see the Grand Canyon off in the distance:
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Lake Mead:
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Vegas!
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We stayed at Mandalay Bay, which you can see towards the left.
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On the road towards Death Valley:
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We stopped at a Mexican place for an early lunch that was awesome! Doug got some sort of chicken with mole’ sauce:
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I got some sort of shrimp with lime and garlic:
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I wasn’t too sure about the park, til we drove up to the overlook and saw this:
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We took a short hike to look over the rise at the rest of the salt flat. Here’s Don pretending to litter.
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Don made a panorama of the view of the salt flat!

Click for a much bigger pic!
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Back on the road to the next cool thing at Death Valley, Zabriskie Point:
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That’s where we parked!
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Next stop, the Visitors Center!
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Back on the road!
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That’s the salt flat in the distance:
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Next, the Devil’s Golf Course:
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This place was cooler in person!
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All the holes are why it’s called the Devil’s Golf Course:
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Temp is climbing!
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Heading towards salt flat now:
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-213 feet below sea level!
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And here we are at the salt flat!
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Looking back the way we came from the parking lot:
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Salt angel!
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Actually the salt was really sharp and you’d probably shred the hell out of yourself if you really tried to make a salt angel!

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There’s the sea level marker…
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Where we are is 282 feet below sea level!
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Back on the road…
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Next stop, was these colorful rocks:
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I like this one with our shadows in it:
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We saw a coyote, so we pulled over and took some pics (out the car window)
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Next we checked out some sand dunes – there were bigger ones on the other side of the park that you couldn’t really get to without an off-road vehicle. These were pretty though!
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Now, I was wearing sneakers. Mesh sneakers. I was getting SO much sand in my shoes!

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More shadows!
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We got back to the car and I dumped a bunch of sand out of my shoes…and then I dumped a ton of sand out of my socks. :-/

I must have had 5 pounds of sand in them!
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The sun’s starting to go down!
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We made one last stop at a ghost town:
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This pic came out blurry, but I thought it looked kind of cool in a horror movie sort of way.
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These too:
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I’m not quite sure why this miner has a penguin companion.
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We had trouble finding somewhere we wanted to eat dinner, but we finally picked another Mexican place. It was like 6:30 or 7 – and after I ordered, it turned out they were out of guacamole AND rice. WTF? What kind of Mexican place runs out of those things that early? I would have changed my order, had I known. The food was fine though. After that, it was back to Vegas, to check in to Manadalay Bay! We were all super tired, so everyone went to bed early.

And that’s the end of day one of that trip!