Monthly Archives: February 2015

Red Rock National Conservation Area, Calico Basin, Red Spring Park, Valley of Fire State Park and Redstone Picnic Area

Long story short-a friend and I took advantage of the Fee Free National Park Day and visited Lake Mead National Recreation Area after we went through Valley of Fire State Park.  Lake Mead will be found in a different post.

I have lived here more than 20 years and visited both Red Rock and Valley of Fire way back when I first moved here.  Now that the photo bug has bitten, I decided to go back to both of those places.  Nothing is, as I remember it.  I learned that Calico Basin is part of Red Rock and that there is a Red Spring that is on the Calico Basin side also.  I learned that I don’t remember Valley of Fire at all like it is today.  Well, maybe tiny little bits. I remember the original campground and the petroglyphs.  In addition, as we headed back to town along Lake Mead (a trip that I have taken several times even in recent years), that there is place called Redstone on the road.  I swear I don’t remember those rock formations, even though they aren’t the sort of thing that would just spring up.  The park itself may be new enough, that I didn’t see it before.  Boy have my eyes been opened.  Of course, there are also much smaller spots where an occasional outgrowth of red rock that is geographically correct, but isn’t large enough to warrant a park designation.  So now, a little bit about each of the areas mentioned.

Red Rock Canyon from Overlook

Red Rock Canyon from Overlook

Calico Basin and Red Spring Park appear to be part of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, although they are on the other side of the hill and back up to privately developed land. To get to Red Rock Canyon, Calico Basin and Red Spring Park-head west on Charleston Boulevard, until it turns into both Red Rock Canyon Road and Blue Diamond Road.  This is the closest to Las Vegas and is just a couple of miles beyond the developed part of the city.   Ironically-whether you are in Calico Basin, Red Spring Park or Red Rock Canyon-you cannot hear the hub bub of the city at all.

Calico Basin

Calico Basin

Valley of Fire State Park is more of a drive and won’t be done without wheels.  It is 49 miles to get out to the park entrance by taking I-15 toward Utah and getting off at the Valley of Fire Hwy located at the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza (also referred to as the Smokeshop).  Follow the Valley of Fire Hwy to the entrance to the park. Since we are now having wonderful spring temperatures in the 70s, it was quite busy while we were there on a long weekend.  Come summer, when the temperatures soar into the 110s, I suspect it is still very quiet out there.  I will share more about the Valley of Fire in another entry.

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Redstone Picnic Area looks very new, at least the facilities.  It includes a half mile hiking trail, covered picnic tables and a necessity stop in the parking lot.  On the day we visited, an older couple was getting married amongst the red stones.  Not only is Las Vegas known for weddings in our chapels, but there are a lot of location weddings that take place in Red Rock, Redstone and Valley of Fire.  The backgrounds can’t be beat and can’t be faked.  If anybody is planning one of these little affairs, then contact me.  I want to get into that kind of photography also.  Enough rambling though!  Redstone Picnic Area is located at mile 27 on the Northshore Road along  Lake Mead.  Heading back into town from Redstone, turn onto Lake Mead Boulevard to return through North Las Vegas or continue to Lake Mead Parkway to return in through Henderson.  There are other options if you want to continue around Lake Mead toward Hoover Dam and the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.

Redstone Picnic Area

Redstone Picnic Area

 

Cruising the Caribbean This Summer

Do you crave a cruise?    Do you like the Caribbean with all of the sun, water activities-but don’t want to cook, clean, make beds,etc.  Do you enjoy being pampered?  Well the group that went to Alaska last summer is doing the Caribbean this summer and some of us are booked already and waiting with anticipation.  If you are interested, get out those passports and check out the details below:

Carnival Glory
August 1-8
Sailing from Miami, FL with stops at Cozumel, Mexico; Belize; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan; and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

Carnival Glory

Carnival Glory

Our agent who we are working with is:
Jeff Anderson        Eastern Standard Time
Work hours are weekdays from 10am-3pm EST and 9pm-midnight EST.
1-800-764-7315    ext:  44424

There are 9 of us booked so far with 3-6 more planning on booking.  If you are a single and having trouble finding a cabinmate-let me know.    We would love to have you join us and
our philosophy is “The more, the merrier”!

National Park Service Fee Free Days Again!

All weekend long for President’s Day (February 14-16), there is free admission to any of the national parks across the nation.    For me, I think that will mean a trip out and around Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  Look for more information and a pic or two  very soon.  I know I want to get back out to Hoover Dam, as it is soooo low that it is really sad.  We were too late coming back from our last outing.  We could see how low it is with our eyes,  but the camera just couldn’t capture it.  Be back soon!

Brews, Sports and Comfort Food

Maybe you like brew pubs.  Maybe you like everything sports, especially the Packers.  Maybe you like cheese curds or comfort food.  Maybe you like all of these. If you like any or all of the above, then Big Dog’s Brewing Company aka The Draft House is the place to visit. I have visited the Draft House many times during the time I have lived in Las Vegas.  After a long week at work, there needs to be a meeting at the field office for some tasty adult beverages.  My friend absolutely prefers the Draft House, so I often tag along.  I love their menu, especially the cheese curds since I am a “cheesehead” home grown.  Cheese curds don’t necessarily love me back, so I have to choose from the menu carefully.  The last time we were there, I glanced over and bravely asked the man sitting at the next table what he was having.  It looked so good, and he raved about how tender the meat was.  So I ordered up Grandma’s Pot Roast.   I was not disappointed.  We landed there a few days later after work related meeting and I ordered it again.  So maybe that was a little overkill-NO!  The portions are ample enough for even a hearty eater to eat half and take the rest for another meal.  So I go for the food.  My brother-in-law goes for the brews. Some people go for the sports.  They even have live bands playing some nights now.  Whether you live here or are just visiting, check out all they have to offer.  They are located on N. Rancho near Craig.

 

Snowbirds, Powerball and Laughlin

 

So as the Powerball numbers get larger, people in Las Vegas find places to go buy tickets.  That leaves us with two places to temporarily migrate to-Primm on the California border or multiple places in Arizona.  Since I have that new expensive camera and wanted to find something to take pictures of, I chose to take a road trip to Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona across the river.  I can honestly say that I have been to Laughlin/Bullhead City enough times that I can count them on one hand.  I even stayed in one of the casino/hotels there on one of those visits.  In my search for things to take pictures of, we actually found the other part of Laughlin that most who visit don’t see.  They have their main drag with all of the casino/hotels and if you stay on the main drag and continue driving far enough, you find the residential part of town that I had never seen before.

At Davis Dam

At Davis Dam

Because there are feet of snow and really nasty weather in other parts of the country, there are a lot of snowbirds-those people that live somewhere east and north of here during the summer and then escape their winters by coming down to the southwest for the winter season.  I had never been to Laughlin/Bullhead City during the winter, so I had no clue how many actually stay there, nor did I know how many RV parks there are.

Twin Planes Over Davis Dam

Twin Planes Over Davis Dam

Once we found the living part of Laughlin, we crossed over the Colorado River as it flows from Lake Mohave on down to Lake Havasu.    If you are from my generation, then you might know that London Bridge never fell down, but was taken apart and moved to Lake Havasu.  So what was the Colorado River like on February 7th?  We saw not only the Celebration riverboat running the river, but waterskiers being towed by a speedboat, as the temperatures pushed 80 degrees.  And some people still insist that there is no climate change.   We had other entertainment as well.  I am not sure what was happening, but there were twin planes flying around.  I caught those with the digital while we were over at Davis Dam, just above the towns.  The vistas dropping down into Laughlin from the Nevada side are phenomenal, although because they are so immense, the haze in the distance doesn’t always make for the best photography.  When we left the Bullhead City side headed back through the Arizona side, we were treated with some extremely interesting  rock formations as we climbed back out of the canyon.