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Winnipeg, MB to Las Vegas, NV

USA | Sunday, 1 May 2016 | Views [614]


Welcome to our 19 day or so road trip adventure through the USA. While this is the first post to hit the site, there are a couple posts we wrote prior to leaving. I never know how to start to capture our adventures which often leads to not starting them at all. We hope this blog is not only interesting, but also informative. Buckle up, we have a lot of miles to cover.




Our trip started at 11pm on a Friday night (29 April). It started at night, not because we enjoy leaving after a long day/week, but because the week prior to our trip Tim and I were both away from home. I was in Ottawa, ON in preparation for a deployment to the Congo; Tim was in Trenton ON in preparation of going to RIMPAC. I arrived home on Wednesday (27 April), packed the car and picked Tim up at the airport when he arrived home late on the 29th. After a brief stop home, we headed south to the border. The first few hours were largely uneventful: quiet road, nice border agent and few smelly factories. We passed through Grand Forks and Fargo North Dakota and stopped for a quick nap (about 4am) at a welcome centre just north of Sioux Falls South Dakota. If you have not driven through this area of the world, you are only missing miles upon miles of farmers fields.



After about 13 hours of driving, we arrived to Mount Rushmore. The park is located just outside Rapid City SD in a very touristy area that is littered with shops, hotels and roadside attractions. We made the climb through the Black Hills to the star attraction. The entrance fee is $11, but allows you access for the entire season; handy if you live close or are staying longer. The monument is quite nice, clean and everyone was very friendly. After a couple pictures and a stop to the gift shop we were off again. We descended into the largely uninhabited plains/badlands of Wyoming and made our first much appreciated overnight stop in Rock Springs; $45 at Motel 6. Although the entire stop was only 7 hours, we were comparatively well rested.



We felt our trip was really starting on 'day 2' (caveat as our first day was more like 32 hours). We were a little taken aback to see so much snow, but started to understand when we realized we were at 6000 ft ASL. Memories flooded back as we crossed into Utah and were greeted by spectacular red rock walls in Echo Canyon. We stopped for a bite to eat, beverage of choice and a couple pictures; beautiful! Driving through Utah is probably the most diverse and picturesque place on the planet. Unfortunately, our pictures cannot fully capture the grandeur.



At 85 mph (130kph), the trip south through Salt Lake City to the Arizona Border was only about 5 hours. Highway 15 is nestled in a beautiful valley between towering mountain faces. We stopped for lunch at a rest area and enjoyed views. We ate sandwich and luckily I wasn't driving, so I enjoyed a couple beers. It was a beautiful day and even though we were at 6500 ft, it was sunny and warm (13C/55F). We didn’t feel rushed, not the norm for the first few days of our road trips.



We enjoyed the views as we descended out of the mountains and into the valley (6000ft to 2000 ft in about 30 min). We were greeted by higher temperatures and more red rock; hello Arizona/Nevada. We stopped at a little grocery store in Overton Nevada for some picnic provisions. An afternoon in Valley of Fire was our reward for 8 hours of driving.



The Valley of Fire State Park is located about 30 minutes north of Las Vasgas. We had seen people take day trips there and wanted to check it out. Wow, it was worth it. After paying the $10 honor system fee, we hiked to elephant rock. These rocks look like lava that has pushed up through the ground and eroded for thousands of years. What is most incredible, it appears as if there were pockets of minerals that were more susceptible to erosion, leaving incredible formations, holes and caves. This site is a must see!



After enjoying burgers cooked on a charcoal grill, we passed through a couple more trails. This park has a lot to offer and it shouldn’t be expected that you could do it all in one day. Tired, we headed for our hotel in Las Vegas, quickly walked the strip and hit the hay. More details on that tomorrow.










Tags: las vegas, mount rushmore, utah, valley of fire


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