Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Death Valley and Las Vegas - 31st March

We left the motel in Ridgecrest at about 10.30am and went to a nearby McDonalds for breakfast. We sat on the grass next to the road (and our car!) - it was already hot. 
Then I took the kids for a walk over to a Dollar Tree shop, while Scott went and got petrol. We picked out a few things, and then Harry had a nose bleed. The cashier went and got us a massive piece of paper towel, and Harry wandered round the shop with this big piece of scrunched up towel with blood all over it! Delightful!
We set off for Death Valley then, about 2.5 hours away.

On one quiet stretch of desert road I did some driving! I can drive on the wrong side OK in our own car, but it was very peculiar having the steering wheel on the wrong side - I kept driving off the road!

I didn't drive for very long, but I did drive down a scary bit of road which was too near big drop-offs for my liking! This is the only photo Scott took all holiday, coming down that road.

Near the start of this ridiculously long straight stretch of road, I pulled over and we had fun taking pictures and taking in the amazingness of the place! I didn't get anyone to actually pose for this picture - it's just how they happened to be!!

At the end of the very long stretch there was this! (It carried on round a bend thankfully!)

We stopped off quickly at the top of one hill to take in the scenery.

We then stopped off at the sand dunes, and went for a short walk into them. It was HOT.

The dunes stretch out far further than they look. Harry running down one more dune before we headed back.

Watching a plane.

By the time we got back to the car, I felt decidedly ropey - dizzy and sick. Felt much better after sitting down and cooling down for a while. I don't think I'd last long in the desert!
The boys sitting in the shade of the car!

We then carried on driving to Badwater. I just love it here. The scenery is just something else, and I am completely transfixed by it. It's just totally different and vast compared with my usual experience.

This was the highest our thermometer reached! The previous record for Death Valley in March was 102 degrees.

At Badwater Basin - the lowest point in America!

Making shadow monsters on the salt.

Back at the car, getting drinks out the boot, a whole case of root beer fell out, and some of the cans started spraying everywhere! Loads of our luggage fell out too, and a man went running after my laptop warranty papers which had flown off! After a load of fuss (like our car/accents/number of kids wasn't conspicuous enough already) we managed to get everything cleaned up and sorted out!

Tumble weed!!!

I love this picture of Harry with his hand out the window - just feeling the hot air and taking in the views.

We drove for a little way then stopped off at a canyon we had been on the way to Badwater.

It was properly hot in the canyon as well. The heat was just so present - it made you have a healthy respect for it, and not underestimate dehydration.

After the canyon, we drove to an outlook place over the Badlands. I was so happy to find it! I loved these rocks last time Scott and I came here.

I loved it up here - the incredibly beautiful rocks, and being blown by hot wind!

Then we drove to Las Vegas.
I had bought Harry a diary in Dollar Tree, and his first entry made me laugh!! So glad these were the highlights of his holiday so far!!

We drove pretty much along the whole length of the strip in Las Vegas - hilarious and totally crazy!

The prefect music to be driving through Las Vegas with - from Ocean's Eleven!

We drove right to the other end of the strip and into the parking area of our hotel, the Stratosphere. A bell hop guy took all our luggage (wash bag, lap top box - the lot) and a valet took our car for us - it was great! We passed through the casino areas, waited while Scott checked us in, then went up to our rooms on the 14th floor. Scott rang for our bags, and I was happy to wash all the sand off my feet, and drink tonnes of water - still not feeling brilliant from the earlier heat.

We headed back down to the car area, and sat outside while our car came. The boys loved where we were staying!

We drove back down the strip and valet parked at the Bellagio.

The view from the Bellagio. We walked from there (through the beautiful covered walkways) over to the strip and wandered along bit for a bit looking for somewhere to eat.

There weren't many food places in the section we were in, and we ended up settling on Pinks - the hot dog place. There was an impromptu rapper guy not far away, making up stuff based on subjects from passers-by. When we arrived he was singing a rather questionable one, but fortunately improved after that!

We then headed back to the Bellagio in time to watch the musical fountains. It was pretty busy, but we could still see OK.

Afterwards, we all leaned on the balustrade like at the end of Ocean's Eleven!
We then got on the moving walk-ways back to the car collection area. It was lovely going along them, surrounding by nice fittings, with a warm breeze blowing. We st and waited for our car, then went back to the Stratosphere.

We headed straight up the Stratosphere tower, which was free when we showed our room keys. The lift travels 3 floors a second! At the top it was crazy!! We could see all the lights of Las Vegas till then just ran out. SO high up! There were a few rides which Jack was planning to go on. Totally nuts!

By then I was feeling totally dead, and desperately needed to get in a bed. We had to wait for a while to get the lift back down and got back to our rooms at 10pm.

Scott wanted to try and get something sorted out about the car - he needed to use the hotel phone, but our debit card was refused for some unknown reason, but the hotel needed a card first (and our credit card was already cancelled from the robbery). Luckily Scott had an extra credit card with him, which we've never used before, and it worked.
He was going to ring around other car rental companies and see if they had any big enough cars, then see if we could get out of our current rental, if they didn't have any suitable replacements for ours.
It all felt stressful, and I just felt so tired and ill, so I went to bed and Scott got on with it. I was also disappointed, because we had arranged to meet up with our American friends the Chattertons the next day, but they got in touch to cancel it, because Stephen ended up having to work.
What a day.

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