We had been contemplating whether we’d be going to Death Valley National Park before or after our visit to Las Vegas, NV. We either planned it for today and have to fairly evenly long days in the car or do it before we’d be going to Los Angeles and have a pretty short day today and one major pain in the behind long day after our stay in Las Vegas. We opted for the first option.
So after breakfast -free breakfast!- we left Kingman for Nevada and Death Valley (partially in California). On the border of Arizona and Nevada we made a short stop to see the Hoover Dam. In Henderson we washed our car, because it became pretty sandy on the dirt roads in the White Mountains. We also switched driver’s once again and it was my turn again to drive.
It’s quite surreal driving through Death Valley. The lowest point below sea level in the United States is in Death Valley. This is Badwater Basin. Naturally, you’ll descend a lot in altitude to get there. While driving towards the visiting center, we just went down and down, and the temperature just went up and hit the roof for our standards. When we went to the visitors center in Furnace Creek (they have chosen this name wisely), it was already 110 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 43 degrees centigrade). We were glad we had a big pile of water bottles in the back of our trusty mini van.
From the visitors center we went to the Devil’s Golf Course. It’s weird to see what strange and unique formations nature can come up with. We continued our journey to Badwater Basin. We walked around a bit on the salty ground before the 40+ degrees centigrade started to take its toll. Via the Artists Drive we made our way back to the exit of the park to drive back to Las Vegas.
During our journey we crossed some wild horses -they could be domesticated, but they were just roaming the fields and roads-. Back in Nevada, we just drove until we saw Las Vegas and its famous Strip. The Stratosphere Tower is quite an eye catcher from a distance. By the time we reached the suburbs of Vegas, we were starting to get hungry. We decided to go the Panda Express near Boot Barn and the southern Outlet center. If Panda Express didn’t turn out to be a good idea, then we’d be having enough other choices of food around. However, Panda Express turned out to be a hit! I can’t believe I haven’t been to one before. Definitely one of my favourite fast food chains in the USA.
After dinner, we went to Circus Circus (our hotel for the following two nights!) to check in. Compared to our previous check ins, Vegas’ is mental. We were queuing theme park styled to check in. You just gotta love Vegas, right? We got two rooms in the manors. We unpacked the car and brought our luggage to our rooms. After a quick shower to freshen up a bit after Death Valley, we went to see the volcano show near The Mirage. On our way to that hotel, I bought the most expensive milkshake I’ve ever had. It was tasty, but not worth the $8.00 I paid for it.
From The Mirage we continued our way to the Bellagio, passing hotels like Ceasar’s Place, Paris, Planet Hollywood. After seeing the Bellagio’s Aquanura (fountain show; it just always reminds of the one the Efteling has and how that one is actually better than the ones in Vegas), we sat down in Paris Hotel for a drink. Afterwards, we walked back to our hotel for a well-deserved night of sleep.