Valley view from hills above Red Rock Canyon

Road trip to Vegas

In March we took a road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, visiting friends who recently moved there from California. A road trip in the western US is characterized by cheap food, cheap gas, and wide, open spaces.

In Las Vegas, we ate one big meal a day, usually a buffet, eating much less at the other meals. Buffets are good for a group, because each person can eat as much as they want of whatever they like. We enjoyed every meal and would return.

  • On Monday we ate at the buffet at the Silverton Casino. On Mondays, folks 50 and over can eat for $5! The cook-to-order pasta were especially good, reminding us of buffet breakfasts in China.
  • On Tuesday we ate at the buffet at the Rio Casino. They had a broader range of dishes than the Silverton, and they had dim sum, good Asian noodles, and flan.  Locals can eat for $10 at lunch.
  • On Wednesday we ate Chinese food at KJ Kitchen. Until 3:00 pm, they have a lunch special, a long list of dishes for $6 each.  Good Cantonese food.  More food than we could eat for $10 per person.
  • We stopped at the Costco near Red Rock Canyon and had a gelato cone.  Three scoops of gelato in a waffle cone for $1.50!  Delicious and a great bargain.  We’re waiting for gelato to appear at a Costco near us.
  • On Thursday we had the brunch buffet at the Green Valley Ranch.  $5 with their card.

Gasoline in the US is much cheaper than in Europe, due to lower taxes.  We paid between $4.20 and $4.50 per gallon.  We drove over 500 miles each way from the San Francisco Bay Area to Las Vegas. Going to Las Vegas we stopped in Bakersfield to have lunch with friends.  After lunch we ran into snow twice driving over passes of 4200 feet. We planned to stop at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on the way home, but we bypassed it because the poppies were poor this year due to scant rain.

The US Southwest is dry, like Tanzania near Arusha. We visited Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas, hiking the Calico Tanks trail.  The hike involves some scrambling up and down rocks, and it’s easy to lose the trail over rock.  But the hills and red rocks are beautiful. In the picture below, you can see a woman climber nearing the top of the large red rock. Later she had climbed down to the bottom, and I congratulated her on her climb.

Climbing at Red Rock Canyon

Here’s the view from the end of the trail.  The visitor center is in the valley below, with Las Vegas through the haze.  See the contrast between the vein of dark red rock and the surrounding light-colored rock.

Valley view from hills above Red Rock Canyon
Valley view from hills above Red Rock Canyon

Places like deserts, Patagonia, and high mountains have a stark beauty. Each has a harsh climate where the native plants and animals have adapted, producing a consistency seldom seen in things man-made.

We also walked the Strip and saw the Beatles Love show by Cirque du Soleil.  Fantastic dancing, aerial acrobatics, and choreography inspired by favorite Beatles songs.  🙂


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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