Monday dawned sunny, but colder, and as we woke this last morning in Lake Tahoe, the Wedding Weekend was officially over. We’d spent most of Sunday saying goodbye to folks. Starting about 9:30 in the morning when our friends Denise, Chris, Patti, and Meade headed out, continuing a couple of hours later when our oldest Billy headed back to North Carolina, and ending that night when our daughter Krissi and future Son-in -Law Mike, along with several other New Yorkers who were on the Jet Blue red eye to JFK , said their goodbyes. Most of us headed to bed early, and after another visit from Mr. Bear, we hunkered down for the best sleep we’d had in several days. Susie and I knew we had a 7-8 hour drive ahead of us, so we were up, had the car packed, and we were on the road, after saying goodbye to the boys and David and Lexi, a little after 9:30. Grandma and Aunt Kim slept in that morning, so unfortunately, we didn’t get to say goodbye to them in person.
Our trip out of Tahoe Vista was very picturesque, as we traveled around the lake and back into Nevada from California.
One would think that between two major cities in Nevada like Reno and Las Vegas, there would be a 4-6 lane Interstate Highway, but the reality is the route is US 95, and for most of the distance between these two cities, it’s a 2 lane road. It’s a quiet, lonely trip, and what you pass along the way is interesting. One of the first things you pass heading south towards Las Vegas is the US Army Hawthorne Ammo Depot. Covering 147,000 acres or 226 sq. mi, the depot is where the US stockpiles ammunition to be used after the first 30 days of a conflict. The depot has 600,000 square feet of storage space in 2,427 bunkers, most of which are underground, so there is not a heck of a lot left to see, beyond the entrance sign.
Susie and I agreed, that this road has a certain Route 66 feel to it, as many of the buildings you pass, and the towns you go through, are leftovers from the days of active mining in the area. You’re traveling along at the 70 MPH speed limit, when suddenly the speed drops to 50, then 45, then 35, and then 25, and they are serious. Not this time, but when we did this drive the other direction last year, we did see folks run afoul of the law, when they thought the 25 MPH speed limit was just a suggestion. Some of these towns still seem to be making a go of it, but others are just abandoned buildings, rusted-out cars and trucks, and visible remnants of mining activity. Take a look.
As I said, it’s about 7-8 hours from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas, and the road just keeps going on and on. As it’s a 2 lane road, there’s always the fun of trying to pass a slow moving truck, or a truck pulling a travel trailer.
One of the last things you pass of interest, as you get near Las Vegas is the Creech Air Force Base in Clark County. On first look, you’d assume that it’s no longer an active Air Force base, as you see no planes as you drive by. But when we researched it last year, you discover that Creech is the main headquarters for all the remotely piloted aircraft systems which fly missions around the world! Drones that are currently flying in Afghanistan and Iraq, are piloted from Creech. We certainly do live in a video game world!
Not a great picture, but that is Creech’s Entrance Gate!
And then, before you know it, we were in fabulous Las Vegas! We had one free night at the Rio Hotel and Casino, a Caesar’s property we’ve stayed at lots of times. We were tired and hungry, and shortly after checking in, we were down at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, El Burro Borracho, which I believe means the drunken donkey! We’d eaten here a couple of years ago, and were in the mood for some good Mexican food. Their table side Guacamole and their Margaritas are second to none! The food was good too, but sorry, no before pictures!
After dinner, we headed into the casino. The Rio has a lot of old machines that you no longer see in many casinos, and we headed to a couple that have disappeared from Atlantic City! We had very good luck at a Top Dollar machine, hitting the bonus 20 times and racking up Tier Credits equivalent to putting $1500 through the machine, and all we contributed was a 100 dollar bill. It was a successful stay in the casino. Even though we didn’t walk away with money, we played for close to 90 minutes, and for us, that’s almost as good as winning!
Then we slept like dead people!!