Valley of Fire State Park!!

I loved all the colors in the rock! It looked like a flowing river!

A wonderful aspect of traveling is that you get to make spontaneous, unexpected changes to your travel plans. I was driving through Nevada when I saw a sign for the Valley of Fire State Park. I decided to take the exit and see what it looked like. I remember the rich rock colors west of Las Vegas a few years ago, so the name Valley of Fire demanded I take a look. What a beautiful location!!

Spectacular swirls of color in the rocks! What a beautiful location!

I found a campsite inside the park, left some chairs out to save my campsite, and then went to the visitor center. I was told the hike to the “Fire Wave” was the most popular hike in the entire park. I jumped into our motorhome and went to the trailhead. What I discovered were many rich red-orange-colored rocks. Some rock contained multiple layers of different colors of rock. I had a wonderful time taking photos in directions all around me!

The colors looked hand-painted because they were so perfect!

I marveled at the rich colors!

It is interesting to see all the colors and shapes!

This beautiful arch reminded me of some of the gorgeous arches in Utah! I love the depth of the orange tones throughout such an amazing structure.

My campsite was fantastic and simple. No bother with hookups. Simply park and enjoy the view!

Both days I was in the Valley of Fire State Park I saw bighorn sheep! They are majestic creatures and I watched them climb the mountain!

I am sure that the temperature is too hot during much of the year, but November is a superb time to visit Valley of Fire State Park. It is a true treasure in Nevada!

Las Vegas Highland Games!


It was fun to see so many people dressed up for the Celtic Festival!! They enjoyed my asking to have my photo taken with them.


I absolutely love listening to the bagpipes and the drums!! It is such beautiful music!


I have absolutely no idea who this group is, but I watched them having their picture taken under the Celtic Society banner. I asked if I could have my picture taken with them and they enthusiastically agreed!! What a great group of people!!

Sometimes when traveling you discover fun, unexpected pleasures. Today, this happened to me as I discovered that the Las Vegas Highland Games were going on. I have been to other Celtic Festivals in Tucson and Phoenix and loved them!


There was a booth dedicated to Diana Gabaldon and the Outlander series!! They were quite excited when I told them i grew up in Flagstaff and had read all of her books!


This was a wonderful group of people!


It was nice to see so many different people dress up for the Celtic Festival!


It was very nice listening to the bands!!

For me, one of my favorites in a Celtic festival of the bagpipes and the drums! I cannot get enough of listening to live bands play the bagpipes and the drums. The beat resonates inside me and I find myself captivated watching them play. It is fun when bands from different areas are together in one festival. I loved it!


It was impressive to hear the different bands play!!


These guys had a wonderful time posing for photos! I asked a woman from the UK to take the photos and she was roaring with laughter!!

It was also fun to see people dressed up for the Highland Games! I asked several people if I could have my photo taken with them. It was fun for them to be acknowledged for their colorful outfit and fun for me to be with them!


This was a fun group! I listed to some of their induction ceremony!

Everyone was having fun! I enjoyed seeing new people, listening to the music, and seeing people dressed in Celtic outfits!

Late Night Trailhead – Las Vegas


One the road toward Blue Diamond is a superb network of trails!!


This sculpture notes the beginning of the trailhead.


The views of the cactus and gorgeous mountains are spectacular!!


The trails are well marked and fun to ride!!

A good friend told me about some excellent mountain bike trails outside of Las Vegas. I had a wonderful time riding on these trails and enjoying different type of cactus from Phoenix and Tucson as well as the incredible colors in the mountains! The ride was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Well, maybe not riding up out of the town of Blue Diamond! It was steep riding out of Blue Diamond and I almost melted into a grease spot on the trail while I was pedaling uphill!


I enjoyed seeing different types of cactus from what I am familiar with in Tucson and Phoenix!


The mountain views are incredible. I loved the rich colors!


I loved the contrasts in texture and colors all around me as I was riding!


It was a beautiful day! No clouds in the sky, a high temperature in the low 70s, gorgeous views, and nice trails!!


I loved the colors in the mountains!

The colors of the rocks and the intensity of the cactus was amazing! I kept seeing amazing sites over and over. I loved this network of trails! Some people rode horses, some people hiked, but most people were riding mountain bikes. I loved riding here!!


The trails just kept going for miles. Someone put great effort into making such a nice network of trails!!


This is the famous Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas! The colors are spectacular!! A wedding had just finished when I arrived where this view was the backdrop for the wedding ceremony!

Lake Tahoe

Charlene at Lake Tahoe

Charlene at Lake Tahoe

Today we had the opportunity to visit Lake Tahoe, about an hour away from Reno. It was especially nice as the weather was beautiful. We have been in Reno/Sparks for 11 days and it has rained every day. In contrast, today was beautiful with sunny skies and clouds over the mountains.

The drive through Carson City to Lake Tahoe was nice, but fairly steep as we drove up the mountain. Lake Tahoe is known for being very deep and having a rich blue color. When we drove near the lake, we noted that the water was especially clear and was blue. It was very beautiful. Wikipedia says that Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the U.S., behind Crater Lake in Oregon.

We enjoyed a nice hike down to the lake’s edge. As we got closer, it was surprising how clear the water was. Charlene watched three people jump into the water after their friends had their cameras ready to take a photo. They immediately ran back onto the beach!

Lake Tahoe-2

Lake Tahoe-3

We have visitors!

John and Michelle joined us for a visit!

John and Michelle joined us for a visit!

Sorry for the delay in updating our blog. Ed had to fly to Philadelphia to present a poster and give a lecture at a professional meeting. Charlene manned the fort in Reno and enjoyed a wonderful trip to a spa that Amy and Neil gave her for Mother’s Day.

On Ed’s return to Reno, we were extremely excited to have John and Michelle arrive for a visit! It has been absolutely fantastic to spend time with them as we have not seen them since they were in Tucson in December while they moved Michelle to Austin.

We almost did not recognize John. He has been following some guidelines to decrease meal portion sizes and he has lost 77 pounds!! He looks wonderful. Speaking with John and Michelle has encouraged us to try and lower our meal portion sizes too.

The weather in Reno has been a bit odd. It has been raining a small amount every single day since we have arrived. We have enjoyed the weather being cool, but would enjoy a little time without rain. It sounds like we are used to living in a desert. We’re are definitely not used to wearing long pants and sweatshirts at the end of May.

Reno, here we come!

The winning ticket!

The winning ticket!

After arriving in Reno yesterday, we decided to check out the area. Reno has many casinos and we went to Circus Circus. We walked around and realized there are three casinos sharing the same building so we could barely tell when we walked from one to the other. We went from Circus Circus to Silver Legacy Casino and then on to Eldorado Casino then back again. Circus Circus opened its midway at 1:00 and it was like being at a fair. No, we didn’t play any games. Charlene thinks they’re all rigged to make you lose. We found out the circus acts do not begin until 5:00 pm so that may be for another day. We did find a show for tomorrow night. We have tickets for comedian, Will Durst, talking about baby boomers called BoomeRaging.

As we walked around the casinos for the last time, Charlene spied a penny slot machine and told Ed, “Get ready, we’re going to gamble!” Ed was a good sport and we went to three penny slots. Charlene sat at one machine and Ed sat next to her at another. She took out a crisp one dollar bill and set it on her machine. She offered another dollar to Ed but he said he would rather watch her. We had to search for where to put in the dollar and then Charlene asked which button to push. Ed said either the “one-bet” button or the “full-bet” button. As her smile turned to a grin, Charlene pushed the full-bet button, in essence gambling the whole dollar!

As we watched the wheels go round and round, we watched as one gold bar appeared on the center line, then another, then another, a fourth gold bar appeared and then something else. We were trying to figure out what four gold bars meant with a fifth space filled with…….not a gold bar when we both realized we had won $9.60. Together we yelled, “Stop! We won. Let’s cash out!” The machine spit out a piece of paper showing we had won. We had to ask several people to figure out where to get our cash, and then suddenly we had $9.60 in Charlene’s hot little hand. Now that’s the way to gamble……either lose one dollar or win almost ten! However, we think our big gambling spree has come to an end. After all, we do not want the casino to have OUR money.

Show me the money!

Show me the money!

Headed to Nevada!

A nice RV park to enjoy!

A nice RV park to enjoy!

Today was a fun change in weather as the day progressed. We started the day in Vacaville (yes cow town) with a beautiful morning and we were wearing shorts and t-shirts. We hooked up the Jeep and drove east on I-80. As we were going through Donner Pass (over 7,000 feet), we found ourselves suddenly with SNOW flurries. It was not sticking on the ground, but snowflakes were dancing all around us. Having lived in Tucson for decades and decades, we cannot remember the last time we were in snow during May.

We stopped at a rest stop and it was 46 degrees outside! Ed ran out to the Jeep to get our coats. Seeing Donner Pass made us think of the families stuck in the snow in the 1800s where they had to resort to cannibalism to survive. The area was beautiful with gorgeous trees, Donner Lake and rivers near the road.

We cruised down through Reno and into our RV park. This looks like an enjoyable place to spend some time. Although a bit cool, we were again quite comfortable in shorts and t-shirts.

map to Sparks

St George, Utah

We started off closing up camp from our boondocking site at Lake Mead. We loved the quietness, isolation, and views! We are sort of sad to move on. We especially loved having a camp fire each evening! Roasted marshmallows never tasted so good.

We loved the remoteness. A little different from a crowded RV park.

We loved the remoteness. A little different from a crowded RV park.

We drove from Lake Mead to St George, Utah today. We did not get too close to Las Vegas, but Charlene took a picture as we went by.

Las Vegas as we drove by

Las Vegas as we drove by

As we were driving, we were surprised that a large truck with THREE trailers passed us. It was huge! We would pass him going up hills and he would pass us on the level areas.


It was beautiful driving through the winding Virgin River Gorge. Sorry, no photos of it, we were focused on keeping the coach in our lane. Charlene was driving and Ed enjoyed taking in the sites! Within 34 minutes, we left Nevada, drove through a brief corner in Arizona as we went through the Virgin River Gorge, and then entered Utah. In no time, we were cruising into St George.

St George is especially beautiful. We have never been here before. It seems to be a combination of Sedona and Kanab. We love the red rocks and the blue sky! We are having so much fun visiting all these new places!!

St George blurred

This is a map of our Drive to St George Utah

Amazing Hoover Dam!

Today we had the chance to see Hoover Dam and walk across the adjacent bridge. Both were quite impressive. It is a weird experience to be down inside a dam with water flowing over you to the turbines to make electricity. The views were spectacular!

We started our day with a beautiful sunrise over Lake Mead. It is wonderful being in the Mohave Desert with its harsh yet beautiful setting.

Sunrise at Lake Mead

Sunrise at Lake Mead

Turbines within Hoover Dam making electricity

Turbines within Hoover Dam making electricity

Water intake within the dam

Water intake within the dam

Hoover Dam-4 Hoover Dam-11 Hoover Dam-10 Hoover Dam-9 Hoover Dam-8 Hoover Dam-6 Hoover Dam-5

Charlene touches both Nevada and Arizona on the bridge over the mighty Colorado River.

Charlene touches both Nevada and Arizona on the bridge over the mighty Colorado River.

Boondocking at Lake Mead, Nevada

Since we have a built-in diesel generator and a 100 gallon tank of fresh water, we decided to forgo RV parks for a while and try our hand at boondocking without any hookups. We found a remote, beautiful spot with a view of Lake Mead and set up camp. We do not like to drive the motorhome on dirt roads, so we went very slowly and carefully to a nice wide spot. It is so picturesque and peaceful, except for when we run the generator :).

Lake Mead blurred-1

This is our Drive Willcox to Lake Mead