Monday, June 7, 2010

Marvels, Mankles, Wind and Snow


Thanks to friends of Kristal's, we had vouchers for 2 free nights at the Paris hotel on the strip. After a few days of camping outside the city we decided to move into town and take a rest day. After a month and a half on the road it was pretty awesome to sleep in a bed and have unlimited showers. I must of had 4 showers in the 2 days we were there. We decided to live it up a little and take in a show, and snagged some cheap tickets to Phantom of the Opera. Vegas grew tiresome pretty quickly though (aside from the awesome amenities). With it's overpriced food, over the top atmosphere, and hoards of tourists it wasn't long before I was itching to escape the madness.

Las Vegas, City of Wind

We thought we learned what windy meant when we were in Hueco, but Red Rocks taught us differently. On the night after our stay on the strip we headed back to the campground to set up again. To say it was windy was a bit of an understatement. I had set up our little tent in Hueco while it was windy so I knew the drill - stake out the tent first, then put the poles and the fly on. The wind had other ideas. By the time we had it mostly set up all of the stakes had been pulled from the ground and two of the tent poles were bent. We barely managed to take it back down without getting blown away. We slept in the car that night.

For most of our stay it was too windy to comfortably hang out outside. Here is Kristal preparing dinner in our makeshift kitchen in the car.

The Quest for Pho

Those that climb with us in Ottawa know that we regularly head for Pho after a session in the gym. Like, multiple times a week. Needless to say we were pretty excited to find a Pho restaurant on the strip while we were there. We new it would be overpriced, but we didn't care, we hadn't had Pho since we left! Unfortunately, as with most things in Vegas, it was a cheap imitation of the original. The rice wraps had obviously been sitting in a fridge all day, the bean sprouts were old and soggy, the 'rare' beef was tough and overcooked and the soup itself was adequate at best. It was so disappointing that at our first opportunity we found out where Chinatown was, drove back into town the next day and had some excellent Pho at a nice little restaurant. Half the price, but ten times as good.

Engineering Marvels

On our last day at Joshua Tree I managed to roll my ankle pretty badly dropping off one of the few problems there that had a crappy landing. Although it has mostly healed it has now been termed a Mankle (Manky Ankle) by Kristal. We took an extra rest day after arriving in Vegas to give it a break and visited the Hoover Dam. Kristal was quite amused at how excited I was to see a big lump of concrete, but seriously, it is awesome. The pictures don't do the scale justice.

The two east water intake towers. You can also see the high watermark of the lake.

The west spillway.

The west spillway drainage tunnel. 50 feet in diameter! Awesome.

Inclement Weather

We had our first rain day in over a month while at Red Rocks. That brings the grand total up to 3 in the first two months of the trip. It will be hard to go back home, where rain is a regular occurrence.

There's a storm a brewing.

Yes, this is snow.


  1. Awesome post. Your improvised kitchen look way better then mine right now. It also appears to have better food.

  2. Haha, thanks. Yeah, we've been eating pretty well. Thankfully Kristal manages most (and by most I mean all) of the dinners, otherwise I would be eating a lot of Kraft Dinner.