Wednesday, March 7, 2012

From the Hoover Dam North

Following the excitement of Saturday morning getting ourselves out of Kingman Wash we headed to Las Vegas. 

Pretty quickly we were driving by Hoover Dam. As you probably know - the Hoover Dam is now bypassed by a new - very high - bridge

Although the bypass is quite the achievement I do miss the days of driving over the dam. It is much faster to be sure but it was way more interesting when we had to inch our way down the slow going switch back. Now - unless you are paying attention you could pass it by without really knowing. The sides of the new bridge provide little chance to see down - but I was able to take this one picture - although not much more then the parking lot!

Hello Nevada.

We made our way UP to Boulder City and stopped in at the visitor center - it was closed - even on a Saturday interestingly, but we got some internet time in. Then on to Henderson and Vegas. This is such a well traveled route for us - this casino - that casino - another time for Derek and I to reminisce about trips past.

Remember last year when we came up the 95 after spending a very cold night in Searchlight? Remember when we took the Northshore Scenic Drive?

Looking back at Lake Mead and the National Recreation Area.

Pretty quickly the Las Vegas skyline came into view - boy it is a large urban area! A pretty good pic of the 'The Strip' in the background.

Have you been to the Las Vegas Strip?

We have - back in 2006 during our crazy 3 week trip to the Southwest. We were just with our truck that year and spent every night in a hotel! and that was when our dollar was worth 64 cents! ouch!

Let's just say it was an EXPENSIVE trip - but we had recently sold our house for a good profit and were feeling pretty rich.

Anyway, neither Derek or I had been to Vegas and so we pulled in and spent two nights at the Flamingo. Go big or go home - right! Ahhhhh the good ol days. I am glad we did that when we did - now - we just go through Vegas each time with little desire to visit The Strip. It's a BTDT.

Once in Vegas, I had Derek route us through the crazy roads to where? wait for it!

Trader Joe's

Two of my favourite words in this wasn't too hard to find since we had been in that area of the city last year when we went in search of Ethel M Chocolates. I had read about this company in a travel magazine - think we were going to forgo free chocolate after a factory tour? - nope.

It really wasn't worth it - the chocolates were itty bitty but we did enjoy their garden out front.

Last March in the Ethel M Chocolate garden.

heart heart heart TJ's! You've heard of them - right?

Admittedly Trader Joe's can be hard to find depending on where you live - they are concentrated in the western USA right now - just check the website to see if they are in a city near you. They do seem to be spreading fast.

What we like about TJ's are the great prices - they are pretty low for a small independent grocery store and they have unique products. We usually don't go too crazy but instead focus on the items we truly would love to have. For me that is popcorn, reusable bags and the $2.99 red wine and for Derek yummy snacks and chocolate beer - yes - chocolate beer!

We got out of there with a bill of $42 - I was pretty happy with my restraint.

Oh! and we got the chocolate covered bananas! 

In 2008 - the first time we stopped in at a TJ's, we were headed to Palm Springs for the day. We just had the truck having left the trailer at Salton Sea. We decided on a sandwich for lunch. For desert we got the chocolate covered bananas. For Derek this was a treat with a childhood memory and so we quickly purchased a box. However, we both had to eat 2 - fast - ugh! We haven't had them again until now. Again - since our freezer isn't working the three of us had to eat the entire box in one sitting. 
Probably won't be a while until we do that again!

Although I am thinking that these must be easy to make! Maybe this summer...

By the end we couldn't even talk Cassia into having more!

After our visit to TJ's we headed to Walmart - our overnight place. As we were talking with Tommy and Kari on the way out from Kingman Wash - I mentioned to Kari that we were going to spend the night at Home Depot in Henderson (if you are checking in for the first time or so - HD is one of our favourite overnight places since they are quiet at night and have wifi). Kari told us that Henderson has a city ordinance against overnight parking that comes with a $650 fine.

Okayyyyyyy.......good to know - right!

Apparently the Walmart at Boulder Highway and Nellis Boulavard - across from Sam's Town - is the only Walmart in the area allowing overnights - 1 night. We since learned from the security guard that you can stay there 3 nights.

As I mentioned on facebook - probably only stay overnight at this Walmart if you are desperate. It was a bit seedy for our tastes and Derek was pretty worried about staying. Since Cassia and I didn't get back from the playground across the street until dinner time it was too late to move on. All was ok though and we were happy to see that Kari and Tommy had also spent the night there parked right beside us.

The next morning we headed out  - we followed Nellis Boulevard to Las Vegas Boulevard to Interstate 15 headed north. Not much time on the interstate - our exit was 64 and we were there in no time. 

We take the combo of the 93 and 318 through Nevada. By the way - exit 64 has a Love's - if you take this route - check your fuel - it is a good place to fill up.

The start of the lonely roads in Nevada.

Derek and I discuss this 'entry sign' each time we pass it by. Obviously someone had a grand idea for a new neighbourhood - not much has happened since last year!

There are no houses - but there is a golf course - you can't really see it though.

Pretty quickly we were into a valley signaling that our destination was just up ahead.

The Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge.

This was our turn - a mere 70 miles or so from where we had started that morning. An easy drive but thank goodness we were done since it was a VERY windy day. 

Every trip home we plan a stop for a night or two at the PNWR - it is a great campground - more about it in the next post! 

Thanks for visiting!


Today's Interesting Link: Hey - why not check in on Kevin and Ruth, they are coachsurfing and touring their way through Mexico City right now. I am REALLY enjoying traveling with them through this HUGE city.


  1. The new bridge across the river at the dam is pretty cool, but it IS high!! I'm actually glad I couldn't see over the sides-----loooooooooooonnnnnnnggggg way dowwwwwwwwwwwwnnnn!!!!!!!

    Chocolate covered bananas sounds pretty good!!

    Safe Travels guys!!

  2. Hey BlackSheep - ya I know that it is so high because we were at the Dam during construction - you had to look wayyyyyyyyyy up to see it. Actually, last year when we went over it for the first time I was pretty freaked out - I am glad too that they brought the sides up! You hardly know how high you really are!

    Darn good!

  3. Hey Teresa, Still working on getting caught up with your backposts. I'm getting there, but couldn't resist a comment on this one. Our Summer Trip in 2007 was to the Grand Canyon via Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Sedona then up through Zion and Bryce after the Grand Canyon. It was also significant because it our first time anywhere near a TRADER JOE'S and we couldn't wait!! We'd read all about them and literally stopped at the one in Santa Fe before we did anything else! And our second visit was to the one in Las Vegas which you pictured in this post. That picture brought back some memories!! I'm happy to say that TJ's is finally spreading east and we are actually getting one in Knoxville. It is supposed to be opening right around the time we get home from this year's Summer Adventure!

    1. Hi Sharon! First let me say how excited I am that you comment on our blog! I LOVE getting feedback and as you can see it is a bit thin....hopefully that changes the longer we are up and the more people discover us!

      I'm also glad that you are still reading along! Such a beautiful area isn't it?! We haven't done Sedona - YET.

      Very jealous about you getting a TJ's near you. Of course that will never happen to us up here in Canada. But we will be heading back through Vegas on our trip down next fall and will stop in again - think I'll stock up this time.


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