Friday, March 15, 2013

Waaayyy Behind. . .

Oh my, I am so very far behind on my blog posting, and I honestly had some things I wanted to post about, so I guess better later than never.  Let me see where I left off on our Fall, 2012 trip.  It was written on Monday, November 12, 2012, but was actually about Sunday, October 21 and entitled The Last Day of Clay Carnival; our trip was only about half over by then, so I still have some things to talk about.

First off, a bit of explanation might be in order:  once again the revolving door at our home made a revolution and daughter and 3 grandchildren blew in through it.  We arrived home from our trip on Tuesday, November 6 (yes, we voted, absentee ballot before our trip).  Our daughter and grandchildren arrived on Sunday, November18, which gave us less than 12 days to empty and winterize the Big Sky and empty, clean, and rearrange rooms and furniture for additional family members for an unknown length of time.  It is amazing how busy 4 extra people living with us made us and there was just no time or energy to catch up the blog.

So, onward and upward to try to do a bit of catch up.  Trying to keep things in the correct order might be a bit tricky, but I'll do my best and there will be several posts or they'll be way too long.

The final day of Clay Carnival was over, and although sad to be leaving my polymer clay friends, we still had lots of activities and visits planned for the next 2 weeks.  I think I had previously mentioned the truck problems we started having after leaving Amarillo.  We weren't sure at first if the problem was the altitudes, the truck having trouble with pulling the Fifth Wheel up the mountains, but we finally (after much frustration and testing) determined it was a tank of bad diesel fuel (it apparently had water in it) we got in Amarillo.  So for the rest of the trip to Las Vegas, we lived in fear that the truck was going to give up as it sputtered it's way onward and upward.  It coughed and sputtered and tried to stall several times and we kept saying, "I don't like this, we'll have to have it checked out in Las Vegas" and things like that.  But we started putting Diesel 911 in it to try to get the water out.  Once we finally reached Las Vegas we drove the truck until it was almost empty and then put in more 911 every time we got fuel and made sure we got fuel at high turnover places like truck stops (a bit more expensive, but when you consider the amount of money we spent on the 911, we didn't save a penny by going to Murphy Oil at Walmart, LOL).   By  our final day in Las Vegas, we had apparently finally dried the diesel fuel out enough that with our final fill-up in Las Vegas we were good to go and have not had a problem with it since.

We had one day left in Las Vegas to unwind from Clay Carnival and get ready to move on down the road back towards home.  Since Mr. C isn't yet retired, we have to keep going home and can't just continue our travels continually.  

We happen to enjoy more than just Casinos, we like nature and hiking kinds of things, so we started looking for something to do in Las Vegas and "found" a beautiful place called Red Rock Canyon.  Red Rock Canyon is a National Conservation area and it's biggest claim to fame is, of course, it's beautiful Red Rocks.  

Red Rock Canyon is in the Mojave Desert but the scenery is not just desert, it is extremely varied.  It is mostly what they call high desert and was pretty windy and chilly while we were there.  

There was a great driving loop around the whole Canyon with pull out parking places here and there.  We actually had come here the first day we arrived in Las Vegas and just did the driving tour without any hiking because I wasn't feeling very well that day and I was still recovering from a back injury earlier in the year (perhaps you remember my famous flying flip on the wet linoleum in our bathroom???).  I did manage a couple hikes though, on this second day we visited the Canyon.  

Although it is called, Red Rock Canyon, they aren't just talking about little rocks you find on the ground, and they aren't just red.  The scenery at Red Rock Canyon is all colors and is just beautiful.  Rather stark, but beautiful, overwhelming and rather majestic, too.  I try to imagine what it must have been like to come across some place like this when people were on foot, horseback, or in covered wagons.  It must have been quite daunting.  

There was a great sign explaining how the different colors and layers were formed.  

This was actually a canyon that was surrounded by these huge "rocks".  There were many planned and nicely designed hikes you could take or you could just take off on your own and go where ever you wanted to.  

We only did a bit of hiking, due to my back and being unable to walk very far.   I would have liked to have done more although I did manage a couple hikes.  One fairly short one:  we walked until I said, enough, I need to stop now, and then we turned around and headed back to the car.  I think I need to get a hiking/walking stick, as I do much better if I have something to hold on to.  I'm missing a bunch of pictures we took of Red Rock Canyon and don't have a clue where they are hiding, but I sure can't find them. 

As a side note, in March, 2013, I've been working on getting in better shape and hope to be able to do more hikes in the future, as we both enjoy it.

Later we did a 1 mile loop (I was pretty darned proud of myself for that one).  It was the "children's educational loop" .  I found the greatest thing here:  First, we saw the leaves on scrubby bushes, which I thought were, perhaps, holly (I was wrong, LOL) and then found a small section of rock where these teeny, tiny "acorns" had fallen and gathered.  I was so incredibly excited (okay, nobody else might be excited by this find, but remember, I'm a Polymer Clay Artist and often use things of nature to make molds to use in my polymer clay works of art.  Indeed, this was a fantastic find for me as I've been looking for tiny acorns and caps for a couple years to use for fairy caps/hats and scenery.  I was so excited, I called Mr. C to come quick, look, look, look what I found.  Bless his heart, he understands me and came to see (I'm sure rolling his eyes all the while, LOL). 

 I took pictures of the area but can't find them, now. . . Anyway, I didn't realize anybody else was anywhere near us (there was another couple who had started at the other end of the loop and were coming towards us and the man quickly called out, "What did you find, what do you see?"  Oops, how do I explain to a complete stranger that I am thrilled over finding something as stupid and simple as some tiny acorns?  But I did my best to explain and he said, "Oh yeah, those are from the "Scrub Oaks", these bushes you see all around are scrub oaks."  Okay, so the leaves I'd found weren't holly, either, LOL.  That's okay, I was still happy and now, thanks to this kind man, I even knew what scrub oaks are.  

There were plenty of interesting smaller rocks we found, also:  

I loved the stripes on this one

and the spots on this next one

We found lots of different kinds of cactus, though:  

There were also supposedly varying kinds of wildlife around, too, including:                                        

We were hoping to see one of these:  

But the closest we found to one of these is this:  

We did find some of these, though: 


We had a great day of hiking and driving around Red Rock Canyon:  

We also found signs for these cute critters:  although we didn't see any, apparently they really exist, as there are signs that you will be fined for feeding them, LOL.  

The final area we hiked was pretty much straight down, a small loop and then back up and the back up took forever and I thought I'd never make it.  It was an area in a valley with lots of small trees and a totally different look and feel to the rest of the desert canyon.

One of the pictures I really wish I could find was of a tour group we found when we got back to the parking area after this hike.  There were little pointy fronted cars that almost looked like little bumper cars.  Oh, here, I found their website, even if I can't find my own pictures, I'll post a couple of theirs:  

Somebody even posted a YouTube of the scooter tour:  Scooter Tour and this is the Promo from the website:  Scoot City Tour Promo  Here's a description from a website:  This fun, exciting scooter car tour will take you through Red Rock Canyon, a network of scenic canyons and surreal rock formations inside the Red Rock National Conservation Area. After hotel pickup in Las Vegas, your guide will drive you to the Summerlin area right near Red Rock, where you'll be assigned your scooter car, receive a safety overview, and take some practice runs. These easy-to-operate cars have no clutches or gears, and don't require a special license.

Aboard your 2-person, 3-wheel scooter car, follow your guide approximately 5 miles (8 km) through the Mojave Desert on a paved road and arrive at Red Rock Canyon. Stop first at the visitor's center, where you'll learn about the park’s flora and fauna, wildlife and native Paiute Indians who once lived off this land. 
They just looked like such fun, but until I shed some pounds and get in better physical shape those aren't something I could do.  I'm working on it, though, as I want to do that someday.

We returned to the very lovely Visitors Center and purchased a Red Rock Canyon Dvd, as well as my favorite book, one I purchase at every National Park or Conservation area in which I find one:  These books have very special, funny meaning for me/us.  My sister has always wanted to see a live moose and has never seen one.  On a trip out west one spring, knowing we were visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons she tasked us with taking a picture of a moose for her.  We looked high and we looked low, we went out in the early morning, late evening, and during the day.  We went to all the locations that were suggested to us, but we never did find any moose to photograph.  We did, however, find lots of this:  so she got pictures of Moose scat, even if we never did find a moose for her.

We picked up our first copy of this title there in the Grand Tetons and have purchased it at each park since.  My grand kids think it's hilarious and so do we, although it's also very informative:  So, without further ado, LOL, pun intended:

I will end today's post and catch you up tomorrow as we head back East into the Sunrise.

Thanks for reading, until next time, Smiles

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