Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Day 4- Vegas via the Road Less Traveled

Day 4- Vegas via the Road Less Traveled 

Recaps: Day 1Day 2, and Day 3
We awoke well rested at the Longstreet Inn.  Still full from our late night dinner, I opted to make large coffees to bring down with us to the oversized hot tub, for one last dip before our drive back to Vegas.  I was sad it was already the last day of our road trip, but excited for the stop we had planned at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge- a remote area known for their brilliant blue natural springs in the middle of the desert.  Literally just miles from our hotel, we arrived at the refuge just before lunch and headed to the visitor center.  August was quite excited for his initiation into the junior ranger program and both boys earned a badge and stamp.  The boardwalk to Crystal Springs started right behind the visitor center, so afterwards we headed out into some surprisingly cool desert breezes for a short and relaxing walk to the springs.  Crystal Springs was so vividly blue it was almost hard to believe what we were seeing- smack dab in the middle of dusty brown fields of sand and dirt.  I would have liked to explore more of the springs the refuge had to offer, but it was past lunchtime and we wanted the early evening to hang out at the much talked about shark tank pool at the Golden Nugget.  We enjoyed a picnic at the visitor center and then packed into the car for the last bit of drive to that would take us back to Vegas.  I enjoy exploring the back roads on our road trips, and had figured out in advance that there were some dirt roads that we could take out of Ash Meadows to eventually connect with the main highway.  The route was isolated, and at times almost flooded over by a milky red ephemeral lake from which the road just barely rose above.  It was our last taste of the remote adventure I had been craving on our Nevada road trip.  While for many people Nevada is Vegas, for me it was everything else.

We arrived without incident at the Golden Nugget, on the “old” downtown strip, and parked our car with ease only to be hit up by the hoards of people also trying to check in on this late Tuesday afternoon.  Our room provided us a welcome respite from the crowds, but we didn’t linger for long as we were ready to see some sharks up close and personal!  When I read about the new shark tank pool at the Nugget on a cold January morning, and that included a 3 story water slide that zipped you right through the middle of the tank (in a transparent tube), I knew we would have to go.  In the world of extravagant hotel pools, this ranked right up there with the best.  It lacked the elegant intimacy of our first night’s stay north of Vegas, but we thoroughly enjoyed the rowdy excitement of watching the sharks and taking our turns on slide.  

After our fun at the pool we got ready for a quick night out on the town which included a forgettable meal at the Main Street Station Casino, and an entertaining walk through the Fremont Street Viva Vision light show which never failed to get Remy dancing in the backpack.  We returned to our hotel near 9 pm, packed up for our early flight out, and promptly turned lights out.  The hotel was mostly a ghost town in the morning as we checked out, minus a few up very early like us or out very late unlike us.  After a reasonably easy check-in and breakfast at the airport, we settled into our flight home, where I was already reading and planning new adventures for a future Nevada road trip, and the podcasts to go along.  

August earned his junior ranger badge.

Crystal Spring

Picnic packing
Crystal Reservoir
Road less traveled to Vegas

Will we make it?
Golden Nugget- Shark Tank pool

Up close and personal.

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