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The First Time I Saw the Desert

I’d never seen the desert before, but I’ve always wanted to.  It seemed like such an intriguing  landscape, so different from the dense green rolling hills I was used to. Where palm trees weren’t a strange sight, and cactuses grew naturally.

One day I discovered some cheap flights to Las Vegas, and suddenly a week long desert adventure was being dreamed up. Five hours to the other side of the country was the longest I had ever spent in a plane. I loved every minute of it; seeing the landscape change before my eyes.

 In the rental car we explored the desert world for the first time. The land was so flat, with no tall trees, you could almost see straight across to the other side of the city.  Mountains stood tall in the distance, surrounding Las Vegas like a wall.

I stared along the palm tree lined streets, having never seen more than a few palm trees before.

I continued to stare out the car window as we passed all the famous casinos.  Strange to see them all in person. Only ever seeing them in movies, it almost felt like they didn’t actually exist.

Nestled around the shiny sparkling casinos, run down motels and other attractions lay as ruins, providing quite a big contrast.

Even the houses matched the desert color theme.

The seven days in the desert were off to a good start.

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The Neon Boneyard


Just outside of the old downtown Las Vegas lies a final resting place for the neon signs that were once shining bright, high along the strip.



The old signs; some restored, some in mere pieces, form a maze of dizzying lights under the dark desert sky.





We visited the boneyard on an icy February desert night. The bitter wind whipped around the signs, as they glowed eerily in the night.

We learned about the sign’s past lives, and how the neon is made.









As we turned the corner, under the remnants of the enormous Stardust sign, was a  cat that called the boneyard home.













The Neon Boneyard tour was an exciting little adventure during our short time in Las Vegas. 

There was another neon exhibit on display that we thought about visiting, but I didn’t feel up to it. My body felt like it was giving up.. 

Then I realized that between waking up at 4:00 AM that morning and the time difference, we had been awake nearly 24 hours. After that realization I felt almost dead! So it was then we decided to crawl back to the hotel to go to sleep. 

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Seven Days in the Desert




An entire week, wandering the desert.

A different hotel every night.

Crazy new landscapes nether of us have ever seen before. 

I want to spend more weeks in the desert.



I stumbled upon a cheap flight to Las Vegas, on a budget airline and couldn’t pass it up. The first evening in the desert was spent wandering under the crazy neon lights.


The next day was the short drive to Arizona across the dam. 

The Hoover Dam is huge. And even huge-er in person.


Ghost towns were explored. Some were abandoned, some were tourist traps, and some were in between.


The realization that it snowed in Arizona, occurred when we arrived at the Grand Canyon and it was in the 20s with snow and ice everywhere.



After a long day’s drive, Monument Valley was full of peace and calmness. 
(Plus amazing Navajo food!)


The wigwams were a cozy destination on another frigid desert night.



The petrified forest national park was full of strange striped rocky hills, trees turned to stone, and the strongest winds I’ve ever experienced.


Silly roadside attractions made for many quick stops for a picture.
(Or 100!)


Another realization that it snowed in Arizona happened while driving though a snowstorm at the top of an enormous mountain range. Upon the decent, we were greeted by a sea of cactuses. 


Sunny southern Arizona is home to hundreds of resting aircraft, in the airplane boneyard.


The meteor crater was at another wild windy location. At the center lies a 6 ft tall astronaut statue, only visible with a telescope.


The last day involved scaling a craggy desert mountain road to get to a town where donkeys roam freely. And follow everyone around in hopes of being fed!


The desert landscapes are crazier than I ever imagined. I can’t wait to go back!