Music: Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile) by Santana
We were privileged to see Santana perform at "The Joint" in the Hard Rock Hotel on Easter Sunday

We are officially one-third of the way through our trip now, having been on the road for one month.  As we’ve said before, this first part of our journey has really just been a way to escape the rain and bide time until warmer weather spreads to the middle states.  What better place to stay warm and dry than Las Vegas?  We’ve been here several times before, but every two years or so that Vegas bug bites again.  It’s been a couple of years for us, so here we go again.

Most people agree that three days on the Las Vegas Strip is just about right.  Not many can stand much more than that, including us.  We timed this trip so that we could get our three days in (giddiness to disgust in 72 hours – it’s like clockwork), get away from the insanity of downtown for a few days, and then come back to the city to camp, away from downtown.   It’s added up to what seems like a long stay in and around Las Vegas, but we’ve managed to keep ourselves busy.  Even so, because it’s Vegas, there’s not much to tell.  Lights, people, smoke, alcohol and slot machines; heat and endless walking; advertising, ticket salesmen and sleep deprivation – it all blends together into one timeless jumble of sense stimulation.  We were there, it was Vegas, and then we left.  End of story.  Oh, and we saw Penn and Teller.  That was different. 

After a three-day sleepwalk through overindulgence, one really needs time to recuperate.  We drove up to visit relatives in the remote town of Dyer.  If you’ve ever driven outside of Las Vegas, you know the stark contrast once you get outside the city.  Dyer is that contrast - quiet, remote, sparsely populated, and mercifully free of cigar smoke and Elvis.  We ate home-cooked meals, fed the bunnies and kept a look out for the wild horses that sometimes roam through the valley. We had a really nice time and enjoyed the chance to spend time with family.

After Dyer, we headed back towards Las Vegas but stopped along the way for a day trip through Death Valley.  It wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.  We were thinking desert wasteland, wide expanses of nothingness, and a place virtually free of life.  It was kind of like that – except the desert wasteland was dotted with hundreds of people milling around, writing their names in three foot letters on the sand dunes and salt flats.  Not exactly the image we had in mind.  It turns out that Death Valley can get a little crowded, especially during a fee-free national park weekend.

Back in Vegas, we picked up our trailer from storage and only ventured into town a couple more times – once to see Santana at the Hard Rock (a great show), and the second to visit Fremont Street (one of our favorite places here).  So, we did some new things, some old things, some good things…some bad things?  We’ll never tell.  It’s Vegas.  Next we’re headed to Arizona to check out the Grand Canyon (for the first time) and do a little more warm weather waiting.

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