This time we are in the other part of the world – we are in the United States in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas in Spanish means ‘the meadows’ which was related to the grasslands and springwaters in the region and was originally a stop on the old Spanish trail from Mexico through Mojave Desert .
In those days Vegas was a beloved simple water stop for people coming with the wagon trails and later for the railway due to its water supplies .
In 1905 as a part of the Union Pacific Railroad it started to become a city .
In 1931 the fate of Las Vegas changed when gambling became legalized in Nevada State .
In 1951 Las Vegas was also named the ‘Atomic City ‘ since just 65 miles close to the location nuclear tests started at the Nevada Atomic Test site .
Meanwhile huge hotels with big casinos and entertainment complexes started to raise at Vegas .
In mid of nowhere a city was rising.
Today Las Vegas has about 2 Mio inhabitants and 40 million tourists are visiting the city each year .
Some people might love it , some might hate it – for me Vegas is an interesting spot to explore as there is no other location similar to Vegas in the world – a superficial city of entertainment and crazy gambling in mid of the canyons and the desert .
We are here for business as we will visit the fair here in Vegas but we also enjoy to be here while walking on the strip daytime and night time ,to visit the different famous hotels like the Venetian , Caesars , the Bellaggio etc and to go to a great Vegas show in the Wynn Hotel which is called ‘Le Reve’ – one of the most awesome shows that I have ever seen so far worldwide – it is really gorgeous ! A kind of Cirque de Soleil but performed partly in the water .Vegas is exciting and we love to be here .
But our real goal is once we finish our business part to drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles through Death Valley National Park.
A drive through the beautiful nature of Mojave with our little jeep is really a great experience and journey .
The distance between Las Vegas to Los Angeles is about 270 miles and it takes about 5 hours drive but we will drive slowly and stop from time to time to enjoy the environment in detail .
We leave Vegas from Route Nr 15 and drive westwards to California .
We will pass Death Valley National Park during this trip which is a part of the Mojave Desert and one of the driest , hottest spots on Earth .
It reaches about 50 degrees Celsius in summer and is a kind of low basin below sea level of about 90 m .
This lowest point of the valley is called the Badwater Basin .
The highest temperature measured in Death Valley was in 1913 with a degree of 56 degree Celsius. The air is getting here very hot because
1.of the geological formation the surface of the valley gets very intense solar heat as there is very few vegetation in this region
2.the warm air that sinks into the valley into lower levels gets concentrated and warmed up
3.due to the steep valley walls the air cannot rise and cannot cool down but is continously reheating
4.Warm Foehn winds from the mountains around are also sweeping into the desert
Despite the heat and the very few rain fall in this area there is a great biodiversity in Death Valley .
The Joshua tree for instance is an endemic tree of the Death Valley which is also part of the Mojave National Park .
The scenery of the desert with its flourishing beautiful specific trees , plants and flowers is very special .
There are also huge saltpans in the region.
It is proofed that since 10.000 years Native American tribes were living in this area .In the past centuries Death Valley was home to the so- called Shoshone tribe .
Mid of the 19th centuries it became part of the Californian Gold Rush and people were coming here to search for gold and silver .
We pass by all these beauties and the valley looks very different to us .
We drive down into Death Valley , it is hot although we are just in spring , the sun is tense and white , dazzling your eyes .
The valley is huge, the vegetation is interesting !
A very special event at this location is the Worlds toughest Ultra -Marathon that is also taking place here in Death Valley National Park every year.
It is a 135 miles ( 217 km ) long marathon which starts 85 m below sea level at Badwater Basin and ends up 2550 m high at Whitney Portal , the trailhead to Whitney Mountain .
The Ultra-Marathon is about 5 times as long as a normal Marathon and the duration is usually about 2 days with 33 hours under intense sun without any sleep . It is a race under brutal conditions .
One of the highest starting temperature at the Death Valley Marathon was 118 degrees Fahrenheit which is about 47 degrees Celsius in 2018 where a record number of 30 runners were dropped out the race .
Due to the weather conditions runners could have hallucinations during the race . People sometimes associate the rock formation and the desert with the planet Mars while running this path .
The race is physically as well as psychologically super exhausting for the participants .
We drive through this gorgeous scenery .Huge trucks are passing by. This is a different world over here . We have never seen such a geological formation before – the red mountains touching the royal blue sky and the white clouds , the route in mid of the wide , white valley with typical desert vegetation around – it is fantastic .
We are also using a part of the famous route 66 on this trip.
Route 66 was one of the first highways in the US established in 1926 and starting originally from Chicago and leading to Santa Monica in California and was about 2500 miles long .
On the historical Route 66 there are following different stops which are worth to visit :
- The Mormon Rocks
- Elmers Bottle Tree Ranch
- Calico Ghost Town
3.California Route 66 Museum
4.Vintage Gas Stations
5.Jenny Rose Sign
6.Peggys Sue’s ’50s Diner
7. Roys Café
8.Baker – the World largest Thermometer
8.Pioneer Salon- one of the oldest bars in Nevada desert
9. Victorville Bridge
After a whole day drive on these famous routes we are tired but very happy when we arrive at Los Angeles – the huge mega city which looks so unreal after our drive through the iconic desert .
A journey on such great roads is always a journey to yourself and always mind blowing .
I am looking forward to do this great journey once again but this time also heading to Yellow Stone and San Francisco – it should be also a gorgeous path .