Las Vegas and Valley of Fire
We spent a month in the Las Vegas area. The main attraction was actually the campground and airport. Many of the area campgrounds have phone hookups and the airport is within a few miles. One of the campgrounds even had a nice pool and 9 hole putting course. We're not big gamblers, so the "strip" wasn't a huge attraction. We spent one night downtown exploring and the rest of our free time exploring the parks outside the city.

The sad part of this trip was the loss of our bike. If you read Mile High Mishap, you might remember that this is the bike that flipped off the bike rack on the Explorer. Anyway, the bikes were chained to a picnic table. When we woke up the next morning, Annette's bike was on the ground and Larry's was gone. We felt invaded! We were at what we thought was a nice RV park, but we found that the Destiny RV Park was a common target for bike thieves.

Valley of Fire Area
When we headed to the Valley of Fire State Park area, we had two activities in mind: rock hounding and sightseeing. We started with some rockhounding in the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area outside the state park. Larry recently began collecting rock hounding books and equipment. We thought it would be a cheap, fun hobby related to our love of nature. We learned that it was okay to collect rocks on the government owned BLM areas.
We headed northeast out of Las Vegas and turned off at the Valley of Fire exit. We found a gravel road called the Bitter Springs Back Country Byway and headed across country following the directions in our book. Our first stop was for blue chalcedony. We first found a little cave, then a series of ledges where people had chipped away rock. We did some collecting and headed on down the road. At one point we found an old mining area and almost lost the road, but eventually we found another site along the road known for purple chalcedony. We hiked up the ridge and begin chipping away at a ledge. We discovered a beautiful seam of colorful rock. It looked like purple amethyst. Annette set out the lawn chairs and enjoyed watching Larry work up a sweat with his hammer. After a nice picnic, we headed back to the main highway.

Valley of Fire State Park
After our rock hounding expedition, we did some sightseeing at Valley of Fire. We drove the loop roads and explored the petroglyphs. We also stopped and walked around the petrified wood trail. Next, we headed out toward Lake Mead. We stopped to photograph wild burros along the roadside. Our loop trip was complete as we entered Las Vegas from the southeast.

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 7/01.
Updated 5/02.
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