US Trip 2015 – A journey to a hot place

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After arriving in Yucca Valley, the plan was to head towards Las Vegas, after a detour through Joshua Tree National Park. We had booked two nights in Vegas, so we could do a day trip to Death Valley National Park.

We stayed in Yucca Valley so that we could drive directly to the park after checking out. And so we did. So after a stop to say hello to the turtle, we headed straight to the park.

Me and the turtle

I’ve wanted to visit Joshua Tree NP for a long time, so this year I decided that we just had to do it. I think the Joshua trees look real cool! We had a total of 10 caches planned in the park (including one at the Visitor Center), only virtuals and earthcaches.

The park was just as awesome as I had expected, and we took lots of photos! To make it even better, we felt like we had almost the entire park to ourselves, only a few other cars on the road.

Joshua Tree

We had planned to do the short hike to Wall Street Mill Site, mainly to grab three virtual caches. Even though it was a bit hot, and the sun was quite bright, it was a real nice hike among the amazing Joshua Trees.

The first virtual brought us to an old rusty car, don’t think this one will be going anywhere soon…

Me "in" the car

We made it to the mill site, got the info we needed, took lots of more photos and then headed back to the car. It was really nice to just relax a few minutes in the air conditioned car!

It’s not only the trees that are awesome in Joshua Tree NP, there are some quite special rock formations as well. Like the one below.

Skull Rock

We did a short detour to get all the virtual caches we had planned, including a stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden. The Cholla Cactus is also known as the jumping cactus, but luckily we did not get “attacked”.

Cholla Garden

We did a short stop at the Oasis of Mara on the way out, to learn a bit more about the oasis (and do the earthache, of course).

After the visit to oasis, we continued towards Las Vegas. We did a few caches in the many trails that are in this area, and quickly increased our find count. After driving a bit in the scorching sun, we found ourselves in the Heart of the Mojave.

The Heart of the Mojave

It was quite hot, 45°C / 114°F is way more than we are used to!

We also managed to do a short stretch of Route 66, and got to find a cache in the trail there as well. We also found the one near this overfull shoe-tree.

Shoe tree

It was a bit fun to see that the previous name in the log was some other Norwegians! The same happened at another cache a some miles further down the road. We did a earthcache we hadn’t prepared well enough for, so we had to improvise and use what we had. But that’s a part of the fun!

We stopped at the Kelso Depot to do the cache there, before continuing towards the Nevada border. When we once more saw a lot of Joshua Trees, we just had to stop and take some more photos.


Directly after crossing the border, we stopped to visit Whiskey Pete’s, to see the Bonnie & Clyde car.

The Bonnie & Clyde car

After getting something to eat, we continued towards Las Vegas. We didn’t stop for any more caches, and drove straight to the hotel – The Bellagio. Driving onto The Strip was simply awesome, the second we made the turn at Bellagio, we could both see and hear the fountains. Perfect timing! We just rolled down the windows, and enjoyed every second of it.

It had been a long day, so we deserved some rest now. Since we’re not in Vegas every day, we decided to go for a bit more expensive room here (we are allowed to do that once in a while). So we got a perfect view of the fountains from our room!

The view from our room

The room itself wasn’t too bad either…

The suite at Bellagio

After getting some sleep (not much since we stayed up quite late), we headed towards Death Valley National Park. But first we had to do a detour to the famous Las Vegas sign! A lot of other people had decided to do the same, including Elvis himself! (or at least someone that thought he was Elvis himself…)

Fabulous Las Vegas!

We stopped at a couple virtual caches along the road, and at one of them we got the advice that we should not leave the car for more than 15-20 minutes, due to the extreme heat.

When we arrived in Death Valley, it was easy to understand why we shouldn’t spend much time outside, it was HOT! We stopped at another virtual, before continuing towards Zabriskie Point. The views were awesome, and we took a lot of photos here too – while doing the earthcache, of course.

Zabriskie Point

The next stop on our list was Badwater Basin, and the cache there. We have never been this low before, and it was even hotter there! It felt like we were standing inside a big oven, and suddenly someone turned on the air too – a really hot wind gust came towards us.

Soooo hot!
Soooo hot!

We stopped at another cache along the road, before doing the short detour through Artist’s Palette. The colors were simply amazing! And so was the temperature! It got as high as 52°C / 125°F!

We continued to Furnace Creek, to do the caches there. We decided to get something to eat as well when we got there. After doing the caches, and eating, we continued towards the northeastern exit of the park. Stopping at one more cache of course.

Death Valley

We exited the park, and crossed over to Nevada again, and made sure to find a cache at the border. We also stopped to get a photo, as I like “collecting” state signs.

Welcome to Nevada

When we stopped at one of the virtuals before entering the park, we learnt about the ghost town of Rhyolite. So when we saw the sign, we decided to do the short detour there – and find a cache as well.

We spent some time exploring the area, the glass bottle house and the open air museum. When writing this, I also discovered that we sat like 10-20cm from a cache, that somehow did not make it into my PQ (even though it was an old cache). Apparently, the PQ along a route function does not work very well… :/

Glass bottle house
Ghost rider

There's a cache there!!!
There’s a cache there!!!

We continued back towards Las Vegas, stopping at a few caches along the road. And when we suddenly spotted the Area 51 Alien Center. We found no aliens inside, but we did get some souvenirs.

By the time we made it back to Las Vegas, and were ready to go outside, the sun had set. But there’s plenty of light for everyone in Las Vegas!

We had a list of some caches we wanted to find, mostly virtuals around the hotel. We got to visit some famous places, and a well hidden not so famous place.

Eiffel Tower
Caesars Palace
Hidden spot

It was a nice way to end our visit in Vegas!

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