Pilgrimage through the fire: the unholy trek from Sin City to Yosemite

You might just have guessed it (or so I had hoped), Sin City refers to Las Vegas and it’s one of their self-claimed “praises”. With high hopes of making a quick fortune, we urged Jamhuri down from the beautiful oasis of the Grand Canyon North Rim towards the heart of the fire in the Lightropolis of Nevada.

As in a prelude to a torturous execution of a sinner, the breezy weather slowly gave way to intense heat beyond my craziest imagination. The closer we got to Las Vegas on the I-15, no amount of airing or sticking head out the window helped anymore to cool my by-now-frying brain. I turned on the little fan we’d bought after much debate but even the air from that was just hot hot hot and did nothing but exacerbate the situation. It came to a point that I started hallucinating while driving (it’s not the first time, ask Sandra) and saw a smiling polar bear beaconing to me as he sipped… uh, is that a coke? Well, maybe it wasn’t a hallucination and just a passing Coke truck, but I felt like I was in a haze!

Paris, Las Vegas

Paris, Las Vegas

So we cut short the drive at Mesquite, Nevada and got an AC room at the beautiful Falcon Ridge Hotel and we cooled in their pool till mid night and then drifted off to a blissful sleep in the gazillion-thread count sheets and I saw more polar bears in my sleep, this time just chilling around killing seals. No more coke business here!

Stratosphere Tower at Night

Stratosphere Tower at Night

Next day, after much persuasion from Sandra and liters of ice tea, we made it to Las Vegas amidst 48 degrees Celsius heat! No you didn’t just imagine that, I said 48 DEGREES Celsius heat!!! Right away we checked into the Hotel we’d booked, the Stratosphere tower, at a deal of just 30 bucks a night and hibernated until sundown like the rest of the city. Next couple of nights we strolled through the famous “Strip” of Las Vegas, trying our luck at some of the dozens of casinos that dot the street.

View of the strip close to New York, Las Vegas

View of the strip close to New York, Las Vegas

Most of the photos of Vegas were taken by Sandra as I’m not much into cityscape photography, yet! We watched the very entertaining ‘Vegas the Show’ at the Planet Hollywood complex and of course, had to watch the Bellagio Fountains. We wondered through most of the big casinos such as MGM, Bellagio, Treasure Island and more.

Treasure Island Sirens ship

Treasure Island Sirens ship

Also toured some of the replicas for which Vegas is famous such as New York, Venice, Paris etc. One word of advice though: just walk the street if you can and avoid the public transit in the evening, if it makes it to you at all, gonna take longer than walking to destinations!

Sandra in front of Bellagio's tropical rainforest

Sandra in front of Bellagio's tropical rainforest

Vegas basically seemed like a huge hotel place with casinos attached to them, or might be the other way around. We’d basically picked the hostelworld.com city guide for Vegas and covered most of the attractions. In a way, it was our vacation from a vacation since this was unlike anything else we did on the trip: stay in hotels, walk around a city, gamble, and so on. At the end of it all though, we basically left Vegas $3 richer, yayyyyy!

We’d seen enough of the heat to know not to travel daytime anymore and left for Yosemite late night from Vegas and decided to go through Death Valley to get there. All was well on the remote night drive and we made it to Death Valley by midnight. It was kinda hot but not unbearable and we slept in, um, or so we thought till like 7am when the blazing sun heated the van like an oven and we took to the road again. Turned out, its named Death Valley for a reason and temperatures can go up to 50-55 Celsius in summer and the rangers don’t recommend staying out long in summer.

Sandra enjoying Death Valley dunes

Sandra enjoying Death Valley dunes

Sandra took to the heat very nonchalantly as you can tell in the pic above even when we were at the aptly named “furnace creek”, but I stayed put with my new found ally, a small battery-operated mist fan, whew!

Me and my best friend Misty

Me and my best friend Misty

We finally made it to Yosemite late that evening and we entered through the beautiful east entrance which is in Tuolumne Meadows. Yosemite deserves a whole post to itself but here’s sneak pic of this beautiful land:

sunset on a small lake in tuolomne meadows

sunset on a small lake in tuolomne meadows

Until next time!

2 Responses to “Pilgrimage through the fire: the unholy trek from Sin City to Yosemite”

  1. Robert Fraser Says:

    O Vegas. Brings back many a memory 🙂 and not to be disclosed here!

    Great write-up. Thanks.

  2. Susan M. Says:

    AAaaaahhhh! I’m so happy you guys went to Vegas! So exciting, my favorite place!
    Safe journey!

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