Like most things in life I saw this park on Facebook and thought it would be a great trip for my dad and I to explore the beautiful red rocks of the Valley of Fire. I have driven by the entrance several times unknowingly on the way to Mesquite and Southern Utah in the past. This time however, was a full deep dive into one of Nevada’s hidden gems. Just off the 15 N interstate on the way to Salt Lake City from Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire exposes it’s magnificent landscape for park attendees. Admission is $10 or $9 with a veterans discount and the park closes at sundown. I got out of the car several times to take short hikes around the natural wonders and snap photos. I was fascinated by the red sand that is extremely fine like the white sand found at Pebble Beach located in and around the rock formations. The park also boasts ancient hieroglyphs from long lost tribes of the southwest and many unique rock figurations including an arch that is quite simply cool. My dad and I made the trip in late March and it wasn’t hot at all. After several hours in the park we decided to stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant named The Inside Scoop. The food portions were most generous and the milkshake was killer. I highly recommend this day trip for locals and tourists looking to get away from the strip. You can find the Valley of Fire at 29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040.
It started off as a new decade, a glimpse into uncharted territory . An election year, a leap year, and the year of the rat in the Chinese Zodiac. I found myself starting a new business,. Nomadic Nolan’s Travel and kicked off things with a trip to Mexico City to give a review of North America’s largest metropolis and explore my roots. On that trip, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on my last day before returning home. I remember getting a work out in at the hotel gym and shedding tears while I exercised. As expected I had great food in Mexico, and went to the ancient city of Teotihuacan to visit the pyramids. A few weeks later I went to Miami for more business and had great Cuban food. Then came March and along came Covid. Our economy was floored, months of lock down and gaining weight. I spent many days wondering when things would be normal again. Things got worse, then got better and then we were somewhat free again during the summer. I decided to take road trips with my dad. We visited some of the greatest parks and attractions in the SW United States including Zion, The Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Sedona Arizona, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, Bryce Canyon and I played golf at some of the most epic courses these eyes have ever seen. The Lakers won the NBA title, and the Dodgers won the World Series. Joe Biden defeated Trump. I made a trip to LA to play Wilshire country club with my good friend John and saw my friends Ryan, Dave & Jenny while I was there. Drewski was in the mix and Rachel Rach was there to have some fun too. I even made it to Hawaii to see Jamonica, Mike, Kayla, Aden, and Vanessa. CJ, Chris and Garrett were there for me this year and countless others reached out to me to see how I was doing. 2020 was a time for growth, a time of reflection, a time of conspiracy, a time of fear, and a time of appreciation. There are so many things that happened that I am thankful for in 2020 and as bad as things were, there were so many wonderful bright spots I will never forget… Cheers to all of you and Happy New Year! Let’s have a great 2021. God bless you all from Nomadic Nolan!
Mammoth Lakes is about a 3 hour drive from South Lake Tahoe and was one of our surprise stops since we didn’t plan on going here. The drive is quite beautiful and scenic. We took the NV highway 207 and then the 395 south which is pretty much a straight shot south from Tahoe. I was able to find a decent rate on a hotel room at the Empeiria High Sierra and there was a great little BBQ spot down the street that my dad and I ate at called Uncle Jimmy’s. After checking into our hotel we went for a drive into the mountains and discovered a plethora of activities that people were enjoying including horse back riding, mountain biking, fishing, camping & taking photos. Mammoth Lakes turned out to be one of my favorite spots on the trip to take pictures which I have included below. After our drive I took off on foot for a walk around town to check out the local shops & Golf Course called Sierra Star. As I was walking I ran into some people that spotted a bear which made me quite nervous so I decided to cut through the golf course to get back to the hotel. All in all Mammoth Lakes is a nice quaint sleeper town and I would love to go back and engage in more outdoor activities.
We woke up early and left Tonopah for South Lake Tahoe on Tuesday morning June 30th… On our way out of town, we stopped for some photos at the Clown Hotel. The drive starts to get interesting around Walker Lake, then again as you near Lake Tahoe on the Nevada 207 West. Other than that expect a rather desolate drive. As we drove into Tahoe, climbing the massive winding highway, we were looking for something to eat before we checked into Harrah’s at 3 pm. We found the perfect place near the beach named Jimmy’s Restaurant which is nestled at the base of the Landing Tahoe Resort and Spa. We ordered fish tacos with Australian Sea Bass and the Caesar salad with blackened shrimp that were absolutely out of this world. I would go back just for the shrimp they were that good. After our meal we checked into Harrah’s and we were happy to see all the precautions the hotel was taking to address Covid 19. Everyone was required to wear masks, there were temperature checks upon arrival, and some amenities were closed like the valet, room service, and housekeeping during the stay. The staff took good care of us and got us a room on the 11th floor with amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding forest. The hotel is a solid 3.5 and could use some additional upgrades, but overall it was a good choice for our stay… Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is located right on the Nevada/California state line and the address is 15 US-50, Stateline, NV 89449. To be continued.
After being locked in the home for months due to Covid 19, my dad and I decided it was time to hit the open road. Our destination was Lake Tahoe for it’s pristine waters, golf courses, and historic nature drive. We had no idea what we were getting into so I hit the net to plan out a route. After a few articles, trip advisories and YouTube videos, I decided we would drive from Las Vegas to Tonopah, NV. Tonopah is home of the Stealth Bomber and about a four hour drive from Sin City. The town is known for its star gazing and a few iconic hotels, one in which is haunted by ghosts! The Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah has a century’s worth of history and some supposed paranormal activity. I thought it would be cool to run into a ghost and have a story so here is what happened. I wanted to see what the vibe was like before committing to a room for the night, and upon questioning the front desk attendant I decided I would give it a green light. After all we were only staying for a night, and right next door there is a casino, dining available in the lobby restaurant, and a few shops and restaurants all within walking distance. Tonopah, is a really cute small town and is basically all on one street so think of it as a perfect place to stretch out half way between Vegas and Lake Tahoe. We checked into our room and had 3 hours of relax time before the restaurant opened. This would be our first dining experience since Covid took over our lives, and we were happy to see only one other couple in the restaurant and the staff wearing masks. My dad is 77 and has a compromised immune system, so this hotel and restaurant passed all of our tests. We had a few drinks before eating so we were all giggly and ordered way too much food. My dad had a massive burger with fries, and I ordered the chicken fajitas with a appetizer portion of buffalo wings. WAY TOO MUCH FOOD! Hah! After that it was nighty night for the both of us. We headed back up to the room and crashed, no ghost sightings, no casino, just about a 30 minute get up session to pee and I walked outside to see what the stars looked like, but we were in too much light and I wasn’t about to walk to the star gazing spot by myself in a small town. I went back to the room thinking I might see one of the small children or the lady in red dress spirits the receptionist and Mizpah paper told me about, but nada. I crashed and the next morning dad and I had coffee, checked out and stopped at the Clown Hotel, the other iconic hotel, and snapped some photos by the enormous Clowns outside of the reception area. Then it was on to Tahoe… Tonopah, Nevada can be reached very easily from Las Vegas by taking the 95 North highway. Both the Mizpah, & Clown Hotels are on the 95 North as well.
I would give the Mizpah a solid 3 stars for it’s history, country club vibe, and on-sight museum. Although very small, basically just a room, the hotel has a nice collection of artifacts from the surrounding area, a cool bar, and lovely little restaurant called The Pittman Cafe, named after Key Pittman a former Senator from Nevada. You can find out more information about the Mizpah here.
To be continued… In my next post I will cover our route to Tahoe, our stay at the Harrahs South Lake Tahoe, and the golf experience at Edgewood Golf Course.