Friday, October 5, 2012

On the Road: Beaver, Utah, to Las Vegas, Nevada

Monday, September 24, 2012

We awoke while it was still dark out this morning; we wanted to get an early start. Since we did not unhook yesterday, it didn't take us long to pull out of the RV park in Beaver. We drove over to the nearby McDonald's and had a light breakfast.

Our route today is 227 miles
After breakfast, we drove through Beaver. Like most other Utah towns we have seen, this one was neat and orderly and very attractive. The residents of the state have done a wonderful job of making the desert bloom.

After hopping on Interstate 15, we headed south. The first part of the trip was through a rich agricultural valley dominated mostly by hay fields. The valley was probably 3 - 5 miles wide in most places, though I've discovered I have trouble estimating distances accurately in this big country. The drive through this section was easy and over fairly level terrain.

As we approached Cedar City, UT, we climbed out of the valley into more rugged country, but nothing like what we experienced the previous day. From Cedar City on to the Arizona state line, we remained in an urban setting, dominated by St. George, UT, the major city in this part of Utah with a population of over 70,000 citizens. Because of its mild winter climate, Brigham Young selected the area for his winter home.

We crossed the Arizona state line as we left St. George, and soon entered the most scenic stretch of our trip today -- the Virgin River Gorge. The Virgin River has sliced through the mountains of Arizona that separate Utah from Nevada, and the road follows the river as it winds its way through this rough country. Below are some pictures Donna snapped as we wound through this scenic setting.

Approaching the Virgin River Gorge; at this point, it really does not look that impressive, but appearances can be deceiving.
As we get farther into the gorge, the hills become steeper and closer to the road.
We are really feeling closed in about now.
Those are some steep canyon walls

The light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

And suddenly, we emerge from the gorge to see a hazy horizon of mountains lying in the distant west

The Nevada state line is just a few miles west of the gorge, and the growing town of Mesquite is right on the border. You know you are in Nevada because the casinos begin at the first exit. We detoured through Mesquite for a closer look at this community, which is attracting growing numbers of retirees with its casinos and golf resorts. It is a tidy place with a good variety of businesses.

Back on I-15, we set our sites on Las Vegas. We are plainly in the desert now. It is sunny and hot. For the first time since we left Big Spring, Texas, in mid-August, we have temperatures in the high 90s. The land is baked, and very little grows here.

We enter Vegas on the northeast side. After exiting the interstate, we pass Nellis AFB and turn south on Nellis Boulevard. Our destination is Sam's Town RV Park on the Boulder Highway. We will spend 1 week here.

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