Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Other Las Vegas, Part 2

Sunday morning was a lazy one, none of us eager to get an early start. The free continental breakfast at the motel was very sparse, but at least the coffee was good and strong. I had a danish pastry and that was enough to keep me going until lunchtime.

We started the day by heading back to the historic downtown district to drive around and look at the old houses. Las Vegas has more than 900 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. There are all kinds of interesting houses -- Victorian, Tudor, Georgian, Prairie, and others I didn't recognize. We had a great time driving up and down the streets ooh-ing and aah-ing.

Then we drove up to Fort Union, about half an hour north of town. Fort Union National Monument was established in 1851 to house the soldiers guarding the Santa Fe Trail. It was abandoned in 1892 after the railroad made the Santa Fe Trail more or less obsolete. There are ruins of the adobe and stone buildings surrounding the old parade grounds. I had been there before, but George and Beth hadn't. After going through the museum at the visitor center, we went outside to tour the ruins.

This place is pretty windy on a good day and Sunday was not a good day as far as the weather goes. A storm front was approaching and it was cold and windy. After being outside for about 10 minutes, George and I decided to go back inside. It was just too unpleasant out there; my face was cold. Beth wanted to tour the rest of the ruins, but she promised to be quick and she was.

We drove back to town and had a nice lunch together before going our separate ways.

I had to drive into the approaching storm and they had to drive away from it and try to outrun it.

As I drove on the first, flat part of the route, the wind became fierce and I had to keep both hands in a tight grip on the steering wheel. Then it started to snow. I drove through a swirling snowshower and started climbing up into the mountains. At least once I was in the mountains, I was protected from the winds and I only had to deal with the snow. Up and down, up and down, and around countless curves I drove, grateful for an SUV with four-wheel drive. The snow wasn't sticking to the road yet, but it was starting to stick on the bushes and trees on the sides of the road.

I made it to the other side of the mountain and back down to the flats. The snow tapered off to flurries and there was no wind, so I unpeeled my fingers from the steering wheel and drove the remaining 15 minutes home.

When I got home, the animals greeted me enthusiastically. I'd only been gone 32 hours, but they missed me. I'd only been gone 32 hours, but it was a great trip and I came back refreshed and renewed.


Elle said...

Sounds like a fun trip, but I don't envy you the drive home through the snowstorm, even with an SUV with 4 wheel drive. Glad it was uneventful.)
Aren't animals great? They really know how to welcome you home, even if you've only been gone a short time.

Beth said...

It's so nice to have them waiting for you when you get home, much nicer than coming home to an empty house.