Friday, September 17, 2010

Day Seven; death, raw, and smoke

Day Seven.

The three of us woke up relatively early and I took my mum and brother to Ronald's Donuts.  We each got a couple donuts and opted to head out for our final adventure outside of Las Vegas.  We were off to Death Valley National Park.

None of us knew much about this park before day seven.  It was only about a two hour drive from Las Vegas and ironically, it rained for much of the drive over.  As I am sure my mum and I will never forget, when the rain stopped, there was a distinct and pleasant odor in the air.  It was almost like a smell of fresh pine.  We began to get mildly concerned about flash floods and the temperature was lingering around about 80 degrees.  The thought of failure crossed my mind as we drove through the barren wet desert.  I clearly had no idea what to expect.

As we entered the park, the skies began to clear and the temperature began to rise.  We made several overlook stops but did not do much hiking at all.  We drove to the Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in the western hemisphere.  It was 288 feet below sea level and there was a very small pool of water surrounded my massive salt flats.  The were not nearly as large as the flats in northern Utah but were still impressively barren and devoid of life.

We got out to take some pictures and say we were there but did not spend much time lingering.  The temperature gauge on the car read 124 degrees and there were many warning all over the park about death from dehydration.  The highest temperate in recorded history was at this same point in Death Valley, 136.  It was hot on this day.  At one point, my mum heated a bagel on a rock while Ben and I ran out to an overlook.  There was a constant concern about the car overheating.

This was one of the most bazaar experiences I have ever had and is certainly something that none of us will ever forget.  The heat made everything seem a bit hazy and it was often difficult to fully open your eyes.  There was no cold water to be found in the park.  Even the water at the visitors center was hot.  It was brutal and amazing all at the same time.

That evening, after some debate, I convinced the family to eat at the Go Raw cafe.  They had never had "raw" food before, at least not in that sense that we would be eating this night.  We basically all shared several dished.  We got a sampler appetizer that had hummus, zucchini pasta (by far the highlight of the meal, and mexican wraps.  We also ordered an order of Tropical Toast (I was the the only one that liked this dish).  We had a Go Raw House Salad, a mexican pizza, and my mum ordered the vego-cotti.

My mum was not very impressed, my brother seemed to think it was tolerable and I thought is was decent.  None of us are huge fans of the strong flavor of flax and this places used more than we wanted.  Either way, it was a healthy meal before we went to a casino and sat in the smoke.

I tried my hand at the card table for the first time.  I understand the rules of blackjack but did not understand how the betting worked.  I ended up breaking even after tipping the dealer.  I walked away with my lungs full of second hand smoke and the same money I had when I started, I guess it could have been worse.  The trip was full of compromises.


T said...

Wild pictures. Isn't it crazy how different America is across the country?

That's very cool that you could convince your parents to eat raw. Mine would merely laugh at me. :)

The Spooky Vegan said...

Amazing photos! Would love to visit Death Valley someday...ironically it's only a few hours away from me!

The raw food looks pretty tasty...kudos for finding a raw vegan place in Vegas!