With the SEMA show always falling on the first of November, we decided to do a road tour to Las Vegas to coincide with this event. Our 3 day adventure started in the central valley of California. We headed east to our first stop at Rail Town. Here, participants were able to take a trip through the past, and to the silver screen, by riding on the most filmed railway in the nation. After the train ride, we took a tour of the roundhouse to see the museum’s collection of engines and cars.
After spending time in the past, we headed to lunch. Here is where our first adventure began. The burger joint we chose to eat at took over an hour to make the our meals. This proved to be frustrating, as we were all very hungry and anxious to get back on the road to see more sights. After the long delay, we hit the first driver’s section where the faster cars went in front and the tour cars took up the rear. We all rendezvoused at a scenic overlook. From here, the group had a great view of the valley below and of the entire Sierra Mountain Range. Since the lunch stop put us behind schedule, we only had a brief moment to enjoy this view, as we still wanted the opportunity to see the Tufa Rocks at Mono Lake.
After the overlook stop, we headed to Bridgeport for a fuel and restroom stop. The drive there was the last section of road in which the group split up – speedsters and cruisers- with this section being the most technical and exciting.
Following the stop in Bridgeport, we made our way to Mono Lake to see the Tufa Rocks. While we did not have much time to explore the rocks, we were able to take the short trail down to the water’s edge and see some of the interesting formations. We then headed off to Bishop for the overnight stop.
The drive to Bishop proved to be a great ending to the day. The loop around Mono Lake was filled with fun turns and a lot of whoops. We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset and even saw a herd of wild horses walking down the road when we hit the first valley. After the last of the fun roads, we hit the main road to Bishop and put the peddle down to cover the miles. Once in town, we headed to a great BBQ dinner before calling it a night.
Day two was all about seeing Death Valley. Heading south, we stopped outside the park to top off with fuel. Reaching the main entrance we pulled off and staged for a group photo at the famous Death Valley sign. From here we headed to the first overlook to see the valley below before splitting into a drivers group and tour group.
Before seeing most of the attractions, we headed to the main Visitor Center to eat our boxed lunches. Even though it was early November, the temperature was 91 degrees and the shaded benches were a welcome reprieve from the heat. Following lunch, we made the highlight stops at the old mines, artist drive, and the lowest point in the USA. Some of the kids became the lowest people in the US by standing in some holes that were on the walking path.
After the last stop in Death Valley, it was time to head to Las Vegas to freshen up before heading to dinner.
For day three, and our last full day of the tour, we headed off to see the Valley of Fire. Starting off the day with a GPS fail, we corrected the error and were off and running. Taking an amazing drive by Lake Mead, we made several stops at overlooks to take in the sights and amazing photo opportunities. Reaching the valley, we headed in for some short hikes to see the major formations. As it was still 89 degrees and the hikes required more serious shoes than sneakers, most of us stuck to the short loops rather than the full hikes. Leaving the Valley of Fire we headed back toward Las Vegas for lunch.
Following lunch, we made a quick stop at the Neon Sign Graveyard to see some of the classic Las Vegas Americana signs. Many of these signs were from the mob days of Las Vega as well as the most recent “kid friendly” attempt by Vegas to draw more people in.
After the neon tour, a few members headed back to the hotel to swim and take a much needed R&R break. The rest of us headed to Red Rock Canyon to enjoy the scenic loop around the area. Making a few stops at the big attractions, the last of us left Red Rock and headed back to the hotel. The final night was spent at Battista’s Hole in the Wall for a great Italian dinner before saying goodbye. While a few participants were planning to stay in Vegas and take in SEMA, the rest of us were headed home the following morning.
This trip proved to be a great 3 day road adventure and will be one to repeat again in the future.