Ken and I were lucky enough to convince our 19 year old grandson (Alan) to come to Death Valley (aka DEVA) for a two-week visit over Christmas.
Prior to Alan’s visit, and since our arrival in early October, we had done a little exploring and we were learning quickly from Ranger Aly of all the amazing things to do and see here, so we put together a sightseeing to-do list for our time with Alan.
– [x] Manzanar National Historic Site
– [x] Titus Canyon
– [x] Beatty Candy Store & Rhyolite Ghost Town
Sunday – Christmas Eve
– [x] Laundry
– [x] Borax Museum
Monday – Christmas Day
– [x] Relax/watch football
– [x] Visitor Center
– [x] Badwater
– [x] Natural Bridge (Hike)
– [x] Devil’s Golf Course
– [x] Artist’s Pallet
– [x] Zabriskie Point
– [x] 20-Mule Team Canyon
– [x] Race Track
– [x] Ubehebe Crater
– [x] Keane Wonder Mine
– [x] Dante’s View
– [x] Ash Meadows/Devil’s Hole
– [x] Longstreet Cabin
– [x] Salt Creek
– [x] Mustard Canyon
– [x] Borax Works
As you can see from all the checked boxes we did everything on our bucket list and even though Alan decided not to provide a paragraph for the blog, through casual discussion and visual observation, I gleaned that he thoroughly enjoyed seeing DEVA.
We fed him all of his favorites (steak, lasagna, homemade fried tacos, ham, and chicken fettuccine). Oh, and lots of baked rolls! And we managed to trick Kenny into going a second time to the candy store in Beatty, NV.
Sadly, New Year’s Eve meant that his visit was nearly over and it was time to take him back to Las Vegas for his flight home. We had a reservation at the Luxor and arrived in time to wait among a throng of others also checking in. Waiting was slightly unpleasant and it was a hike to reach our tower premium room, but the room was great. Immediately, Alan turned on the TV and plopped on the bed to watch football so Ken and I went downstairs to check out the hotel and casino. We gave him an hour before we called him down to dinner (buffet) and then we all headed to the casino. Since Alan isn’t old enough to gamble, he simply acted as my lucky charm and guided me from one interesting and fun game to another where we did better than we had previously without him. We had a ball for a little while but 4 AM was going to come early so we headed upstairs. At midnight Ken woke up to what he thought was gunfire (after all, we were right next door to Mandalay Bay), but quickly he realized it was fireworks that were so close and loud they were causing the building to shake. He woke me up, we kissed briefly to acknowledge the New Year and went right back to sleep.
We arrived at the airport at 5:15 AM, said our goodbyes and got our hugs, and Alan joined the mass of travelers in the TSA line while we headed for the Starbuck’s just a few feet away. Soon we got word that the big guy was safely on board and we began our sad walk to the car.
It was over. After two weeks of sharing our adventures with him, just like that he was gone. Now, I’m not going to say that it was all fun and games, because it’s a huge adjustment to live together with your grandparents in small quarters away from the comfort of friends, school, his Mom, his Aunt, Uncle and cousins, and of course his truck, but we are very proud of Alan for taking the huge leap of flying halfway across the country and spending the holidays with us in our motor home in the desert at Death Valley National Park.
Before he left, Alan told us that his favorite day was when we went to Titus Canyon, but my favorite time was every day that we spent with him.
Our days at DEVA are quickly coming to a close as we will leave here in five days, so stay tuned to see what we have planned next.
For now, we wish you happy travels and good health in 2018!
Dorothy & Ken