Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lake Meade National Recreation Area, Nevada (and Arizona)

April 14 - 16, 2016
Boulder City, NV

I really should have waited a couple days after our amazing trip to Valley of Fire to head into the city. 

The heavy traffic, hordes of people, concrete and chaos of Henderson, NV, are such a contrast to the previous day's beauty.....ugh.

Still, city-stuff has to get done. Just getting groceries (I could have gone to the nice Albertson's in Boulder City), Tessa's bath, and a quick drop off at Goodwill takes nearly three hours. Beyond the congestion is the reality of locating things in a strange town, and in the aisles of a strange store. Not always an issue in this life style, just sometimes.

The expected high winds are starting to come up, but we enjoy the beautiful view from our patio with a few brews, and Thursday ends on a high note.

A couple sailboats venture out later, but mostly the lake is empty
Friday the park starts to fill with trikes, all different colors and sizes. I forget to get a single photo. Nice folks.

We stick close to home, check out more of the little town of Boulder City, and have a nice lunch at Little City Grill. A tiny place with a decent selection of options, including good salads and fish. 

The little restaurant is big on cute
We've passed the Visitors' Center several times and decide it's time to stop in. They are making preparations for Junior Ranger Day, a Rage Triathlon, and free entrance at all National Parks day - all this weekend! The ranger is patiently answering a man's questions about the water level. He doesn't seem to grasp to concept of a 15-year drought, suggesting to her that they just shouldn't "let so much of the water out". I go in the other room....

Hopefully this nicely done relief map can explain it
Like so many visitors centers, this one does a great job of educating with visuals and hands-on displays 
Beautiful blooming Ocotillo in the small garden
With all the events planned in the park for Saturday, we decide to go elsewhere. The wind is still chopping the water and dusting the skies, so we figure it's a good day for another auto-hike.

This tree-condominium changes residents daily - it is very popular
It's after 10:30 when we pick up Hwy 93 south. We laugh that we can't see anything going over the bridge in the Jeep - compared to being in the motorhome a few days ago when we could see "over the wall". Still, we can see the parking lot for the dam tour is already filling up and we're glad we've opted to wait for a weekday.

Instead we continue about 15 miles to the Temple Bar turn-off. The 28 mile road runs through desert that looks very much like where we grew up. It doesn't have the wow factor, or a lot of variety, but we love it.

The lush Greasewood paints the desert green
Could be the view out of my old school bus
A few miles away, the south end of Lake Mead comes in to view. There are also a couple large formations and a small pyramid-like one.

Water in the desert - so pretty
A few vehicles have passed us, seeming to be in a hurry for a quiet Saturday. When we arrive at the little "resort" of Temple Bar we find out there is a wedding behind the coffee shop. I feel bad for the couple as the wind is even stronger here :-(

There is a marina, and is the reason people drive 28 miles off the highway. It is also inside the national recreation area (on the Arizona side) so all fees apply. A motel, boat repair, picnic tables, restrooms, basic provisions-store, and a huge boat ramp round out the amenities.

The campground has a couple sites that would fit a 35' RV, but most are tent or Class B/C size. Dry camping only. Fresh water and dump station on site.

We have a good lunch amongst the guests waiting for the event to begin. The range of apparel is entertaining, with the guy in the camo shorts, Hawaiian shirt, white crew socks, and dark running shoes getting my vote. Bill doesn't vote, he's not nearly as entertained as his wife......

We check out the little marina, take some photos, and get out of the harsh wind.

Love the mountains in the background, even in the haze
The Delmar Butte looks man-made, it's sides are so straight
Could be Adobe bricks
The Temple, giving its name to the place, stands behind the marina
We can't see the little pyramid from the marina so we stop up the road to check out the area from a distance, and let Tessa out to run around.

The mysterious pyramid

which seems to be just a pile of dirt
The Temple with Virgin Mountains and Bonelli Peak behind
"Who said I want to run around? You run around!
I'm surprised by two things in this area. 

First, the amazing size and colors of the mountains and canyons in every direction. The Colorado River is such a talented artist.

Second, the lake is in the arrival-flight pattern for McCarren Airport in Las Vegas. While they aren't very loud (the helicopter tours are more so), they do alter the natural views.

We have two days left before moving down to Laughlin, NV, for our annual reunion (and our windshield replacement). Recent issues with Bill's mom will determine how further plans will be changing after that.

In the meantime......this.


  1. a great day for tour!! thanks for sharing all the photos!

    1. thanks for coming along - we love the desert :-)

  2. It really is true that after you spend several days in a wonderful natural area, coming back into the chaos of civilization is jarring. We always spend the week-ends doing chores or chilling and let the crowds have it. I always feel sorry for the poor Colorado with all its dams. I have never been to see one of them and probably won't. But I sure would love to see that pyramid, the temple and the butte. And speaking of a beaut, that final picture of yours is one for sure. Love the pictures of Tessa!

    1. I'm definitely anti-dam, but am can't help myself about the incredible engineering :-( While Manhattan would flood within a few days if humans suddenly left the planet, Hoover Dam would continue to generate power for decades - that kind of thing blows my mind :-) Beaut :-))))))

  3. I don't do well in cities on any day and would prefer your lake side views. Have fun with family in Laughlin.

    1. Definitely have little desire to be in any cities anymore.

  4. Henderson is CRAZY! It didn't matter when we went, it was busy. We really enjoyed our month in Boulder City. It is a nice quiet town, but close enough to everything you could want. Love all the rock formations around the lake:) Tessa is one smart dog:)

    1. With two Targets and three Vons, Henderson is ridiculously big, but I too really like Boulder City. She's still smarter than we are :-)

  5. It's hard to beat scenery after you leave the Valley of Fire. However, you are in an area where there is so much to discover. Traffic isn't something we're fond of though. Good to see you're taking the little side trips to see just what's out there. Hope things work out with the mother.

    1. We do love our exploring :-) So far, so good with Mom.

  6. This seems to be the year for rerouting due to aging parents!

    With spring break and national parks week it seems March/April is never ending family time at our parks!

    1. Yep, there are lots of us in similar circumstances, and fortunate to have the flexibility. I was hoping it wouldn't be buys til after Memorial Day :-(

  7. You are so good at noticing all of the little things in life, from the beauty you find in nature to the humor of a wedding guest in camo shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Makes life interesting and travels more fun. :-)) I'm assuming that last photo is your current view -- gorgeous! Hope that all turns out well with Bill's mom.

    1. I really do enjoy people :-) Yes, that's part of our view to the south - we can see a huge section of the lake.

  8. Wow...your Ocotillo looks so much better than the ones we saw in Big Bend....although we saw a really green one in a visitor's center. :)

    1. This was at the VC as well - along with a huge prickly pear about to full bloom. I love ocotillo but there are hardly any around here.