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Day 14, Friday May 2, 2017:
Las Vegas, Nevada -> Valley of Fire -> Moapa Valley -> Mesquite, Nevada

It was morning two in Las Vegas and it would be check-out day. So good was last night's dinner we ended up at Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar for breakfast. Last night it was crunch time so we ate at the bar, this morning we were seated on the patio. I chose Maple Bacon French Toast; house baked brioche soaked in maple syrup custard & griddled in brown butter. topped with dark maple syrup, candied bacon & brled banana. Yum. Walking we got to see the flamingos in the green space.

Las Vegas was a fun diversion but now it was time to get back to exploring wide open spaces. We headed up I-15 and over to Overton, NV to visit the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada's first state park opened in 1935. Just off I-15 we stopped for ice and fuel. While gassing up I was surprised to see 4 gasoline octane options; 85, 87, 89, 91. Entering the store I realized that just about any place in Nevada is a Casino. Everywhere I look there is a gaming space. We headed down the Valley of Fire Highway to the secluded location. After going to the visitor center the visit was mainly an in and out drive with plenty of turnouts to stop and enjoy. The red Aztec sandstone formations were dramatic and accessible. There were beehive shapes and hollowed out spaces to explore and dramatic large formations to enjoy. It was a nice way to spend a few hours.

Leaving the Valley of fire we took state route 169 through the back country to Moapa Valley , a small town in a valley. There we found a late lunch at Sugar's Home Plate. They had a lean Chef's Salad that sounded like a good antidote to Las Vegas. It was good and the place was refreshingly simple and hometown. Eventually we broke out onto I-15 to head northeast to Mesquite NV. Heading up into the state the west took on new perspectives. More and more the mountains were everywhere. Away from the urban spaces we saw triple box trailer trucks and tractors pulling 2 full length boxes. Maverik convenience stores / filling stations are very common out here.

We checked into the Best Western and sorted out what to do in Mesquite. We needed some odds and ends and took advantage of the local Wal-Mart. We drove around and did some searching and didn't spot anything too enticing for dinner. That being said, we had never been to a Jack In The Box and the local store had stellar reviews on Yelp. The chicken fingers were good and the service was outstanding like in the reviews. I did realize that they take the "In The Box" theme seriously. Most items come in a closed box, including French fries.

Driving around there were a few older motels but Lorna observed that in general to town looked oddly new. With a little research we found it had been incorporated in 1984 as a town after a few false starts over the years. The city of 17,000+ is located in the Virgin River valley adjacent to the Virgin Mountains in the northeastern part of the Mojave Desert. It is home to a growing retirement community, as well as several casino resorts and golf courses. We noticed one casino complex had closed.

The hotel information binder includes what to do in the event of an earthquake, nice stuff to know! As much as I ran the water it never got cold, there's a lot of heat around here. Other than that it was a nice transition day from a height in urban commotion to rural tranquility.

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Created May 14, 2017