I was supposed to be heading to South Korea this week for an epic vacation with my "Adopt-A-Mom" but Asia is being hit hard by a Pandemic. That trip was canceled and I opted to book a National Park Vacation with my Mom instead.
The plan was to fly into Las Vegas, visit the Hoover Dam, see Cirque du Soleil - Ka, then head to California and spend some time at both Joshua Tree NP and Death Valley NP. I knew before leaving that I needed to be ready for anything as the threat of that pandemic becoming an issue in the US was quickly becoming a reality. Before I left my work had told all employees if they fly on an airplane they would be subject to 2 weeks of work from home quarantine upon their return - all of this was unprecedented. It made me think twice about going but ultimately we decided we were going to go.
Flying into Vegas was just like any other flight to Vegas, full airplane, excited travelers. Arriving in Vegas was a little different the airport was pretty empty. We got our rental car and headed to our hotel - the MGM Grand - we get there the lobby is empty... it was so eerie but there was currently no need to change plans.
The next morning we headed out to the Hoover Dam - here it was easy to forget we had a global pandemic looming. There were PEOPLE here (not normal capacity as there were open parking spots) but people none the less. We were able to walk around and explore (the dam wasn't open so we couldn't go inside), people were incredibly nice and the fear of illness seemed non-existent. My favorite part was walking across the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It spans the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona 890 ft above the ground. The bridge give you a spectacular view of the Hoover Dam.
We then headed out to Red Rock Canyon to do some hiking. What a beautiful place! I loved hiking here but some of the trails were pretty difficult for my Mom (she is legally blind and the desert sun wasn't helping) so we found a nice fairly long boardwalk hike.
When we got back to Vegas we found out that the city would be shutting down in 2 days due to the pandemic... WHAT?!?!? Now the threat is real - we were scheduled to head out too Joshua Tree the next day - did we want to be in a small town in the desert as the world closed down? We decided to sleep on it. When we woke up it was pretty clear that California had plans of shutting down too - would the airports shut down too? We were in uncharted territory and decided to reschedule our flight and head home. During breakfast I literally watched the bartender take all the booze from the bar away - Vegas is hiding the boozed it is definitely time to go home.
Turns out this was only the beginning of a Pandemic that would ultimately change our lives for a long time.
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This is my quest to find my place beneath the stars - outside the confines of my office and without the pressures of everyday life.