Top down, glasses on, wind whipping through our hair.
We felt the epitome of cool as the mustang purred beneath us, gliding over the undulating road that leads to the Valley of Fire. We learned quickly this was a car that draws attention to itself. Everywhere we stopped someone came up to us, to admire the car or to ask questions about it. Sheepishly Dad would admit that we were only renting it; that although we looked the part, we were just pretenders, playing dress up in our classic car for the day.
But heck it was a great day.
The whole day was a surprise for him, as weeks of planning, secret texts between myself, my brother and Mum finally paid off. He thought we were simply having a quiet day exploring Las Vegas, dropping my car off at the mechanics and then going shopping for the morning while we waited.
As we pulled into the classic car place, we told him that actually he was going to be doing all the driving today, and that he would be doing it in ‘that,’ pointing to the gleaming red Mustang that was parked outside the shop.
He claims it was dust, but Mum and I know we saw his true reaction glisten in his eyes.
Once we sorted the paperwork, we headed north to the Valley of Fire. We kept the top up for the hour long trip on the freeway as Dad accustomed himself to the power and nuances of the car. Once we were off the interstate and on the quieter desert roads, we pulled over and lowered the top.
Granted, the 50 degree weather was a little chilly at times, but our winter coats and the enjoyment and novelty of the day kept us warm.
Having never been to the Valley of Fire before I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thankfully, it turned out to be the absolute perfect place to cruise in a Mustang for the day. The slower speed limits gave us a reprieve from the winter winds, and being able to have the top down allowed us to immerse ourselves in the 360 degree views of the beautiful red rock formations around us.
Traveling in any convertible through the Valley of Fire would be great, but the fact that we were in a classic 1968 Mustang made it just that much more special.
We followed our nose through the park towards the visitors center and then turned onto Mouse’s Tank Road, a 20 minute drive through the red rock that leads to a handful of trail heads.
As the car was the real focus of our day — and the fact that we were able to drive it through such a neat location simply an added bonus — we didn’t do any of the hikes. Instead, we settled for the open-aired views as we cruised through the valley.
Before leaving we found an empty corner of the parking lot by the visitors center and took (quite literally) hundreds of photos to commemorate this awesome day.
Once we left the park we headed South-west into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Although still on a “back road,” the speed limit picked up here and the cool winter’s day made us throw our hoods up and cuddle into our winter jackets.
While the sun managed to stay out from behind any clouds it wasn’t too bad, but the few moments when it dipped away got rather nippy rather quickly. Apparently I drew the short straw in this regard as the back seat was provided sufficiently less protection from the biting wind. The weather wasn’t quite the warm February desert day I was hoping for, but we didn’t mind. In my eyes the day was still a complete success, even if I couldn’t feel my toes at the end of it.
We followed the eastern shoreline of Lake Mead, turning off at Lake Las Vegas to head back towards the city. It was strange transitioning from the open road and raw nature of the Valley of Fire back into the bustling civilization of Las Vegas.
The only suitable way to end the day, we cruised down the strip, top down, cameras up, savoring our final moments and already reminiscing on the great adventure we’d had.
The car had to be back at 4:30 p.m. and we pulled in with 10 minutes to spare.
A perfect end to a perfect day.