To and From Las Vegas, Nevada
We've probably made at least 10 trips to Las Vegas (LV) over the
past 20 years. Sometimes by air and more recently by
auto. Follows a consolidation into one summary. It
begins with the most recent trip with Road Scholar
involving a forensics class at University Nevada, Las Vegas
(UNLV). Subjects over five days included discussions on
modern police forensics and their use of modern tools such as
Canines. Many crimes are now being solved by DNA analysis but its
amazing what things like blood "splatter" can tell a detective.
Several case histories by retired detectives were studied showing
the gross details and how they were presented in court. Only cases
can be discussed when theirs no chance of further challenge.
An entire morning was devoted to dental forensics taught by
the UNLV dental school.
We were treated to a visit of the prison at Henderson, NV.
Its a dry city with no gambling..... Interesting for a Nevada
community. Its also the site of a massive explosion of
Ammonium Perchlorate some years ago called the Pepcon
We were housed in Harrah's Club on the Las Vegas strip which is
right in the middle of the action. We thought that would be
an ideal location but you really can't walk to everything because
hotels and Casinos are so big which makes them spread out.
Yes, you can take a trolley or taxi but at the end of the day, we
just wanted to rest in our old age. I found a "White
Castles" next door and was happy. We ate at Ruth Criss
steakhouse one night and the bill was $135 with no liqueur.
It was good but not at that price. Things are no longer
cheap in LV. People get good deals when they gamble by being
offered "comps". Needless to say we didn't gamble. For
breakfast, we ate at Harrah's buffet which had outstanding food
and a wide selection for $28/person. Our class covered it
for us. Overall, it was fun to see people come and go from
all parts of the world. The international flights check in
and check out at certain dates and they informed us when things
would be busy and not so busy so we could plan our activities
around these periods. Even with all the gambling outlets,
Las Vegas still is as popular as ever.
Illegal immigration is still a big problem in the area.
About 1/3rd of the population of Henderson prison are illegals.
|Las Vegas Police Department (LVPD) leading canine demo||Canine demo, LVPD||Malinois prefered if German Shepard's are not available|
|Showing attack of man in padded suit
||Drug "sniffer" in action
A side trip to the "medium stay" prison in Henderson, NV. was the highlight of our experience the last day. This facility is used to hold prisoners for up to one year or when court proceedings are still under way. We went inside and walked near the prisoners in all sections except the central bay in which they are not shackled and free to roam. We were escorted through "booking", dinning room, kitchen, laundry and exercise areas. Many reduce their time by working in these facilities to gain better treatment and benefits. All processes were demonstrated along with how guards handle various events. Many new residents come in drunk or under the influence of drugs and are "spaced out". It was shown how they're handled including padded cells. No riots have occurred at this prison but its common to have inmate vs inmate fights.
The women share the same facility but housed in separate living areas. We had one being booked while there; she was very belligerent and drunk.
Sorry, no photos and cellphones were allowed while in the facility.
|Dinner meeting, declared a crime scene
||Solar power experiment, south of Las Vegas
Within a days drive are many sight seeing opportunities.
The State park called the "Valley of Fire" is interesting as its
made up of soft sandstone thats carved mostly by the wind.
Also a visit to Hoover Dam is nearby. An important
hydroelectric facility that is a very important power source for
the SW United States. If it were ever breached by a nuclear
weapon, it could cause a serious crash to the US economy and lost
of many lives in the Southern part of the U.S. not from the weapon
but from anarchy that would result. Fortunately, it would not be
easy to take it out, but an earthquake could!
|Valley of Fire
||Valley of Fire||Valley of Fire|
|Sphinx, Valley of Fire||Hoover dam
||Inside power house
|Terrain as it changes from desert to rock formations. Many color changes.|
Death Valley is always a fascinating place and has a prominent
spot in our early western history. Its well named by the
early pioneers as a forbidding place which lives up to its
name. On many of the trips to Las Vegas we have passed
through DV on our way home if its not summer time. 134º
degrees has been reported at Furnace Creek one summer and because
it sits as a valley between two high mountain ranges, its
particularly stressful for automobiles as well. Many
vehicles would overheat on the long climb out and would get
stranded. Today, cars are made with better cooling systems
so its not as frequent a problem any longer.
Rhyolite is an old ghost town once prominent in the early 20th
century for gold discovery. Bad Water, which is the lowest
place in the western hemisphere is interesting because a few rare
small fish live in the saline water. They're not found
anywhere else in the world. No other fish could live in that
water and its amazing how evolution has allowed for changes that
allow them to stay alive.
The raw materials for Borax soap comes from Death Valley.
Some of you may remember the 20 mule team featured on the box of
Borax. It turns out the valley is rich in many minerals
which are used in industry and contribute to the vivid colors in
the landscape. Many mines and old shafts are found in the
|Old Rhyolite General Store, Eastern Death Valley
||Old Rhyolite Bank
|Lowest Point in Western Hemisphere||Badwater|
|Neil at Badwater, Death Valley
||Eastern basin, Death Valley
|P/O of old Borax run, Furnace Creek
||Old mule train, Furnace Creek, Death Valley
||Famous Opera House, SE of Death Valley