This year with all 6 of us going, I made an effort to look ONLY for cheaper option tours.  I found it through Viator and at the time it did have an extra percent off.  It was a great tour, small and friendly.  With a great guide.  Well worth doing.  Our age ranges are 40ish, early twenties and under 10’s.  So a real mixed bag and this excursion was charming for everyone!

Hotel pick up is important, seeing as there are a lot of us getting ready at one time + the fact that in Las Vegas distances are deceptive.  Another great plus is that a picnic lunch is included.  Although, they are all the same type of fare, it’s nice quality and does the job perfectly.

It’s not a long drive to the Red rock canyon National Conservation area.  You start off at their visitor’s centre.  This should be made obligatory for everyone visiting Las Vegas.  The scenery is amazing and the silence of the huge surrounding, colourful mountains bewitching.

You are then taken on a leisurely 13-mile (21-kilometer) scenic loop. Stops along the way include the colorful sandstone Calico Hills, limestone Indian roasting pits and the petroglyphs at Willow Springs. 

The finale and most exciting part for me was a visit to Spring Mountain State Park, a ranch once owned by eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes.  The ranch had been owned by various people before Mr Hughes, one of which was VERA KRUPP.  Vera Krupp was an actress, who had married and divorced a wealthy German industrialist.  She had fallen in love with the ranch and with part of the divorce settlement bought it.  She bred horses there, installed a bidet and held wonderful showbiz parties there. 

One night, two men broke into Vera Krupp’s ranch  and pried a diamond ring off her finger. This wasn’t just any diamond: Aside from its 33-karat weight, it had a blue-white center and was set with two smaller baguette-shaped diamonds on either side of the marble-sized center stone. And it was worth $275,000, which was a considerable value in the 1950s.  Krupp and her ranch foreman had been tied up in the robbery and had to drive to the airport in Las Vegas to alert authorities. The FBI found the main diamond in New Jersey; it was sewn into the lining of a coat hanging in a hotel closet.  The side stones were found at a jeweler’s store in St. Louis later in the investigation .  Krupp put her ring back together and it was sold at auction after her death to Richard Burton for about $305,000. Burton gave it to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, as a gift. She kept the diamond until her death in 2011.

Another great aspect of this tour is that although it’s 6 hours you are back on the strip by just after midday.

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