We recently found ourselves exploring the states of California and Nevada. One of our first stops here was a mining ghost town built in 1905 called Rhyolite. It’s a combination of the original buildings along with abstract art installations scattered around the area. The town had early success with mining and was able to grow to have hotels, stores, a school, an ice plant, two electric plants, foundries, machine shops and even a miners union hospital. However, there was widespread financial panic in 1906 and within a few years, all of the mines had shutdown and the citizens were forced to abandon the failed town. Interesting note, one of the original houses was completely built using bottles as bricks which actually acts as temperature regulation.
We then made our way into Death Valley. It’s pretty cool that while driving down into the valley, you can hold your hand out of the car window and within a span of a few miles, you can feel the temperature raise 10 degrees due to the extremely low elevation. It’s actually called shaking hands with the devil. I found out that Death Valley is actually quite the desirable tourist destination. It gets so hot in the summer — regularly above 100 degrees fahrenheit — that the winter is peak operating season. There are all kinds of hikes, camping and attractions to see. We hiked around an area called Artists Drive and another called Badwater Basin. Artists Drive gets its name for the wide range of colors found in the geology there, which was truly amazing. Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America — 282 ft. below sea level, which seems odd when you’re standing in it because you’re almost completely surrounded by gigantic mountains. The high levels of salt from the surrounding landscape gets carried and deposited in the basin after a rainfall and has created what seems to be an endless basin of salt.
After all of this exploring I was ready to get some training in so we headed to Cobrinha BJJ in Las Vegas. It’s located within a beautiful plaza right next to a NYC-style deli so I very much enjoyed walking around the area with some espresso before class. The classes and training were great. Head instructor Hector Vasquez treated me like a part of the team. A great person who is dedicated to his craft. It was his last week at the academy before flying out to Toronto to corner Claudia Gadelha for her upcoming UFC fight. He was there everyday teaching class until the day he left, with a somewhat serious injury. So grateful for instructors like him. I spent a week here training everyday and met some awesome people. The guys here were all super welcoming, friendly and liked to train hard — just my type. I will definitely be returning in the future.