Randoms, Travel

I’m back from the desert and I’ve got a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

Greetings. humans! I returned from my trip out to the desert Tuesday night and I’m here to tell you aaaaaaaallllllllll about it.  Also, I have a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!


In This Post

  • Random Vegas-ness
  • Rock & Read Author Event in Las Vegas
  • Area 51: The Black Mailbox Site & Rachel Nevada’s Little A’Le’Inn
  • Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge
  • Red Rock Canyon
  • The Hoover Dam & The Long Way ‘Round to Phoenix

Random Vegas-ness

What a fantastic frikkin trip!!!  Heather (from Pure Textuality PR) and I took a trip to the desert and that shit was AMAZING.  This was Heather’s first time really exploring the desert and she ended up falling head-over-heels in love with it just like I did the first time I went there.  Fortunately, she’s like me.  She was much more interested in seeing what the desert had to offer than blowing a shit ton of money in the tourist trap that is the Las Vegas Strip.  So, I set out on this trip with the express purpose of showing her why I love the desert so much.

In a 5-day span, we put almost 1300 miles on our rental car, a Hyundai Santa Fe, a little crossover rig with all the room of an SUV, but the footprint and gas mileage of a car.  For what we got up to over the course of the last week, it was perfect.


This trip, Travelocity deals and my travel ninja skills landed us a killer room in the Luxor casino at the far southern end of the strip.  I usually stay at the Stratosphere simply due to the cost, so the change in hotel was kind of neat.  Plus, the Egyptian theme is gorgeous.




The first morning we were there, I learned the importance of room selection at the Luxor.  We stepped out of our hotel room door to start off on of our trip and abruptly slammed into a wall of bacon aroma.  See, we were literally perched right above the Luxor food court area and they were busy making breakfast.  That shit is TORTURE when you’re hungry.  Lol


Overall, the stay was awesome.  We had one particularly funny moment where we were walking down the hall toward our room and we were joking about diving over the railing and running up the side.  Simultaneously, we both said something to the effect of “…then bust out some Jason Statham shit.”  Not planned at all.  We both lost our shit laughing and I am sure our neighbors probably thought we were batshit crazy.

There was also one night where we came “home” to find footprints on our window.  Like, all over the outside of the window.  On the 9th floor.  OF A FUCKING GIANT GLASS PYRAMID.  Someone was walking up the side of the pyramid while we were out.  lol  The only thing we could think was maybe a blown lightbulb, but I would think they’d have a better way of changing the bulbs than to walk up the outside of a giant glass pyramid.  *shrug*


Also, in case there are any weirdos like me out there, Luxor/Mandalay Bay has a shop entirely dedicated to funky socks.  Yes, socks.  It didn’t seem to matter what I looked for, they had it, including these adorable gems:


We also ate at IHOP, like, every day (don’t judge!) and both of us ended up developing a bit of a girl crush on our waitress.  And not just because she brought us tasty kibble.  She was kind of hot in a bad ass bitch kind of way.  lol  We totally should have gotten her picture…

UPDATE:  WE GOT A PICTURE!!  Girl crush, if you’re out there, you are awesome!



One of the ONLY things I was pissed about on this trip was that it took our dumb asses until the night before we left to discover the java miracle that is Dutch Bros. Coffee.  HOLY SHIT.  Seriously.  Okay, first, you need to understand that Heather and I are both certifiable coffee junkies.  She’s an iced coffee girl with quite possibly the most complicated coffee order I’ve ever heard, and as we’ve already discussed here on the Bloggy Blog, I’m a coffee snob.  I like my coffee.  I’m an asshole without my coffee.  And nothing makes me more bitchy than a bad cup of coffee…..which Luxor had in spades.  Two Starbucks and a McDonald’s in that casino and no one knows how to make a good cup of coffee.  We went to Starbucks one day, and after extra milk and NINE SUGARS (I normally use ONE in a large coffee…), my coffee still tasted like licking a junk yard tire. It was bitter and burnt and gross.  Two sips later, I dumped the $6.00 cup of shit soup out and drove the ten minutes over to East Tropicana’s Dunkin Donuts for a new one.  Bad bad bad bad bad bad coffee.

Anyway, we spent the entire week driving by this Dutch Bros Coffee place, each time reminding one another that we needed to try it.  On the last night, we finally did, and it was a-ma-zing.

These people have the nicest, most knowledgeable employees I’ve ever met in my life.  They were super-patient with our eight million questions and explained how they make the coffee and what sets them apart (FYI: Instead of drip-brewing the coffee, they use fresh-brewed shots of espresso mixed with hot water which results in the best tasting cup of coffee I’ve ever experienced in my life……no pot on a burner ensures that the coffee doesn’t get “overcooked.”) from other chain coffee shops.  For two relatively judgemental bitches, we both walked away wanting to tuck the coffee girl into our luggage to bring her back with us.  Amazing coffee.  For real.


Plus, this sign was in the Luxor/Mandalay Bay mall.  Change that shit to Patron and I think I need this sign for my house.  😉


Plus!  This shit happened.

Went to the Las Vegas sign to take our picture….

Tried to take a picture facing into the sun….couldn’t see a damn thing….


Then Heather took my picture….


Then ELVIS came along!  lol


Rock & Read Author Event in Las Vegas

The entire reason for scheduling this trip was to attend the Rock & Read Author Event in Las Vegas.  As a new member of the Pure Textuality PR staff, I had Heather come along with me to be an extra set of hands (and to fetch my bitchy ass some coffee every once in a while).  As we were staying at the Luxor on the southern end of the strip, we had to drive to the other side of the freeway to get to the event.  We ended up making it with only about 9 minutes to spare.  In that time, I got my table completely set up, banner included, and had just enough time to take one sip of my coffee before we were hauled away for the group photo.  I’m at almost the exact dead center position in this photo by the always wonderful FuriousFotog.

RNR Cast'

Overall, the event was great!  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet everyone I wanted to, but this certainly wont be my last event.  I’m still holding out hope that I will be able to meet everyone someday.  Plus, as I stated on my Facebook page, apparently the Drama Llama showed up to the party and shit in everyone’s Cornflakes.  I have no clue what happened, I dont want to know, but it resulted in my whole wish list of peeps to meet being GONE when I turned around to say hi after packing up my table.  So, bummer for me.  :/  But, I still had a spectacular time.  I got to meet my darling L.E. Chamberlin, I got to see Shakuita Johnson again, I got to rub ‘bows with Elle Dominguez (cutest human alive!), and I got to chat with Alfie, the model who will be gracing the cover of Bad Wolf when it comes out (he’s super-sweet and just as hot in person!).  Whatever happened never touched me, so yay for that!  😉

Loved this shirt and had to take a pic!


Best Tote Bag Award goes to…..


Shakuita Johnson and I reunited once again!!!
Love this chick!  Probably the only person who loves
Dez and Vegas as much as I do!
(she actually lives, like, an hour from me…..lol)


My Official Rock & Read Author Event photo
courtesy of the always-awesome FuriousFotog.

Me at RNR

Area 51: The Black Mailbox Site &
Rachel Nevada’s Little A’Le’Inn


Oh, this one was a fun trip.  lol  I’ve wanted to take a trip out to the Black Mailbox for YEARS.  I’m an alien nerd.  I believe.  It’s foolish and ignorant to think that out of the billions of solar systems in the observable universe, we’re alone.  The ego!  lol  I don’t think we’re alone and I do fully believe we’ve been visited.  Does this mean you’re going to see me sportin’ an aluminum hat while running from the MIB”s?  No, of course not, but I am the silly bitch that will drive out into the middle of nowhere to stand with a mailbox that says Alien on it.  lol

Heather and I set out Sunday morning for Nevada Interstate 93 to locate said mailbox.  We drove and drove and drove through miles of some of the most beautiful landscape imaginable.  Wide open desert sprinkled with Joshua trees and surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains you can imagine.  This went on for better than 100 miles and as incredible as it was to see, Heather and I both found that pictures just don’t translate what you see in person.  There is no way our smartphones could ever show you exactly what we were surrounded by.  It’s captivating and breathtaking and will seriously bring tears to your eyes.  We were talking about it on the way out and the best word we could both come up with was majestic.  Even if you’re not down with the green guys, the ride out to Rachel Nevada is worth it just for the scenery.

When you first turn on to Extraterrestrial Highway, the first thing you will come across is the Area 51 Alien Research Center.  Unfortunately, because we were out there on a Sunday, it was closed, but it didn’t stop us from molesting the locals…




After groping the big metal alien a little bit, we hit the road in search of the famous site.  Well, we only had maps (no GPS out there) to get us out to the black mailbox site.  From the turn onto Extraterrestrial Highway, it’s supposed to be approx. nineteen miles out.


We started getting nervous when it felt like we’d been driving WAY too long for just nineteen miles.  We had just decided to keep driving and stop in Rachel to ask directions when we came across an odd sight.  At the corner of a dirt road sat a ratty lawn chair, a rock with graffiti on it, and a bunch of broken bottles.  We thought the alien rock was kind of neat, so we pulled over, took pictures, and left our own mark at the site:



As if we were in a movie, far off in the distance on the dirt road, we saw a dust cloud from someone’s tires.  We couldn’t see the vehicle, just the massive cloud.  Being a couple of nerdy bitches alone in the middle of the desert, we of course assumed it was the military to chase us away.  lol  And it worked.  WE RAN.  lol  We got our tails back into the SUV and beat feet out of there.

SIDE NOTE:  We soon saw that the cloud was coming from a white pickup truck and from that moment on, we saw white pickups EVERYWHERE for the rest of our vacation.

Figuring this was NOT the right place, we kept driving until we found Rachel Nevada, home of Little A’Le’Inn (an alien-themed diner as seen in Paul, one of my favorite movies of all time), population 50 frikkin people.





Upon arrival, we met the cook outside and I asked her for directions.  She started directing us right back to the chair and alien rock we had just visited.

Turns out, the mailbox actually belongs to a gentleman who lives way out in the desert.  Over the years, it was painted black and then white.  Eventually, vandals started messing with it and even attacked his mail carrier one day when she happened upon them while delivering mail.  Lincoln county instructed the man to remove the mailbox because it had become a liability.  That was two years ago.  Now, that poor guy has to drive to Alamo to get his mail, which, at 70mph, is still about an hour drive….ONE WAY.


We thanked her for the info and mosied inside.  The people running Little A’Le’Inn are so unbelievably nice.  I’m sure they get asked the same questions a million times a year, but that didn’t stop the owner from being every bit as excited as we were.  She was super-sweet and inviting.  She treats you like family she hasn’t seen in forever.  🙂



One of the novelty quirks of Little A’Le’Inn is the ceiling over top of the breakfast bar.  It’s covered with hanging $1 bills, signed by the visitor who left it.


Of course, we couldn’t leave without adding our own bill to the mix:

piece 1

We poked around for a bit, signed the guest book, said our see-you-laters, and headed outside to take a few more pictures:


A time capsule put on site at A’Le’Inn by
20th Century Fox to be opened in the year 2056.


We left to go back to the Black Mailbox site to get some more pictures.


While at the Black Mailbox site, I came up with an idea to find some rocks shaped like the classic alien head image.  The purpose was to draw little alien faces on them and date them so we could have Area 51 keepsakes that no one else had:


The desert surrounding the Black Mailbox site:







Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

After we left the Area 51….uhhhhhh……area, we started back toward Las Vegas.  Along the way, we came across the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, a marshland which has been maintained by a local Native American tribe.  We had quickly stopped there to use their bathroom on the way to Area 51 and there was just something about the place.  Heather and I decided right there to return and I’m glad we did.  Here are some of the pictures from that adventure:




When we first arrived at this place, Heather and I walked across this bridge and every time she stepped in one particular spot, she got goosebumps.  So, we decided to take some pictures with the bridge.





The entire time we were there, I was obsessed with these giant trees sitting out in the middle of the desert.  I did a little poking around, and if I’m not mistaken, these are Cottonwood trees.  They are behemoth and beautiful.










Also located on this refuge is this house, nicknamed the Petroglyph Cabin.  You can click on the board to read about it (the image will go full-sized).  Basically, no one really knows anything about it.  There are lots of stories, but little-to-no verifiable fact.  20160117_145949

These stone is found to the left of the door on the front of the cabin.  The one that’s there now is a replica because some douche canoe stole the original in 2009.  Could you imagine being the first person to stumble upon that creepy-ass face?  lol





Over the course of this trip, the word ‘rejuvenate’ was a common theme.  The point of the trip was to see beautiful things and hit the mental reset button.  Heather and I were discussing this and throughout the whole trip, we were both in awe of the world around us, both of us having reached a point in our lives where it felt like nothing surprised us anymore.  Taking our journey through the desert made us feel small again and gave us the chance to feel the wonder that stops shortly after childhood comes to a close.  It felt good to stare in awe at the world around us. It felt rejuvenating.  This circle of stone seats was at the entrance to the refuge and the first stone both Heather and I saw was the rejuvenate stone.  It kind of felt like a message from the universe.



An all-around beautiful place.  🙂

Red Rock Canyon

On Monday, we took a trip over to Red Rock Canyon.  Neither of us had ever been there and had no idea what to expect.  Nothing could have prepared me for this place.  Essentially a giant valley, Red Rock has a long-ass scenic drive you can take, and the drive has spots where you can stop and take pictures or park and go hiking.


The famous “red rocks” area is actually a former sandstone quarry.  Heather and I didn’t walk through the red section, but we did go through most of the blonde section and it was incredible!





These are sandstone blocks left over from the quarry days:


And for size comparison:



This was at the top of the massive sandstone when you first come down this trail.  Does anyone else think it looks like Falcor????


All over this section of Red Rock are these super-porous pieces that look like tiny worms have been going to chow town on the rocks.  lol  Of course, that’s not at all what it is, but I thought it looked cool.  🙂






Heather going full Hulk mode:


Little baby penis cacti!


This was a flat wall with what looked like a seat worn into it:


Again, for size comparison:


Along one part of the trail is a sandstone
“shelf” covered in cairns that hikers have left.
I’ve always found these to look very eerie….20160118_110711

…so, of course, we left one.  😉20160118_110717




I know this picture may seem silly, but that is the softest sand I’ve ever touched in my life.  For the record, that’s Heather’s hand, not mine.  lol


The gray stone on the ground in this picture is actually fire-cracked limestone and this is a spiritual site for the tribes who lived in this area.  I took a picture, but we didn’t touch it.  Neither of us wanted to bring any bad juju home with us.  lol


And that’s Heather staring up at two giant pieces of sandstone
that just happened to look like a HUGE ASS.  lol


And from the scenic drive around the valley…






The Hoover Dam &
The Long Way ‘Round to Phoenix

One of the first things we did when we got to Las Vegas was to take a trip south to the Hoover Dam.  It was my fourth or fifth time going, but Heather had never been there.






After Hoover, we hit the road to head toward Phoenix Arizona.  Along the way, we stopped at the overlook of the Colorado River:




Then we sidetracked into Meadview so Heather could see where Speak of the Devil took place.  (((You can click here to see more Meadview details in the Speak of the Devil Virtual Tour I posted last year)))



Then we drove through the desert and vasty nothingness for what seemed like a frikkin eternity while I silently panicked about running out of gas.  lol  When we finally reached a town, I was BEYOND relieved.  It seemed like the desert was never-ending and our gas tank was most definitely NOT.  lol

Cutest town welcome sign in history:


My Super-Huge Announcement

Okay, I’ve been dying to tell everyone this since the decision was made, but they just announced it at my day job this morning and that’s what I had to wait for.


That’s right!  I’m going full-time!  Not just writing.  The main focus will be Pure Textuality PR, but along with that will be blocked out time every single day to write.  As added incentive, I’m creating a page today here on JMGB with a calendar and I am committing myself to 1000 words/day.  Each night before I shut down for the night, I will add the day’s word count to the calendar.  I will also be creating a promo-free Facebook group tonight for the express purpose of checking in on word counts, supporting each other, and holding each other accountable.  If you’re interested in joining, shoot me a PM on Facebook and I will happily get you added.

I’m super-excited about this move in my life as this has always been the end goal – to have PTPR and my writing support me.  Here’s hoping it works out!

Well, that’s it for today, party people!  As always, thank you so much for your continued love and support!  Without all of you, the idea of quitting my day job to write and do PR full-time would be nothing more than fantasy.

jena sig 2015


Bestselling author JENA GREGOIRE was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA, and despite her abhorrence for any season which dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and several furbabies. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books inevitably morphed into a love of writing them.

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