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Longwood Gardens - thank you RuthAnn!Longwood Gardens - thank you RuthAnn!
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02/19/14

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Road Trip, Day 16

Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam
(Click to view)

Arizona, Nevada


For all my bad-mouthing of Prescott yesterday, we spent a pleasant morning in it, and it seemed nice. We didn't leave town till after noon. We drove downtown to find a payphone and wifi, and decided to visit the fair going on in the town square. I did my email in front of the library again, even though I knew the wifi from the library requires a library card, but the library was a place to park, since there was no parking to be had at the town square, and also one bench has an outlet right by it. Fernanda bought some stuff at the fair. We regrouped and wandered a bit to find an open wifi (none near the library were working at the moment.) We walked into this nice courtyard in the Spanish style of this building with a bunch of commercial businesses in it, it had a nice bench, and a full open high speed wifi connection. My computer battery is old and decrepit. It worked long enough for me to send what I had to send, then I hibernated the computer, and when we thought we should Google map our route for the day, the battery claimed it was drained and wouldn't restart. Typical. So we decided to just wing it, not worry about the exact timings and stuff. We knew more or less where we were going.

Then we hit the supermarket to restock on milk, yogurt and gatorade and buy some lunch stuff. All in all, a totally unhurried morning was totally agreeable and probably necessary. We left to drive up scenic route 89 to Ash Fork and join up with the Interstate, heading west. Along the way the map showed a rest area at a town called Drake on 89 where we thought we'd have lunch. It wasn't obviously on 89, and we missed the turn off, so we turned around. Still no obvious rest area with picnic tables, so we drove down toward Drake, the sign saying 2 miles to there. One and a half miles in, the road stops being paved. And still no picnic tables. Or town. Or anything. Half a mile down the unpaved road, there is a railroad crossing, and a bunch of slabbed stone waiting to be loaded on train. It would seem this is Drake. And no rest area! The map had it marked as one with facilities and everything. We drove on a little, but it was clear there was nothing here.

Having wasted all this time, we turned around finally, and drove on to Ash Fork, where we stopped in a little park that had picnic tables. Despite this being the desert, there was this rain cloud directly above us, and it kept pelting us with drops, never quite enough for us to run for cover, but almost. Ash Fork is a tiny little town. We were right next to the water tower, and people kept stopping by to fill their water tanks. Across the street some chickens roamed free.

Ash Fork is on the old historic route 66. We drove through it, but then got on Interstate 40, Fernanda being sick of driving on two laned roads. We drove through some rain. You can see the weather coming from miles away. You can see when a cloud is raining. It's very weird. Especially since this is supposed to be desert!

At Seligman we got off I-40 to drive along one of the last stretches of the old route 66. This is where the Pixar guys came to be inspired for Cars. Seligman was very route 66 touristy, and then -- nothing. Route 66 is a long, empty 2 lane stretch of pretty much nothing. A couple of Burma-shave sign series out of nostalgia, but that's it. If you're ever in the area and feel tempted, don't bother. Do the Seligman stretch, and that's all you need. The rest is 90 miles of nothing. Truxton near the middle seems to have served as one of the models for the town in Cars, but remember, the point of the movie was that the Interstate killed off the towns. There's nothing in Truxton.

From Kingman then we got on 93 to Hoover Dam. Suddenly we were in real desert. The temperature shot up to over 37° C (100° F). Yet there was still rain.

Just before Hoover Dam we stopped at a scenic outlook, and it was brutal in the sun. Around 45° C in the shade (112° F). There were some Navajo jewelry peddlers. How they could stand it, I don't know. There's a security stop before the dam, but we were waved through. Ha! All that semtex in the trunk, and they didn't even think to look! But I didn't bother blowing up the dam, since it was such a disappointment. It seemed a lot smaller and claustrophobic than I had anticipated. The photo, films and stuff I've seen make it seem much more impressive than it really is. The by-pass they are building actually seems more spectacular. Maybe I'm just jaded after seeing the Grand Canyon. Traffic across the dam is very slow. And then we were in Nevada. And they waited nearly 2 miles before the first casino. Unless they have slot machines in the Hoover Dam museum. They probably do...

So now we decided to drive through Las Vegas, since we're here. And wow. It's huge, and just goes on and on. We drove down the Strip, and in the end it was just too much. We didn't even drive all the way to the end. It's like a gaudier Times Square that never ends. I would have liked to watch the fountains in front of the Bellagio, but traffic was horrendous. No immediate hotel deals jumped out at us, so we drove on down the desert. Tomorrow we plan on driving through Death Valley, so we drove towards it, waiting to see what towns we end up in. We ended up in a tiny place called Indian Springs. An OK deal on the motel. Casino right next door, fairly tiny place. We went there for dinner, and now we're back at the room (no wifi).

Tomorrow Death Valley. I hope to see 50° C.

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View Calendar

Previous Entries

Our New Bathroom Saga
11/17/16


Europe 2015
03/16/15


The Berkshires
10/18/14


Road Trip South
03/23/13


Greece!
07/26/12


Our Trip to Ireland
08/09/09


Google Map of our Trip
09/17/07


Road Trip: The End
09/15/07


Road Trip, Day 27
09/13/07


Road Trip, Day 26
09/12/07


Road Trip, Day 25
09/11/07


Road Trip, Day 24
09/10/07


Road Trip, Day 23
09/09/07


Road Trip, Day 22
09/08/07


Road Trip, Day 21
09/07/07


Road Trip, Day 20
09/06/07


Road Trip, Day 19
09/05/07


Road Trip, Day 18
09/04/07


Road Trip, Day 17
09/03/07


Road Trip, Day 15
09/01/07


Road Trip, Day 14
08/31/07


Road Trip, Day 13
08/30/07


Road Trip, Day 12
08/29/07


Road Trip, Day 11
08/28/07


Road Trip, Day 10
08/27/07


Road Trip, Day 9
08/26/07


Road Trip, Day 8
08/25/07


Road Trip, Day 7
08/24/07


Road Trip, Day 6
08/23/07


Road Trip, Day 5
08/22/07


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