What a ride!

I left Pahrump yesterday, managed to miss the 2nd interstate in Las Vegas.  I came in on Highway 160, got onto I-15 North and was suppose to pickup I-215 and did not realize it was in the same interchange as I got onto I-15. Crazy spaghetti bowl if I’ve ever seen one.  If I had gotten onto I-215, then I was to connect up with I-515.  But oh no, Melinda misses I-215 and has to drive to the north of Las Vegas to pick up I-515. Am so delighted it was not rush hour.   I have been on this same path a year ago September in a deluge of rain, rush hour and road construction. That was a nightmare.  I can honestly say the road construction did dramatically improve the road.  So I finally made it to Boulder City and stopped for the night.  Its was easily 20º warmer in Boulder City then it was in Pahrump.

I headed out this morning and wow, did I say wow?  I meant to say WOW!!!  Its easily been 50 plus years since I went across Hoover Dam.  I don’t recognize the area now.  In fact didn’t even see the dam this time – thank goodness.  But Lake Mead was a brilliant blue this morning, but was amazed at how low the water was.  If I could have pulled over, I would have taken this magnificent view, but there was no place to park for the view of Lake Mead.  Crossing the new bypass was impressive, but delighted they instructed me (high profile) to get in Left lane due to high winds.  I couldn’t look down and that was fine with me when I’m driving.  But what a beautiful highway!!!

The topography of the land after the dam – impressively rugged.  Again, if I could have, I would have stopped and taken pictures. There was one “Scenic View” pull off and it was small and packed with cars, no room for a RV, truck or anything else big. Bummer.  The view disappeared around the bend in short order, but I gotta tell you, you need to go thru this area if you haven’t been there.  I never paid much attention to topography before I moved to Alaska.  What brings this into full focus for me is to realize our ancestors walked, rode in wagon train or rode a horse thru this incredibly rugged country. If I was faced with this area, I would not try to cross at all. I would have stayed in the valleys, but then that was no easy trek either. As the terrain is full of canyons and washes that criss-cross the lower slopes of these mountains.  One thing I did not expect to see, but am just jumping with joy for having the privilege in seeing. I witnessed a herd of mustangs galloping across the terrain. Absolutely one of most beautiful things to see. This was viewed just after the Scenic view pull off.  I had looked for the mustangs before Las Vegas, but only saw one burro.  Still, its not something you expect to see, so that was cool too.

Onward down Highway 93 to I-40 – this is an excellent highway, vast desolate areas, but the highway is worth the time to get your foot off the pedal and enjoy the ride and see what you can see.  I’m pretty sure all those speeders didn’t see a family of road runners trying to cross the road. Or a snake coiled under a Joshua Tree, or water running down one little canyon.   As I descended into Kingman, the traffic came to a halt, it took me nearly an hour to get down into Kingman, and another hour to reach the entrance to I-40. Why?  A semi looked like it fell off the overpass, I don’t see how it could have flipped onto its side and smashed its nose and be partially under the overpass.  It took forever to get around that.  Have no clue to outcome of the person driving, as I arrived on scene when they were trying to upright the rig.

Got onto I-40 heading East and just before my turn-off to take Highway 93 South, was warned if I stayed on I-40 Winter Driving conditions exists.  It sure doesn’t look like winter where that sign was. Even the mountains leading to Flagstaff, didn’t have much more than a dusting of snow that I could see. The road south of I-40 was a completely different terrain.  You get sporadic 4 lane, then back down to two all the way down and vice versus.  Travel picked up the closer I got to civilization.  I approached the turn off for Congress and since I will be heading there in February, I thought – why not!  So I went.  Its about 7 miles across on Highway 71, then 4-5 miles south on Highway 89 to where Boot Camp is going to be. I will be taking a different route to get here at that time.  Nonetheless, I decided to stop and I’m dry camping within the Escapees Park.

Tomorrow, I am heading into Glendale.  Got a busy day tomorrow.  Sunday will meet up with Carol & Mike and might go see Len a day early.  Will work out details after I get there, I have lousy phone connections here and kept getting cut off when I talked to them.

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