Day Twenty Four – Tuesday September 13, 2016

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This morning, we checked out of the Rio Hotel a little after 10 AM, said goodbye to Las Vegas after our 3 day stay, and got back to our “on the road” routine, which we were both looking forward to. We realized as we as we left Las Vegas, that today we did something on our way out of town that we have never done before…we drove by the Las Vegas Airport Rental Car Return facility!


Yesterday I told you about visiting one of our favorite places, Red Rock Canyon, a place that has become a Vegas tradition for us. Well, this morning we made a slight detour to Boulder City so that we could have breakfast at what has become another Vegas tradition for us, The World Famous Coffee Cup Cafe! Ever since we first saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, about 5 years ago, we have stopped every year for one breakfast. Located in Historic Downtown Boulder, the Coffee Cup is a favorites of locals, and they graciously let us tourists enjoy the food too! They have a huge breakfast menu, but the star of the menu on Triple D, and in our minds is the Pork Chili Verde. Susie had the Huevos Rancheros, which promptly features the Pork Chili Verde, and I had Papa con Chili Verde! We had planned to take food pictures, and have to apologize, but as soon as the waitress put the plates down in front of us, all we could think of was eating it! All we have for you is some pictures of the cafe!

After breakfast we headed south on US 95 towards Needles, California. Soon after getting on the road, we passed huge fields of high tension wires, bringing the power generated from Hoover Dam to the outside world.


The trip through the rest of Nevada was easy and the road was a nice 4 lane divided highway. After about an hour, we crossed into California and suddenly the road went to a 2 lane country road. We were only in California for about 25 miles or so, but it was another state on our list.


Our purpose of going to Needles was to meet up with Historic Route 66, and to get to spend a little bit of time on the Mother Road. Back when I was 10 years old in 1960, my Mom and Dad and I drove from the mid-west to California, the majority of which we did on Route 66. Being 10 years old, I only have fleeting memories of the trip, so I wanted to experience a little of what’s left of the historic road. My point of reference for this portion of the trip was a blog, , written by Walter Pratt. It’s a great day by day accounting of a trip on Route 66 from end to end, and it is the result of my cousins Jeanne and Walt’s trip this past spring. Thanks Walt for the guidance!

As I write this tonight, we are in Kingman, Arizona, and have done better than 50 miles on Route 66. For the first 20 miles from Topock, Arizona I think we might have passed 5 cars. This is a desolate section of the road, where you drive through washes that have obviously brought lots of mud to the road, because it looks like they plow mud here, in much the same way we plow snow at home! The next “town” along the way was Oatman, Arizona, which seems to be known for burros and tourists wandering on the main street, which is Route 66. We had to dodge the jackasses…and the burros!

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Then it was time to head into the “mountains”, where a switchback two lane takes you into the Hualapai Mountains and over Sitgreaves Pass. All along the way, we saw evidence of businesses that once existed on the road, but when Interstate 40 opened, and bypassed them, died. Some have been repurposed and still exist, others are just rubble or big empty lots.

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As I said, we are staying tonight in Kingman, Arizona, in a Best Western Hotel. Today we only drove 187 miles, but again we are not on a mission to reach a destination, but to enjoy getting there. Almost as soon as we got into Kingman, we stopped at the Kingman Visitors’ Center and Route 66 Museum. We spent over an hour touring the museum and watching a film about the parts of route 66 we have, and are going to travel on. It was interesting to hear their perspective on what Route 66 meant to the country, how it helped development in this part off the country, and ultimately destroyed many lives when it was delisted as a US Highway. Another nice small museum, that at $3 admission was definitely not a rip off, and was a worthwhile place to stop.

Tomorrow, we will head along Route 66 for as long as we can, until we get to Williams, Arizona, and then head north to our destination for the next two nights, Grand Canyon National Park. We will be spending two nights in a Bright Angel Lodge Rim Cabin, enjoying the sunset and sunrise over the canyon (which is just feet from our cabin), and seeing what is truly one of nature’s wonders. In that trip I talked about before, we did stop at Grand Canyon, but all I have is a 10 year old’s memories of our visit. Susie has never been, and the two of us are very excited to check off this Bucket List stop on our Big Adventure! Susie just looked at the weather, and tomorrow night in the Grand Canyon it’s going to be in the 30s and 40s…a big difference from the 101 it was in Vegas yesterday!!  Also, the state of Arizona is the one state that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings time.  Right now, we are in Mountain Standard time, which works out to be the same time as Pacific Daylight Savings time.  Because of this, it got dark tonight very early!  Cool temps and early sunsets….we may have to dig out our Pikes Peak Summit clothes at the Grand Canyon!

Speaking of the Grand Canyon, an advisory for all of you who are following along with us via this blog. If you remember back 2 weeks ago, when we were in Yellowstone and there were no posts because there was little or no internet, I fear the same situation will probably exist in Grand Canyon National Park. So, if you do not see a post for day 25 tomorrow, understand that I will be writing the blogs, but may not get to publish them. After Grand Canyon, our next stop is the View Hotel, in Monument Valley, on the Navaho Reservation. The same situation may exist there too, so please understand if there is a “data dump”, once we are back in the 21st Century on Saturday the17th!

PS – We followed our usual pattern tonight, and dined at a local Kingman establishment. We found this book on our table…are they trying to tell us something???


Day Twenty Three – Monday September 12, 2016

The above are views from our room on the 35th Floor of the Rio hotel, that we woke up to this morning. It was a mixed bag day, with us running here there and everywhere to take care of some things. First it was the AAA for some additional maps. Then a Citibank branch so we could take some cash out, as all our other withdrawals have been via cash machines on the weekend. Next a stop at an Albertsons, to renew our supply of happy juice, and a stop at a Wells Fargo ATM to withdraw some trip money. Once that was all done, the day was ours again!

Today we did one of our favorite things to do in Las Vegas, and something we have done virtually every time we’ve been here. We drove the 13 mile scenic loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I think that about 16 or 17 years ago, on our first drive around Red Rock Canyon, was when we fell in love with this area. As I told you yesterday, we owned a house out here at one time, and I think it was a visit to Red Rock Canyon that made us think that we’d like to retire here, and the original reason we bought the house was to get into the Vegas real estate market. Times have changed, as have our thoughts on retirement, but not our love of Red Rock Canyon. Honestly, in all the incredible places we’ve been in the last 3 weeks, almost every time we have compared some aspect of it to Red Rock. There is something mystical about it to us, and real beauty that we think compares to the best the National Parks have to offer.

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Unfortunately, today was spoiled by the increasing familiar selfish folks that we have encountered in our travels. My absolute favorite place in Red Rock Canyon, happens about the 4th or 5th mile into the drive. At that point, you are about halfway back into the canyon, a little elevated, and the quiet and peace I feel in this spot, overlooking the canyon is just magical. But today, some bozo was sitting there in his car, with his motor running, so his air conditioning could be blowing at him, while he jabbered away on his cell phone! As the guy used to yell at Adam Sandler in the movie Happy Gilmore, “JACKASS!!!”

Maybe it’s us, but we see wanton selfishness everywhere lately. Everybody’s got to have their picture taken by the sign that says Old Faithful, or Yellowstone Park, or you are looking at some of the most beautiful things in nature, and have to dodge tourists with selfie sticks. Honestly, I think that the selfie is to blame for a lot of this attitude, as people seem to have a need to interject themselves in everything so they can take a picture of themselves. From ball parks, to National Parks, to the top of Pikes Peak, it is EVERYWHERE!!

Okay, enough ranting for now! So after Red Rock Canyon, we went over to the Red Rock Casino for lunch and then played for a bit, winning nothing! Then it was time to head over to CVS to pick up prescriptions. Once we got them, we ventured to Green Valley Ranch for our last visit there this trip.

As Susie and I were coming up to the room tonight, we both agreed that it will be good to get back on the road again, and our routine. Although we always love visiting Las Vegas, this trip was weird for us in several ways. First, this is a place that we know very well, and it was odd, in the middle of visiting new places and having new experiences, to be in such familiar surroundings. I said it was almost like we parked the car, and flew home for 3 days! Then it is just so different from what we have been doing and seeing for the last 3 weeks. Third, Susie won’t let me wear my denim shorts, which have been almost like a second skin to me! But the good news is she says I can ditch the golf shirt and khaki shorts, and get back to my t-shirt and denim shorts tomorrow! Yes, it’s been fun, but it will be good to get back to our familiar routine tomorrow!

Speaking about tomorrow, our plans are to head southwest in the morning, leaving Nevada and heading into a little corner of California. Needles is our way point and our purpose is to pick up old Route 66 for a little bit, as we travel east, out of California, into Arizona (and Mountain time again), on our way to the Grand Canyon. A night tomorrow along route 66 in Arizona, and then two nights in the Grand Canyon!

See you there!