Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th - Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California

Yes, we really did go through all those states. Early start as soon as we were defrosted! The trip through Utah was beautiful! As my sister says, Utah is a strange and beautiful State. Almost as soon as we entered Utah we were in the area known as the Colorado Plateau. This is an area of outstanding beauty. The colours in the rocks are anything from grey to salmon, peach and cream. Back in 1999 Michael and I toured the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon. All wonderfully scenic National Parks, and all different in their own way. We decided not to go back this trip, but we will most definitely spend some time here when there are not so many crowds. Maybe in February....Brrrr.

 Well, we drove right through Utah, missing out Salt Lake City and driving through Provo, and before we knew it we were in Arizona. The very top left corner of Arizona and a short time later we were entering Nevada. Apart from the Grand Canyon, we are not terribly enamored with Nevada. Of course we have not been up to Reno or Lake Tahoe yet!

As we approached Las Vegas the temperature started rising dramatically and pretty soon it was 43C (109F). The drive through Las Vegas is always harrowing, but on a Friday afternoon, when the world comes to Las Vegas it was very busy! Smart Alec, Dee decided to go to Henderson to find accommodation. That didn't work too well either and so we decided, after heading in the wrong direction, that we would just press on into California. Back on the I 15 and off we went. The best laid schemes of mice and men......... Not far out of Las Vegas the traffic ground to a halt and there we sat for almost 2 hours, crawling forward. Over 11 miles of back up all the way to Primm at the Nevada/California State line!! Someone had raced down the truck lane in his Ford F150 and, despite the warnings of road work ahead, drove at high speed, crashing head on into a heavy road construction vehicle. Of course he was killed instantly and so it took a very long time to clear the road. By now it was dark, so we decided that it would be prudent to call ahead to Barstow KOA to book a cabin. Too hot for tent camping! I only had my Canadian phone which is pre-paid, so what the heck, the call was made and I was on hold for quite a while and then I got the KOA person to call me back and eventually we got the cabin reserved. When we get to the KOA all I had to do was to call a number for someone to bring me the key. Well, I had used up all my time on my phone so when we got there, luckily, someone had driven in right behind us and I asked to borrow his phone. He let me use it and then told me he was from the Yukon. I hope I didn't use up too much of his time!! My cost on my cell phone was $30 for the time it took to make the reservation!!

We were absolutely stunned at the number of people that were travelling to Las Vegas from the LA area! The highway looked like it was rush hour. Bumper to bumper traffic heading North. Craziness!

We got into the cabin which was very nice, with a full bathroom, kitchenette, TV etc. We soon found out that the room was about 50C inside as no-one had bothered to turn on the AC. It took 2 hours to cool down. The fridge was about 60C inside as it was broken and the there was no hot water for a shower.  Nevertheless, having travelled more than 1000Kms that day, we had a cool shower and both slept like logs. Up early, for a quick look around and a nice breakfast. I had a quick "discussion" with the office staff about the deficiencies and received a 10% discount on my nearly $100 bill for the 1 night.  Then we set off on the last leg, of this portion of our trip, to Oceanside.

California always gives us the feeling that we are "home". It is so much like Durban in South Africa where we had lived prior to immigrating to Canada. So we got to Virginia's in the early afternoon, just as she was about to head out to a historical society function.  Got settled in, unpacked and enjoyed not having to race off to our next destination.

Coming up, some highlights of our stay in Oceanside.

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