Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gallup, NM to Las Vegas, NV

This place continues to grow so fast that it's almost unrecognizable from one year to the next! (You should've heard Lawrence saying "Las Vegas" - I almost didn't know what he was saying!)

You know that trip I told you to take yesterday? Well continue on to Las Vegas. Geez the scenery is just unbelievable! The drive spooked me a few times but I am determined to face my fears rather than let them paralyze me so .... onward I went!

I left my little hotel on Route 66, climbed back onto I40 & headed West. After a number of miles, I was feeling a little sad for Arizona as its scenery couldn't compete with New Mexico. Then I rounded a curve. Wow. Majestic snow-capped mountains rising high above me. The scene was so beautiful that it brought tears to me eyes (I had to hurry and blink them away so I could see to drive!!!) Of course, being so smitten by their beauty, it didn't occur to me until later that I was actually going to have to cross those mountains!!!!!

The climb to Flagstaff was definitely white-knuckle! I'm still not sure why. I tried to figure it out but when it comes to some of our fears, reason just can't overcome them. I kept telling myself that I was on the road with other cars that were making this trip; that they weren't sliding down the mountain backwards, they weren't falling off. This is just a road: I can drive this road. Well I drove it but my stomach isn't going to forgive me any time soon!

The scenery makes it all worth it though. There was lots and lots of snow in Flagstaff (none fresh, and the roads were bone-dry). I hadn't seen snow in a long time so that was fun. I had the dash temp displayed as I made my way up the mountain: it dropped from 65 to 55 by the time I got to Flagstaff. (Arizona Divide altitude: 7335. Trusty Steed did great!) Heading back down saw the temp rise right back up again. It's just beautiful weather! Sunny, clear, and VAST!

Again there are no words to describe the beauty of these mountains. Driving through them has been scary, yea, but I'm so very glad to have this experience!! Many times on the drive I would say out loud "I'm soooo glad I'm making this trip!!" And that was even when I was scared! At times you are surrounded by rocks, at other times you are surrounded by air and tell yourself "don't look at anything but the road" (yeeks!!), but at all times you are overwhelmed and awed by what you are seeing.

Kingman AZ was the next big town after Flagstaff. You can tell it's been around awhile but it's fun to be passing through the towns mentioned in the Route 66 song. Arizona has also marked 66 pretty well so again finding it should be no problem. At Kingman you hook a right to head to Las Vegas. Nothing between those points! I saw some cacti but still have not seen a saguaro: I'm looking foward to that.

I stopped at the only scenic overview there was along the way & took this vid:

(Gretchen, there were 2 Indian traders here but I didn't get anything.) I took some stills, too, but of course what can do justice? Nothing.

Then you cross the bridge into Nevada and .... wow ... concrete and neon and traffic galore! Talk about urban sprawl! It's kind of amazing to think about what gambling has done for the state of Nevada. Yea it's got it's bad side, but .... the whole economy of the state, built on one-arm bandits (that have only symbolic arms these days!) ... that's really something. (And of course, being here in my terrific room at the Encore - the twin of the Wynn - I keep reminding myself that Mr. Wynn didn't build these places on the money of winners!)

Here's my room:

Of course I had to hit the casino last night - I DO love it here! I'm here for 3 nights of rest. It feels good to know that this morning I can laze around drinking coffee (have coffee, can travel), enjoying the view, and not have to get dressed until I dang well feel like it! As much as I am enjoying the drive, I'm also looking forward to NOT driving for the next two days.

Leroy remains sleeping in the car. Lawrence re-earned a bit of my trust yesterday. He seems to become confused when I go to a rest area, but now that I'm finding his flaws I can deal with them. The funniest yesterday was that I took the exit he said to take but he got all confused and had to route-recalculate! (Told you Vegas changed rapidly!! :-) But for the most part he got me right here with no trauma. Of course I checked into the wrong hotel (the Wynn instead of the Encore), but the nice gentleman said it happens all the time so I only felt 70% embarrassed instead of 100% and proceeded to walk through the casinos and esplanade to the Encore - where I got lost again and a nice casino employee walked with me. (I must look like I want to talk about politics because when I said I was from Florida he started in on "Obama's global warming" ...No I didn't throw him over the rail; I needed him to show me where I was going!!)

Well OK this post has gotten long enough! I'm off for another cup of coffee (there are no coffee makers in your rooms here, you know! Best you are out and having to walk through the casino! So glad I bring mine with me!) and a little Morning Joe. Thanks for stopping by!

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