I was driving through the desert yesterday when I saw the first guy. He was walking the same direction I was going, about 200 feet off the highway and well into the desert. He had a backpack slung over his shoulder and he was walking as opposed to soliciting a ride. The desert at this point was huge, nothing on the landscape for many miles, not even mountains, and I wondered why he was there.
I spotted the second guy about twenty miles down the road. He was in the same general position off the road as the first guy, heading in the same direction, but he had nothing but the dirty clothes he was wearing. He was also walking with his head down, like the first guy, and I know why: he was watching for rattlesnakes.
I had the most convoluted moment as I spotted this second guy. I’d already considered my duties as a fellow human being to the first guy. Should I have stopped and invaded his privacy and offered him a ride or supplies. He had a backpack, and he could have been at the side of the road with his thumb out, but he wasn’t.
But here I was speeding through the desert at 75mph, in traffic, when the second guy appeared on my right. To stop I would have had to perform a panic stop with my worn brakes and backed up a quarter mile.
I didn’t, and I should have. I could have given him water and food, or offered him a ride. What is it that makes these guys venture out into the desert like that?
I was feeling restless when I woke up in Spring Break paradise this morning and I decided to hit the road. I’ve dropped down off the interstate into Cedar City, Utah and snagged a motel with a working internet connection. I didn’t mention the fact that my Lake Havasu motel had a broken internet and I was using my phone as a hotspot…
I have a few photos that didn’t make it up to the blog so I’m using my nice little connection here to upload them now. Run the SlideShow and check them out :-)
I had promised in a previous post that I was going to get Steph a gift while I was down here and present it to her in a new post. I was feeling the pressure today with just one day left and my mind was drawing a blank.
I spotted a little shop down on the boardwalk this afternoon called Drawing A Blank? and I thought Hmmm… and I stepped inside.
Turns out these guys are real pros and they provide a service to folks who came down here on spring break without their partner and need a gift to take back that makes everything cool. They helped me select the gift and then we drove miles with a camera crew to an isolated beach on Lake Havasu to do the photo shoot.
I went for a drive this morning down to the Parker Dam on the Colorado River. It was completed in 1938 and it’s 320 feet high, of which 235 feet are below the riverbed, which makes it the deepest dam in the world.
The countryside around it is spectacular, and there are wild burros. I let this little guy approach my window and he was intending to stick his head inside so I took the shot and kept on going. No harassing the burros…
People often talk about re-charging their batteries when the subject of vacation comes up. I wonder how many folks ever really experience that process physically. Our bodies are strung together by complex electrical circuits, and spending the winter in the snow and cold can seriously drain the current from our bodies battery.
Sunlight can provide the current necessary for re-charge but it must be combined with consistent warmth and lack of stress to be effective. Hanging out on a sunny afternoon in a chair on your driveway with your shirt off when it’s 25° just doesn’t cut it.
Being cold is painful to me, which equates to stressful. When the cold goes away, the stress begins to melt with it. As day three in the warm Arizona sun progresses I can really feel my battery re-charging.
It’s been a fun day today! After shooting the London Bridge I came back to the motel and posted the photos. I have determined that the Boardwalk under the bridge, in both directions, is the heart of this place. It’s where Spring Break happens and where all the play boats launch, including the charter ferry boats.
I returned to the Boardwalk later on and took some more photos:
After stocking up my supplies at the super Walmart up the road I drove downtown just to see if it was going to be as crazy as I expected. It wasn’t bad! I spotted what looked to be a Farmers Market and pulled into a spacious public parking area with plenty of spots.
It turned out to be a very large craft market event with about six long rows. I told Steph I would buy her something down here and put it in a post before I got back. I spotted a Betty Boop purse and it made some connection in my brain so I called her. She told me that her mom was the Betty Boop fan (duhhh, mom’s name is Betty :-), so scratch that.
Since I had Steph on the phone we set up a Skype video link and I walked around and showed her the crowd. She said “there’s a lot of people there!” and I thought yea, a whole lot of old guys with very big bellies and their old wives… I can make fun of them because my belly ain’t anywhere near these boys and I have a young wife.
I now realize this is one of those Arizona retirement communities. Wow, I was expecting crowds of partying college kids and all I’ve seen so far is bellies that have partied!
After leaving the market I drove around town wondering how to get out to the lake and the beaches, and where in the hell was this London Bridge I kept hearing about? Turned out I had to cross the bridge to reach the beach…
The original 1831 London Bridge is here! It once spanned the River Thames in London and was dismantled in 1967, bought by a local businessman and rebuilt here in 1971. On my bus adventure tomorrow I’ll walk over it and get some shots.
I finally managed to reach the lake and here’s the results:
79° is the projected high here today. It’s a little on the low side for this time of the year but the big storm that blew through up north brought in a breeze. Should be upper eighties in a couple of days and meanwhile it’s maxing out at 25° back home…
That’s the main reason for this trip as the cold was slowly eating away at my poor old body. Morning after morning of freezing my ass off while getting the bus ready, was taking it’s toll.
Anyway, I’ve settled into the little space here and I’m on my third cup off coffee made with my electric water boiling thing that you put into a cup of water and it’s hot in two minutes. Love this thing!
This morning I’m going shopping. For meals I’m having my regular breakfast: shredded wheat, banana and unsweetened soy milk. It’s been great for me, no dairy and no sugar. For lunch/dinner I’m going with soup and sandwich. That’s it. I’ll probably treat myself to a nice meal on Wednesday, my last night here.
Later, I’m driving around the Lake to scope out the beaches as I need a place to work on my tan. The downtown scene is very happening but I’m not going to drive there, it’s way too crowded. I’ll wait until tomorrow when the buses are running.
There may be another post later depending on what I discover out there today :-)
I left M44 at 0500 this morning and grabbed some coffee down the road at St George, UT. Steph’s previous employers (i.e. the husband and wife, with kids) relocated down here after their business in Driggs went under. As I drove by I threw a shout out at them. Really good people but how they could re-locate to this huge place from their home in the Valley, blows my mind!
Next up was Mesquite which glares into existence as soon as you cross into Nevada. I don’t gamble so the gaudy casinos and the signs promising huge jackpot payouts, didn’t phase me. Goodbye…
Rolling into Vegas early Saturday morning was as I expected, mostly quiet and mostly commuters. The city does look pretty cool as the sun comes up! I followed my GPS’s instructions to guide me out of the freeway system but everything was familiar since I did this same trip last summer.
I decided to change it up a bit so I headed south on I-95 towards Needles, CA as opposed to going through Kingman, AZ. It’s actually a more direct route but it scares some people off because it’s a long desert stretch and help is not close if you breakdown. I drive a sweet little 25 year old Mazda truck named Jill, and I don’t worry about those things :-)
My GPS recognized that I was on I-95 but it was also nice enough to let me know this was also SB Historic Route 66. I used to hitch across the country on Route 66 in the sixties, so I’ve been here before, but that’s another story…
I stopped along the way to take these desert photos of cactus and an old mine:
When I got to Needles, CA I immediately became disgusted with the place. I had planned on eating breakfast there but the smog was so thick I couldn’t find any restaurants and all I could see were gas prices approaching $5.00. Out of there…
Once I crossed into Arizona things became better. The smog began to lift and the sun was beating down hotly on my Driggs second layer sweatshirt, with the holes in the sleeves.
I arrived in Lake Havasu City with the window down and my sweatshirt off. There was a bike race going on so I couldn’t take the road to my motel that the GPS was insisting I take, so I turned her off :-) Having studied the maps, I knew alternatives! I called the guy who was holding my little room for me and he met me as I drove up. I truly believe I got the last Spring Break room in Lake Havasu and it was due to my new friend Robert’s diligence of holding on to this one for me.
The place is small and dinky, but serves the purpose of providing me a base without having to live out of the truck. The rate for five nights was $170 and in today’s world, that’s damn cheap. So here I am!
Like a guided missile dropped from a drone I’ve arrived at mile marker 44 and the heavy snow from Pocatello down through central Utah couldn’t deter my 4pm target.
To put it in perspective, I’ve been driving 9 hours and I’m 150 miles north of Vegas. That’s a perfect amount of driving for me and I’ll be at Lake Havasu by noon tomorrow.
Staying at this little rest stop saves me motel cash, Friday evening spring break crazy people stress, and lets me camp out in my truck again.
I stopped at Basin Travel in Driggs at 6am this morning to grab a coffee. The cashier lady said “You’re here early…” I told her I was hitting the road for spring break at Lake Havasu, AZ. She asked “Is Steph going with you?” I told her no, she had to work but I was going to send home pictures of bikini clad college girls on the beach.
She got the funniest smile and said “If I was your wife and you said that to me, you wouldn’t be going!”
Whew, sure glad she’s not my wife, no sense of humor there :-)
I’ve discovered that the mileage (860 miles, 12.5 hours) to Lake Havasu City, AZ, where the sun is, matches the mileage and time to Kent, WA, where my son is! I’ve done that Washington State trip non-stop before and it’s grueling!
I’m repeating a trip tomorrow morning that I took last summer on my way to the West Coast. I’ll be bopping down through Salt Lake City and laying over at marker 44, south of Cedar City, Utah. It’s a good run, about nine hours, and if I leave early enough I can grab my spot before the Spring Break crowd arrives.
Things are different this time. There’s no internet at this rest area and I had to wait until the next day to post my post. Now I have a smart-phone that I can setup a mobile hotspot with. If all goes well I’ll have a post up tomorrow evening from marker 44.
Ok, so here’s the deal. I’m a lucky man! I have survived an amazing life and I live in a beautiful place with a good woman and my immediate family. (except Riley :-)
I have a job that respects what I do and allows me time off. Since this is Spring Break I have decided to give the routes available here to my co-worker Karen and I’m heading to Lake Havasu City, AZ on Friday to recharge my batteries.
All journey’s have a starting point and the bus stop here is the beginning of this one…