Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Road Trip North - Day 1. LA to Mesquite, via The Hoover Dam.

Today we were up early, we can't seem to break the habit of the 5:30am alarm. We didn't set an alarm, but didn't need one today as we were licked and sniffed awake by two huge sight hounds.

Rebecca waved us on our way and then we took an early detour for one last goodbye. Then we headed Northeast not long after 8am, the dreaded LA rush hour didn't really slow us down, the traffic was heavy, but it was at least moving. The landscape soon changing from urban, to suburban to rural. We pushed hard along the freeway, Michael keen to get to the other side of Vegas as soon as possible. We left California and moved into Nevada, and as soon as we crossed the state line, the casinos started to appear. On our route north we couldn’t avoid Las Vegas but somehow we ended up making the decision to actually drive down the Strip rather than skirt round the edges, a totally unnecessary detour. We were last here two years ago and didn’t really need to or want to see it again but here we were and so we did.

We stopped for road trip snacks and ate cheese bagels and apples before heading to our first tourist stop, the Hoover Dam. We breezed through the tight security and avoided the full car search that Michael had encountered on his previous visit three years ago. First up to the Pat Tillman Bridge for a view of the dam in all its glory. Me not realising how high up we really were, especially considering how low the barrier was, and neither of us enjoying the motion of the wobble as the trucks thundered by. Then a short drive down to the dam itself. The water visibly low from the years of drought, the impressive overflow system not needed since 1983. We walked into the past then back to the future as the state line of Nevada and Arizona passes right through the centre of the dam, and with Nevada using Pacific time and Arizona using Mountain time, it takes just over an hour to walk from one side of the dam to the other.

It was getting late and we were about to break the the first rule of our road trip: no driving after dark. Our eyes still sensitive from the Laser Eye surgery meant that night time driving would be difficult anyway, but also it would mean that we would miss out on the scenery that we wanted to enjoy. Back towards Vegas and this time around the edge on route 515, then back onto the I-15 to Mesquite where we stayed in a brand new ‘resort’ hotel for the bargain price of $37. Michael was repeatedly shocked by static electricity open the door to the room, much to my amusement until it happened to me too.