Getting my Kicks earlier than planned

Trip Start Oct 16, 2009
1
54
163
Trip End Feb 25, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

After running away from the Tramway to hide my shame and snow-whetted arse I got the car set and got on the way. The initial estimate of 8 hours driving was improved by an hour when I reset the sat nav to not avoid motorways and off I set along 29 Palms Highway – which looked even more desolate in the daylight than it had done the previous night on the way back from JT.

My first challenge was to get fuel.  I always struggle in the US with fuel and today was no different.  I stuck the pump in and waited for it to start, and waited and waited and then realised that it would never start as you can't get fuel unless you pay first.  Frustrated I reset everything and stuck the credit card in – only to have the dumbass machine ask me for my zip code – funk off I don’t have one!  I stropped at this point – stabbed the cancel button with my finger – swore at the pump and stomped off.  I probably left the damn thing active and now half of Ca are fuelling at my expense!  Fortunately a trusty Shell garage up the road took my card and gave me fuel without incident.

Me and the Gee-whiz then turned off onto a very narrow and gently ascending road going to Amboy and beyond.  There is so little life on this road that it continues to surprise me how many houses there are and also the state that they are in – in fact many of them looked completely abandoned.  Over the top of the hill the whole of the Amboy Crater (a big basin) opened up and the views were endless.  Half way down I spotted a state trooper pulling over an SUV full of young lads – one of whom was laughing at having to spread-em on the bonnet.  Now call me old fashioned but I never figured that laughing at a copper to be a good plan.

Once at the bottom Ca route 60 joined the deceptively named National Old Trails Highway.  This was at the town of Amboy which has a population of 2 or maybe 3.  It was like something from a Wim Wenders film and I nearly stopped until I saw the gas was 30% more expensive than up the road and figured the coffee would be similarly overpriced.  From here I headed west and the road was empty.  Every now and again something came the other way but in 50 miles I was only passed by three cars.  Anyway the excitement was yet to come.  About 30 minutes in I saw a shield on the road and could have sworn it said Route 66.  I plan to drive a fair chunk of R66 but not for a few weeks so this was a surprise.  When I saw the next one approaching I jumped out and got some pics.  And yes this was the route of the old Route 66 – the appellation of National Old doo das was just another name that has been given to the mother road.  I tell you what even in a modern car with food, fuel and water I felt exposed on the stretch from Amboy to Essex as it is pretty barren land – what this must been like in the 30s and how people managed it I can only wonder.

From Route 66 I took a short trip in I40 before getting onto US95.  My sat nav was doing a fine job of keeping me of the freeways and I was loving it.  I nearly wrecked the Gee-Whiz on a level crossing on US95 – it was a bit rougher than the ones near me in Sussex and I sure I left a small piece of the car back there – something bounced down the road.  I shortly crossed into Nevada and the road immediately changed to a two lane divided highway with a first class road finish – who says gambling does not pay?!  This part of Nevada sticks down into a point between Arizona and California and the motel on the border recognises this with the name The Nev Ari Cal Motel.  Tarting along US95 I came to hill and over the top of it saw a see of light.  My sat nav said it was Henderson Nevada but I knew it was Las Vegas.  Again I plan to be in LV but not just yet!  And I picked a rotten time to swing by – rush hour!  Being away for so long week days and week ends – let alone rush hours – have lost all meaning and I am never prepared for them.  In the heaving downtown traffic me and the sat nav swapped some harsh words after the instruction "keep left now exit" had me trying to get across 4 lanes of traffic in 50 ft – was not going to happen and as result I spent 40 minutes going around and around Vegas with 7 attempts to get back on the freeway.  I had to stop for coffee it took so long and then spent ten minutes trying to get myself an espresso – do we really all speak English?

Once back on the freeway I had a stroke of luck as the speed limit on I15 in Nevada, Arizona (which I crossed for 30 minutes) and Utah is 75mph.  I thought I was making up so much time until I got the hotel and realised that I had crossed a time zone and lost an hour – doh!

Last laugh of the day was being asked if I was German.  I can understand, just, the fella asking if I was an aussie but German?!  My time in Hamburg had more impact than I realised.

Time for a few hours sleep and tomorrow I am off to Zion.

What I watched: The weather forecast which is very English of me I know.  Thing is, and all of you who think I have been lording the outrageously good weather I have had (only 1 day in 7 has been wet) over you – then things are changing.  It is going to get very cold and I have had to dig out the thermal base layer for tomorrow.  Exiting the car it was around 3c and the forecast was for -1c tonight.  It will be around that all day in the park as it is higher.  So, yes, I needed to watch the weather!

What I listened to.  I decided I needed a variety pack for the long trip and good as Sirius radio is I soon get bored of all that 'alternative’.  So playlist 0057 Top Tricile Tracks was selected.  This is basically anything rated 4 or 5 stars and as I reckon that is about a third of my collection I made up a word for the top third (you know, like decile or quartile).  I had hit track 133 – The Real Me by the Who by the time I pulled into the Hilton Garden Inn at St George.
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