Tag Archives: Nevada

Feelin’ hot hot hot (seriously)

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We made sure to grab our winnings before hitting the road to Tucson at 11:30 that morning. The sun was really beating down on us as we zoomed across the God forsaken Nevada landscape. About 30 minutes or so outside of Las Vegas we started seeing signs for the Hoover Dam. I checked the map and our route took us right by it, so we decided to make a quick stop to check it out.

It was enormous. Before being allowed to drive up to it, you have to go through a security checkpoint that seemed way more intense than it should be. And our car full of junk didn’t exactly scream “let me through”. After the guard mistook my (unused) pull up bar covered by a towel as a machine gun (because of all people to own a machine gun it’s me), we got through and walked out onto the dam.

DAMPictures don’t really do it justice – that thing was huge. There’s a really cool bridge you can see if you stand between those gray nipples in the middle.

Nipple BridgeIn my attempt to capture the steepness of the dam, I put my phone’s life (my life) in danger to get this anticlimactic photo.

Do not fall you will dieWe stayed long enough for me to get a sunburn (4 minutes) then hit the road. It’s one of those things that once you see it you’re like “cool” but then try to make it seem cooler to other people when you talk about it. But really you know that, in the end, it’s just a dam.

The dam is on the border of Arizona and Nevada, and we parked on the Nevada side. Which is lucky for me, because it allowed me to get sweet revenge on the Nevada State sign.

YEA TAKE THATWe crossed into Arizona and went straight for approximately seventeen thousand miles. I was surprised not to see the Coyote getting crushed by an ACME anvil along the way. We were getting low on gas, so we stopped at a small town along the road. While we were there, I realized that I meant to put air in my tires when we left California but never did, so we drifted over to the mechanic to have him check the air pressure. He told us all was well, but that my driver’s side rear tire was 10 years old and showed signs of dry rot. Using my extensive knowledge of automobiles, I informed him that my car was 10 years old so “it probably is the original tire” (surprisingly I have no technical training). His response was “that thing could come off in 100 miles or 400 miles, I can’t really tell – especially in this heat.” Well guess what mechanic. 3000 miles later it was still on my car. Sucker.

We decided to risk it and made our way southeast toward Tucson. As we drove further into the desert, the scenery began to change a bit. We started seeing many more types of cacti and rock formations. It was very… brown.

About 15 minutes outside Phoenix, I realized I hadn’t been outside for hours and that it was incredibly sunny. So I checked the weather. This happened:

YUPYES. THAT SAYS 113 DEGREES. And to make things worse, my phone was in Celsius.

Just kidding that would be 235 degrees Fahrenheit and the car would literally melt to the ground. But still, that was the hottest weather I have ever been in in my 22 years of living. Also note the city we were in. Fitting. (Also that was my Dad’s birthday HAPPY BIRTHDAY FATHER).

We got to Phoenix and luckily the temperature dropped to 111 so we decided going outside was bearable. We parked in the shade of an abandoned gas station parking lot to make sandwiches and stretch our legs. As Betz laid the lunchmeat and cheese on top of the car, I rummaged for the bread. He passed me the cheese and when I went to grab a slice, I noticed it felt weird. I looked in and realized that for the less than 30 seconds the cheese was sitting on top of the car (in the shade, remember), the entire block had melted together into one clump. I don’t know how people live in Arizona.

Then, as we ate our sandwiches, we witnessed a drug deal. I never want to go to Phoenix again.

Goodbye, SoCal. Hello, American Southwest.

The time had come – my LA work vacation was over and I was packing up to head home. After a quick happy hour with some coworkers and goodbyes to my fellow interns, I headed back to my apartment to do some packing before my companion for the road trip back to Pittsburgh arrived.

The friend who came back with me, Betz, is another good friend of mine (I have the best friends) who was willing to fly out simply to drive across the country. I definitely wasn’t stopping him.

After about 2 hours of not packing a damn thing I headed to LAX to pick him up. For those who have never been to LAX on a Friday night, spare yourself the Hell on Earth that awaits. Bumper to bumper 6 lane traffic with more cars entering than you can shake a fist at. When I spotted Betz I stopped my car wherever I was and yelled until he found me. There was no way I was making it to the curb.

Since it was getting late on a Friday, we hurried up and went out to meet my roommate. We were leaving Sunday morning and wanted to squeeze in as much fun as we could with the time left. Saturday consisted of sightseeing, beach going, packing, and one last trip to the bars.

Finally, the time had come to leave. Unfortunately, my roommates weren’t around, so I said goodbye to an empty house and we headed down the coast. Our first stop was to be Vegas, however we had one last thing to do in California – surfing. I’d never gone before but always wanted to try it out. Luckily, growing up, I developed the grace of a warthog and the balance of a top on its last spin. So surfing sounded promising.

There’s where we surfed and said goodbye to California.

I did surprisingly well, and after two hours I was able to stand up for upwards of 3 seconds. Additionally, I got a great surfer’s tan comprised almost entirely of a terrible sunburn on my shoulders, face, back, arms, and chest. Which called for a great car ride.

By noon we were off to Sin City. If you recall in an earlier post I mentioned that Eastern California is similar to mutants and movie settings and so on. This time it was even more painful – the Mojave Desert. Sounds kind of cool right? It is. For the first 20 minutes. Then then next 4 cell phone receptionless hours are dreadfully boring. And hot. Very, very hot.

Finally, as we came over the top of a mountain/hill/crest thing, we could see Nevada. Las Vegas is about 40 miles into the state, but right along the border they get you excited by having the biggest tourist trap I’ve ever seen, including but not limited to: mall, strip mall, hotel, casino, roller coaster, and something involving cowboys.

I decided that this trip was going to be different than the last. I made a promise to myself that I would finally focus and take clear, great pictures of the State Signs. My disappointing performance in round 1 resurfaced as we approached the border. This time was going to be different. I had my phone out, HDR off, camera open, eyes peeled. The anticipation was welling up in me like a pubescent teenage boy getting ready to touch his first boob. Then suddenly –

Don’t see it? Let’s take a closer look:

Yes, there it is. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the worthless photographer in me resurfaces to get an awesomely bad photo. Maybe it’s a first day of a road trip thing, like when we got to Ohio. Either way, things weren’t looking good for round 2.

A couple minutes later and we finally entered Las Vegas. Let the games (literally) begin.