This trip was so epic we had to split it into two posts. Here’s part two; if you’re feeling lost check out part one.
This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.
Day 5: Flagstaff, AZ to Las Vegas, NV (600 miles)
Today we had a deadline; the meetings I was to attend in Las Vegas were to start at 3pm. That still left plenty of time for a bit of sightseeing, however, so we strolled around the old downtown and admired some street art, then headed to Walnut Canyon for a fascinating hike.
About 700 years ago, there was a whole city in this canyon. The walls are steep, but there are layers of soft rock that would be worn or worked away, leaving large sheltered areas, that people could make into homes. They did, and the walls of this canyon are covered with the ruins of dwellings, storage areas, and the paths the people would use to get up and down. Super interesting.
Then it was time to hit the road, but there was no way we were going to just drive straight through. There’s a stretch of old Route 66 on the way, and it’s a pretty easy detour, so we made the turn. The first town we came to was Seligman, which is the birthplace of the “Historic” Route 66 movement, and the inspiration for the movie Cars. We stopped for a burger, and cruised the old highway until it joined up with the freeway again at Kingman, and from there it was a straight shot to Vegas.
We had hoped to catch a glimpse of the Hoover Dam from the freeway, and we were ready with our cameras out. We reached the bridge across the Colorado River, only to discover the 6-foot-high wind-safety barrier. We couldn’t see a thing. Sigh.
Days 6-8: Las Vegas, NV (30 or so miles)
Then passed three days in Las Vegas, not without remarkable happenings, which we will relate in a separate post. Meetings wrapped around noon on Thursday.
Day 9: Las Vegas, NV to Hawthorn, NV (600 miles)
We had until Saturday night to get home. Naturally, we decided to drive the scenic route. First stop: Death Valley. We didn’t quite have time to completely take a look at the place, especially when you figure in a 90-minute wait for a wreck to clear. (It’s hard to see in the photos, but there’s a medevac chopper that landed in the middle of the road.) The place was beautiful, stark, and hot. If we’d come through about two weeks earlier, we would have seen the whole desert in Super Bloom, but there were still a few scattered flowering cactuses for us to appreciate.
We stopped at a giant rest stop/candy store (giant malted milk balls!) for some ice cream and a break, then made our way 200 more miles north, to a little motel on the shore of Walker Lake. We arrived long after dark, around 9pm, and awoke the next morning to a lovely view.
Day 10: Hawthorn, NV to Klamath Falls, OR (360 miles)
We strolled down to the lakeside for some photos, and made a couple of lizardy friends. We ate some snacks and hit the road. A little ways north we had a choice: stay on the pavement and be boring, or take some gravel roads and see Pyramid Lake. Pretty sure you know which one we chose.
This wasn’t a particularly challenging dirt road, but we were glad to be in the Jeep. It was the kind of thing that was scary in the old Subaru, but we weren’t worried at all. The lake is gorgeous, big, and mostly empty.
A ways further on we rejoined the road, and from there it was easy roads all the way to Klamath Falls. We knew we were nearing the end of our trip, and the effort of finding something more “charming” or “unique” sounded like too much. We checked Airbnb, but couldn’t decide. So we ended up staying in what was the poshest room of our entire journey, in a motel that had a real hot breakfast, and cookies after 7pm. We settled in and watched movies.
Day 11: Klamath Falls, OR to Vancouver, WA (300 miles)
Back in Oregon, and back on I-5, it truly felt like our trip was over.We made time for just one rest stop on Highway 58, and lunch in Eugene. We trucked through Salem and picked up the kids, and headed home.
Here’s the data that our Automatic gizmo collected. Total trip distance: 2,750 miles. Eagle-eyed map readers might notice that there’s a line between Seattle to Portland in this graph – that’s because Becky and Lucy’s retreat ended on the 24th, the same day our odyssey began. So it shows up on the map, but rest assured I didn’t include it in the figure above.