From Reno it was on to Las Vegas, with a detour. On the way we saw the signs for Death Valley and decided we had enough gas to give try and make our way through.
Death Valley is hot on a whole different level than anywhere Iâ€™ve been in the United States before. When we got to the bottom of the valley and hopped out to see what it was like, we were surprised. I mean, you know itâ€™s going to be hot, but wow, my eyelids actually hurt.
Back on the road to Vegas we ended up arriving at about 10pm. Two hours later than anticipated. We met up with the rest of the Vegas crew and began Vegas-ing. This was a much different trip to Vegas for me. For one, I was looking down the barrel of a fixed budget for the next year or so while standing in one of the most potentially expensive places on earth. But we made it work. I didnâ€™t gamble (although there was this great craps game I really should have hopped in on) and we bought liquor in volume and premixed our drinks on the strong side in Gatorade bottles. That achieved the goal very nicely. Beyond that it was walking around and looking at stuff, eating at cheap buffets, and tossing the occasional $20 at a â€œWheel of Fortuneâ€ slot machine.
Summer was able to fly in on Saturday night which was an incredible treat! Having her in Vegas with me made it all that much better. Weâ€™d had a hard goodbye-for-now a not even a week before when she had left for work a few days prior to my departure from Oregon. Weâ€™ve put rough plans into play about where and when we will be able to meet up on the trip but nothing is concrete. It was nice to see our first attempt work out so well.
The crew started departing on the 24th and dwindled to just me in Vegas on the 25th. About 8pm I started heading out of town. It was too dark to drive to the glass bridge overlooking the Grand Canyon so I decided to make a run for Monument Valley in Utah.
I ended up driving through Zion National Park at about 11pm. I would love to drive through that area again during the day. Based on the silhouettes alone it was a beautiful place.
I made it as far as Page, Arizona where I slept in a Dennyâ€™s parking lot for a few hours.