It didn’t take us long to get from the Death Valley to Pahrump, but we wanted to visit “Ash Meadows National Park”. Quite a poor choice for our already weakened Dolphy, so we had to turn around at the sign. The unpaved road was definitely for trucks and careless americans or rental cars. We arrived in Pahrump on a Sunday and had a good night sleep in the Walmart parking lot. Accompanied by a little fun before closing time:

We continued the next day to Red Rocks Canyon, and had a really nice hike to Calicula lake and overlook point. The stone was great, and apparently the climbers knew about it and took all the parking places earlier in the morning. There were ropes and climbers all over the place – the best way to spend a Monday morning. Walking through the canyon was nice and rewarding: from the end of the trail you could see the city of Las Vegas somewhere in the distance. Another short stop on the way and we reached the city of many secrets, gamblers, fancy hotels and colorful flashing lights. And you know how it goes – “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”, but I think they missed the word “money” in the sentence.

Obviously, we did something crazy there: we dined at In-N-Out!!! The place was packed with an interesting cocktail of Walmart people, homeless, and fancy-dressed folks. And that’s about all the money we spent in Las Vegas. Walking The Strip among half naked women with wings, old people inviting you to order some young girls for the night, and plenty of creative homeless or beggars, is so much in contrast with the opulence of the hotels and the casinos full of smoke, animals and machines designed to make your money disappear while eating your time and offering a fake hope of winning. Wish I had bet on 11 red and 28 black as my friends suggested, but the smoke would have killed me before even finding a roulette table.

Hoover Dam was scheduled for the next day, and we drove there prepared to be impressed. And that didn’t happen. We were impressed by the $10 parking fee, the amount of visitors walking around without a definite goal and not knowing what to take pictures of, and by the ONLY VISITOR CENTER that required a $10 fee to enter! WTF?! Hoover Dam was a wonder of technology in its time, first of this size and the pride of few states around. I was more impressed by the Romanian dam Vidraru, although smaller in size. We spent a few hours close to Lake Mead, in the National Recreation Area, and then we drove to Mojave National preserve where we saw… nothing worth mentioning. Maybe the few Joshua trees that only grow in the area. The abandoned mining village close to the city of Baker promised an unforgettable experience and a contradictory and pricey entrance ticket – if it’s a ghost town, why’s there someone to sell you tickets.

Nothing else to see on the way to Los Angeles, according to the lady at the nearest visitor center. And her certainty about the status of the scenic byway, road #2 from Wrightwood to La Canada made us have a small detour of about 60miles. Obviously, due to the ice in the trees and people snowboarding in the vicinity – the road was closed, this time with a barrier.

Los Angeles is our last stop before leaving the states, so we had a few days allocated to sell the car before leaving. What we didn’t plan was the holy Thanksgiving holiday at the same time. Tell you how it went in the next post!

The pictures are here!

journey map