24/05/2017

Hoover Dam and beyond

Today has been hot like yesterday. Temperatures sore between 37°C and 42°C so folks from cooler parts of the world suffer. We began the day early by having breakfast downtown Kingman where  people were flagging both the Danish flag and the Confederate flag; the latter as a protest towards the northern states and a signal of old pre-civil war traditions and values.
Heading north along US93 took us by the ghost town of Chloride where even the ghosts seem to have abandoned the old mining village.
On the Arizona-Nevada border we visited the impressive Hoover Dam that has harnessed the powers of the mighty Colorado River for about 80 years.
The water level in the dammed Lake Mead is quite low because of years of draughts and continued excessive use of water by greater Las Vegas. All of the city's water supply comes from this reservoir so the decreasing amount of stored water does create concern.
By late afternoon we were back in our hotel in Las Vegas ...
The view from my balcony at the 18th floor.
... and soon crossed the street to disappear from the scorching heat into the A/C coolness of The Miracle Mile to have dinner.

Just a tiny part of the fantastic shopping streets inside Miracle Mile.
We managed to avoid eating at this place ...
... and had very good Japanese sushi etc. instead.
Afterwards we enjoyed a stroll along The Strip to watch the amazing street life in this city.


 We watched the water music in front of Bellagio ...
 ... and as a goodbye picture from this great road and photo trip, here's Las Vegas' own Eiffel Tower.
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In about three months' time I will be blogging from France.
So check in again later.

23/05/2017

Kingman

The pricy overnight stay at the Caverns' RV campground included a "free" continental breakfast, so we opted for that – and realized that we made a big mistake. Food-wise the breakfast failed but the interior and exterior of the place was so corny and warped that it made up for the lack edibles and good coffee.
We rolled on towards the west on 66. Not much was happening along the route. A somewhat derelict hamlet, named Truxton, came and went by.
The next nostalgic eyesore was Antares Point with "Giganticus Headicus" (the big green thing) as its main attraction. The inside of the place matched the outside. We decided not to taste the local sauerkraut and bratwurst.
A cluster of roadside U.S. Mail boxes is an intrinsic part of rural America. Here's the box collection at the head of the 60-mile dirt road heading north towards Pearce Ferry on the Colorado River at the west end of the Grand Canyon.
We are now in the historic town of Kingman and have reached the end of our part of Route 66. We've checked out downtown but it was fairly quiet and semi-dead.
Kingman station; a stop on the Los Angeles – Chicago train line.
We are in Trump land !
It made me feel good to see that a 1948 model is still worth a lot.
We had dinner at Mr. D'z and are now back in the RV park to clean up and tidy the interior of the RV and pack our stuff to be ready to leave the vehicle tomorrow afternoon in Las Vegas.

Last blog entry will be from Sinn City.

22/05/2017

66

We’ve been spinning our RV wheels on Route 66 today. Mostly this road turned out to be looooong stretches of old asphalt, often alongside the railroad and sometimes running strait for many miles into the horizon. However, it was enjoyable to navigate this historic route because the traffic was very sparse.

We passed only one small town: Seligman. Basically one row of buildings on each side of the road but, nevertheless, worth a stop if you are haunted by nostalgia of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Therefore, we stopped, people watched and had a couple of iced mochas before hitting the road again.

Seligman is a little piece of civilization that remains true to the “good old days”.
Visiting the town is like a trip in a time machine. 

Lots of modern cowboy types were in town shopping Route 66 curios while leaving their powerful metal horses at the curb.

Outside Seligman the vast grassy ranch land dominated with many miles between farm houses. At milepost 115 we hit jackpot as we found our place for the night: Grand Canyon Caverns & RV Park. Now, this name may leave the impression of something large and fancy, but it is, in fact, the opposite. The RV park is almost empty but is in a nice setting with trees, although dry and sandy. Numerous holes in the ground everywhere make us believe that this place is a favorite home for many a scorpion and a couple of rattlesnakes so we keep our senses alerted when walking around, especially after dark.
Deep beneath the RV Park are the largest dry caverns in the US, shaped by Nature over the past 60 million years. We took a trip to the underworld 100 meters below the surface and saw the caves. However, no stalagmites or stalactites, so just moderate colours and form. This system of caverns have direct (although narrow) underground connections with Grand Canyon 50 kms to the north.
We did see, though, a Giant Sloth that had fallen into the cave c. 20,000 years ago ... 
... and as well as a well stocked WW3 survival “shelter” ... 
... with all kinds of 50 years old foods to make it possible for up to 2000 persons to live in the cave for some weeks and thus, hopefully, survive an all-out nuclear war and then, with some luck, become the founders of a USA version 2.0.

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And now it is Monday morning. We have finally found a connection to the cyberworld out there in a fully fletched timewarp motel along the dusty road.
After a cup of black coffee beans and a bagel we'll hit the road on this last full day of exploring in the Southwest.
The Bilbo spirit lives forever !!

21/05/2017

Grand views

Since yesterday morning when we sped out of Tuba City to reach the east entrance of Grand Canyon National Park we've had no internet or cell phone connection. Thus the lack of a blog update.
The Desert View watchtower provided a beautiful lookout over the eastern part of the mind-blowing canyon. We stayed at the local campground and enjoyed walks along the rim of the abyss. At sunset we were ready at Lipan Point with cameras and tripods to capture the magnificent moments of low warm light.

Next morning (i.e. today Saturday), after a cold night, we drove to Grand Canyon Village, parked the vehicle ...
... checked our vertigometers, visited the visitors' centre as well as a café or two, – and took a long rim walk. Weather was absolutely perfect for promenading.

Two young tourists play dare-devils at the edge of a 300 m free fall.
See many more GC snapshots at NV-UT-AZ photos
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Mid afternoon we departed the grand canyon and headed south to Route 66 where we are now in the historical town of Williams.
Most activity here is centered around the old mother-of-interstate-highways US Route 66 with all the needed paraphernalia such as classic cars, spiced-up pick-ups, 
... and Harley-Davidson motorbikes ad libitum.
The day ended for us with a classic 66 dinner at "Cruiser's":
Pulled pork burger and some apple pie. Yummy!!

19/05/2017

Tuba City

Snow continued pouring down most of the evening but around sunrise we woke up to a crisp blue sky and very moderate temperatures. We had the coldest night so far – but after the morning coffee we realized that a new and lovely day in the valley had begun.
The tiny Monument Valley aerodrome with the mighty Chieftain on guard.
The sun soon removed the new snow and we said goodbye to "The Chieftain" and all the other buttes and mesas in Monument valley and set a southbound course along US 163.
 Eleven km north of the town Kayenta this monster of an ancient volcano plug stands 450+ meters above the valley floor. Her name is Agathla Peak and she is 25 million years old.
Last night's snowfall still sticks to the shaded and cool north side of the peak.
After a quite uneventful drive on the straight, straight US 160 route we came by these wayside remains of an elephant. The two erosion stubs of sandstone are officially named "Elephant Feet". We looked around but couldn't find the rest of the animal.
By mid afternoon we arrived in the town of Tuba City which is not really interesting but does have an internet café as well as an RV park. We'll spend the night here and head on to Grand Canyon tomorrow.

18/05/2017

Monumental moments

After last night's late fieldwork in the dark we had a slow morning.
The weather changed overnight and today we've had a cavalcade of high overcast, low clouds, howling winds, streaks of sunlight, rain, sleet – and snow! Quite a concoction of a May day.
We spent most of the afternoon in the Monument Valley Tribal Park amongst the Tsé Bit' Ndzisgaii (the rocks with white streaks), these humongous brutes of rocks that protrude 300 meters vertically from the valley floor.

Later on we drove northeast towards Mexican Hat but didn't make it farther than about 10 miles because the weather changed for the worse with very strong winds and rain.
We U-turned and made the Navajo View Hotel's restaurant our immediate destination.
While we dined it began snowing heavily like it hadn't done all winter.
After the apple pie we headed "home", parked the RV and are now spending a cosy evening inside with the heater on and the laptops full of photos to be organized.