Trip Post #8: Ups and Downs (The 13th)

After fueling the car we continued down the road to Moab. Due to numerous long rest stops and our late departure from Las Vegas we didn’t get to Moab until 1 or 2 in the morning. To make matters worse our hotel gave away our room and almost every motel-lodging-hotel-campground was full. The lady at the hotel was nice enough to find us a room that turned out to be nicer than the room that was given away. The town was so booked that while she was finding us a new room about 10 people came into the lobby asking if there were any rooms available.

After five hours sleep and some photo uploading I was off again this time through and over the Rockies to Denver, my next destination (cue the theme from “The Magnificent Seven”). The trip was uneventful until we hit the mountains themselves. This section of I-70 is basically hairpin curves, tunnels, and 6% grades up and down. It is an amazing piece of engineering but at some points (Ooof, those grades…) the driving became very difficult. I think at one point I had to have the heater on full blast and drop the car into low gear (that means I was going at most 45 mph on an interstate). Finally we slid into our hotel in a cloud of hot biodiesel exhaust and the fumes of burnt brakes. I’m glad I have a nice soft bed tonight…

The calm before the storm.

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Video of The Moment: Cronchee! Jes…

This comedy sketch has been reappearing as an indoor-outdoor joke (Not quite an inside joke) throughout the trip so I thought I’d post it!

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Video of the Moment: TMBG – Birdhouse in Your Soul

The Moab that I know so far reminds me of this song.

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Trip Post #7: Riding through the desert on a horse with…

… No name? Actually, unlike the band “America”, my ‘horse’ has a name (Puff the Magic Wagon for those who wonder) but I did travel through the desert! Boy was it HOT!!! I’m so glad the car didn’t overheat. After the desert, we drove through this super deep and narrow canyon. Some time after the canyon we saw this huge smoke plume on the horizon. We couldn’t figure out what it was from until we got within 100 feet of it. It turns out that it was a brush fire that had crossed the highway! We actually drove through a forest fire! I could feel a blast of heat through the door! Right now we are in Utah. I finally have some free Internet access! It’s funny how I could find it in a small Utah town and not in Las Vegas! Well, I need to go and fuel the car now… Until next time!

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Trip Post #6: Vegan donuts; yum!

Fried sweet crunchy goodness!

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Trip Post #5: Stuck in Vegas…

Well, I knew something like this might happen. After the blissful experience of Ronald’s Doughnuts (I never knew that a simple glazed doughnut could be so amazing) we began to search for some ‘real food’. As we searched for the recommended restaurant the ‘battery charge’ dash light came on. My though was that the heat fried some internals in the alternator, causing the low voltage in the system. After a call to my regular mechanic in Los Angeles diagnosing a bad alternator, we looked for a mechanic who could service the car and get it out by tomorrow. At least this happened in a place where we could find a shop and where we had a few days to get things done. The shop we found seems honest and they use good parts. It’s interesting how my smoky old Mercedes Benz starts conversations. While my dad and I were waiting, other customers asked us about the trip, the car, and my college. Hopefully the car will be done by noon tomorrow and we can be off to Moab Utah!

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Trip Post #4: And they’re off!

Today (August 10th) I left Los Angeles, the place of my birth and until recently the only place I have lived. Most of the morning was spent packing the car, which was considerably harder than I thought it would be. The first thing into the car the fuel and car supplies after that came the cargo box. After a few games of the “luggage puzzle” I finally fit all of the bags of my clothing as well as some bedding up there. Then I filled the rest of the available space in the car with my parents’ luggage, camera gear, duct tape, cookware, and more clothing and bedding. The last thing to go into the car was the food. It was at that moment that I realized that the car was way overloaded, volumetrically and weight-wise. So the new goal was to unload the car of anything that wasn’t essential or could be done without. Some easy candidates were the rice and rice cooker (Yes, it’s worth it!), the blender, a pillow, dress clothing, and cookbooks. Thank capitalism for the UPS store! All the removed items should, hopefully, arrive in Bar Harbor on the same day I do.

Finally my family and I set off on the road. For the most part the ride was uneventful and the car performed flawlessly/predictably. As we had left late in the day the sun set as we reached the halfway mark and we arrived in ‘Sin City’ around 10:45. We decided to stay at the Golden Nugget. It’s a nice hotel but woof, the smell of tobacco is EVERYWHERE! I guess I should try to be more tolerant of other folk’s carcinogenic habits because most places in the world won’t be like the smoke-free Peoples’ Republic of California. At least I’m in a smoke free room! I feel bad for my dad ‘cause he got stuck with a smoking room. Hopefully he won’t be too choked by the fumes… Anyhoo, time to go to bed! I got to be up early to get some normal* vegan donuts (Yes you vegans heard me right, donuts)!

*By normal I mean they are like a regular donut but sans animal products; no spelt, carob, baking, gluten-free strangeness.

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