Jan Brewer took Arizona off my list for that same reason.
Mohave - So if you can overlook the "hiding in plain sight as I sleep every night" routine, I do have to admit myself that sometimes I do stuff that seems very suspicious. Like taking local roads to get out of San Diego
at 8am on a Saturday morning and then staying off the highway all the way to Las Vegas, through the Mohave, skirting around Joshua Tree. Whatever! I want to see what I want to see. Why should I feel paranoid about it or let others convince me that these are things I shouldn't do. As I am nearing the end of this first great trip of my life, I'm suddenly looking back at all the warnings and "You're crazy!"'s and realizing that I'm so glad I didn't let them stop me from just going out and doing what I do. Its been fun and Max has enjoyed and benefited from it too.
So the Mojave was interesting, but it was no Utah.
Las Vegas - so I expected to not like vegas. I wanted to not like vegas. I really loved the experience! I'm glad got there about half an hour after dark set in, spent the night walking around, talking to people, and riding roller coasters at the casinos. It was way bigger than I thought it was going to be. It felt like Disney, but adult sized. The crowd was young too. I made it from MGM (where I parked for free), to Bills Gambling Hall and back before I was ready to hit the sack at 1am. I was so tired and on auto pilot all I could think of was "Leave me alone" when I was approached by two hot younger girls in the MGM lobby that I'm sure were looking to just ask me the time, LOL. I regret not having enough mental energy to at least play along w the conversation. It would have been fun to see the "You live in your car" reaction from them!!!
I stayed a few blocks away in the Days Inn (or was it Super 8) parking lot. No problems at all.
The next morning I drove the strip in a hazy daylight. It was cool to see the curtain pulled back on the movie like set I had fallen into the night before. But it didn't make me want to not want to go back again. In fact, when I do I will try my best to not see the sun the whole time I'm there. Its better that way :) but this time I was up by 9 and trying to make it to the South Rim of the Grandest of Canyons by sundown.
GC - I got to the grand canyon sunday just past sunset, so it was pretty desolate and I remember more people being at the North Rim, but that was in the middle of summer. The view is just as good. The south is "larger" to accommodate more people but it gets used too. I'm so glad I was there when I was, it was so slow. So slow, no one noticed a clutzy move I made in the parking lot that left me needing one new tire. If you have been then you can understand, its 80 miles to anything that might have a tire and they are all south and west, not in my direction. So suddenly Big-O in Page Az came to mind. They did my serpentine belt during my figure eight loop tour of Utah. But they were 142 miles of agonizing, is my tire going to exploded at 65mph on a wet road in the middle of the desert. Yes, it was raining and it seemed like the storms that I started with Sunday morning were going to just keep following me until I was to get over the rockies onto the other side of the continental divide. It was awesome being able to see the clouds and what was to become a confirmed tornado touchdown (It happened in Page, AZ, 24hrs after I left but was moving at us as I blew out of Hite, UT towards Denver.
Page - Aside from having to deal with the not as nice as the rest of the crew, Wayne, at Big-O Tire in Page Arizona, it was good to be back in a place I really liked the first time. I storm watched for most of the drive and got poured on many times especially during the tire job. Then I went to Lone Rock beach, paid my 10 bucks and found my camp spot for the night.
As small side note: While I was back on the reservation, out of curiosity and to get a few of you off my back about it, I finally called Vanessa (lives on Navajo reservation and joined me for 8 or so days earlier in my trip) and neither number I have for her worked. I will have to scour my email to see if I can find one for her and still then I'd say its only a 25% chance she will reply. I don't think I'll ever have a 100% answer for some of our suspicions that she lied about having to go back to Albuquerque for summer school. And for anyone who maybe thinking that I was thinking of setting up a drive by booty call, just picture me in the hot sun frantically setting up a tent in her parents "front yard"with her standing there patiently waiting LOL.
Hite - Officially proclaimed the "Best Middle of Nowhere in America" by yours truly. It was great to see my friends Arthur and Mellisa. Art (avid gun collector), finally heard me say for the third time "I've never shot a gun" and we both resolved to fix that as soon as he could finish cleaning a few to take with us. About an hour later we were getting in the car with a Glock 9mm and a HK assault rifle. Both are highly illegal in my home state, like minimum mandatory sentence illegal. So about a 20 minute drive was enough for the two of us to be far enough on BLM land to "target practice". We pulled a boulder from the side of the road and set it about 200 feet from the car, turned on the high beams and I got my safety lesson that culminated with shooting a few magazines of both guns. Afterwards, I gently insisted that we pick up the empty brass shell casings via the headlights which arthur complied. I got a good hoot out of him dismissing my suggestion that people use "Brass catchers" (a small mesh bag to catch empty shells, for recycling and not leaving evidence of your fun). "Those are totally gangster. That's like something out of Die Hard". I don't know what the hell that was supposed to mean because this guys entire collection of guns are like right out of Die Hard. One of the things I don't like about guns is finding used shells and wanting to pick them up but then thinking i might be putting my prints on something I shouldn't be. I guess that mind set is from growing up in the city.
Denver - I drove from Hite to Denver in one day. There was a confirmed Tornado touched down just as I was leaving near Bullfrog. This was just after I saw my second full double rainbow of my trip (Salida CO was the first). I stayed with Robin from my high school in Boston. It was good to see her. We looked around Denver and it is definitely on the short list of places that I could see my self relocating, short or long term. I really liked her neighborhood and the rents were like 450 a month for a 1br, with parking and a fitness room in the basement. What a deal!
FT Collins - so now I am in Ft Collins CO with Stephanie, Clarisse's doula from Brooklyn who relocated with her family out here (Greeley, to be exact) about a year ago. I met a cool girl last night at a birthday party that Steph threw for her husband.
Today we went out and drove around downtown Ft Collins. Its nice, reminds me of a toned down version of the idealic town setting that Pasadena was designed from scratch to be.
We are hopefully going to go out tonight and maybe I'll get to see the girl I met last night again.
Next up - Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, the Keys, hang glide again in GA, NYC.
The only things that come to mind that I might want to do in addition to these items are take 1 day motorcycle class (just for the experience) and maybe go hunting in the south on my way north.
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