Saturday, September 30, 2023

Viva Las Vegas

  Jim and I have visited Las Vegas many times over the years. We've done a lot of exploring and visiting places like the Mob Museum, Pinball Hall of Fame, Shelby Cars, the Atomic Museum and the Springs Preserve. We've been to NASCAR races and explored Fremont Street.

 My visit this time was to check in with one of my longest, and dearest friends. I met Steve back in 1968 when we were both attending Business College in Salt Lake City. That is 55 years and our friendship just gets better and better. 

Steve and his partner, Peter, have a beautiful home near the airport, so I found a hotel not far from their place and prayed I wouldn't die trying to get there. Las Vegas traffic is not my idea of fun. And the road construction is everywhere. But I arrived safely. This picture was taken from where my car was parked so you can see how close I was to the airport. I was surprised at how quiet the rooms were.

Peter has been going through chemo and radiation for the second time and gets tired easily. I made arrangements to go visit the next morning on my way out of town. I recently got the news that his latest PET Scan is clear and everything is looking really positive. So we are very grateful for that news. (Steve is in the blue shirt.)

 After having a wonderful visit, I braved the traffic and construction to get out of town. My next scheduled stop was Parowan, UT. But first I had to go through the Virgin River Gorge on I-15 in Arizona. I-15 cuts across Arizona between Mesquite, NV and St. George, UT.

I learned a whole lot about Daisy on this drive. First of all she loves to go fast. Speed limit is 80 mph and she drove like a dream at that speed. BUT she does not like going up hill. Boy, does she not like that. Those of you have driven the gorge know that you do a lot of climbing going north. It is 29 miles long and has seven bridges. The scenery is incredible and I did not take a single picture because I was trying to keep Daisy going up. So it was Daisy, Me, and the trucks in the slow lane. But she made it and breathed a big sigh of relief when we got out of the gorge. 

When I had a chance, I pulled over because the clouds were just incredible and I needed a picture and a break.

We made it to Parowan and had an interesting room for the night. There was a sign in the room that stated that the furniture in this room was made of reclaimed elm wood, which was selected from antique doors of over 100 year old houses in China.


I was exhausted so I just had a bagel for dinner and watched some TV. Tomorrow is Salt Lake City.  


Monday, September 25, 2023

Journey Day 2 Sightseeing

Time to do less thinking and do more enjoying the ride.

After leaving Parker, AZ, I followed Highway 62 to Highway 95 to Searchlight and then Highway 164 to I-15 to Primm. Those of you who have driven Highway 95 know it is like being on a roller coaster. It's much easier to drive when you aren't towing.

It has been awhile since I have driven in California and I was surprised to see an agricultural check station. Not sure why I was surprised but I was.

State Route 164 is known as the Joshua Tree Highway. Joshua Trees are a member of the Agave family and are a strange looking tree found in the Mohave Desert in California and along the highway in northwestern Arizona.


As I approached Primm, NV, I saw three really bright lights down in the valley. This was in broad daylight. Google to the rescue because I had no idea what I was seeing. It is the Ivanpah Solar Electir Generating System (ISEGS), one of the largest solar thermal farms in the world. (Another picture that shows I cannot drive and take pictures at the same time.)

My kind of road for driving.

I was on a mission. Bonnie and Clyde's car is supposed to be in Primm, NV - well it's maybe supposed to be there. Nobody seemed to have any idea where the car was or where I could find out anything about it. In fact, some people didn't even know what I was talking about. I guess there are five movie cars and one real car. Not one of them was anywhere around. However, there's a pretty neat looking roller coaster. No, I didn't take the time to ride it. I know Jim would have loved to ride.

The casinos are definitely ready for the influx of electric vehicles.

Time to move on and Jean, NV was my next destination.  I just found out that I blew it. I didn't do my research. Jean is home to the world's largest Chevron gas station with 96 pumps, a 50,000 square foot store, a White Castle restaurant and an electric vehicle charging station.  And I missed it. Next year.

However, the reason I wanted to go to Jean was to see the Seven Magic Mountains. I've wanted to do that for several years, but we just never made time to visit. This is a site-specific art installation created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. It was originally only supposed to stand for two years, but has been such a success with tourists, that the art world is trying to keep it there indefinitely.

There is a parking area at the installation and you can then walk down to the structures. I started down the gravel path, and my ankle immediately brought me up short. Walking on uneven ground or rocks is something I'm not ready for yet. Hopefully some day. So I stayed at the parking area and took the next picture. There really are seven towers but only six of them showed up in my picture. I have no idea where the seventh was hiding. 


I also saw this vehicle in the parking lot. It's some kind of prototype probably for a 2025 or 2026 vehicle. Have no idea what brand it is. 

Next stop - Las Vegas for the night.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

A Journey of Self Discovery - Day 2

I didn't keep track of the temps on this trip. I remember it was hot and I was definitely grateful for air conditioning.

After yesterday's disaster I was ready to get on the road and start exploring. I took a round about way to get to Las Vegas and traveled on two lane roads with very little traffic. I had a couple of things I wanted to see along the way.

That is where I found my joy of driving again. I love driving, especially the open highway. Not so much through cities. There is something about being on the road that makes me feel alive.

I have always loved being on the move. After graduating from business college I worked in SLC for a few years and then moved to San Diego and went to work with the IRS. Transferred back to Montana and worked a couple of years before getting a transfer to Washington DC.  That's where I met Jim. We transferred back to Kalispell,  MT and and then to Billings. 

When both Jim and I retired, we became full time rvers. We loved exploring new areas and visiting friends and Jim's family back East. Jim let me do the navigating and sightseeing. He did the driving and all the hard stuff. RVing gave my wanderlust an open door to anything.

When Jim died, I didn't want to go anywhere. I needed to be at home with my grief and the total emptiness of my world. As the first anniversary of his death approached, I made the decision that I was going to find joy again.

And then my grandson was born. Talk about joy. I have waited a long time to have a grandchild. Elias James Dixon. All I could think about was holding him.

Then my ankle happened and it took me several months before I could head out but here I was. On the road again. 

This was my opportunity to rediscover who I was as an individual and not as 1/2 of a couple.  I have always been quite independent. I was 37 when I married Jim and finally had to learn to adjust to being a couple with a child. Now that child is a husband and father and I'm learning to be comfortable with my new world. 

As you can see, this journey was full of introspection and new experiences. Daisy's radio doesn't pull in a radio signal very far from town, so I drove in silence having so many wonderful conversations in my head. I'm a much better writer in my head than on paper.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A Journey of Self Discovery

I just returned from a trip to Montana. And it proved to be very eye opening for me. 

First of all, I could not believe the number of people who thought I was too old to be driving by myself.  Even my surgeon told me it wasn't smart for me to drive "all that way" alone. Others told me I was really brave to be taking off like that. I thought they were all over reacting. 

I took Daisy (my car) into John's Auto and had them go through Daisy from front to back. They assured me she was ready to go. Daisy is a sweet ride but she doesn't have cruise control or electric windows or door locks.  She is 15 years old and I truly wasn't sure how she would do on a long trip. 

Sunrise on departure day.

I planned a short travel day for my first day. Wanted to make sure both Daisy and I would do okay.  I must admit I was feeling very anxious when I headed out. I just had surgery on my ankle and Achilles tendon. It had been 13 years since I had done much driving. Jim drove about 98% of the time. I was also taking this journey alone without Jim.

My first day on the road did not go smoothly. Not because of Daisy or me. We were on I-10 headed to Parker for the night. A semi truck filled with gas and diesel fuel, over turned and spilled its load. The highway was shut down going both directions at 10:15 a.m. and did not reopen until 5:45p.m. We were inching along and it took us 3 1/2 hours to go about 5 miles to the exit to get off. Daisy did not overheat (it was close to 110 degrees) and I was sure glad her air conditioning was working. 

This is part of a machine that they use to clean up the spilled fuel.

 Got to the motel in Parker and they gave me a key to a room that was already occupied. Finally got a key to an empty room and collapsed. 

When I had a chance to think about the day, I knew we were going to push on.

So I haven't been blobbing, but I'm ready to blog and there are several posts to come.