Category Archives: travel

We end.

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Location: Irvine, California
Miles traveled: 3727
Cost of gas: $2.13 / gal
Weather: hot / muggy
Mood: stoked
Tunes: F.Y.C.

< !Start right after THIS!>We arrived in Irvine on Friday. It took us a minute to find the housing office and get keys, but we made it. Our new apartment is fantastic. Two bedrooms, two floors, and a patio with outside storage. It’s not as big as some of the other apartments here, but we love the layout (open kitchen with half wall).

cali_apartment.jpgOn Saturday we went exploring on the bikes. Found the Cyber Cafe, found the laundry, found campus, etc. We picked up some essential items at Trader Joe’s and took a break, as we would need all our energy for when the “Door to Door” storage boxes arrived.

Sunday I get a call at 7:05 AM telling me our stuff is on it’s way. The shipping containers arrive and we finagle some spots up front. The condition of the containers wasn’t too bad. One of the locks got sheared off in shipping and the other container was vandalized with the word “ATOMICK” in silver spraypaint… Whatever that means. The contents of both were intact and dry. We began the slow march inside with box after box. Leaving the heavy stuff and furniture for later when we booked a cart from the Cyber Cafe.

We kept up a good pace. When I got tired I would open boxes while drinking my body weight in Gatorade. When Christine got tired she would start putting stuff away in the kitchen. Once we had the cart, we made quick work of the last container. All of our stuff inside. Time for dinner. We treated ourselves to “The Olive Garden” (Thanks Ray!) and filled up on pasta.

Monday I got a lot of the unpacking and moving done. Now it’s the little things. Finding a place for everything, hanging artwork, setting up the bar, and getting the PS2 hooked up to the intarweb. :D Christine went off to orintation in the morning and starts school right away. (This explains the lack of updates for the last few days.)

So, Road Trip USA is now over. We had a GREAT time crossing the country! We got like 10 things checked off our “lifetime to-do” list. We couldn’t have done it without the huge support from friends and family. This may be the end of one adventure, but my never ending adventure with Christine continues. Now to find a job and get that rallycar of mine out here.

Stay tuned for our next thrilling adventure!

One more roller coaster!

Friday morning we got the hell out of Vegas and planned a stop in Primm, Nevada for one more coaster. Desperado was the worlds tallest coaster back in 96, and is still on the list. The timing worked out perfectly and we were the first riders of the day. It’s a fantastic coaster and quite a rush in the morning. There are no other coasters to work your way up to this one. So, it’s a quick lift hill into a 225 foot drop.

I just looked at the record book and on this trip alone we have hit 3 of the worlds top coasters. Goliath in Magic Mountain is sure to be checked off soon. I always wanted to go to Japan. :)

Roller CoasterDropLocationYear
Top Thrill Dragster400 feetCedar Point
Sandusky, Ohio
2003
Steel Dragon 2000306 feetNagashima Spaland
Mie, Japan
2000
Millennium Force300 feetCedar Point
Sandusky, Ohio
2000
Goliath255 feetSix Flags Magic Mountain
Valencia, California
2000
Titan255 feetSix Flags Over Texas
Arlington, Texas
2001
Fujiyama230 feetFujikyu Highland Park
Japan
1996
Phantom’s Revenge228 feetKennywood Park
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
2001
Desperado225 feetBuffalo Bill’s Hotel and Casino
Primm, Nevada
1993

Viva Lost Wages

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Location: Las Vegas, NV
Miles traveled: 3400
Cost of gas: $1.87 / gal
Weather: raining! in Nevada???
Mood: agrivated
Tunes: Bush – Razorblade Suitcase

< !Start right after THIS!>After traveling to Lake Havasu and waking up in the hot, sweltery desert we traveled north (east) along Route 66 onto this really exciting windy mountain portion of the road. Onto the Hoover Dam. The greeting was friendly enough – leave the knife in the car, go through the x-ray/metal detector, $20 admission, and the grumpiest guy in Nevada giving the tour. His star quotes: “Don’t bother going over the the Arizona side.” “We don’t sell power here [to California].” “That’s another myth you heard on PBS” (about both the concrete not being cured, and men buried alive in the dam).

After the “parexcellance” powerpoint presentation, we were hearded like cattle into a stuffy elevator down to the generator room. Our bithcy schoolteacher guide reminded us not to piss off the guys with the guns, food was not allowed, and not to chew gum, even though she, herself, was clacking away loudly. Her star quotes: “Does anyone want to volunteer to see what happens if you act up in front of the armed guards?” “I can chew gum because I’m not going to put it on the walls or ceiling, because I’m the one who has to clean it up.” The ten-minute movie was provided to us on a 19-inch telecorder.

This obviously helped to sour the dam experience. It is an awesome technological feat. One that is not to be missed on a drive out west. For security and traffic reasons they are building an even bigger bridge across the canyon, hopefully to be completed by 2008. In the meantime, watch out for lengthy lines at security checkpoints.

More rain in the desert as we got into Las Vegas, Nevada. Rain in Nevada is like snow in North Carolina. People have no idea what to do. The sidewalks get oil slick and all the outdoor shows get cancelled. I’m honestly surprised the Bellagio “Water Fountain Show” wasn’t cancelled. We stayed at the Mirage. Pretty fancy. Pretty close to stuff.

Las Vegas is not my idea of a walking city. It would take you hours to walk up and down the strip. Every sidewalk is diverted into a casino or littered with sketchy people trying to give you porno flyers. Nothing is “free.” Even the free shows are blatent advertisments for the casinos. We got back to The Mirage and I grabbed the small amount of “alloted” casino spending money: $50. Then I dragged Christine downstairs with me. We played a handfull of machines. Christine won $6.50 on a nickel machine. (Up about 400% on our $2 worth of nickels.) I lost about $4 on a video poker machine and then on the last hand got 3 of a kind. I pressed the “cash out” button and we headed back to our room. We played for about an hour and only lost 50 cents.

Don’t forget Sedona!

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Location: Lake Havasu City, AZ
Miles traveled: 3132
Cost of gas: $1.92 / gal
Weather: stormy
Mood: tired
Tunes: K90

< !Start right after THIS!>Sedona is outstanding. Really beautiful country. We got into town and I started to convince Christine that we needed two days in Sedona. She wasn’t hard to convince. It was just a matter of re-planning the last 5 days of our trip. No camping in the Grand Canyon, maybe pass through Lake Havasu, etc. Less time for this, more time for that…

We came from Flagstaff down 89A. This is quite a driver’s road. You drop about 1000 feet in elevation while winding around the front of the Colorado Plateau. We had no idea the road was going to be like this and Christine was driving at the time. A few hairpins down the road and I was nominated for driving duty again.

We made good time from Four Corners. We had a night booked at The Graham Inn. We arrived at what I thought was 3:00PM. But you see Arizona decided not to do that whole “daylight savings time” thing. So it’s about 7:30 on my watch and the Innkeeper and staff were still around. “Hmm. I remember Brian telling me that parts of AZ don’t do the time change…” I muttered as we looked at a clock that was set to 6:30. “This may be a strange question – but what time is it here??” Turns out that we are now in Californian time. We were looking forward to one more time zone change in Nevada, not expecting it this soon.

notajeep.jpgThe next morning we booked a Pink Jeep tour. What an awesome way to see the lansdcape. We traveled down Diamond Back Gultch, and over to the Paleo-Indian Ruins. We got a much better appreciation for the land and what happened over the last 2000 years. The Pink Jeep is one of the oldest tour companies and is the only way to see that country. Unlike the six people we saw trying to navigate the trail in a minivan, I wouldn’t take the Neon down these roads…

One more relaxing night in Sedona. Star gazing off the deck, enjoying the pool, etc. We’re glad we took a break from our vacation. Wednesday morning we got up, enjoyed breakfast, said goodbye to Sedona, and headed up to thje Grand Canyon. The views are spectacular, but I think there is a lot more to discover here. Christine and I will probably make a trip back to do a tour or camp here.

Down out of the mountains headed for Lake Havasu. A huge storm rolls in. 40+ MPH winds, rain, hail, etc. We make it all the way down to Lake Havasu City on good time. Camping seems out of the question as it’s hot here… Like 106 hot. Now that it’s rained it’s muggy and hot. Like New England on that really bad muggy hot day in August. We have the AC in the hotel cranked.

Thursday, we’re up and headed to Vegas, baby!

Four states in one day.

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Location: Sedona, AZ
Miles traveled: 2757
Cost of gas: $1.78 / gal
Weather: sunny and cool
Mood: better
Tunes: Layo & Bushwacka

< !Start right after THIS!>This morning we balled all the way up to Four Corners. It was a little further away then I wanted, but we made good time up and out of there. Four Corners monument is where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. So it is possible to drive / walk in all four states in under a minute.

The Malibu got outstanding gas mileage today. I think we were getting shit gas in Texas. It’s Bush country – what do you expect. I had 180 miles at the half tank mark. Well into 26+ MPG. Unlike Friday where I think I was at 130 on the half. (about 20 miles per gallon)

Alba-kirky?

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Location: Bloomfield, NM
Miles traveled: 2439
Cost of gas: $1.86 / gal
Weather: A dry heat
Mood: bloated
Tunes: Swedish Engil

< !Start right after THIS!>Out of Tucumcari and into the high desert. We stopped at the “Blue Hole” in Santa Rosa. It’s a natural fresh water pool that’s 61 degrees and 80 feet deep. Our roadtripusa.com guide suggested that it was too cold for “casual” swimming. Growing up swimming in the North Atlantic I decided to cool off and go for a polar swim.

Further South into Albuquerque We wound into town and stopped at the Route 66 Diner. The upkeep of this diner was a lot better then some of the other stops we’ve seen. It has a more “theme resturant” type feel.

We were planning to head all the way to Four Corners (This is the place where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.) It was getting late and the sun was directly in my eyes. Christine was hoping to camp here – but without the AAA camping guide we’d have to be quick to find a place before the sun set. Back about 10 miles we found a KOA Campground right off the highway in Bloomfield. With about 4 minutes to spare we booked space 16.

This is the first time we’ve camped along the trip. We have a lot of the trunk devoted to camping stuff, so it makes sense to use it. We were able to find an outlet to inflate the air mattress. It takes up most of the tent. :) Besides the domestic dispute from a few campsites over – we were really comfy.