This route will begin along old Route 66 through Arizona, spotting many of the famous scenes from the 1950s and 1960s. It will also visit the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. It will conclude in Las Vegas. Pictures to follow…
Me: “is there anything worth seeing between here (Flagstaff) and San Diego? Or should I swing by Vegas instead.”
Receptionist: “You are in Arizona. Unless you want to drive an hour to see an old diner, go north.”
“Get you kicks…”
I challenge you to find a more depressing and desolate place than historic route 66. The ruminants of an old gas station have been transformed into a tourist boutique; hotels offering $29 rooms sit vacant; restaurant windows are nailed shut, doors overgrown with weeds; and it is silent. Cars no longer pass through, frequent visitors have stopped and a unique travel experience has ended. While Route 66 still exists today, it has been defeated by Interstate 40; which offers faster speeds, more lanes, and chain restaurants every 20 miles. The days of mom and pop shops, and the adventure and unexpected venture traveling once offered, has been replaced. The once jovial Route 66, America’s Highway, is long gone. You won’t see busy gas stations, you won’t hear music, you won’t find a smile.
Hoover Dam 109 degrees of ‘dry heat’
Las Vegas. Why in the hell did someone decide to build a casino town in the middle of a desert? As I pulled into Vegas, the car dashboard read 60 degrees; maximum air conditioning. As I stepped out, Nevada gently reminded me where I was; I was punched in the face by a 112 degree breeze. it’s a dry heat! it took me 2.5 hours to find a hotel. I walked up and down The Strip asking every hotel if they had any rooms. Each looked at me and unemotionally replied, “sorry sir”. It’s hard to believe a hotel with 28 stories and over 2,000 rooms was fully booked for a Sunday night.
I wasn’t going to settle for a $30 a night room in some crack-infested part of town. It’s bad enough the prostitutes troll the grounds a block from the Strip. After constant rejection I started to think of alternatives. Would I have to sleep in my car? Maybe I’d spend a night with the Tunnel People (did you know there is an entire village of people living under Las Vegas? Maybe my night as one of them could turn into a best selling ethnography. I mean, in “Gang Leader For A Day” the writer walked into the projects in chicago and asked, “how does it feel to be poor and black?”. Maybe I’d take the same approach. I mean, really, why wouldn’t that work. Right, this isn’t liberal Chicago, this is Vegas.
I decided to try one last hotel; a place I’ve once been kicked out of for arguing with the cannoli lady. A place who’s real counterpart has never let me down. I’m talking New York, New York (Las Vegas). The hotel receptionist told me there were no more rooms available and that they also don’t like to take walk-ins off the street. I pulled out my iPhone and booked a room in front of her for $45 (a savings of 75%). This is what I got; always do your homework…
This leg = 274 miles. Bringing the total miles to nearly 1,000.