And I remain perpetually one day behind on these updates from the road. The following is for 2010-09-07. One small consolation, I think this time lapse video came out better than most because of the continuous terrain and some constructive criticism by Syn74x.
After a long day on the road, I broke camp in the town of Pahrump, Nevada, just south of Las Vegas. The hotel was pleasant and the front desk was staffed by a very friendly American Indian woman who seemed happy that I was from Seattle. I had to bang out some emergency freelancing from my room and luckily this place had decent internet. The next morning I found that there had been a heavy rain (heavy for here/now, at least) and the same woman at the front desk jokingly told me “Thanks for the rain, Seattle.” With a smile at that and a surprisingly good complimentary breakfast, I was on the road again.
Having seen Go! many time and not really being a big fan of the gambling culture, I decided to skip Las Vegas and instead indulge my engineering geek and check out Hoover Dam. Though she’s getting up there in years, the dam is an amazing piece of technology and of design. If fragments of it are found by archeologists in the distant future, I wouldn’t blame them for thinking it was a temple complex or palace of some sort. A couple of big horn sheep showed up with seemingly no regard or concern for traffic or humans.
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“Hey,” I thought, “There is a big, famous whole in the ground around here somewhere, I should go take a look.” That turned out to be an awful, awful mistake. Although, I find the geology and history of the Grand Canyon incredibly fascinating (not to mention John Wesley Powell, one of the 19th century’s answers to Survivorman and Indiana Jones), the National Park turned out to be a huge disappointment.
Firstly, let me say I have enormous respect for the National Park systems and believe it is one of the best, visionary undertakings the US made during the era of it’s founding. However, something seems terribly wrong at Grand Canyon. Instead of the usual National Parks experience, I felt that I’d stumbled upon the unspeakable spawn of an amusement park and a McDonald’s. Traffic and crowd flow as haphazard and seemingly “winner takes all”. Huge lumbering tour buses and RVs created gridlock while tourists of truly frightening obesity sweated, complained and generally clogged the park’s arteries (not to mention their own). Finally, it seemed like every “weekend biker” (you know the type, bought a Harley and brand new leathers to prove they’re Rebels) cruised in endless circles filling the air with smog and a muffler-less cacophony. While National Parks normally fill me with a sense of peace and contemplation, I have to confess I envisioned bulldozing the whole sordid scene to the bottom of the canyon at one point. I left having seen very little, or too much.
Exhausted, I retreated to Flagstaff to rest and plan a more low key journey for the next day.