Friday, May 25, 2012

RT12 Day 2: Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Thurs 5/24

Woke up bright and early this morning and headed out. First stop was Las Vegas. I'm kind of ashamed to say that I'd never been before, so I stopped there, just to say I did. I took a grand total of one picture, bought some postcards at a gas station, and got back on the road.

Nevada is a weird state. For one, it has Las Vegas, which is weird. It has weird scenery. And weird radio stations. Apparently, it also has the Hoover Dam, which snuck up on me because of my total lack of competence with US geography (or any kind of geography). I rounded a corner and saw this:

I figured I'd better follow the "Hoover Dam" signs, since it would be kind of silly to drive right past it without stopping to see it. I was naively expecting to drive a few minutes out of my way, get out of my car for a minute and look at a dam, then get back on the road. Wrong. First, you get your car inspected. Then, you wait in a long line of cars just to pay to park in a garage. It makes you pull your hair out, like this:

Then, once you navigate your way out of the parking garage, you are funneled into a fancy building, waved through a metal detector, and confronted by a nice lady asking you to pay a previously unmentioned $8 fee just to get to the overlook. All to look at a dam for two minutes. It's a pretty cool dam...

...but not worth the hassle. Congratulations, Hoover Dam. You're a fantastic tourist trap. You caught me, and I hate you.

An hour later (!) I was back on the road. As I was stopping for gas, I saw this truck, which brightened my mood. "March 12, 2012. Obama makes protesting a felony! Impeach this Communist ass." Ha!

Then it was on to the Grand Canyon. I'd been once before, but it was almost ten years ago, and I was with a group of loud, sweaty teenagers, riding in a van. I remember having a pretty miserable time, between the late summer heat and the unbearable crowds, and the nauseating mix of country music and Christian pop-rock. This time was a thousand times better, because I know to steer clear of visitor centers and the like. Turns out it is very easy to find lookout points that are relatively uncrowded and to enjoy the scenery in relative peace and quiet:

Because of the lighting, I couldn't seem to get a decent picture of myself with the canyon in the background. But I was there, I promise! See, look!

Sunset over the river, look how sparkly! Somehow this picture seems way more awesome than the view seemed when I took it. I guess because I'd been in the car for 10-or-something hours, it was SO windy outside, and I was unhappy to be squinting into the sun. But glad I stopped and took this pic:

Too sleepy to smile, I guess.

Surprisingly, my favorite part of the day was the short drive from the Grand Canyon to Tuba City, a town in Navajo Nation where I'm staying tonight. I was pretty exhausted from a long day of driving, and I didn't expect the scenery on the last leg of the drive to be some of the most beautiful I'd seen all day. But it was. I don't have pictures of it. Not that they'd do it justice anyways. Imagine sunset, red rocks, etc. A good day. It's past my bedtime.

Tomorrow, New Mexico bound. 

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