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Jul. 25th, 2003


Saturday--
We were prepared for a leisurely morning in bed until Cory found a dead but twitching cockroach on the floor next to my foot. It was a bit longer than my big toe. I got in the shower right then and we left as soon as we were clean. EEW! When we left, the maid was on her way up, and I handed her the keys and she laughed and had no teeth.

So we headed out of Kingman, realized we'd taken a wrong turn (my bad), came back, and went the right way. At an intersection, we saw an impatient hitchiker trying to get to Flagstaff. He kept looking at his watch and appeared really exasperated and in a hurry. We laughed at him. ("C'mon people, I have a schedule to keep! Pick me up, man!")

We passed through Lake Mead Rec Area, and being the dumb northwesterners we are, we figured it'd be nice and cool and grassy and tree-ful, just like our lakes back home. It ended up being about 100 degrees and full of people. And full of no-dogs signs. We could barely get out of the car and the AC so we abandoned that idea. We headed to the NV border and Hoover Dam instead.

We stopped above the dam and got postcards before we realized there was a huge visitor's center down a bit further. We almost didn't stop because parking was $5, but we couldn't see the dam at all otherwise, so we shelled it out. It was so hot, sweat was rolling down my back. The gift shop was so crowded we could barely move around. We went through the metal detectors at the entrance to the visitor center before we realized that it was $10 to get in!! So we left instead. I never wanted to get out of the car again. I hate hot.

We were planning on seeing Vegas when the lights were on at night, but because we'd left Kingman so early and hadn't stayed at Lake Mead for hours, we decided to just press on. We hit Boulder City's Albertsons to get water (yay for comparing prices: "This one's only 79 cents!" "Ooh wait, this one's only 69 cents!") for the Death Valley trip, and went to Vegas.

Vegas was neater than we expected. We took 3 rolls of film while driving down the strip. We only got out of the car once, to get a mug and a pic and a Frapuccino in front of Starbucks, and we spent the rest of the time taking pictures of each other passing various hotels and casinos. With the AC on high. I took a bunch of pictures of wedding chapels since I was in that frame of mind. We decided we need to go back in the winter without the dog so we can walk around and actually go see the insides of some of these buildings.

Then we went into CA and into Death Valley. It was awesome. We got there in the early evening so everything was purplish and misty-looking. There had apparently been a thunderstorm and a flash flood the night before, so the road was flooded a bit, but we got through OK. We looked at the badlands and my ears got clogged once we were below sea level. We let Remmy out, at the Furnace Creek Visitor's Center because there was some weird grass there (mixed with thick green groundcover - but it worked for us!). I hadn't seen Remmy so happy in a long time. She rolled all over in it and loved it. Cory went to look at info and came back to tell me that the road we were on (190 to Yosemite) was flooded a few miles ahead and we couldn't get through. We kept going anyway, though, because we hoped it was fixed by then.

We stopped again at Stovepipe Wells, where there was a store and little camping area. We got pop and asked about the road. The shopkeeper confirmed that it was out, and told us how to go out of the park's north entrance and go around to get to Yosemite. So that's what we did. But not before taking a picture of the thermometer that waid 110 degrees. It was 8:30pm.

Right before we hit Beatty, we came to the ghost town of Thyolite. In the early 1900s it had almost 10,000 people in it. It was almost spooky at that time of evening. Too bad we couldn't have seen it in the light. We drove west in the dark for a couple of hours to Tonopah, and decided to stay there for the night. The Best Western only had smoking rooms available, so we went to National 9 Motel and spent less than the cockroach room, but the place was nicer.


Sunday--
We left pretty late (well, 9 or so) as we were close to Yosemite and didn't have far to go. The night before, we'd parked next to a car with OR license plates, and I chatted with the guy who owned the car in the morning as we were both getting ready to leave. I mentioned we were on his honeymoon, and the girl with him congratulated us as they drove off. We went off to Yosemite and got there about 1pm, and stopped a few times to see various things and to let Remmy swim in a pond (which was actually just outside of the park). She was VERY happy to see real western mountains, with actual green things and cooler temperatures. We realized we didn't know where Old Priest Station (our destination for Monday night) was, so we asked a ranger at Tuolomne Meadows ranger station where it was and she gave us an idea of its location. We then took a very long drive into Yosemite Valley, with a TON of tailgaters. What is this, California or something? It was very annoying.

We hit Yosemite Village at about 3pm and had sandwiches and chips and bought another WPA poster and a Yosemite bear. The valley was much warmer than the mountains. Our next stop was the campsite, which we got to at 5 or so. We were a little disappointed to see that we were on a slight hill with only a few trees and a LOT of other sites, and most of the occupants ended up being loud and annoying. What is this, California or something? We had dinner and drank lots of water, and each of us won a hand of cribbage, and I read a bit of the Death in Grand Canyon book to Cory before bed. It was so hot that we didn't even sleep in our sleeping bags all night.

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