Jeff and John 2015: Truly the Universe Favours Those Who Persist

Day 6: June 18, 2015

Destination: Las Vegas, NV
End of Day Odometer: 73,224km
Progress Map:
With a longer drive today, we had hoped to get on the road early, but unfortunately got off to a late start. One thing we did do before leaving was to make sure we could say that we gambled in Reno, so we both threw $5.00 into a slot machine and ended up leaving with $10.22, meaning we had made a cool 22 cents off of them. Those suckers, we took them for all they were worth! So long Reno, your weirdness was worth it for how cheap the room was, but I don’t think I’ll miss you.

After collecting our winnings, we headed out of Reno south to Carson City, where we found a welcome sight: our first In-N-Out Burger. We had to stop for some lunch, I mean those are good burgers, Walter. John had a DoubleDouble Animal Style and I had a 3×3 Animal Style. They were, as expected, good burgers. I somewhat regret not getting a regular 3×3 though, if only to reintroduce me to the taste. Still, we haven’t left the land of In-N-Out yet, but there are so many things to eat!
Today’s drive was mostly about conquering the road that conquered us in the Supra last time we came through these parts, and while we didn’t get a chance to drive through Yosemite (which didn’t impress last time to be honest), we headed down a familiar road that I took with Joel back in the Tercel in 2011 over to where we came out of Yosemite last time in the Supra. It wasn’t an unpleasant drive, but certainly less exciting than what we had been used to on this trip.
I spent a good long while looking at maps on the drive down to the Highway 120, considering whether or not the Highway 120 was actually the route we took last time, since we didn’t keep track of it and all I had to go off of was memory and a Facebook post that didn’t say anything at all. Eventually I threw my hands up and said we’d just go with the 120, looking at the maps any longer wouldn’t help me decide any differently. Luckily it was in fact the correct route. The entire feeling was different this time, which made for a bit of a different drive.
On our previous trip through, we were in a car that had just broken down twice, with no idea what was wrong or when it would break down again, and we were hours from anywhere of any real significance. I remember John looking at maps seeing towns ahead and when we got to them, there was no town left, just some abandoned buildings. We almost never saw a car coming in either direction, and it was starting to get late. This time is only a month later, but the amount of traffic was significantly increased and the car has been giving us no trouble at all. It felt very good. The first section of the road is a desert forest with some great winding sections that seem like they could have been straight, but they just didn’t bother.
Following the forest the road is a bit less winding, but continues to follow a similar trend as you drive through a more open desert area, the road gives you a nice three-dimensional feeling as the curves come at you with a side of small hills. 
As the road straightens you come to a small, inconspicuous sign informing you that there will be some dips for the next five miles. Doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, and certainly last time we were not prepared for what was to come. The feeling in your stomach over many of these “dips” is not unlike that of a roller coaster, especially when you are not expecting it. This time we were far more prepared, however the pictures do almost no justice to this interesting section of road. It is not often you see the road in front of you simply drop completely from view like you do here. In fact, I’ve never experienced anything like it on any other road I’ve ever been on.
There are many spots where if you were going too fast, the laws of physics simply would throw you off the road, so you need to keep that in mind. The man following behind us in a Ford Escape did not understand that. He was so close to the edge it was unbelievable seeing it in the rear view mirror. Eventually he decided he hadto pass us, on a double yellow line, doing over 130km/h. It was the definition of either insanity or ignorance. We weren’t sure which.
As we passed Benton Hot Springs, we noticed some smoke in the distance, which continued to get darker as we approached. At first we suspected a burning abandoned building or something of that nature, since there’s so much just left lying around. The closer we got the more we could see that it was actually coming from the road or very close to it and there were a lot of cars around the blaze. It seemed perfectly safe to be driving behind a truck carrying explosives as we approached the burning motor home. The amount of heat we felt inside the car from 4-5 lanes over was intense and we were actually a bit worried about melting some parts on the Supra. Luckily there was an emergency vehicle coming from behind us so hopefully they managed to either put it out or let it burn safely and hopefully nobody was hurt.
One of the only places we stopped last time we came through here (while speeding way too much and fearing the car would die at any moment) was at a rest stop just before Tonopah to make use of their facilities and take a well needed break. It’s actually a really nice rest area, and was quite a bit busier this time. We were the only car stopped last time, with no one else in sight.
We pit stopped in the sad falling-apart town that is Tonopah, NV, with its abundance of abandoned motels and continually tried to book a hotel for Las Vegas. Now confident we would actually make it again this time, but with Expedia’s website providing no assistance at all we went on our way. The road from Tonopah to Las Vegas being a boring, straight drive, but still more relaxed than last time for sure.
Proving that there are crazier people than us out here, I present: This Guy.

After John made a bit of a wrong turn, or rather didn’t make a turn at all, we made a small jaunt over to the entrance to Death Valley and then back again. The Supra is not a car that we want to risk taking into Death Valley, even as it was getting dark, it was still over 36 degrees in the desert. Finally getting to Las Vegas we pulled in to our destination at the Trump International Hotel just off the north end of the strip.
Hotwire provided us with an excellent deal on two nights at this 5-star hotel and resort. Unfortunately they only have valet parking, and the right-hand-drive Supra is usually kept from the hands of all others. I wish I had taken a picture of John’s sad, angry and disappointed face as they tried to figure out how to drive his car away. This also distracted him from hearing that we had a room with a single king bed booked and there were no rooms left with two beds. We ended up paying more to upgrade to a 1,500 sq. ft. suite with a bathroom as big as my living room, but still only the one bed plus a pull out on the couch. We decided we’d each get one night on the bed and John took the sofa. It is nicer than Reno for sure, but it was definitely not $36 either!
After settling in we headed over to Guy Fieri’s Kitchen (in the spirit of this and previous trips that involved Triple-D locations) at the LINQ Hotel for some much needed supper. Unfortunately it was after 11:00pm and they were only serving a limited late-night menu. John and I both split some of their wings, which had a very slow build-up to their maximum spiciness and were provided exclusively in drumstick style with a spicy ranch dip. We also both got the Bacon Mac-n-Cheese Burger and I tried 4 beers while John had the Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA. (This time we forgot both my phone and the camera, so had to use John’s phone).
We’ll be spending our day in Las Vegas tomorrow relaxing and getting ready for the second half of our trip through Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. There’s a lot of driving ahead!
Day 6 Destination: Las Vegas, NV via not moving at all.

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