We set out for Colorado on a warm June morning. A friend of mine was getting married in Estes Park and I had decided to take a road trip on my way there. I'd been wanting to check out Bryce, Zion, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde for a long time and now was my chance. Actually, I had been hoping to meet a guy that would take me to those places and hike and camp with me. Someone to whisk me off into the wonders of the southwest. Well, I got tired of waiting. I grabbed my dog, loaded the jeep and off we went. First stop - B of A versatel machine.
The first day was a long one. I took the scenic route down 395 from Tahoe. The drive was the first of many beautiful ones. I passed by Mono Lake, Mammoth Lake, Inyo National Forest and Mount Whitney. I had made tentative plans to hike the John Muir Trail that summer with this guy that I had been involved with. The hike didn't work out, and neither did the relationship. But I thought of him as I passed Mount Whitney. It would have been great to do the trip with him.
I was planing on camping in Death Valley. I hadn't been there and heard it was pretty neat. It wasn't - or I saw the wrong part. It was 115 degrees when we arrived, at 8:00 at night. The park was deserted, not one tent, ranger or even an RV in sight. For a minute I thought I had missed a turn off or something. I saw these concrete areas with poles. It looked like a drive in movie lot without a screen. I finally realized that the poles were RV hookups. I stopped to get something cold to drink in the shop next to the concrete hell. I asked the guy behind the counter where the tent camp sites were. "You're lookin' at em." Ugh. I was not going to camp there!!
I continued driving, hoping to find a spot to camp on the way towards Vegas. I didn't want to stop in Vegas, didn't want to deal with the neon lights and hordes of people. That's not what this trip was all about. Plus I didn't want to unload my car. Basically there's nothing between Death Valley and Vegas. I was getting pretty tired and was ready to settle for a hotel. I stopped at the only 3 hotels along the next 90 mile stretch. The first one was a casino/ hotel in the middle of nowhere. I pulled in, went to the front desk and asked about a room. It wasn't too expensive, started to sound good, until the fatal words "No dogs allowed". The next hotel 30 miles further was the same. Do you remember that Peanuts episode when Snoopy sets out to find his first owner? Everywhere he stopped he'd see a sign saying "NO DOGS ALLOWED" and a deep voice would come on and sing the phrase. This is what started going through my head as I approached the last stop before Vegas.
The place was a little scary, but they let us in. I unpacked everything in the car (I couldn't lock it) and tried to make my dinner in the hotel room. I kept setting off the fire alarm with my camping stove. I finally dismantled the alarm, finished cooking and ate my dinner. At about 4 in the morning I awoke to this large scary guy banging on my door. Gidget, my fierce guard dog, just lay sleeping under the covers. She was a big help. It turns out that the guy had the wrong room and was looking for his trucking buddy. I packed up and took off none the less.
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