Roadtrip: Through the Mojave Desert and into Las Vegas

The downside of awesome national parks like Sequoia National Park is that, in those remote places, the restrooms are sometimes latrines.  And when you use a latrine, you are vulnerable to tiny buzzing bitey things.  I have bug bites in uncomfortable places.  I didn’t add to them today, seeing as I spent nearly the whole day driving, but I did have the privilege of seeing my car register outside temperatures of 105 Fahrenheit.  Dry heat, but still.  Dry.

Driving between Visalia, CA (where I was) and Las Vegas goes through desert, desert, and more desert,  I saw cacti.  I saw patches of sand.  I realized that CA radio stations are the only radio stations that still play Michael Jackson songs, and what’s more, post-Bad Michael Jackson songs.  I also passed by Edwards Air Force Base, which was a funny stretch of road if only because of the little signs that only scientists populate the area (towns named Boron, roads named Borax).  The rest area across from the base is kind of neat, very 50s science fiction.

I started out around 6:30 am, in order to get as much driving done as possible before the hottest part of the day.  However, arriving at Las Vegas slightly after noon, I discovered that there’s basically no shaded parking anywhere.  My deodorant stick suffered as a result, turning completely liquid, and I may have also lost some chocolate I bought in Montana.  However, there were cheap tacos (lengua that’s actually juicy and tender! carnitas with melty bits of fat!) and one of the better renditions of chicken tandoori I’ve had, with the spices charred onto the meat in a nice crust, and there was the Mob Museum, which was very flashy with the interactive sites, but which smartly took advantage of all the local history (the building itself hosted one of the Kefauver hearings).  It was sort of hilarious to see the museum do its best to maintain a disapproving tone and try to pump up the FBI’s reputation, while having exhibits like the brick wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (with bullet-holes) and a replica tommygun you could pretend to shoot, complete with recoil and sound effects.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Airbnb here is way off the Strip and closer to the historic center of Las Vegas, which now is largely strip malls.and apartment buildings.  Nice and quiet, but still too hot for me.  I don’t know how they managed to build anything in this heat.