Leaving LA, we farewelled the sight of the sea and headed inland on Route 66! No American road trip seems complete without cruising down at least a small part of this historic path. It technically runs from LA to Chicago through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois… a certain someone has done the whole thing, but this time we only went through the first three states to get to Las Vegas.
As we drove further from the concrete jungle of LA, the desert landscape began to emerge… not as dramatically stunning as the pacific coast but still a little awe-inspiring. Mountains, valleys, dunes with tufts of tussock… it felt peaceful when the sun was out and solemn when the clouds came in. The vastness of this country really sunk in and I am not at all surprised that there are people here who have never seen the sea.
With their myriads of interstates, freeways, and highways, Route 66 is definitely not the route of choice if you want to get anywhere in a hurry. The roads have not been particularly well looked after in some places and there are lots of stretches of nothingness- only dilapidated or abandoned buildings as evidence of a town that used to be. Most of the main stops on the route would have been bustling towns back in the day, but now they cling to that fact as their only point of interest, they’ve come up with anything and everything that is Route 66 themed… One of the most interesting stops we made was in Oatman– this drive through ‘town’ has a wild west theme with donkeys roaming freely up and down the main road… watch your step!Other notable stops on the way to Vegas include: Barstow– where we had the gun pulled on us by an over-zealous security guard refilling an ATM. Needles– the point where California, Arizona, and Nevada meet. Laughlin– imagine Vegas, but say… in the 70s… and speaking of that number, the average age of the clientele would’ve been about that too. It was old school, but provided a laugh and the cheapest hotel room we’ve ever paid for- $12.31 in Harrah’s Casino. Hoover Dam– just a big dam… but I guess a construction feat. Changing time zones– about 3 times in one day; we lost an hour here, gained it back there… to be honest, I wasn’t actually sure what time it was when we finally arrived in Vegas.
It was fun while it lasted, but after 2 days we were ready to head back into civilisation… and on the freeway- fast!