Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vacation Day 8: Leaving Las Vegas ... leaving for good

The original plan was to stay two nights Vegas mainly to avoid the frenetic traffic of losers heading back to LA on I-15.  Hotels.com screwed up the second night reservation so were were faced with some alternatives ... one, book another night in Vegas ourselves; two, head to Laughlin for a night; or three, head straight to LA.

We opted for option two, Laughlin, on the lower Colorado River, another gambling town.  We had big breakfast at the Golden Nugget and hit the road.  We take US 95 south.  The road climbs and passes through Searchlight, an old mining town, hometown to Senator Harry Reid (D-NV).  A left turn took us down to Laughlin where it was 107 degrees.  My younger son commented "It's an imitation of Las Vegas and Las Vegas is an imitation."  That sealed it for us.  We decided to push on toward LA, with maybe an overnight stop in Barstow.

We paralleled the Colorado River along it's western side and picked up I-40 at Needles.  From there, we gathered speed toward LA.  We blazed through the inhospitable looking town of Barstow.  It's amazing how LA sprawl has spread to the High Desert.  People with barely the means to qualify for a home mortgage bought there first homes in places like Hesperia only to tragically losing them when the bubble burst.

Before we knew it we were crossing Cajon Pass in the greater LA.  We made a quick stop in Rancho Cucamonga to look at the first house I bought and later joined by my wife.  Times were different then, much better.

We took the 210 across the alluvial fans that emanate from the San Gabriel Mountains ... Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Claremont, Azusa, Monrovia, Arcadia, Pasadena.  Our last hurdle was Rocky Peak before reaching our destination in Simi valley to spend a few days with my wife's sister's family.

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