Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Westercon 2017 Road Trip Day 2: Tonopah to Las Vegas to Laughlin

Today was the longest driving leg of the trip planned: about 300 miles, although the actual mileage was closer to 350 in the end.

Riverside Hotel

This was our destination: the Riverside Hotel in Laughlin, Nevada, on the Nevada shore of the Colorado River.

We got away from Tonopah in good time, leaving around 8 AM. Being able to get yogurts from Scolari's grocery store next door and store them in the room 'fridge to have for breakfast made for a relatively quick start.

Goldfield Subway

First stop was Goldfield, where we checked to see if the subway station was still there, which it was. These subway entrance portals have been rusting away in a field in Goldfield since at least the first time we came through here years ago. We don't know anything about why they are here, but we find it amusing that they are.

T&G Railroad

This sign is on the partially-restored building where the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad made its headquarters back in the days when you could made a rail journey from Reno (and Fernley) to Las Vegas via Tonopah and Goldfield. There is also a T&G Museum (mostly a large model train display) in a shop in Goldfield, but it was too early when we came by and everything was closed. Not there is a whole lot of anything in Goldfield. Maybe it will be open when we come back through on our way home.

After Goldfield, we made for Beatty, where we stopped at Eddieworld, an oasis in the Nevada desert where one must resist the urge to spend too much money on candy, nuts, fruit, and jerky. We managed to escape with only minor damage. I also got a postcard for Kelli, and immediately dispatched it to her. She's stuck in that nursing home, and I try to send her cards from along the way on our trips.

Alien Center

Rest stops are relatively rare along US-95, and we made this one at Armagosa Valley, where I snapped a picture of the Area 51 Alien Travel Center, an amusing tourist trap. I was more intrigued by the mountains in the distance. The landscape here is stark and spare, and makes me glad that we're in an air-conditioned van going through at 70 mph. Incidentally, the empty trailer in the center of this photo hauls onions to Fernley, where they are turned into onion powder at a geothermal-powered dehydration plant east of the city.

I mentioned yesterday that we had errands to run in Las Vegas "to boot." That actually was to be taken literally. Lisa left her moccasin-boots that go with one of her outfits behind, and she's been meaning to get another pair anyway, so we went looking for them. The first place we tried in Las Vegas at which Google pointed us no longer carries boots, but pointed us in the right direction (which turned out to be a shop on Fremont Street). But we were on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, and it was well past time for lunch. So where do we go when we want to have lunch in Las Vegas? Well, the Black Bear Diner, of course! We collected our 23rd BBD in their "passport" promotion, and we were really happy to get out of the heat. The AC in the minivan doesn't work well in city driving, you see, and it was around 40°C in Las Vegas today. After lunch, we refueled the minivan and worked our way downtown, which took quite a while due to heavy traffic.

El Portal Las Vegas

El Portal is a shop under the cover of the Fremont Street Experience, and to our relief, Lisa was able to find a new pair of moccasin-boots that fit and suited her, and she'll be wearing them at Westercon.

After about four hours in Vegas, we were happy to get moving again, particularly when traffic cleared sufficiently that we could get moving fast enough to turn the air conditioning back on as we headed south on I-515/US-95/US-93.

After crossing Railroad Pass, we turned south on US-95. We made a brief stop to have a closer look at at solar thermal power plant (Nevada Solar One, if my Google-fu isn't failing me). But as we pulled back out on the road, we were troubled by a clattering sound that had been annoying us on the whole trip. We stopped again and finally figured out what had been causing this. Some of the rubber trim along the roof line had come loose and was flapping in the slipstream. Lisa started to get the trim back into place, and I had an idea.

"Would a rubber mallet help?" I asked.

Lisa said, "Yes!"

Well, I happened to have one. Some years ago, I bought a rubber mallet to assemble IKEA furniture. I've taken to packing it in the "Business Meeting box" in case the Gavel of Westercon gets lot. We dug the mallet out the box, and Lisa used it to help hammer the trim back into place.


So we rolled onward, turning south just before the California border and around 6:30 found ourselves coming down the hill to Laughlin. The Riverside hotel room is very reasonably priced, but the price doesn't include the in-room internet. (I can use my mobile phone to connect, although I prefer not to use it if I can avoid it.) And like too many hotels, it doesn't have enough power outlets. But we've grown all too used to this and strung up extension cords to make everything we have work. The hotel also doesn't have a mini-fridge. We could have hauled the electric ice chest up from the minivan, but it did not seem worth it for a one-night stay.

After getting a minimal setup established, we had dinner at the buffet. Note for next trip: don't eat at the buffet. We're spoiled by places like the Peppermill. We agreed that we would have had a better meal at the Fatburger franchise located inside the casino.

Tomorrow we drive to Lake Havasu City. After having been over London Bridge in London, we decided we should visit the original one in Arizona. Tomorrow night we should be at Tempe.
Tags: las vegas, lisa, travel, westercon

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