Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Winter Road Trip Day 15: Kingman AZ to North Las Vegas (via Laughlin NV)

Today's planned trip was relatively short (only about 150 miles even including the various detours), but because of the stops along the way and the very heavy traffic at times, it ended up taking over six hours to drive from Kingman to our hotel near Nellis Air Force Base in the North Las Vegas area.

Colorado River Ahead

Lisa does not like the drive up US-93 from Kingman to Las Vegas, so we swung over to Laughlin. That's Bullhead City AZ / Laughlin NV ahead, facing each other across the Colorado River.

Back in Nevada

We re-entered Nevada on the bridge at Laughlin.

Out of Lauglin

After a short restroom stop at a casino in Laughlin, we made the climb out of the Colorado River basin on NV-163, just missing dipping back into California where that road intersects US-95.

As we approached Searchlight NV on US-95, a large shadow passed over us. We discovered an impromptu air show at Searchlight Airport.

Osprey at Searchlight NV

A VM-22 Osprey (Lisa later was able to make out the MARINES 7922 markings, but at the time we couldn't tell whose aircraft it was) was doing stop-and-goes at the little Searchlight Airport. We pulled over at the airport access road and Lisa got out the small Sony camera and shot both still photos and video.

Here's the Osprey landing at Searchlight

And the same aircraft taking off vertically and making the transition to level flight.

This was quite unexpected. Indeed, Lisa was very surprised that such an aircraft would be doing stop-and-goes at a public airport like this. We weren't the only people stopping to take photos, either.

Joshua Trees and Yucca Plants

Returning to US-95, I noticed how Joshua trees and yucca plants were intermixed alongside the highway.

I-11 Ahead

Soon enough we reached the junction of Interstate 11 / US-93 in Boulder City.

I-11 Ahead

I-11 currently only runs from the Arizona-Nevada state line to where it crosses I-215 in Henderson and turns into I-515; however, it's currently planned to connect Las Vegas to the Phoenix via Wickenburg, Arizona.

Railroad Pass

Where the combined freeway crests Railroad Pass, you can see the railroad bridge that was installed as part of the freeway construction process, restoring the connection from the railroad at Boulder City to the rest of the network. The railroad here, originally built to haul supplies for construction of Hoover Dam, was severed by US-93/95 years ago, until the I-11 project reconnected it.

Because our goal tonight was the Holiday Inn Express Nellis, up on the north side of the city, we made our stops along the way, starting with lunch/dinner and then visiting a building we don't expect will be around much longer.

Literate Bear

Lunch (or early dinner) was at the Black Bear Diner in Henderson, ticking off another stamp in our passport book. Kuma Bear sat for a picture with three book-loving bears.

Las Vegas Fry's

After eating, we made our slow way (the afternoon rush had started) to the Las Vegas Fry's Electronics, which has a very appropriate motif. The slot machine "reels" turn, but it doesn't look like they're ever going to pay off again. This store, like all of the others I've seen of late, is woefully understocked. Lisa went here prepared to spend a lot of money on a new laptop computer, but walked out spending nearly nothing, because there was hardly any computers she could examine in person. Ordering online is not what she wants. She wants to look at the machine in question and make sure it really has all of the things it claims, not order something, then have to send it back if it doesn't have the features claimed by the seller.

By the time we left Fry's, traffic had gone from bad to worse. Rather than go onto the freeway, Lisa decided to just drive down Las Vegas Blvd — the world-famous "Las Vegas Strip." Now I'm glad we did it just to experience how much Vegas has mushroomed, but it took a long time (more than an hour) to make the trip, and thus it was well after dark before we got to the hotel. I still had some Day Jobbe stuff to do as well.

We've regained the hour we lost when we headed into Arizona a week ago, but I give it right back because now I have to be up at 4:40 instead of 5:40 to do my half-day of Day Jobbe work, as I must match my co-workers hours in the Central Time Zone.

Tomorrow we head for Tonopah, and if the weather holds as it appears to be heading, we plan to take the road even less traveled than US-95 north of Las Vegas.
Tags: arizona, black bear diner, kuma bear, las vegas, lisa, nevada

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