August 24th, 2013

SMOF License

Stage 2: Tonopah to Williams

We got away from Tonopah about 8 AM, after deciding that we could make due with food bars and drinks on the go for breakfast. This put us automatically two hours ahead of the projected schedule because I've been using a default 10 AM start time.

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South of Tonopah, Lisa determined that she needed something out of the back of the van, so we pulled off and stopped in Goldfield. As we started to leave, Lisa caught sight of an oddity, and had us circle round the block to see it. I got out the camera because I wouldn't have believed it myself otherwise.

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Highway 95 is a very fast drive, but it's a long way to Las Vegas. Some of the scenery is impressive. There's a whole lot of geology going on here. In some places, Joshua Trees dot the landscape, giving things a sort of alien-world look to them. I observed that this was very interesting to see from an air-conditioned van going at highway speed on good roads, but I shudder at what it was like for the people who hoofed it through this desolate landscape.

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After traversing the Nevada waste, we got a surprising thunderstorm dumped on it as we approached Las Vegas. As we will be staying there for two nights on the way back, we decided to merely get gas and food passing through Henderson and to otherwise skip Vegas. We stopped at an In-N-Out and got burgers to go. Walking back to the van, I said, "It's humid! It's never humid in Vegas!" Two of the last three times Lisa and I have been here, it has rained. (The third was Westercon, when instead it was blast-furnace hot.) I drove the next leg while Lisa ate her lunch. She finished as we approached Railroad Pass on US-93, and I looked for a place to pull over so we could switch places and I could have my lunch.

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Crossing into Arizona meant entering the Mountain time zone, but because Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time, we didn't have to change our watches yet.

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After dawdling at Williams Depot, we headed for the hotel. To our annoyance, we realized that instead of a Holiday Inn Express, Williams has an ordinary Holiday Inn. This means, in effect, that we get to pay $20/night more for less service. For instance, breakfast is not included, and there's no elevator at this two-story property, so once again I had a lot of luggage to hump up the stairs. But it was the best we could do; I checked later and there weren't any other HI properties past Flagstaff that we could have comfortably reached. And the internet works, after a fashion. I was able to cancel our reservation at Grants and book a new reservation in Albuquerque. The extra distance we did today (150 miles more than originally planned) means we should be able to get our errand in Santa Fe done on Monday and still make it to Roswell at our originally schedule time.