Driving Across America

Click here for map of where I've been so far.
Since my pictures from Burning Man went over so well, I thought I would add a few more:
  • This girl was definitely high on something. She kept rolling around on the trampoline and was fascinated by this shiny blue inflatable chair.
  • What the heck is this? It's art! There was no activity when I took this picture, but a few hours later, a truck pulled up and starting blaring some techno-music and this area turned into a hopping dance party.
  • If you wanted to show your breasts but not your face, this was your chance. Unfortunately there was nobody using this booth when I passed it.
  • There was a lot of undercover security who would blow their cover the minute their walkie-talkie's went off. I was jealous of this guy's off-road rollerblades. That would have been my preferred method of transportation.
  • If you forgot your bike, you could always hop a ride with your buddy.
  • I asked these people if I could photograph their version of a bowling alley. They said "sure" but insisted they put on a spanking show at the same time.
  • Yet another unique way to get around
  • This guy was walking around the main tent announcing he was the Coffee Slut. He didn't work there and yet he was assisting customers get into the proper line if you didn't want a latte. He was one of many people that floated around talking to everybody.
  • I'm not sure how the driver of this vehicle could see where he was going.
  • One of many dance parties on the playa during the day. This piece of artwork had been crying fire the night before.
  • This guy was dead to the world. He's taking advantage of some of the comfortable rugs made available at the town center. He was probably out partying until early in the morning. A lot of people slept in the town center. It was a cool (temperature) place with plenty of comfortable places to deposit your body onto.
  • Here is a good shot of the inside of the town center. ("Town Center" has me thinking Age of Empires. First it was SimCity 2000 and now AOE. Maybe I play too many computer games)
  • One trend in dress was to look like you stepped out of the movie The Road Warrior.
  • Here is the full picture with that guy who peed on me. Notice they like to give the finger to all photographers ... with a smile on their face so you know that's just their way of saying "hi"
  • Anyone for chess?
  • Another common trend in dress was for guys to dress in drag. Riding your little sisters bike was also a cool thing to do.
  • Yet another trend of dress was to look like a clown

It's amazing how I can pull into a hotel late at night and then in the morning, it's a completely different place. I stepped out of my hotel room and my breath was taken away by the view. I'm definitely not in Kansas anymore.

I left the Hotel at noon. The plan was to grab some breakfast, then go to the Grand Canyon. But I saw a sign that said "Hoover Dam 60 miles" and I thought to myself, at 75 mph, I could get there in about 45 minutes, so I went their first. After seeing the Hoover Dam, I saw a sign that said "Las Vegas 30 miles". At 75 mph, I could be there in less than 25 minutes. So I went. I'll go to the Grand Canyon tomorrow.

This behavior reminds me of browsing the web. You start browsing in order to find something but keep getting distracted, and before you know it, you've gotten side-tracked about a dozen times and forgotten why you started browsing to begin with.

On my way to the Hoover Dam, I saw a sign that said "Arizona Tourist Info". I took the bait and followed the sign. I figured that I needed to do more tourist research before I go somewhere. I almost missed the Hoover Dam. I'd hate to miss something else that I'll regret later.

The signs for the "tourist info" lead me to a small town called Chlorine. The "Arizona Tourist Information" ends up being a small room with pamphlets. I've just been lured into a small tourist trap! The good part is that this small mining town out in the middle of nowhere intrigues me.

It turns out that this town was a major mining town back around 1890. The population then was around 4000. Today its at about 200. I spoke with this old women who claims that she has lived there for 69 years and she's now 74 years old. Later in the conversation she claimed to have lived there for 65 years and she was 75 years old. A bit later in the conversation she said that she had lived there for 71 years and was 77 years old. I'm guessing she's more like 85 years old.

I had lunch in this small cafe of about 5 tables. The service was excellent and they prepared my Tuna Melt with Swiss on toasted Rye, in no time. Above my table was this mutant rabbit. Now I know why everybody left town. It must be the chlorine.

I was told that this saloon, was in the movie Universal Soldier. I guess these small towns have got to cling onto every bit of trivia in order to make themselves seem more interesting. If you remembering seeing this tavern in that movie, e-mail me. I'm just curious if they were telling the truth or not.

On my way to Hoover Dam I checked the truck thermometer: 105 degrees! I seem to be in a constant state of thirst in this dry heat. I always fill up my water bottle with ice before I leave each Hotel or Restaurant.

I stopped at a scenic view before I got to the Dam. For some odd reason I got a digital signal at this location only. As a matter of fact, I wasn't getting any signal for 30 minutes before or after that spot. Weird, but convenient! Of course my cel-phone rang and it was Crystal on her lunch break wanting to chat. I took the opportunity to check my voice-mail and call a few people back including my parents. I also checked my e-mail. Hey, a digital signal is rare in these parts. You have to take advantage of it!

There was a river in the distance and it was tempting to hike to but this sign warned "Caution: Hiking to Willow Beach Not Recommended Due To Extreme Temperatures". Dehydration is a big danger when you live around here. If you're out hiking and get lost, you could die from it. I'm not hiking around I'm still guzzling tons of fluids all day. You'd have to carry about a gallon of water with you on any hike over two hours.

I got to the Hoover Dam at 4 pm and was immediately disappointed at its size. I had been to the Grand Cooley Dam, which is twice as large.

I took a Dam tour with a Dam tour guide. That's a little joke they overuse. Everything is dam-this and dam-that. I got to see the damn dam from many angles. Above and behind, below and in front, and inside. I wanted to take the hard-hat tour (cost $25) which I hear is a lot more exciting, but I missed the last one by 10 minutes. Damn!

I discovered something interesting about the Dam I never knew. It was built to control the flow of water into California, not to generate electricity. The electricity is merely a by-product. This is why they only had 3 out of 8 generators in operation when I was there.

Next, I took a quick drive over to Las Vegas. You know you're in Vegas when the 7-11 has slot machines.

My goal was to find a Hotel in Vegas that offered high-speed Internet connectivity via Ethernet ports in the rooms. My logic was that there are a lot of computer conventions in Las Vegas. One of them must cater to that the type of costumer that demands a high-speed connection.

I went to Ask.com and tried a few Hotel search engines, but none of them let you specify "High Speed Internet Connection" in the search criteria. So then I decided to talk to a person. I called DiscountHotels.com and the best rate they could get me was $120/night. That was really weird because the first place I stopped in only $50/night. I also passed a really run down Motel in the bad part of town, which had rooms for $16/night. I asked if her database included all of the hotels in Vegas. She seemed annoyed at the question and gave me some vague answer that didn't make sense.

I found a pamphlet that had the phone numbers to all of the major hotels in Vegas so I started calling around. Everybody had plenty of vacancy. The average room was going for about $75. Very reasonable considering its Vegas. There must not be much going on, otherwise all major hotels would be booked or rooms would be going for $250 per night.

I called the following hotels and said "I have a laptop computer and I need a room with digital high-speed Internet access. Do you have any rooms with Ethernet ports?"

  • Excalibur
  • Golden Nugget
  • Hard Rock
  • Harrah's
  • Imperial Palace
  • Hilton
  • Luxor
  • MGM Grand
  • Mirage
  • Monte Carlo
  • New York, NY
  • Paris
  • Plaza
  • Rio
  • Riviera
  • Sahara
  • Santa Fe
  • Stardust
  • Tropicana
  • Venetian
Standard phone line access via 56k modem was the best they could offer. I feel let down. Am I expecting too much? It seems to me that fast Internet access for laptop users would be a hot selling point for the computer-using customer. Am I off-base on this or what? Or is Vegas just behind the times?
Date Created September 15, 2000
Last Updated April 12, 2006
Contact: patcoston@gmail.com