Road Trip – day 1 – San Jose to Las Vegas

It all started with the August 2003 issue of Travel and Leisure magazine which had an article on 25 Great Walks. The cover picture was of a man walking in a slot canyon in Zion national park with towering walls of rock on either side. When I saw that picture I wanted to go there and started investigating the slot canyons of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. I quickly discovered the picturesque Antelope Canyon near Page Arizona. Page Arizona is more than 800 miles from my home in San Jose, CA. There did not seem to be any way to fit in the week long road trip that such a journey mandated into our schedule for 2003. But the idea of this trip just simmered in the back of my head.
I have more vacation than my wife Joan and the rule of thumb is that I should not use my extra vacation to do something that she would like to do. So building houses for the poor in Mexico or accompanying my son on a church youth choir tour (and sleeping on church pews) are fair game. Joan also does not like camping so with some very last minute I was able to get away from work for a week. The trip was almost cancelled because I threw out my back and then work got very busy in the last few days before my departure. But finally Saturday morning came and I quietly left a house still filled with sleeping girls from my daughter’s birthday party and hit the open road.
The first obstacle on this trip was 8-9 hours of driving from San Jose to Las Vegas where friends had offered that I could stay in their guest house. It is not difficult driving, it is mostly boring driving. As I got on highway 5 near Los Ba?os I noticed that the lines in the road were no longer straight. They zigged and zagged and squiggled as if painted by a drunken sailor. This was the first warning that even the crew that painted this freeway may have had some trouble staying awake. I was not sure if the “Choose Life” billboard indicated that this road tended to make people suicidal. Fortunately when you get to Harris Ranch the oder of the feed lot will quickly wake you up.

After Bakersfield the road gets to be more interesting. The last time I was through this area it got very interesting indeed as we forgot to fill up the car in Bakersfield and were unaware that the next gas on the road was 45 miles head in Tahachapi. The car we were driving on that trip has a road computer that can estimate how many more miles you can go before you run out of gas. We pulled into the filling station with that read-out saying “0 miles”. This trip was less eventful as I drove our new Red PT Cruiser “Petie”. As you leave Tahachapi the hills are covered in large windmills used to generate power. From horizon to horizon are these large turbines as if someone thought it would be possible for the whole valley to take flight. Also along side of the road in Tehachapi was the rusted hull of a boat labeled S.S. Minnow. “Oh those poor people”
Other notable sights would be the airplane graveyard outside of Mohave, the stand for “Alien Jerky” in Baker, and the Borax mine and museum off 40 mule team road.

Author: chris2x

One man's view of life in Silicon Valley from Chris Christensen - a podcaster, blogger, programmer, entrepreneur

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *