En route to Vegas we detoured through Sedona, AZ, via Oak Creek Canyon. The drive is considered one of the top five most beautiful in the country by Rand McNally. I will not disagree. Sedona is a cute, new-Agey sort of oasis purportedly rife (apparently like Woodstock, NY) with cosmic "vortexes" (sic) that provide positive energy to its visitors. We had a nice sandwich there.
Near Vegas we stopped at Hoover Dam, a 1930s monument to slide-rule engineering, hydraulic energy, and BIG Government. The water levels were way down.
In Las Vegas, I avoided the impulse to gamble, slept late, enjoyed a few decent meals, and took in the sights while Wisdaughter & partner caught up with old friends who live there (+ whatever).
On I-15 on the Nevada/California border, we topped a hill and saw what looked like three gigantic Eye of Sauron towers guarding the valley floor surrounded by a vast mirage of a body of water. Turns out, it's the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, the largest solar array in the country—another monument to BIG Government renewable energy production. Thousands of solar panel mirrors spread over five square miles focus the sun's light on the 500' tall tower tops, and this reflects on cars driving by. [Sorry no pics. If you're interested, check out the linked website.]
We made a tactical mistake attempting to drive from Vegas to LA on Sunday morning. Turns out, it's when everybody from SoCal does the same thing after a weekend of debauchery. We drove I-15 through the Mojave Desert in a perpetual traffic jam which was made worse because it had been closed the day before by wild fires. Fortunately, the fires were doused by the remnants of Hurricane Delores which dumped a single day record rainfall on SoCal, smashing as well the monthly record for July in a mere few hours. Flooded desert did not, however, put a sizable dent in the record drought. Unfortunately, the heavy rainfall and dark, low clouds slowed traffic down even more than usual, turning what should have been a four-hour drive into about an eight-hour ordeal. Literally, the only rainfall we encountered on the entire trip was one of the driest places in America, and it was "super historic".
Notwithstanding, we delivered Wisdaughter, her partner, and their cars safely to LA and U.S.C., got them moved in, had a brief look-see downtown, enjoyed a couple of good meals (Izakaya, yo!), hit up IKEA, constructed some furniture, and flew home, sadder but richer for the experience.
Now, pics. Click pics to embiggen slideshow.
|2000' Red Rocks and White Rocks on the Oak Creek Canyon drive|
|Red Rocks near Sedona|
|Iconic view near Sedona|
|More of the same|
|Wait! Who told Ansel Adams he could shoot pics from my car. (h/t Wisdoc)|
|Low water levels around the turbines at Hoover Dam|
|I-15 bridge at Hoover Dam|
|That '30's aesthetic|
|The Dam, 700' thick & 700' high|
|Fake NYC in fake Las Vegas|
|The ONLY avenue in Vegas|
|Chihuly ceiling in a casino|
|Dinner (French) with a view of the Bellagio fountains|
|New Yorker cartoon|
|Fake Paris in fake Vegas|
|Best road sign: name a road using only the last 3 letters of the alphabet|
|You know you're in LA when...|
|An Izakaya feast|
|And we arrive at our destination|
|Lovely USC campus|