Friday, June 30, 2017

Solvang California to St George Utah

Today, our travel medical insurance changed companies. Thank you RBC for making this extended trip possible.
We were up at 5:00 AM and, after saying goodbye to Sherm, our travel companion for the last 16 days, we headed towards Buellton. There was a steady line of cars headed towards Solvang, possibly workers at hospitality establishments and the casino getting ready to open up. We fueled at Tom's and were southbound on 101 by 5:40.

Highway 101

We stopped in Goleta to get breakfast to-go at a McDonald's. As we were going through Santa Barbara in the right had lane, a Mini Cooper came up and on ramp. I could not move left due to traffic, so I tried to slow down. Unfortunately, the Mini driver did not accelerate. My only option was to hold the line and force it to brake instead. The Mini then accelerated, pulled in front of me and slowed down to well below the limit. After a moment of trying to see how close I could get to their bumper, I backed off and calmed down. At the next exit, I pulled around and was greeted by a dark haired woman in her 30's giving me the finger. Oh well, no harm done.

We continued down 101 to Ventura.

Manmade Rincon Island

We departed 101 in Ventura and headed east on 128/118 towards Santa Clarita. There, we went south on I-5 for a few miles before catching California 14 North, which we followed to Palmdale. From there, we traveled east on the Pearblossom Highway to Victorville. This retraced the route we took a few days ago.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

I had a '69 Beetle just like this (only white)

He has metallic fire resistant sheeting around the wall

San Gabriel Mountains

Joshua Tree on the Pearblossom Highway

Roadside vendor

Before we reached Victorville, Sherm texted to say he was nearing the Barstow Flying J. Hr had gotten to Santa Clarita and continued south on I-5 to the I-210. It was busier and had a few slowdowns, but it still turned out to be faster than our way.

Victorville Land Fill Site

We got to the Flying in time to say one more goodbye to Sherm before he pulled out. He would be taking I-40 east to Kingman while we would be staying on I-15 to Las Vegas (Nevada) and beyond. It was only 90 F when we headed north, compared to 109 when we were here a few days ago.

The traffic towards Vegas was heavy and fast. Having a 55 MPH speed limit for trucks and anyone towing a trailer but 70 MPH for everyone else made for some wild passing. I could understand the traffic because this was Friday of the July 4th long weekend. Oddly, many were towing boats and personal watercraft into the desert.

Agricultural Inspection Station for southbound I-15

Many boats and PWC's

Rocks stick out of the desert

Zzyzx California an unincorporated community in the Mojave National Preserve

We'll get there some day

We stopped at a Shell station out in the middle of nowhere to use the rest rooms. They were busy and we stood in line. The men's room line did not move. I was behind a couple of gentlemen speaking Japanese who kept looking in the door but not entering. Finally, I looked in and figured it out. There was one stall that someone had been occupying for fifteen minutes. The urinal was a basin in the floor just like at the Madonna Inn with running water. I guess these folks couldn't get their mind around taking a communal leak on the floor. I did and I did.

Once again we have a special lane

16 mile upgrade

4,700 foot summit

Shift to low gear, a fifty dollar fine my friend.....

They even give us a separate lane on the down side

For those who didn't pay attention

At the bottom of the hill and near the Nevada border, we saw the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility. There was a large field of flat things in the desert and three towers with reflectors. I though the flat things were the usual photo-voltaic cells but I was wrong. They were mirrors that focused reflected sunlight on the collectors on each tower. The collectors heat boilers driving steam turbine generators. Relatively low tech. Because it required the burning of natural gas each morning to fire it up, the output was less than predicted and the cost of photo-voltaic cells has declined, we probably won't see any more like this.

For sale? Really???

It was 12:50 Pacific Time and 104F when we  crossed into Nevada.

Another state

Looking at both sides of the border, the wages of sin are pretty good

A lot of the traffic was heading for Vegas, so the exits started to jam up as soon as we hit town. Luckily, there were express lanes that kept us away from those jams. Near Caesar's Palace, we caught another rock in the windshield although the mark was smaller than the one we got last year. We got out the north side despite heavy construction.

Some day I will go up here just so I can tell Stewey I did

We went on past Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I hope they get this road construction finished or at least improved before the next major race.

Industrial vehicle auction site

Very old race car or replica

Note the FedEx triple

We stopped at a Love's at the junction of US 93 for a Subway sandwich. The girl said my US VISA was declined so I paid cash. In the parking lot, I called VISA and they told me the Super 8 charge was declined because of the May 2017 expiry date. What? The Super 8 in St George that I scored the last room at last week had the charge declined? I realized I had not updated the US card on the Wyndham Rewards website. Until now, I had used my Canadian MasterCard to guarantee rooms. Had my mistake cost us our only hope for a room tonight? The VISA guy told me the Subway was declined because the young lady on the cash had entered MasterCard while I swiped a VISA. No big deal, but the motel was. I phoned the Super 8 and the gentleman told me he was about to call me. I gave him updated information and he said the room was still ours.

Fate moves in mysterious ways. If the girl had not made a mistake, I would not have phoned VISA and discovered the motel charge error which could have resulted in us sleeping in the car tonight. All's well that ends well.

It was 110 F when we passed the Casa Blanca Casino in Mesquite, Nevada and crossed the Arizona state line. Then we followed the Virgin River through the spectacular Virgin River Gorge and then crossed the Utah state line, entering Mountain Time Zone.

We arrived in St George and stopped at a Pilot truck stop to fuel up. It was jam packed and took some jockeying to get to a pump. We got it done and then headed to the Super 8 where we arrived at 5:30 Mountain Time and checked in to their only king bed/hot tub suite. I parked the car/trailer in such a way that someone could not box me in.

The room was huge. We should have enjoyed the double shower and hot tub but I spent the evening catching up on posting bills, which I had not done since Kingman. I also sorted more photos and transcribed notes while Sandy caught up on her tablet. By the time I was done, we were both too tuckered out to make use of the facilities. I did note that the Canadian dollar was up to $0.77, a positive thing.

Today's Route (512 Equinox miles):