Day 1 – Las Vegas, NV to Chandler, AZ - 315 miles
Though leaving on a couple months’ road trip is much less emotional than leaving for a year at sea, we were just the tiniest bit sad to be leaving Mary and Paul. Mary made a special ‘farewell’ dinner for us on Monday night. They both supplied awesome wines for the occasion (yum). We ate, drank, played cards and laughed lots. We went to bed late and didn’t sleep well … we were anxious to be off.
Tuesday morning, May Day, dawned gray and overcast, pretty rare for Las Vegas. We took our morning walk, had coffee with the sibs, did some last minute laundry, finished loading up Blue, turned the trip odometer to ‘0’ and hit the road. Raindrops dotted the windshield … just enough rain to mess up Blue’s mirror finish achieved yesterday at the car wash.
We headed down Boulder Highway onto US-93, sped past Boulder City and the Hoover Dam and, just like that, we were in Arizona. We joined US-40 for a few miles just past Kingman, then turned south onto the Joshua Forest Parkway aka US-93 once again. Touted as a ‘scenic byway’, we enjoyed the rugged, desert terrain and the desert bloom. Palo verde trees were bright yellow in contrast to the desert brown. Ocotillo showed off in bright red. Prickly pear and cholla were beginning to bloom … just like at home. Saguaro cactus stood like sentries on the hills. In some areas, Joshua trees filled the landscape as far as the eye could see.
By the time we got to the tiny little town of Wikieup, Arizona, we were ready for lunch and a nap. How convenient, we had food and our bed with us. We parked near a roadside historical marker and crawled into the back for a bite to eat and a 45 minute power nap. Refreshed, we reclaimed our place on the highway and continued south. We weren’t sure what Snoopy, Spike and Woodstock perched on a rocket signified, but it was a Roadside America moment to be appreciated.
We took a quick pit stop in Wickenburg, a small town with several roundabouts. Each roundabout showcased an interesting piece of artwork. Taking a photo, while traveling round a rotary at 40 mph is not easy, hence the blur of the spur. Another roundabout held a bronze Remington sculpture, ‘Bronco Buster’ which clearly escaped my camera.
We’re definitely out of practice because the 315 mile trip from Las Vegas to Chandler, where we ended up for the night, seemed particularly long. Blue slept in the hotel parking lot and the crew took advantage of a lovely air-conditioned room and a hot shower after what seemed a long, dusty day. Tomorrow … Tucson, here we come … at least that’s the plan du jour.