19th Oct I arrived around 11am in Carson City. I had chosen to cross Nevada on my way to the Grand Canyon National Park for the warm and dry weather. I always try to follow the sun and the warmer temperatures, unfortunately it is not always possible. Carson City as a town was not very pretty, because of all of its casinos. Nevertheless there were some buildings and surroundings I liked as well as the murals. In North America it is common with murals, but they are different from town to town. Anyway they often tell about the history of the town. I remember one of the murals, which showed an Indian chief, who’s tribe was living here before the European settlers arrived, but the sun was in the wrong position for me, though I could not get a good shot.
Another thing I like in some of the cities are the stands for the bicycles, when they e.g. look like bicycles itself. However I was hungry after walking the streets in this city and finally chose to eat lunch at Mom&Pop’s Diner. It was a good choice. For only $7 (tax included) I have got a tasty and big meal, which nearly was too much for me.
By the way, the town was having lots of pink and lilac bows. The pink ones I know are for the awareness of breast cancer, the others were for the awareness of violence in the families. Every month has its own theme, but I have not seen somewhere else made it aware with such a lot of bows and flowers.
For more photos of Carson City click here!
In the afternoon I made a detour to Virginia City via Silver City and Gold Hill by hwy 342. This road was not allowed for trucks, because it’s 15% grade most of the time. It featured amazing views and the small towns were looking like in the “good old days”. Unfortunately it was neither allowed nor possible to stop and make pictures along the road, but in Virginia City.
For more photos of Virgina City click here!
From Virginia City I had to went back to Carson City, from where I was driving to Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. The lake stretches along the border between California and Nevada. The surroundings were very beautiful and I could not understand why Canadians told me, that Nevada only is desert.
For more photos of Lake Tahoe click here!
Furthermore I decided to go South. I was not interested in one more night with frozen windows. Though I drove US-395 South and stayed on a rest area in Antelope Valley, close to a Senior Center. The rest area and it’s restroom were very simple and not very clean, but it was already dark and hard to find another one, therefore I stayed on this place.
20th Oct I awoke to a sunny, but cold day. I was not so very South as I had hoped. That did not matter, when I saw the beautiful surroundings. Once again I love the rolling hills!
The little village had also som Native craft shops. I tried to catch the exterior.
Soon I continued on US-395, which was scenic all the way, sometimes at more than 7000 feet (more than 2100 m).
For more photos of Antelope Valley and the Highway US-395 click here!
After a while I reached a town called Bridgeport. Here I bought a coffee and breakfast at Rhinos Bar & Grille. It was not served fast, but it was huge. There were 2 big, thick, fluffy pancakes with bacon, hard whipped cream and maple syrup. The pancakes were so big, I could not eat all of them. The coffee mug was refilled twice and all this for $10 – not the cheapest breakfast I have had, but really worth it price.
My next destination was Mono Lake, which is situated in California. To read about my visit there as well as my trip to and throughout the Yosemite National Park go back to California.
23rd Oct I reached Nevada in the dark and with a traffic jam on US-15. By the way it was raining in Nevada this day, what surprised me, because the desert. I stayed on a Walmart car park in North Las Vegas. My evening meal was a Smoothie, I bought at McDonald’s meanwhile the Walmart customer service was so nice to charge my tablet, that means, they tried, but unfortunately it was not working. Nevertheless I found a contact, where I could charge it. In my car again I saw a man taking out clothing of a donation container.
24th Oct the sun was coming through around 8am. The guy from the evening before, steeling out of the donation container, tried to sell some of the clothes to people with RV’s. I think, I do not need to mention anymore, that I washed my face etc. in the washroom of Walmart. I bought a coffee at McDonald’s again. This time I had to pay $1.50. Afterwards I drove to a library in North Las Vegas, where I spent my hours between 10am and 3pm. They opened 10.30am, but had a special place outside the library with wi-fi and electric contacts. In the late afternoon I tried to find a campsite, but the RV-park I asked, they told me, they were not allowed to take campers, who do not have a RV. Though I tried to find another one, but got a flat tire. I managed to drive into a gas station and park there, but they did not have wi-fi. After a while I found a Starbucks, where I was allowed to use their wi-fi (without buying anything). I was getting in contact with the CAA via the Internet and it worked very well. They are working together with the AAA (American AA), from which I have got an email in some minutes, that a car will be with me in 30 minutes. So it was and I got my tire changed. The spare tire was only for emergency use and I had to find a new tire (because I drove on the flat tire), that means I was looking for a used one, otherwise I had to buy two new ones. I asked first at Pep Boys and also told them, that it was a tire, which had got a new stud in Bakersfield. I though, the mechanic may have punctured it, because he told me, it was such a hard work. On the other hand side, it was the one, which was already repaired once. Anyway, Pep Boys do not sell used tires, but told me, that there is a tire shop down the road, which does. I found Sinaloa Tires, as it seemed a Mexican shop, and bought a used tire for $35, change of tires included. I was not sure about the quality of the tire, especially for it had almost three weights to balance it. Actually at high speed it was hard to hold the steering wheel.
With the new, but used tire I drove to a McDonald’s again, ate a salad and was then looking for the other RV-park, called American RV-Park, but that was more a slum town, but a RV-Park. Though I drove to another Walmart car park. I decided to go to a swimming pool the following day, because I was longing for a shower respectively continue to Mead Lake with it hot springs.
Unfortunately on this Walmart car park I was not allowed to stay the entire night. The private patrol knocked at my window around 10pm and told me, that it was ok to take a rest there, but that I could not be there all of the night. Though I had to go somewhere else and I decided to leave Las Vegas even I had not been on the “Strip”, that means, I had not seen all the lights and the night life of the town. I decided to come back, when I had left my car in Canada.
Leaving Las Vegas in the right direction was not so easy either, anyway after a couple of hours I arrived at the outskirts of Boulder City and stayed on a small mall car park. I was too tired to continue. Nobody did bother me and I left in the early morning.
25th Oct I drove to Mead Lake National Recreation Area, where I slept a couple of more hours. The Information opened at 9am and I was there asking for a campsite and the hot springs. There was a basic campsite without a shower, was the answer as well as the hot springs are not for bath because the amoebas in the water, which are dangerous for the eyes. He also told me, that some people anyway take a bath there, but it is not recommended. I was thinking about the hot spring close to Rotorua in NZ, but that one was not a wild one. Though I drove further after have taken some photographs from the beautiful surroundings.
For more photos of the area click here!
My second stop this day was for a coffee, but that was already in Arizona.
Second visit of Las Vegas (13th to 16th Nov)
13th Nov I came by direct flight from Calgary in Canada. The plane was arriving 40 min late around 9pm. As usual I had first to find a restroom, when arrived on my destination. Afterwards I had to find the baggage belt, which was far away and the signs were somewhat misleading. When I found the belt, I did not find my big backpack, though I had to ask for it and they showed me, where it was taken – even not far away from the belt. I did not see any border control, which surprised me. I needed a new stamp in my passport even I have the waiver. When I finally found the border control, I also became aware, that the opening hours are between 8am and 5pm. I was not willing to spent the night at the airport, though I decided to find the hostel I was looking for on the Internet. Unfortunately it took such a long time to find a bus connection (first from T3 to T1 and after that downtown) and also the waiting time for the right bus was long – in addition to that had the bus driver of the right bus told me, it was the wrong direction, though I was going with the next one, which took much longer.
When I finally arrived at the Sin City Hostel, it was closed, but I could see an assistant through the window of the door. Though I knocked. He asked me, if I had booked a bed already and when I denied he told me, there were no beds left and I could try at another hostel – the Hostel Cat, they might still be open and have vacancies. He was very unfriendly. Though I do not recommend the Sin City Hostel even they provide breakfast for the same price like the Hostel Cat without breakfast. Even the Hostel Cat was already closed and there was no way to get in touch with them, though I stayed that night at the Desert Star Motel for 56 USD incl. taxes. I was not sure, the room will be clean, but it was even it was a little shabby. The owner told me, that it was the best and nicest room they have. I did not take a shower at this place, fortunately there was also a wash basin in the room. – The reason for not booking in advance was, that I was not sure if I was allowed to stay in the USA because I already have had a stamp for 90 days. By the way I was again in another timezone and I had to set my clock backwards an hour.
Around 8am on 14th Nov I left the motel and the owner was happily welcoming me back with the words: Elderly are always nice guests, they do not party and they always leave in time. I went to the Hostel Cat and booked two nights, left my luggage there as well, because I had to wait for the check in time. Meanwhile I was first eating a breakfast at 7eleven and then going back to the airport and visited the border control. I explained that I might need a new stamp and that I only have been in the States for 42 days instead of 90. The female officer did check my file on her computer, was then talking to her male colleague – probably a Mexican – and explaining that my first stamp was meanwhile I also had a visa for Canada. After that she was going to her desk again, put a stamp in my passport and wrote a date. When she left my passport back to me, she told me, I gave you until 10th February 2017. I expressed my surprise and thanked her a lot.
My next destination was the Convenient and visitor center, where I picked up a free map and some information about Las Vegas as well. Back at the hostel I checked in and was reading the information I have got at the visitor center in the outside area of the hostel. That area was actually in between the building in U-form and really nice, but rustic.
I was taking the bus downtown because I thought my legs are to tired for walking the Strip in both directions. While I walked the Strip I stopped at the Fountains of Bellagio and at other outdoor entertainments close to it. It had become chilly when I walked all the way back on the Strip to the hostel, even it had been hot daytime. Being back at the hostel I made my notices of the day and wrote postcards as well. It was not easy to find sleep afterwards because the TV was on very loudly and a guest made a phone call talking very loudly as well. Finally I fell asleep around 1am.
I started the 15th Nov with a shower at 8am and had breakfast at the Shalimar Hotel, which offered a special price for backpackers. I took the most expensive breakfast because the low price and a coffee I had to pay for extra. The waiter was very service-minded, though I really enjoyed my breakfast. I continued to “Circus, Circus” a hotel with a gambling hall and circus attractions. I was first using a slot machine for one (1) USD. I did not win anything, though I walked away and enjoyed the circus attractions. I also walked around in the gambling hall. I soon tried to find the way out, but got lost. Therefore I had to walk around for a longer while. At the end I had to ask a security person for help.
Finally outside I walked further on the Strip to the flashing areas. I looked at Wyns, visited the Fashion Mall and also ate something close to it. I went to the Encore and tried my luck with Roulette. I changed 20 USD into 20 chips and was looking for, how the game has been so far. I felt stressed to start gambling and did put the minimum amount of chips, here 15, on black even I have seen that it takes many plays for the black one to come up. I was thinking, there have already been some red ones, the next may be black, but it had not been enough. I lost all of the 15 chips. I also think, the dealer knows how much force he has to use to bring the ball into red or black fields. I had 5 chips left, which I was allowed to put on the table. Though I put them on different numbers: One on 27 (the date of birth of Freddy Quinn and my daughter, but different month), one on 12 (my birthday), one on 3 and one on 7 – the last one I do not remember. Anyway Freddy Quinn did not bring me any luck, no did my birthday or the other numbers. The 8 was the winning number and I never would have put a chip on an eight. I was done and I left the Roulette table as well as the Gambling Hall. I enjoyed and took photos of art instead. There is a lot in Las Vegas. Some of them you can enjoy for free.
I was back around 7pm and watching TV with others before I went to bed. Unfortunately there were already people sleeping, though I could not switch on the light, but I always have my pan flashlight and that is good enough.
Another thing I thought might be “typically” Las Vegas were the many wedding chapels. From the Hostel Cat to the Strip there were almost 4 and was not checking if there were more in another area. One was advertising, that Elvis Presley was married there.
For more photos of the “real” Las Vegas click here!
16th Nov I made my laundry before I checked out in time. I had booked a bus to Los Angeles for 20 USD and the bus was stopping at Circus Circus, but not in the front of it. The bus company’s name was Tuseca. I asked security persons again for finding the bus stop at a car park under the building of Circus Circus. I was not really sure, that I was right, when I arrived, but a short time after me another passenger arrived and he had arrived at that bus stop some days earlier, though he knew, that it was the right place. This guy was from Italy and he was very nice.
For the rest of these part of my travel around the world please switch to California.