New Mexico and Beyond; Part 3

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I had very little clue where we were when we stopped at the rest area where we spent the night. It was like 2 am and I fell asleep at like 10pm. Considering how excited he was to show me the Pacific Coast Highway, you’d think I would have seen more of it. Anyway, we woke up to this:

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Apparently the Pacific Ocean wasn’t too far away from this rest area because after going through that tunnel, taking the next exit to turn around and driving a little ways (like 20 minutes total driving), we saw this:

After paying $3.99/gallon for gas on Ventura Blvd (because we’d been scared by the $4.20 previously), I decided that I’d seen enough of California. We started our trip back east by wiggling over to I-15 though some pretty scenery.

We stopped in Bakersfield for an oil change (he’d gotten one a couple days before we left VA) and the new thermometer.

I have to admit that I’m currently extremely prejudiced against red pickups. This is because of the shear terror I went through as we left California via I-15 towards Las Vegas. The speed limit on this stretch of road is 70 for cars and 55 for big trucks. This speed differential probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if the cars were going 70, but no–we were getting passed while going 95! And traffic wasn’t light! It was pretty much bumper to bumper cruising through the desert at 95. The idiot red pickup driver (who I still want to strangle) decided that it’d be smart to merge into our lane while his back bumper was in line with our front wheel. I do not know how he fit without taking our front bumper off AT 95 MPH! Grr–pisses me off! Boyfriend says that tailgating is the only way to prevent people from cutting you off like that. You wonder how the big trucks play into this horrific scenario? Boyfriend says that he was once pulled over on this stretch of road for going 56 mph in his truck. It seems that the police, when they monitor this stretch of highway only pull over trucks for speeding, so the drivers are leery of going fast enough to keep up with the car traffic. This is generally a 4 lane divided highway (occasionally there’s an additional slow vehicle/ truck lane), so when one truck wants to pass another truck, they must get into the obscenely fast left lane which causes this traffic to actually use the pedal on the left and creates the slight backup that  left me saying Hail Marys. Look at a map: there’s no major cities to swallow that traffic up as we headed into Nevada and yet, without changing anything, suddenly the traffic went poof–all gone! What changed? Big trucks could suddenly put the hammer down (alas, I now speak truck driver almost fluently when I can get past the accents) and away they went. Since I doubt anything will slow the cars down, it seems logical to either build the trucks their own set of lanes or raise their speed limit to something at least a bit more reasonable.

I just read that in 1990 SWIFT was so proud of itself for having their governors set at 57 mph! Good Grief! This site says that in 1998 they raised it to 60 for individuals, 62 for teams. That’s still a HELL of a lot slower than the 95 we were traveling at! I’m pretty sure that this is the company that was sued by the state of AZ(?) in the 2000s and told to either raise their speeds or get out of the state.

I’d ask the boyfriend which state/company it was, but he just called to say he was going on tow number 4 today. He woke up at 2pm, left the house shortly later to get gas so we can calculate our milage for the trip and it’s now almost 6pm. He was called 3 times while we were away even though the county/state know that they’re supposed to call the company phone before they call his personal one. Tows 1 and 2 came before he picked up the company phone again. Ah well, he needs the money after the trip anyway.

Anyway, enough of my rant on CA drivers. After that stretch, even the city driving we did wasn’t so bad. And no, at no point did I drive during this trip.

We made it into Nevada without incident (thank you Mary!) and decided to cruise the Las Vegas Strip a little. I have some family that lives in and/or used to live in the area, but we didn’t stop to see anyone. The only thing that interests me about Las Vegas is the Luxor because I’ve heard that inside the pyramid is essentially it’s own city. I saw some of it from the street, but decided that I had no interest in evading the crowded streets to see it up close. We vamoosed shortly afterwards.

I fell asleep as we left Nevada and all I remember is waking up in some steep hills while boyfriend seemed to be going 20 miles over the speed limit. I can neither confirm or deny this, though I do know he commented on us being back in AZ for a little while and I know it was jarring to open my eyes in the dark and just see looming shadowy mountains dead ahead.

Utah was a nice change of pace. The weather was wonderful (it was good to be cold again) and there were some nice scenic areas right off the interstate. We stopped at 2, I think.

We decided to call it a day early in Colorado and checked into a hotel shortly after crossing into the state. The hot tub felt amazing after all the car camping we’d done

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