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August 06, 2003

South-Western Loop - Santa Cruz to Las Vegas

Yesterday was dedicated to more work. I finally wrapped up and hit the road at 8 p.m., reaching Bakersfield after 3.5 hours of driving. Don't try to stop in Bakersfield for anything else than sleeping, you'd waste your time.

Wednesday, August 6 - back in holiday mode, finally.

Heading north towards Death Valley National Park. I stop in Lone Pine at the intersection of Highway 395 and 136 to take a brief look at the highest mountains in the contiguous 48 states. Mt. Whitney is the top of the Sierra Nevada with 14494 feet.

Then Death Valley in the height of the summer, yay! Leaving the car is like holding your head under an industry strength blow dryer. The car industry uses one of the hottest spots on earth to test heat resistance. A camouflaged van with Detroit license plates proves that fact.

I'm reaching the visitor center in the late afternoon. At 5 p.m., the thermometer still shows 114 degrees. This is wild. Before leaving, a hike in Golden Canyon features colorful rocks and dramatic desert views.

Now heading towards Las Vegas, NV. The gambling paradise is well booked this night. No luck at the Luxor. However, after searching for a while, the MGM Grand offers a suite in the newly renovated Grand Tower at $100.

My first night in Vegas, and I don't play a single cent...

Posted by Uli at August 6, 2003 11:59 PM

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