Thursday, November 22, 2007

Damn, that's a big dam!

Day 7 (Scroll down a bit to read days 4, 5, and 6...also recently posted)
Today we left Vegas and headed for Sun City West, AZ to visit my grandma. We made a pit stop at Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. Joleen was REALLY pissed off today as she thought our progress was much too slow. Let's just say she really didn't want to stop at the Hoover Dam. Too bad for her.

Here's a picture of Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake in the US. Wow. Great.

We passed through the NV/AZ border en route to the Hoover Dam. There was a big security check know, so people don't bring in explosives to blow up the dam or something. I personally feel that they should be concentrating more of their efforts on ensuring that Megatron remains frozen and that the rest of the Decepticons don't gain access to the dam, but hey. What do I know? Anyway, being as we were hauling a trailer we had to pull over. We had to open up the U-Haul for them to inspect. Which was a huge joke. First of all, we couldn't get the damn thing opened because all the contents had shifted back against the door. After we finally managed to open it, the guy just kind of looks at it. I mean, this U-Haul to packed full of crap. In order to actually inspect it, you'd need to take everything out. As if we'd do that. Hey, if he wants to take it all out and put in back, go ahead. Anyway, so it was totally pointless and a waste of time.

Here's the Arizona sign at the dam:

I really wanted to stop at the Hoover Dam simply because of the history. It's like the quintessential Depression-era WPA project. Hey, everyone is out of a job! Let's have them build a giant dam! Here are more Hoover Dam pictures:

Here's a picture of all the electrical lines leading out of the dam and to towns and stuff. It provides A LOT of power.

Then we arrived in Sun City West and hung out with my grandma until the next morn.

Luck Be a Lady Tonight
Viva Las Vegas!

Day 6 (if you haven't read Day 4 or 5, scroll down...I posted that tonight as well)
So we took off from Random Town, CA and headed to Las Vegas, NV. This is the view Joleen, Sunny, and I had for the rest of the trip:

Ok, so the scenery changed, but the truck stayed the same. We stared at the back of this U-Haul for far too long. Joleen and I started having conversations such as:

"So, I'm going to be moving soon. Do you know where I can go that might have a discount, like 50% or something?"

"I don't know. When do you need it by?"

"Well, preferably I'd like a place where I could call and reserve now, but is that even possible?"

"I don't know. Hmmm. I wonder which place could fit your needs. Have you thought about what kind of loading deck you'd need?"

"Yeah, it needs to be a really low deck that's super easy to load."


It took Sunny a while to catch on. At one point, we were driving behind another U-Haul as well. This time, with different informational facts ("Hey, I need a moving place that provides boxes...").

Here's a funny road sign I saw. How'd you like to live on this road? How the hell do you pronounce it, anyway? Zizzicks?

Wicket, enjoying the ride:

We arrived in Las Vegas where we spent one night. Here's the sign heralding in you can see, this Nevada sign is a bit glitzier than the previous Nevada sign (Utah/Nevada border). I like the Carl's Jr. sign as well. What's up with Carl's Jr.'s anyway? Are they exactly the same as Hardee's? Do they just have different names? Does any state have both Hardee's and Carl's Jr.s? Is it like the story behind Fleet Farm and Farm and Fleet? You know, sibling split? Whatev.

We didn't stay at a hotel on the Strip as we needed a place that allowed dogs. So we stayed at a Super 8 a couple of blocks away. We ate dinner in one of the casino buffets. It was really good. I can't recall which casino it was, however. Hmmm. That's going to bother me. At the end of the meal, we all went up and grabbed about 5 different desserts so our table was completely laden with desserts. We just sampled little bites of each, but all together we pretty much finished them off. It was hilarious. I wish we had taken a picture. I ate something that did not agree with me, making me feel horrible. Too much sushi? Dairy? I don't know. We walked along the strip a bit and watched the Fountains of Bellagio 'perform' to Viva Las Vegas. I prefer the fountains going off to classical stuff instead of the pop stuff.

Then I had to rush home because I thought I was going to die. Need bathroom...need to lay down...

So I ran off alone and was later joined by my mom. My dad, Joleen, and Sunny stopped off at some place to play blackjack.

I hate gambling. It is not fun to me at all. I just feel like I'm throwing money away. I get that you kind of need to have the mindset, "I'm paying to have fun," but that doesn't work for me. Because I can't have fun when I feel like I'm just flushing money down the toilet.

Oh well. Here's a pic of us in front of some statue near Caesar's Palace:

Day 4
Destination: Known

Ok, I'm determined to complete an entry for every day of my road trip even though I've had a gigantic hiatus/sabbatical/what-have-you since my last entry. Which I believe was Day 3. I left you at the America's Best Value in Tahoe. Anyway, on day 4 we awoke in Tahoe to really cold weather. The car windows were all frozen over. We did not have an ice scraper in the car. Instead of being patient and waiting for the sun/defrost function to do its work, my dad decided to roll down his window, stick his head out, and drive up to the front office to check out. Imagine him doing this to choruses of my mom yelling, "Steve, you're going to kill someone!" Humorous. He didn't kill anyone. After they decided to take my advice and scrape off the windows with a credit card, we were on our way. We drove around Lake Tahoe, which takes a decent amount of time. We stopped for breakfast. My dad really wanted to eat at a casino buffet, so we stopped and went into Harrah's. When he figured out that the buffet was $25 (I'm not paying $25 for breakfast!"), we left and tried to go to IHOP. It was super crowded. So we left. We ended up eating at some place very similar to IHOP. Can't recall the name now. Seems to be a chain in the western states, but I had never heard of them before.

Here's a picture of Lake Tahoe. I'm bored of Tahoe pictures since this was the second time I'd been there in the last couple of months. If you have a hankering to see more Tahoe pictures, go back to my entry when I describe in detail my visit to Joleen in early July.

We then stopped at the Donner Memorial State Park...the fateful place where the Donner Party was forced to eat each other to survive the harsh winter back in 1846-7. It was pretty boring, but we didn't pay the $5 or whatever to go into the actual museum where presumably you'd get a pamphlet or we just walked around and read the minimal plaques erected at various points. Here's me taking a bite out of my dad's arm--when visiting the Donners, eat like the Donners. Or something.

Apparently, the snow got so high that winter that it was up to the top of the statue base (right below their feet). But, you know, that statue was built later. ;)

Then we finished out drive west and made it to Joleen and Sunny's in Yountville in time for dinner.

Day 5
We packed up the U-Haul and left for AZ, making it to some random motel (Super 8, I believe) in California along Highway 15? Or something. I don't know. I don't remember which road we took in California. Whichever road leads from Napa to Vegas. Here's Joleen, Sunny, and Wicket standing outside their vacant apartment.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Kick Him In the Nards!
Wolfmen don't have nards!
Whoa! Wolfman
does have nards!

My parents are gone this week in Florida because Brian is participating in the Ironman Triathlon this weekend in Panama City, FL. Sunny is in Chicago, so it was up to only Joleen and I to pass out the candy to all the kiddies who came to our door tonight. We ran out of candy twice. After we ran out the first time, I made a quick run to the grocery store and bought a couple more bags (for the record, our candy choices were Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, KitKats, Rolos, and Snickers). Then we ran out again just past 8 o'clock. Instead of buying more candy (or passing out canned goods and bread), we turned out our lights to signal we were done for the night. Then we watched Hallloween II and Monster Squad.

We dressed Wicket up in a doggy wedding dress. It was too big for her. She hated it. We put it on her and she refused to move. It was adorable and hilarious. Later on we just attached the veil to her harness so she still had on a costume but also was able to walk around. She barked every time someone came to our door. It was kind of annoying.

We're going to Madison tomorrow because I have to take some sort of city/typing/general knowledge "you're not a complete idiot" test as part of the next phase for a job I applied for (at the Madison public library). Not sure how long we'll be there, but probably not long.

Joleen and Sunny have bought their plane tickets to Australia. They leave here on November 9th. How's this for odd: So, if they bought plane tickets from Minneapolis straight to Sydney, then the tickets would've been about $1400/each. But if they bought tickets from Minneapolis to Hawaii, then tickets from Hawaii to Sydney, it only costs about $700/each. So it's half the price for them to stay in Hawaii and vacation for 3-4 days mid-travel. Awesome. So they're doing that (not to go into logistical details, but the latter option is cheaper because it enables them to fly into Sydney from Hawaii on an Australian discount airline ala JetBlue).

Uhhh, so yeah. They'll be gone in a little over a week. After that, I anticipate actually moving into my apartment that I've been paying for.