Friday 8th May – Hoover Dam & the Valley of Fire
After not getting enough sleep because we went to bed so late, Bronwen and I had a quick look around the unusual hotel we were in, checked out, and drove to Hoover Dam. I do not recommend going to Hoover Dam. It’s not very big, and not very interesting. We also paid $10 for parking (because the signs made it look like it was compulsory) before finding out that there was (very limited and mostly full) free parking on the other side of the dam if you ignored the signs and just drove there.
Valley of Fire
After being unimpressed with Hoover Dam, we drove through Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Valley of Fire State Park in the Mojave Desert, and spent the afternoon clambering around rocks and finding cactuses in it.
We spent the night in a free campsite run by the Fish and Game Commission in Moapa Valley not far from the Valley of Fire. We were the only people in it. We couldn’t be bothered setting up the tent—and after the uncomfortable night at the Grand Canyon, sleeping in the car seemed like it would be more comfortable anyway.
Saturday 9th May – Las Vegas
After having had a reasonably good sleep in the car, Bronwen and I awoke to find it was raining very lightly. We defogged the car, ate some peanut butter and honey on flat bread, and drove to Las Vegas—via the Valley of Fire State Park again, to look at a few of the things we’d missed yesterday afternoon.
We spent a few hours wandering around “The Strip” in Las Vegas, which was a lot nicer when it wasn’t windy and freezing cold. After a burrito from Chipotle, we left Las Vegas, and drove towards Los Angeles.
We arrived at Rodeway Inn (the bullet-proof glass in the lobby added a genuine American feel), in Los Angeles, just after dark, and checked into our room (including the complicated procedure to get Wi-Fi, where they print a special receipt with a unique username for each device). The room is fine, but the most expensive and most basic (it has no iron—making it hard to do our washing and get it dry!) we’ve had so far.
We went for a walk to a nearby iHop dessert/pancake restaurant, where I bought a milkshake in the hope that I’d eventually find this fabled America everyone back in Australia told me about, where everything was large and cheap. Of course, my milkshake (which wasn’t any cheaper than one in Australia) turned out to be very small (much smaller than an Australian one), and of the fake and unpleasant ice-cream free type that the machines at McDonalds make—not a real milkshake at all. Bronwen bought some pancakes, which were pretty much the same as pancakes in Australia. Overall it wasn’t a very good experience. It was also the first time we’d tipped so far this trip.