We left the house in Sechelt around 2 pm on October 25. We were quite early for the 4:30 ferry but it proved to be a good idea. We headed right for Kobe Steakhouse - we had a Groupon certificate - definitely a good deal. The ferry was late (of course) and by the time we found a parking space it was 6:30. Aaron (our son) had thought he could join us but that didn't work out. We stayed overnight at the Marriott Airport Hotel in Richmond. (25550 km start mileage)
We stopped at IHOP in South Surrey for breakfast and headed for the border. We used NEXUS at Peace Arch and it was uneventful. We stopped at Haggens in Ferndale for some lunch food. It's still one of the nicest grocery stores we stop at. We stopped for gas at Costco in Tacoma WA only to discover that Larry's US VISA Credit Card did not work. After contacting the US Bank we discovered that his Visa card was compromised so after talking with the Yuma Credit Union we determined that the attempted charges were not ours. They cancelled the credit card. At the same time they assured us that Maureen's card was still working and would continue to do so. Just before we arrived in Eugene, we passed an RV that we thought we recognized - Norm and Jan from Swan Lake. We all pulled over and chatted for a bit.
We got to Eugene Oregon at about 5:30. Our hotel, La Quinta Inn & Suites was a bit out of the way so we ordered pizza to be delivered for dinner. It was ok. We had ordered a medium but they made a large at no extra charge. When you're hotelling you really don't want leftovers! Anyway we had them for lunch the next day. We turned onto Hwy 58 from I-5 and headed for Reno. Our GPS didn't want to go that way so we argued with her for a bit. Eventually she got it figured out and it was a lovely drive, a couple of mountain passes and beautiful fall foliage.
We got to Reno about 4:30. It was cloudy most of the way but quite warm. We had a good visit with Cheryl and stayed at her house. We went to Outback for dinner. We had met Cheryl and Jim a few years ago when we were in Yuma for a couple of months. Jim has since passed away but it was a pleasure to stay with her and Rocky dog.
We had another 8 hour drive on Wednesday (which started out rainy). We stopped at Tonopah Brewing Company for a nice BBQ lunch. When we attempted to fill up with gas, we discovered that Maureen's Visa card was now no longer working - the lady at the Credit Union accidentally cancelled her card too! That left us with no American cards and just a bit of cash. Recently our Credit Union has affiliated with over 5000 other credit unions so we were able to stop at one in Vegas and get some cash. Our new cards would be sent to Palm Springs.
The drive was good with not too much traffic and we arrived in Vegas about 4:00. We stayed at the Westgate Resort (formerly the Hilton) at the north end of the strip beside the Las Vegas Convention Centre. We paid for the $10 per day upgraded room and it was quite nice with an amazing view. Thursday, after waiting for over an hour for the engineers to get the hot water working (we were refunded our room upgrade and the $28 resort fee for this day), we went to Costco for gas ($2.47 a gallon), In-N-Out for lunch (ahhh it's good to be back) and then went through a few new model homes looking for ideas. We had a 2 for 1 buffet coupon at the hotel so that was dinner.
Friday was NHRA Drag Race Day #1. We have so many pictures of things at the track that we didn't even bring the camera this time. We stopped by Clay Millican's pit and talked to Skylar. It was so cool that he remembered us. He's a nice young man who we met last year. He works on the bottom end of Clay's car. He said that when we are in Pomona he would bring us into the pit and show us the inner workings of tearing an engine down and re-building it. That's exciting. Then we went to the Racing Electronics booth. This is where we always rent our ear protection for the weekend. We've gotten to know Kay over the years. Her and her husband travel the NHRA circuit all year with their Racing Electronics products. They provide all the communication equipment for the NHRA Drag Racers at all 26 events annually - they're not young either so it's a lot of work. Over the years she has occasionally not charged us for our rental ($29 for the whole weekend). This time there were other people nearby so she loudly "reminded" us that since we had already reserved our headphones, we had already paid. What a lovely person! Then she proceeded to ask us if we were going to Pomona in two weeks. When we said yes, she said keep them until then! Amazing! It was a good day - warm with a nice breeze. We had bought lunch at the track and it seemed more expensive than usual. Water was now $4 a bottle. When the racing was over, we picked up a few things at Walmart for dinner and for breakfast the next couple of days.
Saturday (Happy Halloween!) - Yesterday Maureen forgot to take the Do Not Disturb sign off the door - so they didn't. Saturday they must have just forgot to clean. We got some clean towels and expected they would clean on Sunday, which they did. Saturday we shared a Teriyaki bowl from the track and drank our own water. Sunday we stopped at Subway on the way and picked up lunch. Larry put a bunch of ice in the little cooler and Larry scooted back to the car wit his scooter for the food when we were ready. That's the way to do it! The races were good - the weather was quite warm with a bit of a breeze.
Monday we headed south on I-15 out of Las Vegas after stopping at McDonalds for breakfast. We were taking a new route today - turning off at Exit 286 down Morning Star Mine Road, through Cima and Kelso - both semi-abandoned towns in the middle of the Mojave Desert Preserve and past the Kelso Dune. We went under I-40 and turned onto Route 66 briefly. This took us through the little unincorporated town of Amboy - currently it has a post office, an historic motel/cafe and a Route 66 tourist shop - where we had a bathroom break. First settled in 1858 and once a major stop on Route 66, it currently has a population of 4. Just outside of Amboy is the Amboy Crater which is a 6,000-year-old cinder cone volcano, 250 feet tall with two dry lakes inside. From here we head south again, coming out near 29 Palms on the north side of Joshua Tree National Park. We went through Yucca Valley and down to I-10, exit Date Palm Drive to Vista Chino and Desert Princess Golf Resort.
Our new adventure begins!