April 14th --Death Valley and Las Vegas--

Looking into a map, I found that Death Valley is very close to the Interstate-15. I changed my plan and decided to drop by. Taking the Interstate-10 until the junction of the I-15. Then, I headed north along a power line, which sends electric power from Hoover Dam to LA. A busy highway with two lanes always gives a stress to everyone. There are three kinds of cars on the highway, those who drive fast, medium, and slow. If there are only two lanes, the mediums and the fasts are packed into the passing lane because the slows occupy the right lane. If there were only the slows and the mediums, there would be no stress. But in reality, there are the fasts. They really hurry up, so they decide to pass the mediums using the right lane. They rush into the gap between the slows, pass the mediums and squeeze themselves into the tiny gap of mediums. The slows see the fasts rushing just in front of their nose, and so do the mediums. At the same time, the fasts are always frustrated by the slow speed. Driving north in this frustration, I found a sign by the road. This made me forget everything. How can I read "Zzyzx" road? After Barstow, about 100 miles away from LA, the I-15 turned into a comfortable road. It was about noon when I got to Baker, the junction to Death Valley.

Death Valley was just 50 miles away from Baker, so I decided to have a lunch at Death Valley. The state-127 went in the desert. Sometimes I found red mountains and gray truncated hills. On the way to the visitor center, I found a sign "Dantes View." I had only a half day there and it would be impossible to come back later. So I took the way to the Dantes View. It was not so far, but the view was great. Salt was shining like snow on the bottom of the ground. This was a prefect view of Death Valley. I went down the mountain and had a lunch just before arriving at the visitor center.

At the place of sea level

I got a golden eagle passport, which allows me to enter all the National Parks for one year. It was only $50. I am planning to visit many National Parks, so this is really great. Also I got a map, which led me to Bad Water. On the way there, I dropped by the Mushroom Rock. OK, it's like a mushroom. And what? Anyway, I asked a woman to take a picture. But this woman gave me a good information. I supposed to skip the Artists Drive, because it is a one way loop from southern entrance. She strongly recommended to see the Artists Palette even if it would be a long way around. Thanks to the lucky mushroom, I enjoyed a beautiful color of the Artists Palette, made of natural minerals. It was exactly the right time to see it. The evening sunshine lit up the Palette. At Bad Water, I could touch the last water there. Salt covered the ground and reflected the sunshine at the elevation of -282 feet.

It was already 18:00. I hurried the way to Las Vegas, 150 miles away. The slanting sun was shedding its feeble light upon the red rocks. The name of the road changed from California State-178 to Nevada State-372. At last I left California. Next time I drive in the California will be in June.

Today, I got a perfect timing everywhere. This time, too. Las Vegas is the place to visit at night. I found a bright town in a dark desert. I was swallowed into the light. I got a room in Monte Carlo. So tired, but I decided to play a slot. A prefect timing, again. In my opinion, slots should be played at midnight. Playing in a golden time means losing. I got $450 out of $3. I drained $100 into one dollar slot and finished. I went to bed at 3:30 am.

How do you read this?

Perfect view from Dantes View

Lucky mushroom

The Artists Palette

Bad Water

State Line of Nevada

One corner of Las Vegas

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Copyright (C) Tadao Hashimoto