Friday, January 27, 2012

Holy Road Trip, Batman! (Part 2)

One thing I failed to mention in the previous post is that, at the beginning of my 10 hour drive to Lake Havasu on Friday, I decided I would tackle another of my goals, 86. Drive patiently for a full day. If I drive impatiently at any point, I must start again the following day until I succeed. To say the least, this is not the simplest of tasks. I had only gotten 2 hours into my drive (just after I left the Apricot Tree Restaurant, actually) when I became impatient with another driver on the road and officially failed the day.

In any case, I eventually made it to Lake Havasu and met up with my dad and step mom for dinner at Chico's Tacos (which is pretty entertaining seeing as I just left Chico to head to Lake Havasu). The food reminded me in many ways of the Mexican food you can get a La Comida here in Chico. I spent some time catching up with them and discussing the fact that it was apparently the 2nd Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival in Lake Havasu that very weekend. I saw the last couple balloons landing as I drove into town (around sunset) and was looking forward to seeing them the following day.

From there, we went to the community theatre where my little brothers have been playing (see what I did there?) for the past few years. John (the older of the pair) was starring as Frederic in Pirates of Penzance Junior and Jake (the younger) was one of the pirates. To say the least, it was vastly entertaining to watch my little brother running around singing in tights and having 12 girls sing about how they like his butt and want to marry him. It was their opening night, so there was a hitch here and there, but the show was very fun and I enjoyed it quite a lot! Plus, my newest sister-in-law was directing, so naturally it was going to be solid.

After the show, we all went out for desert at this place called Sno 2 Go. It's a magical place that should exist in Chico, in my opinion. They combine Hawaiian Snow with soft serve ice cream in the most amazing, delicious way. When you order, it takes a few minutes per item to be received because they put a lot of artistry into the dessert. They layer the "snow", flavor it, then a layer of ice cream, and again. The other thing is that they have perfected some pretty phenomenal flavors, some of which require personally made flavored syrups to achieve the proper flavor. For example, they have an Almond Joy flavor, Cookies and Cream, and some other remarkably accurate combinations. I unfortunately didn't think to take any pictures with the family or of this magical dessert joint, so sorry 'bout that!

I had the opportunity of staying the night at my brother and his wife's house and we stayed up late talking and watching a show. In fact, we ended up watching Never Say Never, the Justin Bieber documentary. While I'm still not particularly fond of his music (it's just not my style), I have a new found respect for the kid. He has some serious, honest talent. While he's the object of a mass marketing machine, he did not create it and he doesn't really encourage it. He's just one of the gears doing its job to keep the machine functional. So yeah... definitely have some respect for him now.

The following morning, it was very windy and overcast, so unfortunately I was unable to watch the hot air balloons take off (if they got off the ground at all that day). I did stop by the festival (like a mini carnival) for the fun of it. They had classic cars on display and a bunch of vendors, so I still enjoyed myself quite a lot. I also took a quick wander through the "English Village" in Lake Havasu just under their London Bridge. For those who aren't aware, the London Bridge in London has been replaced a few times over the years. Once, back in the '60's or '70's, someone bought the old bridge and had it transferred to Lake Havasu where it was re-built exactly as it was in London, brick-by-brick. It remains one of the big tourist attractions for the city.

I had lunch with my brother at Chili's, where he's a manager. And then it was time for me to head out of town. First, however, I wanted to track down a little boutique I had found online that has a tea room. Turns out the tea room has a luncheon once a day and only as scheduled, so I didn't get to do that. But the boutique itself had some really great stuff! I found a very cool little vase/urn in a deep cobalt blue with a peacock design in a gold color on it. I also picked up a very cute tea cup and saucer with a cottage design on it (you can find floral designs anywhere!).

After visiting with the woman who owns the boutique for quite a while, I was on the road to Las Vegas and Laura at last! I was warned in advance that the roads were going to be particularly windy, so I kept that in mind as I proceeded. As I was on I-95 between Needles and Las Vegas, I saw signs for a pretty shady looking roadside stand. They advertised having 100% honey, so I thought it would be fun to check out. The lady there was a little bit insane and kept telling me how I was the first friendly face she had seen all day. She kept regaling me with tales of her earlier customers. One customer had somehow managed to lock her (the stand lady's) keys in her car. So when I arrived, she had just recently knocked out one of her own windows so she could get back into her vehicle. As it turned out, the honey was delicious and the jerky was pretty darn tasty, so I got some of each.

Eventually, I continued on my way up I-95 and, as I got closer to Vegas, I could see in the valley in front of me a huge cloud. I assumed at first that it was just smog of some sort. As I got into it, I came to realize it was actually a dust cloud. There was a sign with a dust warming for the coming 4 miles. By this point, I had already experienced some seriously high winds and hit more than a few tumbleweeds crossing the Interstate. Along 2 main sections of the dust storm, the dust was so thick and heavy, you literally could see no more than 30 feet in front of you. I took to driving no more than 35 mph during these times, kept my hazards on, and twice pulled over briefly to gather my bearings. Just past the first major section of this kind of thick dust screen there was a pretty serious accident involving 4 different vehicles. The main one affected was a pretty decent sized SUV that had about 1/4 of the back of it crushed in entirely. Clearly they were going a safer speed and someone was continuing to go way too freaking fast and ended up hitting them without time to stop once they came into sight.

To say the least, it was not exactly fun driving conditions! With the wind and the dust, it felt like my car was being sandblasted while I tried to drive! By the time I got out of the worst of the dust, I started to hear a small minor knocking kind of sound from the front right of my car. But the wind and dust were still too bad for me to consider pulling over to check it out. I was close enough to Laura's that I decided to just keep on. I didn't find out until I had parked at Laura's ("Now approaching Laura. On right," as my Garmin said) that my front right blinker cover lens was completely blown out by the wind storm. The light bulb was literally hanging out of the open cavity (dirty) just flapping around.

And then I was reunited with Laura and the land was in a state of joy! With how long this is taking to tell, I've got to break it up into one more part (spoiler alert, the next part is where I pass through a "famous" town, encounter a brother, Area 51, and almost slide off the road in a snow storm). 

Until then!

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