America 2012

Mar 2012 2

Day 27 - Las Vegas NV to Flagstaff AZ

Goodbye Vegas, hello desert. We left as the third couple of the of the morning completed their marriage ceremonies at the Little Chapel O' Love across the road and the 30th limo drove by. As we headed out of town we passed the numerous ticky-tacky subdivisions that are sprouting up to house the ever increasing population; in the last 10 years it has increased three times , from 740,000 in 1990 to over 2 million presently.

Soon we were out in the desert heading south. An hour later and we were zig zagging down a road to a security checkpoint, although this time they weren't too worried about us. We paid the outragous parking fee and went exploring around the Hoover Dam.

It is, of course, quite impressive, having been chosen as one the 7 wonders of the modern civil engineering world, others being things like the Panama Canal, the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland (not the Golden Gate Bridge), and the Chicago Sewage...

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Mar 2012 2

Day 26 - Las Vegas NV

What does one do during the day in Las Vegas? Well unlike LA, the options seemed endless. Sky diving, machine gun firing, visitng headless statues, drive a digger, helicopter rides, etc. Of course the prices were also pretty endless. With all these options we did of course have trouble deciding what to do, so we went to Walmart and stocked up on junk food for the car. I suggested visiting the Atomic Testing Museum. The Atomic Testing Museum came about after the 50 years of silence around Project Manhattan came to an end and people started sharing their stories. It is an interesting mix of deadly serious and very quirky.

They have quite a few exhibits and artifacts, what I found especially interesting was some of the more technical measurement gear that had been retrieved from inside the caves where nuclear bombs had been tested. The gear was mounted on special shock absorbing springs (called "pogo sticks" by the workers) to prevent da...

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Mar 2012 1

Day 25 - Los Angeles CA to Las Vegas NV

Los Angeles. A city of 4 million people, and yet when it comes to things to do , there seems to be surprisingly little. We decided that heading towards Griffith Park would be the thing to do, that way we could see the Hollywood sign, and maybe a bit of Hollywood itself and some of the city. So we set off.

We were soon zooming down the freeway, listening to "Backspin", a retro 80s and 90s hiphop and rap station on Sirrius XM; after all, if one is in LA, one should listening try and blend in!

Unfortunately LA traffic had other ideas and we were soon stuck in traffic, staring at smog. We could just make out the faintest outlines of skyscrapers amongst the chronic smog. One particularly amusing sight we saw was a local walking their dog, carrying a baseball bat! Obviously a safe neighbourhood?!

We eventually arrived at Griffith Park and after a few dead ends found our way down to Hollywood Boulevard. Of course there is more to Hollywood Boulevard that what you s...

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Feb 2012 28

Day 24 - Barstow CA to Los Angeles CA

Today my adventures as a lone explorer come to an end, as I meet up with Geoff and Dan and we explore the west coast of the US together. So part one of that is to get into Los Angeles airport and collect them. I decided to allow an extra hour on the 2 hour journey from Barstow, so after emptying the car of 3 weeks of rubbish I set off. I ran into a bit of congestion, and their flight was running early, so it worked out quite well. The drive into LA was, predictably enough, mad. Screaming down the freeways with cars everywhere; exactly what I expected, and quite a adrenaline rush.

I arrived at LAX just as their flight landed and was there and waiting when Geoff and Den excited. We loaded up the car and headed off to the Surf City Hostel, a relatively quick trip. Checked in, unloaded, and moved the car to a free parking zone. Then we came back and admired the view. We were almost right on the beach. In front of us a pier stretched out. To the left and right, beach volleyball ...

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Feb 2012 27

Day 23 - Needles CA to Barstow CA

Ahhh the desert! It's been a while since I've been out here to railfan, so I was pretty keen to explore some more and cover some ground that I'd glossed over previously; and chief amongst that was Goffs Rd. So I headed off and soon found the right exit for Goffs. I'd spied a grain train leaving while I was filling up my car with the hideously expensive California gas (nearly $5/gallon, vs just over $3/gallon in Wyoming) and soon saw it again sitting at the signals. Further on I spied a stationary stack & trailers train and found a road in to explore. Not much to see, other than some guys sitting in a van (presumably) watching it.

Driving out I saw an opposing train approaching so snapped a shot of that, but it wasn't anything amazing.

Soon the train that'd been waiting was moving out so now I had somehing to follow. Found a familiar S curve and snapped away, the distant mountains looming large.

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