Good Morning Gentle Readers,
The key to a relatively painless car ride across the vast Mojave Desert from Las Vegas to LA Metro on a Sunday is to get the heck out of Dodge early.
By the time I packed my trash, got downstairs, forked up a half-hour's wages for an overpriced dark roast~~leave some room for cream, thankee, and got out of the parking structure, it was already 7:37 AM. That's not too bad. There was a bit of traffic on Metro I-15, but it was rolling. I hit a few knots of traffic caused by knotheaded drivers on some of the antiquated stretches in California. Here's the thing; if there is a mile of empty road ahead of you in the fast lane and 15 cars stacked up in your rear view, you need to get out of the way.
Even with the photo-op at Halloran Springs, a fuel stop, and a crappy mid-morning burger at Chit-In-The-Box, I was home and unpacked before noon. Under four hours actual drive time. Bonus: 34 mpg in Mrs TWC's Sonata at speeds that are pretty much legal in Montana and Utah.
That's sunrise in Las Vegas as seen from our room at Planet Hollywood, which is pretty dilapidated and desperately in need of an upgrade to the 21st Century. Many of the rooms are dark and dingy with poor lighting, which helps hide the overall shabbiness. PH upgraded us to a suite at the end of the hall. Securing the inner door silenced the din from the gorram drunks staggering down the hall, screaming and slamming doors in the middle of the night. WTH is wrong with these people?
By my way of thinking, one definition of Post Modernism is sitting in dead stopped traffic in the middle of the Mojave Desert anywhere between the Nevada border and Cajon Pass. In part, the fault lies with Cal-Trans and dates to the first Moonie administration, which took the position that the more excruciating driving becomes for Californians, the more likely it is that they can be driven from their cars and onto mass transit. Pun intended. Certainly, there have been some improvements, notably between Barstow and Victorville, where truck lanes and lane restrictions have ended the practice of one truck lumbering along at 54 mph in the fast lane while passing another truck in the slow lane that's zipping along at 53 mph. On an upgrade. All of these improvements are welcome, but they are decades late and not sufficient to ease Sunday afternoon traffic jam headed west.