Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Arrival!

Yesterday morning we cleared out of our hotel in Williams, AZ and started day five of our incredible journey. We left around 8:30 and started the half hour drive to the Grand Canyon. And WOW, was it ever amazing. The Canyon has so many different overlooks and hiking paths that we could've stayed all day, and we really wanted to. We walked along the upper rim of the south end for a while, and Biff began to notice the squirrels sitting on the side of a small stone wall that seperated us from a long fall into the Canyon. Everyone around us got a real kick out of him growling, but the laughter soon turned to gasps of shock when Biff decided to try to jump OVER THE WALL to try and get the squirrel!!! Luckily, I had his leash just short enough that I was able to pull him back before he could make it, but wow.. That was scary. My dog would jump off a cliff to chase a squirrel.. Good to know!

After about two hours of walking and picture taking, we decided around noon it was time to leave and head towards Hoover Dam. Neither one of us wanted to leave, but we knew we had to if we wanted to get to California that evening. So we finished off the Arizona desert (that was now very rocky with lots of mountains) and got to the Hoover Dam by about 4:00. We really only planned on staying for about fifteen minutes, so we found a parking garage and went to the cashier. Unfortunately, the cashier was about the meanest person we've met. She told us (or yelled at us) that no dogs were allowed in the lot or on the dam and that we'd have to go to a lot pretty far from the dam and walk down to see it one at a time while the other stayed with Biff. She also informed us that, apparently because she didn't trust us, she was going to be telling security to keep an eye on us and watch our car. Seeing the dam one at a time didn't sound like much fun, so we just simply drove over the dam, found a place to look out, and hopped out and snapped some pictures real quick before heading out. Not our best stop, but we didn't let it ruin our spirits. We still got to drive over the dam, see Lake Mead, and check out the beautiful mountains that surrounded them. Now it was just a thirty minute drive to Las Vegas.

We got into Vegas and decided that, since we were still over five hours from LA, we would just drive through the town and stop for a few pictures. We started on Las Vegas Bouldvard in the old part of town and aimed to drive the whole way through to the new part. Unfortunately, the car started acting a little funny and we had to pull over, next to the Riviera. It was the same way it acted the second day on our trip. Basically, when we stopped at a red light, the RPMs would start climbing by  themselves and nearly stall the car when they went back down. This only seemed to happen when we had been driving with no breaks in extreme heat, so we stopped to let the car cool off for about a half hour while we decided what to do.

We started the car and drove it around the lot for about ten minutes and it seemed to be working better. Figuring that since we have AAA, and since all the repair shops were probably closed until Monday, we'd just go for it and try to finish the trip. We figured it would be best to put an end to the stop and go driving of Las Vegas Boulevard and just get back on the highway, where the car had been doing fine all week. So we cut our already short Vegas stop even shorter and headed for the coast. And yes, I will take the car to get fixed this week!

We crossed into California after less than an hour of driving, and drove through our last stretch of desert. The last bit of the trip was very long, but was made easier by the best desert sunset we've seen yet.

After driving since 8:30 AM, we FINALLY arrived in Los Angeles around 11:00 and we were greeted by our friend Brittany, who has been kind enough to let us stay at her place, right outside of Beverly Hills.
So after 3000 miles and over 50 hours of driving, we've finally made it! It feels a little strange right now not having to get everything together and hurry out the door right to get on the road. This is our first chance to relax and really enjoy everything without having a fairly strict time limit. It's sad that our journey has come to an end, but exciting to know that the adventure is just beginning. There's still so much to see and experience and I just can't wait for it all. But no matter what happens here in California, I'm sure I'll never forget those five days when Lauren, Biff, and I drove the entire way across the country, stopping at every attraction we could and having so much fun doing it. Such a great time, and so many more great times ahead.
So we're here and now it's time to explore the city and and find a place to live. Stay tuned for part two.. Alex builds a life in California!

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