You might remember the night I got to spend in Las Vegas, Nevada. Well, imagine that… despite the hang-over, my friend and I still needed to get back to California and our cozy couch in Anaheim. Getting from Nevada to California turned out to be an amazing experience and you get to be part of it alongside us.
One thing that you should know is that, when you wake up with a hang-over, Las Vegas hotels offer you a magic cure – I literally have no idea what that contained. The thing is I was able to wake up and drive for about 6 hours and 400 miles to reach California. Admittedly, we got lost at one point, ended up somewhere unexpected, but still enjoyed it enormously.
If I got to keep you interested until here, you’ll for sure enjoy these things you get to do while road tripping the US, from Nevada to California.
See the Hoover Dam
Yeap, this is definitely a must see in Nevada. If you have the patience to drive in a horrendous traffic until the dam. At one point, you won’t even have a phone signal, so… forget trying to ease up the delay on the Internet.
But, I can guarantee you, it is all worth it. The dam is a true contemporaneous wonder and you will be amazed at how it could be built, given the rough conditions.
Built on the Colorado River, the dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. The dam produces enough energy to serve private and public facilities in all three states surrounding it – California, Nevada and Arizona.
Moreover, being the tourist attraction that it is, it gets around a million of visitors a year, so you might understand why the traffic queues to get to the dam.
Once you manage to pass all the traffic, you find yourself staring in amazement at what men could do, especially since the technology that exists now had not even been invented back then.
If you walk along the Hoover Dam, you can see the Intake Towers. A nice touch is that on two of these towers you can see clocks that show the hour in Arizona and the hour in Nevada – basically, there is a time difference between the two of an hour, although they are just a few hundred meters apart 😊 😊 This is due to the fact that Arizona spans on multiple time zones and so, places in Arizona might or might not be on the same time zona as Nevada cities 😛
One of the must do things when you are visiting Hoover Dam is to walk it until the end. At one point, you will reach the state line between Nevada and Arizona. If you stand with a foot in each of the states, you can actually say that you were in two places at the same time 😊 (you’re welcome! :P)
Drive down Route 66
It has been a dream of mine to drive along Route 66 for many years now. Of course, since it has been so long, the dream is literally planned to every detail – red Cadillac, convertible, red hair, big glasses and a scarf around my neck, road music blaring in the car and just living the life.
Absolutely by mistake, I kind of fulfilled a part of that dream. Setting off from Las Vegas, we did not really check a map or the GPS, to find the right itinerary for getting to California. So, there was no wonder when, at one point, we lost Internet connection, so… we had to do it old-school. Meaning, I opened up a map and started driving. Arizona folks are pretty friendly and they helped us both times I got lost, but, eventually, we ended up on a sort of deserted road, desert all around. As I stopped by the side of the road, guess where we were?!? Route 66 😊 😊
Apparently, Oatman Highway (a very pompous name, I can assure you!), a two lane winding road passing through Arizona’s gorgeous terrain from Kingman to Oatman is part of the historic Route 66.
Yeeey me 😊 Since we wanted to visit the town of Oatman, it was two birds caught with one stone for me 😛
The road is pretty scenic, despite being difficult to drive on, at one point. The desert scenery and then the curvy road as it reaches Sitgreaves Pass make it wonderful to drive on and gives the driver an amazing experience.
Before reaching the mountains, take a minute to have a photoshoot on the middle of the road – I know you want it!! 😛
Funny story behind this photo – laughing around taking the photo, with the hood popped open and me checking out the engine, cars passed us by, signaling us and asking whether we needed help. Imagine, I could barely contain my laughter!
Visit Oatman, Arizona
The small town began its history as a small mining camp, around 1915 and was named in honor of Olive Oatman, a pioneer’s daughter who was kidnapped by Indians and forced into slavery.
Less than 10 years after its establishment, the main gold mine shut down operations. By the 1960s, Oatman was almost abandoned. Due to the growing interest in Route 66, the town underwent a huge tourism renaissance and became a tourist attraction. It features buildings from the old days and, overall, you feel like you traveled through time, during the Gold Rush.
However, the main attraction of the town are the wild burrows, who roam freely the streets of Oatman. Now, technically, they aren’t that wild, as they are very gentle and can be hand-fed hay cubes otherwise known as “burro chow,” readily available in practically every store in town.
There are signs, however, all over the town that remind tourists that the burrows are still wild animals and might act accordingly from time to time. It is nice, though, to watch them interact with people, like they were show people.
While in Oatman, after taking a photo of basically every building and passing through some which you can bet are real, stop by and get your ass saved by “Saving your ass”. They will for sure do that for you, as you probably forgot by now to buy any type of souvenir and I am convinced all your dear ones left at home will start bugging you.
You can even create your own T-shirts! Just go round the back with Dwayne and make that happen (I totally mean that, as you can see from the pics, I got to print my own T-shirt :P).
Once you are a bit more relaxed, with all the shopping done and with your cheeks burning up from the owner’s jokes, give Zoltar a try.
What?! You don’t know who Zoltan is? Then, it means that you neither are a Tom Hanks fan, nor have a film knowledge. Zoltar appeared in the 1988 movie “Big”, starring Tom Hanks! I won’t give up any spoilers, you have to see the movie anyway, since it’s great!
Aaaaanyway, getting back to Zoltar, it not only grants wishes, but tells your fortune – guess what, I will remain loud and will laugh a lot in my life… who would have thought!!! For only a $1 bill, you can get your fortune told by Zoltar and have fun in the process… what more can you ask for?
Eat in a typical American diner
You know those road side diners that you see in the movies, where locals eat and stare if they see any new people? Well… those are pretty real!
Leaving Oatman behind and continuing our way to California, we stopped at Juicy’s River Café. This one is really like taken out of the movies – red chairs and boots, friendly and over-chatty waitress, regulars who talk up the waitress at the counter, free coffee re-fill and American pancakes. It was a marvel! The food was amazing, loved the service and the entire atmosphere was just unique. Imagine hearing our order shouted by the cook, whose face you could see through the open kitchen! Really priceless…
We ended up ordering way more than we could eat, of course! Burgers, bean soup, fried appetizers (onion rings!! Yummy 😛 ), ribs and pancakes – those were the night’s specialties 😛 in the end, we could barely lift ourselves up from the chairs, never mind driving for over 200 miles 😊
Since our visit there, it changed its name!! It is now called “Giggling cactus“, but I bet the food is as delicious as ever. If you are in the area, please have a bean soup for me… it is finger licking 😛
By the time we reached our destination, midnight had come and we were extremely tired. It was totally worth it, though – just think I got to write this post 😛 joking aside, the experience was extraordinary. And, despite having driven down Route 66, I am still dreaming of that red, convertible Cadillac 😛