Leaving Las Vegas – Day 71

Leaving Las Vegas

Day 71 – June 10, 2003 – Tuesday

Leaving Las Vegas.

We drove to Los Angeles today — went via Death Valley. When we stopped for gas in Shoshone (Death Valley), California (population 100), Anna at the gas station asked if we knew where we had gotten lost. When we told her we PLANNED to visit Death Valley, she was VERY surprised.

We didn’t meet many people in Vegas. Beads weren’t special there as a number of casinos give them away.

We went to Red Rock Canyon as we left the Las Vegas area. We saw a sign that said: “Danger. Wild burros on highway. Do not feed or harass burros. $25 fine and THEY BITE.”

We passed by a sign for “Summerland, America’s premier master plan community.” Of course, it was way out in the middle of the desert in the middle of nowhere so somebody wasn’t thinking too well when they planned. Then again, maybe this is a relative of Bugsy Siegel, so who am I to question things in the middle of nowhere?

We came across a poor man’s Cadillac Ranch. This guy could only afford one car. I couldn’t tell what model. One car buried nose down in the Nevada desert. No sign. No explanation. Just there.

We accidentally found our way to Crystal, Nevada today. Crystal is a tiny spot on a road in the only county in Nevada where prostitution is legal. It just happened to be on the route that I chose through Death Valley and on to LA.

We went down a road following signs that said “Cherry Patch Ranch” and “Mable’s” as well as “Madame Butterfly Bath, Massage, and Saloon.” These places are official houses of prostitution. There was a “Brothel Tourist Information Center” that appeared to be open, but I guess I was afraid to go in.

We passed near Area 51 and the Extraterrestrial Highway. We photographed some signs and other spooky stuff. Our son’s company does Area 51 tours. The tour takes Las Vegas visitors to seven famous locations used by UFO enthusiasts in their search of the truth about this controversial subject. The tour goes to Little A’le’Inn. This has been the host of numerous documentaries and movies including “Independence Day.” The next stop is the infamous Black Mailbox and then to the perimeter of Area 51 through the strange and deformed Joshua Tree Forest. The tour notes the guards (Men In Black), detection devices, listening devices, and cameras mounted among the cactus. Signs read: “The Use of Deadly Force Authorized” and we’re sure they mean it. As much as the United States Air Force has denied the existence of this base, we know it is there, but no one knows what it is they do there. Go to www.lostwagestours.com if you’d like to take the tour.

We didn’t see any UFOs today — a sign or two and a cafe, but mainly desert. It reached only 105 today in Death Valley, while it got to 108 on June 8 in Las Vegas.

We burned Pass #14 on a slow-moving motorcycle in Death Valley.

We met Anna at the Chevron station in Shoshone. Anna asked if we knew where we had gotten lost. When we told her we PLANNED to visit Death Valley, she was VERY surprised.

Anna knew everyone around these parts. She previously worked as a shift madam at one of the brothels in Crystal, Nevada. She was a very sweet lady. She volunteered that she worked there because her daughter had a serious illness, and they didn’t have the money for medical expenses unless she got a better-paying job. She said the brothels in Crystal City are very safe; doctors come in once a week; double-jacketed condoms are used, etc. She said they charge $150 for a half hour.

Getting a chance to talk to a madam was an unexpected pleasure in Death Valley.

The population is 100 in Shoshone, yet they have a place called the UFO that looks like a cafe and a place called the Saysee Bone Cafe which is an Internet Cafe featuring espresso. There were a lot of yard ornaments in Shoshone.

We drove on to the Dumont Dunes in Death Valley. It seemed like perhaps the lowest spot we reached. It is an area where people go off-roading.

We’ve reached the town of Baker just before 5 pm. The population is only 390, yet they have 5-digit address numbers. Maybe that guy selling the used car near Douglas, Arizona is the city planner here.

As we approached the town of Yermo, California, I spotted something that looked strange and interesting on the horizon. We never found out what it was. We did, however, learn that “The Incredible Hulk” was filmed here, so this might have been something left over from the filming. We stopped at what we learned was the original Del Taco restaurant.

The smog was absolutely horrible as we neared the Los Angeles area. What a shame that this beautiful part of the country is uglified by smog.

Mayte checked us in at the Embassy Suites in Monrovia, California. She recommended Rudy’s for dinner, so off we went. We both enjoyed Rudy’s California-style Mexican food. We had fried ice cream for dessert. It was nothing to write home about. Barbara didn’t like it all. We did enjoy meeting Rudy.

Random Comments:

Today marks the start of Week 11. It is hard to believe the trip is now well over half over. I continue to thoroughly enjoy the experience, though I am disappointed that 18-hour days leave little time to write. We are, however, taking an average of 150 photos a day, and the tapes are filling fast as we record the events and observations from each day.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
Red Rock Canyon — Crystal Nevada — Area 51 — Death Valley — Yermo California