Day 1 – Drive from Terrebonne Oregon to Laughlin Nevada

Today’s journey consists of 934 miles of mostly 2-lane roads in the middle of nowhere, but that’s okay, we sort of like “middle of nowhere”.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we woke early, then got going pretty much on time. Mike wanted to be on the road by 5am, and we rolled out of the garage at 5:30.

We usually enjoy long rides like this. Mike drives the whole way because if I drive he gets motion sick (does this say something about my driving skills? Probably), so it’s my job to stay awake and keep the music flowing.

Mike’s Christmas present from me this year was a new stereo for the car, it has a USB port, so I basically dumped all the music from my computer onto an 8-gig flash drive ( ) and voila! DJ duties handled! So much easier than shuffling through CD’s like we did in olden times (last month).

Speaking of presents, did I mention today is my birthday? No, because no one else mentioned it today either. Yep, Mike forgot my birthday. Not as in “completely spaced the fact that my wife has a birthday in January”, more of an “I even bought you a card and everything but because everything was so crazy I forgot today was it” kind of thing.

As we drove along, I spent a few hours stewing and trying to decide if I would be a good wife and let him off the hook, or bring it up at some point and make him feel awful. But honestly, the guy just spent the last week working 12 hour days and coming home every night to some nasty chore that required him to stand on a ladder in the freezing cold until midnight or later. How the heck can I fault him for not remembering one little thing in a massive sea of big things?

So I just mentioned it in conversation and of course he felt awful and kept apologizing, then I felt like a jerk for saying anything, but I was still sort of frustrated. Wah wah, poor me. Yeah whatever, put on your big girl pants and have a good trip already, ya wimp.

It was a beautiful day, we were so lucky with the weather! Although it was cold, the sky was blue, and watching the sun rise over the far-away horizon was gorgeous.

One section of our route includes Hwy 50, dubbed The Loneliest Road in America. We’ve been a few places that could definitely vie for that distinction, but there’s no denying this place lacks traffic. In fact, the entire drive was very quiet until we hit Vegas. We’d go for a couple hours and only see 3 or 4 other cars.

We only stopped for gas a couple of times, so all my pictures were through the windshield,

(yes it’s cracked, that happened in December, don’t ask).

Fortunately we’d traveled this road many times before, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out by not stopping, although I would have happily spent a few hours in Austin and Goldfield Nevada, two ghost towns we have yet to explore.

Hwy 50 winding its way out of Austin Nevada, population 192.

By noon I was regretting the decision to wear wool socks, and was wondering if I could dig out a pair of shorts from the suitcase without having to disassemble the Tetris perfection of the trunk. I love this transition from northern cold to southern warmth, it’s one of my favorite things about this drive.

I was a little worried about getting through Vegas at rush hour, but fortunately the freeway system is currently in good shape so we were in and out in no time and turning onto 95 at Railroad Pass, getting to see the sun set over this wide and dusty valley.

At 9pm, after nearly 15 hours on the road, we dropped down the grade into Laughlin…

…and pulled into our hotel. We like Harrah’s here because they have one wing of the hotel that’s completely non-smoking, including the casino. Unfortunately, they were booked solid and did NOT have a non-smoking room for us. Really? You have got to be kidding.

I can put up with a lot of ugly in a hotel room, but it’s got to be non-smoking or my lungs will revolt, that’s why I always call and confirm this request. I tried all the usual tricks, talked to management, asked for an accessible room, talked to more management, played the asthma card (I never do this, it sucked), even said it was my birthday. Still no dice. I’m tired and near tears (I know, stupid, but I just wanted to go to bed!), and Mike is getting ready to start calling around to places in Bullhead City (on the Arizona side, so non-smoking rooms would be easier to find), when one of the desk clerks said “give me 20 minutes and I’ll see what I can do”. So we gave her 20 minutes and she magically found us a room. I have no idea how she managed it, but I was so thankful!

By this time we were tired and starving. We decided to eat at their buffet instead of in the room. It was expensive and decidedly uninspiring. To be honest though, as tired as we were, it could have been the best food in the world and I doubt it would have registered in our exhausted brains.

The first day of our “super relaxing and fun vacation” draws to an end shortly before midnight when we fall into bed in our nice smelling non-smoking room, and are instantly asleep.


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