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ColdCat goes to LA

11:00 PM Eastern- Tuesday, we left Justin's house on time as planned, with a cooler full of pop and bottled water, a grocery bag full of junk food, and several hundred CDs full of music. I drove through a light rain to Kalamazoo where Jim took over and drove, with just one stop for gas, until about 6am central time when we were in the outskirts of Des Moines, where Kevin took over and took us through downtown Des Moines, which they aren't done building yet, all the way to Denver. No, I'm not kidding. Once he got through Nebraska he announced he wanted to drive until he could see the mountains. Unfortunately a veil of clouds covered the mountains through the evening, so even when we were in Denver, we couldn't see them. Some notes from that first day- west Illinois is pretty boring, especially at night. Crossing the Mississippi at night makes it a lot less impressive. Someplace in eastern Iowa is a place called Kum and Go. Iowa is not as boring as you've heard, full of rolling hills and wide open grassy spaces. Meanwhile Nebraska sucks ass. It's flat, there's nothing there, it's dull. Every once in a while they have a burned down shack to break the monotony. Ever hear of the Seney Stretch? It's a place in Michigan's UP where there are no curves, cross streets, or buildings for 25 miles. Nebraksa is like that, only it lasts for 400 miles. Omaha looks like it has barely enough people to support a fast food place, and it's the largest city in the state. We stopped in Cozad. They have a gas station, a few homes, and a feed store. They also have Dawson's Canal. I guess Dawson's Creek wasn't wide enough for boats.

After spending a night with our old friend Tera in Denver, we hit the road just after 7 and made very good time through the mountains. The car held up quite well going up the big hills, the tachometer rarely going above 4000 RPM, and going down the other side the brakes never gave out and the engine stayed in good condition. I really enjoyed Glenwood Canyon, near the Eagle County-Garfield County line. It had twists, it had turns, I was doing 75 through all it. Then came Parachute, CO.

About 200 miles west of Denver is a straight, relatively flat stretch of road. I blew out the right rear tire on the car. This happened about 11am Mountain. By 11:30 we had the donut on the car, but when we tried to hit the road again, the engine was severely lacking in get up and go, the tachometer barely above 1000 when I put my foot on the gas. We called for a tow truck which finally arrived at 12:30. We were somewhere outside of Paracute and were told that there is absolutely nothing there, so we had to be towed to Grand Junction where the car was dropped of at Smitty Garage in Clifton at 1. The placed closed at 5. By 4:15 they hadn't even dragged it into the shop to look at it. When I started calling other places on my cell phone they got off their asses and looked at it, telling me I had a blown nuetral safety switch, and fixing it in ten minutes. They don't do tires however, so we drove about five miles down the road to another place where we had to wait in line for an hour.

It was after six when we finally left Grand Junction. I wanted to hit the road as soon as posible and get out of Colorado. I had about a half tank of gas which I figured would get us to Utah. The first exit off I-70 in Utah has a sign that says 'Ranch Exit, No Service.' So do the next four exits. We were in Thompson, UT, 45 miles from the border, when we finally saw a gas station. Memo to the Utah department of transportation- Build some freakin' gas stations. Outside of Thompson the sun began to set. . . . right in my eyes. I guess I stayed on the road. I couldn't tell at the time since I couldn't actually see the road. The rest of Utah is vast and dull, just like Nebraska, only with mountains instead of flat grassland. Seriously, Utah needs some freakin' gas stations. There is a stretch of I-15 that goes through Arizona. Kevin was driving and it was pitch black, and we were going through some major twists and turns in the mountains. 'I would be scared shitless if I actually could see,' he said. 

Then there's Nevada. It was about 1 am Pacific when we crossed the border. The first exit, only a few feet past the 'Welcome to Nevada' sign, is Mesquite. They have three casinos. We stopped at a gas station to fill up and play the slots.

An hour down the road is Vegas, which has to be seen to be believed. Like most cities in the west, the lights can be seen from many miles away. When we get up close, the see every casino and resort we've heard so much about, from the Golden Nugget, to the Bellagio, to the MGM. The place is absolutely awe inspiring. We couldn't stop.

I dozed off in the vast emptiness between Vegas and Barstow, waking when we got into the Mojave because my ears popped from the rapid decent from the mountains towards the coast. I drove the rest of the way into Los Angeles, arriving at CW's at 6 on Friday morning Pacific time. We all went to bed, knowing we had to get up four hours later to drive to Anaheim.


comments (3) 08-18-2004

The People's Comments:

tec:
I would be scared shitless to hear a driver say....'I would be scared shitless if I actually could see'

y2j:
So I guess you didn't stop in Idaho Springs to see if the Excitement Express was still sitting in the parking lot?

crashnet:
Like I said, Utah, has no gas stations... that'll teach you for not paying attention to me!

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