Brooks Transcontinental Adventure Pt. 3 | America's Photographer
After our crazy long day in Texas, 17 hours by-the-way, we woke up ready to end our cross country tour in Las Vegas. We were in the car for about 15 minutes before we hit the border of New Mexico.
This part of the drive was a lot more scenic than the last and we made more stops to enjoy the scenery. We decided to leave the fated I-10 for smaller roads. We ended driving through Gila National Forrest. We stopped several times just to enjoy nature. When we stopped, the silence was unbelievable. You know the phrase, "Silence is deafening"? It really is. Once the car was off we couldn't hear anything. No cars, no airplanes, nothing. We have never heard that kind of quiet before. It was awesome.
After winding our way through the Gila National Forest, we hit the Arizona border. Yes, those are bullet holes in the sign. We finally hooked up with the Historic Route 66. It was a dream. In certain parts they had old signs for Burma-Shave. Look it up. They were replica signs, but still cool nonetheless. Our original goal was to see the Grand Canyon overlook. But as it turns out, the Indians own that land and won't let you on it unless you pay a hefty fee. So we kept driving on Route 66 and ended up winding our way down into the Canyon! It was SO COOL! We were in the Canyon as the sun was setting.
After the Grand Canyon, we kept on truckin' and made our way to the Hoover Dam at night. It was pretty massive. It was pretty dark. Ok, it was pitch black accept for these hideous orange lights that sort of illuminated the dam. So for the picture below, I adjusted the Kelvin to compensate for the orange lights, and set a super low shutter speed while also having a really open aperture. I set the camera to self timer so there wouldn't be any camera shake when I pushed the shutter release. The settings are in the caption below the photo. I was pleasantly surprised you could see the clouds. We actually couldn't see them when we were there, it was too dark.
Minor back story before the next set of photos. Because our flights and hotel had to be cancelled, we got all our points refunded. When it was all said and done, we had about 40,000 points. We decided we were going to blow them all and stay at The Venetian! And boy was it worth it! Our room was immaculate! The hotel itself was massive! I have never seen buildings that big and ornate. It is honestly like a city inside each hotel! They have shopping malls, casinos, restaurants, spas, any and everything. We also had a pretty cool view of the 3 pools from our room and you can see the mountain range that surrounds Las Vegas in the distance.
The Venetian is the hotel that has a gondola ride throughout it! It was on the 2nd floor! SECOND FLOOR! It just baffled me that it wasn't on the ground floor, but that all that water was supported on the 2nd floor. Also, the ceiling was painted to look like you were outside. It was super trippy when you walked around. If you looked up while walking, the clouds literally moved.
How crazy is that ceiling? The attention to detail is incredible. I did some minor research and found out that there was a Kardashian Khaos in The Mirage. The Mirage was conveniently located right across from The Venetian. You know I couldn't not go! Here are a couple of shots I got while walking over there.
Once I got there I was a little disappointed. Everything was too expensive so I went away empty handed. A pen cost $15 holy cow!! No thanks! But still cool to finally visit one of their stores. I'm totally geeking out in this photo.
By the way, to the right of this photo, there was a zoo that had the tigers used in Sigfried and Roy's show. They had a dolphin petting area and everything! Crazy! You honestly would have no reason to leave the hotel, ever.
After exploring for about an hour, we got back in the car and drove to Los Angeles. On our way out we had to drive through the Mojave Desert. It was pretty desolate, but beautiful in its own way. It took about an hour, but I finally noticed that there wasn't anything green. It was weird. As we got closer to the coast you started to notice little pops of green. Pretty cool. We passed a solar plant. They had millions of solar panels catching the sunlight reflecting it to this tower. All around the tower was a weird halo glow.
After that we stopped to get gas before we continued into the desert. Gas was $4.20 YIKES! Luckily we didn't need a full tank. At that rest stop we got to see the world's largest thermometer! It was erected in testament to the record high temps during the summer. Random, but cool. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. It was like these tiny towns popped up next to the highway, but quickly became ghost towns.
There is a pretty cool story behind those trees. They are called Joshua Trees and they were named by the Mormons. They said the trees reminded them of Joshua when he prays to God and lifts his hands to Heaven.
After about 6 hours of driving, which went surprisingly quick compared to our 17 hour drive the day before, we reached Los Angeles! We parked in Long Beach and caught the Metro into the city for the Kings game! But we couldn't go without a stop to our favorite burger joint 25 Degrees! 25 Degrees is the restaurant connected with the legendary Hotel Roosevelt. It is a hole in the wall that seats about 50 people and they make the BEST burgers. They have dozens of gourmet cheeses to add to your burger. 25 Degrees, in case you were wondering, is the precise difference between a raw and well done burger. And boy do they nail it every time! After our burger, we were off to the game!
Gene Simmons from KISS was there to drop the puck! Pretty coo! He apparently bought a minor league football team, LA KISS, and he was there to promote his team.
We had a pretty awesome adventure and we loved every minute of it. We are definitely looking forward to our next big adventure. I'm thinking there might be a pond hopping adventure coming up! :) Here are the final stats for our journey! 42 hours in the car and just over 2700 miles! CRAZY!
Well, that does it for the Brooks Transcontinental Adventure! I hope you enjoyed it! What was your favorite picture? What's the weirdest thing you've seen in America?