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September 6th, 2009

Vacation itinerary:

 

2009.09.05 - Drive from Boulder Creek, CA to Las Vegas, NV with possible stops in Calico, CA (a ghost town) and Zzyzx, CA (a former native american site)

2009.09.06 - Drive from Las Vegas to Boulder City, NV for breakfast, and then on to Searchlight, NV and Cottonwood Cove, NV to explore. Return to Las Vegas.

 

2009.09.07 - Drive from Las Vegas to Pahrump, NV and on to Rhyolite, NV to explore. Return to Las Vegas.

2009.09.08 - Drive from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park, UT to hike in the canyonlands. Stay at a hotel in Bryce Canyon.

2009.09.09 - Drive from Bryce Canyon, UT to Cedar Breaks National Monument, UT for more hiking. Explore Mesquite, NV. Return to Las Vegas.

2009.09.10 - Drive from las Vegas to Hoover Dam. Take a damn and/or powerplant tour. Drive through Boulder City to enjoy a local brewery. Return to Las Vegas.

2009.09.11 - Spend the day in Las Vegas (plant a letterbox)....

2009.09.12 - Drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park, CA and Manzanar National Historical Monument, CA, and stop in Bishop, CA for the night.

2009.09.13 - Drive from Bishop, CA to the Owens River Gorge, Obsidian Dome, other volcanic craters in the Inyo/Mono area, and visit some Mono Lake tufas before driving back to Boulder Creek, CA by way of Yosemite National Park, CA
I estimated that I'd be in Las Vegas at 7pm if I hopped into the car at 8am, giving me two hours to explore Calico and one hour to explore Zzyzx.  I was off my an hour in two ways.  First, the drive with a stop in Calico and Zzyzx would get me into Vegas at 8pm (it's a solid nine-hour drive), and second I left at 9am.

To make up for time, I skipped Calico, especially considering that it's
  • a county park
  • a well-maintained ghost town
  • semi-commercial
  • probably a fun thing to visit with my entire family at some point
Zzyzx, on the other hand, isn't really a touristy spot.  In fact, when I stopped there, I was the only person there for the entire hour.

So... Bear Creek Rd. to CA 17N to CA 85E to U.S. 101S to CA 152E to I- 5S to CA 46E to CA 99S to CA 58E.  A stop in Bakersfield for fuel and water.  CA 58E to I-15N.  Exit Zzyzx Rd., and stop in Zzyzx at 4:30pm.

Zzyzx wasn't _at all_ what I was expecting.  On the left is a large alkali flat (Soda Lake?) which I skipped on this trip.  I was actually planning on just scouring the rocky terrain for arrowheads for an hour.  I got out, took care of my hydration needs, put on my gloves, and started walking into the hills.  Lots and lots of nifty rocks all over the place!  Pieces of broken granite in greens and greys.  No arrowheads.  Well, I'm sure there are tons of arrowheads, I just didn't look long enough.  I considered the terrain and tried to imagine what it was like 500 years ago in order to figure out where the critters would be (and where the Native Americans would be) in order to figure out where the arrowheads would be, today, and that took me to a large wash/gulley right next to a ridge.  The ridge looked very different from the rest of the hills around.  It was smaller, and pointier, or at least it appeared so from afar.  As I got close, I found a very, very odd rock.  It was white and severly cracked and sharp and pokey.  I still have no idea what it is, but I kept it as a specimen and here is a photo of it:
 
 
 

Let me know if you can identify it.

Anyway, I looked around and found more rocks like that one.  Lots more.  In fact, the entire hill was made entirely of them (and they're sharp, so I couldn't do too much climbing!).  Looking around, I did find two small pieces of obsidian as well, so I'm positive that these rocks are volcanic minerals in nature.

Zzyzx Rd. back to I-15N to NV 215W and surface streets to Shaina's.  Arrived in Las Vegas at 7pm.  Rested for an hour, and then Shaina took me to Green Valley Ranch to meet up with a few of her friends at Reggae night.  I met Nicole, Rich, Michael, and Lola.  And trust me, Lola _is_ a "show" girl.  Anyway, an enjoyable evening was had.  Plus, on the way in, I grabbed a Capriotti's eggplant parmesan sub, which is great stuff!

Home at 11:30ish and to sleep.

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