We left Hueco on the day of the Rock Rodeo so we got to see what a production it actually is – with slide shows, art shows, T-shirts sales, climbing industry booths trade-show style, burrito trucks, a dyno comp and a bonfire. It just put things in perspective a bit coming from Canada, which doesn’t have anything remotely close to this event at the moment. Anyway, we said goodbye to all the people we’d met and hit the road again (and were reminded, yet again, of how much crap we have!). Most of the first driving day was in Arizona (what a beautiful state!).
The second day was supposed to take us to Southern California but we decided to take a detour to see the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam (Mig hadn’t seen either before), which took us through Vegas instead. We stayed at a hotel just outside the park so we could make a couple of trips, (1) to see the Canyon at night (see photo) and (2) to see the sunrise, which was amazing! Here are a few photos from the classic Mather viewpoint. This route also took us via the Hoover Dam, which was fun to visit (although it’s extremely touristy).
The third day was craziness. In New Mexico and Arizona, we had seen a few road signs that read “sandstorms may exist,” which we thought was kind of funny – as if their existence was questionable. But in case there was any doubt, Mig and I can now verify from experience that sandstorms do exist as we drove right through a serious one on the way from Vegas to Bishop (see video). At one point, Mig had to actually pull over because neither one of us could see the road at all, or anything for that matter (like oncoming traffic for example…)! You have to clear a mountain pass on this supposed 4-hour drive, which is normally quite pretty. But, because of the storm, we had the pleasure of driving through a squall of sand on the east side of the mountains, snow on top of the pass, and more sand on the west side! Not to mention the howling winds that got up to 90 km/h. Needless to say, it was far from a relaxing drive, but we finally made it. We were exhausted and our car was (and actually still is) literally covered with dust (the thule is filled with sand too we’ve discovered), but we were in Bishop, so we were psyched.
So we’ve now seen a total of 39 different U.S. state license plates (one of which was Alaska!), 5 different Canadian province plates, we clocked another 21 hours of driving (total of 56), covered 4 more states (11 in total), and survived 1 major sand-storm! Stay tuned for updates on life and climbing in Bishop, California!!
* click an image for larger size (cliqué sur une image pour la voir en grand format).