August 24, 2010

Car Troubles in Death Valley

Okay, where did I leave off? Disneyland? Right, happiest place on Earth. Okay, so, the next morning, we packed up quickly and drove east. After a few hours, we hit Baker, California--home of the world's tallest thermometer!

(Did you pee your pants just then, too?)

I hate to disappoint you, but this thermometer isn't filled with mercury. It's digital, like the kind you stick in a baby's armpit or in Pooper's pooper. Not as impressive to behold as I would have thought. Nevertheless, I have decided to collect photos of the claims-to-fame of small towns. Such as Christmas Town in WaKeeney, Kansas. (I actually have a picture of said Christmas Town, but haven't made a post for it yet.)

So, our plan was to drive north, look at Death Valley, say, "Welp, that's Death Valley," then we would turn around, and head back to Baker. It didn't quite turn out that way.

From Baker, we drove north on Highway 127 for maybe a half-hour. Then, Keene realized there was another highway farther north which would lead us directly to Las Vegas. Well, hell, we would take that road and cut out some drive-time!

So we drove through Death Valley:

In these pictures, you can see how hard the wind was blowing:

No, I didn't upload the same picture three times. This is just what the desert looks like: the same as the last time you checked.

It was around this time that I glanced down at my temperature gauge (you know, the little oil can icon sitting between the big H and C). It was rapidly ticking upward. I was familiar with this worrisome gauge.

Once the summer months had hit, I realized that my car didn't like providing air conditioning while sitting in traffic. However, that had never been a problem while driving on a highway. At 75+ mph, the marker was still lifting.

"Houston, we have a problem," is what I didn't say, but what would have been so cool if I had. Instead, I said, "Um, uh, this isn't good. Keene? Keene? Why is it doing this? Uh, what should we do? Huh? Huh?!"

For a moment, I thought maybe we should pull over, stretch our legs, and let the car rest. Then I saw this:

Um, screw that idea.

Plan B: turn off the air conditioner, drive faster, and eat all of my fingernails while staring at the gauge.

After maybe fifteen minutes of tension, the gauge began dropping. Apparently, the car had been climbing altitude, yet we didn't notice until we were descending. Feeling relieved, the AC was turned back on with a vengence.

Just outside of Shoshone--a small town that likes to exploit desperate travelers of Death Valley by charging over $4.00 per gallon of gas--we began to see signs of civilization again:

Pfft...Shoshone. Luckily, we weren't desperate. Well, for gas, anyways.

From there, we passed into Nevada, through a town called Pahrump. The name reminds me of that song from Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Pahrump-a...chick, chick-a-chick-ah!

Anyhow. Last stop: Hoover Dam. Tomorrow. Because I'm busy. But mostly because I forgot to upload those pictures.

I'm starting to think I'm a high-functioning ignoramus.

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