Leaving Flagstaff, not to early we were back on the I40, passing through Williams again. I talked Brenda into stopping at another Iron Skillet Restaurant, somewhere near Kingman.
We crossed over the Hoover Dam where there was an enormous amount of construction work going on, a new high arch bridge is being built, the completion date due sometime in 2010.
We decided to skirt Las Vegas, we saw the hotels and casinos standing against the skyline in the distance, but we decided not to visit (that den of iniquity- my description), and drove to our Best Western hotel in Pahrump, a real desert town.
Next morning, in glorious sunshine we drove via Beatty to the ghost town, Rhyolite, this must be one of the easiest ghost towns to get to as it is only a mile from the main road. We wandered around the ghost town, snapping photos here and there, Brenda thought it had a really nice ambience about it. Rhyolite was founded in 1904 after a rich strike of ore, had its own bank, school and electricity, however, the panic of 1907 and the playout of the mine by 1916 reduced the population of the town to a few hundred, and eventually the people moved on. The only occupant left is a caretaker and numerous sculptures.
We drove over a mountain pass and then for the next hour, I didn't touch the accelerator pedal as it was downhill all the way to Furness Creek, where the National Park Centre was situated. Brenda and I were sweating due to the temperature being in the mid 80's. We detoured to Zabriskie Point car park and walked up to the view point. Just after we had arrived two coaches pulled up, which meant we had to queue to use the smelly holes in the ground (so called toilets).
Our next stop was Badwater, the lowest point in the USA at 282 feet below sea level. We walked for a while on the saltflats and saw the sea level mark way above our heads on the black cliffs near the car park. Next we took an almost deserted minor road to join the I15 road and then the I 40. Just before Barstow our car sustained its only damage of the whole journey when a stupid driver driving a pickup reversed into us whilst waiting at a checkpoint on the I15.
We continued to Barstow where we stayed for the night, and for the next few days we drove through California, stopping at Fresno and Sacramento. The air was very polluted around these areas more noticeable after going through the clean desert air.
Then we continued on to White City, Oregon where we stopped for the night. The next morning we crossed over to the Oregon coast, now in pouring rain and headed for Newport, where we just missed a tornado. The coast line through Oregon is really breathtaking and has lots of view points to stop at and take photos, though when we were there the sea was really rough and the breakers were really high. We continued on our way travelling through McMinnville, a nice town (I thought it had a look of Sequim about it), to our hotel in Vancouver, (back into Washington State) getting lost in Portland on the way.
The next day, we stopped at Silverdale, where we had lunch with our friend Faith, (we had joined the circle, more of a square actually), driving about 9,600 miles over 40 days.
There were more places we would have liked to have seen, such as Yosemite and Crater Lake, but the weather turned colder and we didn't want to use the snow chains. I can understand why Americans stay in the USA for their holidays as this country is so diverse and has something for everyone.
Our road trip was finally over, we then drove to Seattle for our flight back to the UK the next day.