2 Weeks in the West – Day 16

In Travel by AbhiLeave a Comment

July 2nd, 2016 – Las Vegas, Nevada to Los Angeles, California ~ 310 miles.

Missed Day 15? Vy and I explore Valley of Fire State Park and discover a training ground for DOT employees who paint lines on roads.

The California border is only about 45 miles away from Las Vegas, but traffic ensured that it still took us a while to get there.

The traffic was unabated, but now we at least were able to split lanes.

Every time I’ve driven between Southern California and Las Vegas on the 15, I see this sign. Until today, I never gave it a second thought. But seeing as we had some time to kill, I thought it was finally time to explore this oddly-named road. Turns out it’s actually got quite a history.

It starts in 1944, when a LA-based radio evangelist named Curtis Springer wanted to create a wellness resort, but just about everything was a scam. Think of him like a slightly-more-modern snake oil salesman who brought customers to him instead of traveling around. He called it Zzyzx to ensure it would be at the bottom of any alphabetical list – he claimed that it was the last word in the English language. He conned the federal government by filing a mining claim in the area (which used to be known as Soda Springs). The feds eventually got wise to his act and took the land back from him in 1974. Two years later, the BLM gave management rights to the area to California Statue University, and a 7 CSU campuses use it for a “desert Studies Center.” If you want to learn more, you should check out this article on California Through My Lens.

Most of the original wellness center/spa area is intact, though no longer in use:

After Baby Jack enjoyed this swing, Vy reminded me that we still had one last toy to hide.

If you don’t remember what I’m talking about (and I wouldn’t blame you, it’s taken me forever to get these posts up), Vy and I hid 3 little dirtbike toys. If you find the toy first and take a photo of yourself with the toy, I’ll send you a Bike-urious t-shirt. If you find it first and take a photo of yourself while you’re already wearing a Bike-urious t-shirt, I’ll send you something much nicer! If you need a refresher, reader Gary K snapped up the first one I hid on Route 14 in New Mexico within a couple of days.

I thought the above boat would provide a good hiding spot. So if you need another excuse to explore this relic of the SoCal desert (or just want a weird stop on the Vegas), here you go.

On the way out, Vy and I spent some time at the lake, and I tried to become a nature photographer.

Then Vy and I hopped back on the freeway for 200 miles of highway in the heat. I was excited to fall asleep in my own bed again. We have a tradition of getting “Sunday Sushi” at a local joint. Even though today was a Saturday, we figured it’d be nice to end two weeks of exploration at a familiar spot.

By the time it was all over, we had ridden around for just over 2 weeks, covered over 5,000 miles, and seen 10 glorious states:

Photo by VyVy Nguyen

Vy and I try to knock out a road trip each summer, and we typically alternate between the US and international destinations. In a few months we’ll be heading to the UK, and suggestions are welcome!

Thanks for following along.