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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Beware of poof dust

Mar 18, 2023 (Sat)

8:30 am Kingman, AZ

We are up and ready to roll! Showers have been taken in the very roomy shower (“Look, I can hold my arms out!”). The coffee is terrible (Harvey has good coffee!) and we’re now down to stuff ourselves on the carb-laden breakfast buffet that the Hampton Hilton provides.

To be fair, they also provide scrambled eggs and sausage but wow—cereal, muffins, bananas, waffles, syrup. This would not be a great place for a Diabetics of America convention.

We know we’re getting farther north as Robert has switched to long pants (!). Next he’ll be wearing a coat…

9:00 am

One more nice thing about the breakfast buffet: The Bob Ross Channel! Bob is still at it (figuratively, his physical body died 29 years ago). The interesting thing is watching how many people in the room are also drawn to his painting shows. He really does make it look easy and fun…

We chat with Howard and Irene and they compare some more memories with Gini to try and reconstruct the past.

10:45 am

You may remember that Kingman is/was on Route 66, and they are not about to let you forget it. We have headed to a local Route 66 Shop, which is next door to a Route 66 motel. The sole (?) employee of both businesses is currently at the hotel, so we ring a buzzer and wait for her to stop cleaning rooms and come over and sell us trinkets.

We get a Route 66 T-Shirt for Robert’s sister, who turned 66 recently.

11:20 am On the road to Henderson, NV

Robert has two water bottles—one that fits into the front cupholder of Harvey and one that doesn’t. Gini brought the fat one, realized it didn’t fit and turned it upside down. Neither one of us remembered that the other feature of this water bottle is that it has a convenient suck-em-down top. Which, when inserted upside down…

Robert goes to grab a drink of water and realizes the entire bottle is empty.

Oops! One pint of water, plus some lime juice we put into it to try to hide the mineral taste, has now percolated into the front wedge of Harvey. We are not sure what’s there (part of it is the engine, we think). There’s some liquid on the floor. We’re hoping all the liquid just slides on through…

12:30 pm Henderson, NV

We meet up with a friend of Robert’s from the distant past (last seen about 25 years ago) and also a faithful blog reader (Hi Greg!). He now works at a casino running sound for the various musical acts that appear to entice people into the casino to spend money and gamble.

So Robert and Greg talk sound for a while and then they talk music for a while (Greg used to be a Raider with Paul Revere back in the olden days). All in all, we have a lovely time before Greg heads off to work and we head off to Pahrump.

Fun fact: 60% of the people who go to the casino/restaurant-a-rama/nightclub are local folks. This is in contrast to Las Vegas where the majority of people are from out of town.

Gini outside the Casino

4:00 pm Pahrump, NV

This little town is about 60 miles west of Las Vegas, and a world away in terms of architecture. Where Las Vegas is lit up like a Christmas Tree on acid, Pahrump is more subdued. Judging by the number of fireworks stores, it’s not always like that, but today as we drive through it is.

We are here to visit Robert’s sister (and faithful blog reader) Mary Ann and her husband Jim. They live near the edge of town and they report that we just missed a massive rainstorm that caused water to appear everywhere and flood everything and pontoons were being attached to cars and large dogs.

We had to drive through a mud puddle.

We have an excellent dinner and watch a TV show where people complain about having to spend $300K on a house (with a pool and a basement) and $2500 on an apartment (two and three bedrooms). We thought it was a comedy and then realized that they were serious.

Maybe housing prices in the Pacific Northwest are atypical…

Mar 19, 2023 (Sun)

9:00 am Pahrump, NV

There’s a fine dust here (and in other desert communities) that seeps in through doors and windows and covers everything. Here it’s called “poof dust” (which would be a good band name).

Mary Ann covers her appliances with plastic bags (already stored in cupboards—poof dust is pervasive!) so she doesn’t have to keep cleaning them when she takes them out.

Their dog, Buddy, barks whenever a meal is announced—and not just once. You’d think a gang of heavily-armed mercenaries had burst through the door when Mary Ann says, “Breakfast is ready,” but Buddy just wants to make sure that everybody knows that it’s ready.

This is not as selfless as it might seem. Buddy is a canine garbage disposal who will eat anything (“I give him the cores of iceberg lettuce,” says Mary Ann) and he knows that people will drop things, and Jim will feed him extra things and generally if people are sitting at a table eating, he’s going to get some.

Mary Ann says that his health does not seem to suffer (unlike ours—we can’t eat about half the stuff he gobbles down!) Today, Buddy is eating oven-baked French Toast (with syrup).

Mary Ann and Jim

10:00 am

Time to bid a fond farewell to Robert’s sibling and head on down the road. There’s a big storm from California coming this way and we hope to be clear of Utah by Tuesday. So far, we’ve managed to stay ahead of the storm and we don’t want to break our record now.

We are in a race against time! Friday, our granddaughter Zahara is performing in a show at The Moore Theater in Seattle and it is a Big Deal. Our responsibility as grandparents is to be there (and cheer loudly for her, of course).

We are currently over a thousand miles from Seattle and several mountain passes stand between us and The Moore Theater. Fortunately, we have Robert on our side and he says, “We Will Make It,” but he might be glossing over the “If we have to drive all night in the driving snow,” part of it.

4:00 pm Parowan,UT

Well, we’ve certainly caught up with the rain. What started as a few drips and drabs has now turned into a steady downpour. The good news is it’s finally washing the desert bugs off our windshields.

The speed limit in this part of Utah is 80 mph(!) and Harvey is barely keeping up. Harvey has also somehow lost his turn indicators, brake lights, and the cool in-dash display is stuck on the backup camera (which is handy if somebody decides to tailgate us).

We saved an hour or two because Siri suddenly told us to get off the freeway. In the past, Siri hasn’t always been the most reliable navigator (remember in Canada when she got confused between a washboard dirt road and a highway? We sure do!).

But we’re the forgiving type, so we do what he tells us (Robert has his Siri set to a male British voice, because he views Siri as his butler). We do wish Siri gave a better explanation than just “Because I said so,” but this time it turns out that there’s a massive traffic tie-up and Siri has neatly routed us around it.

5:00 pm Beaver, UT

We’re now in a town that’s a delight to 13-year-old boys everywhere. Since Robert is not far removed from that demographic, he is delighted to get gas at the place that features “Beaver Tacos.”

Of course Robert had to take a photo of this

We check our weather app and see that we are now colder (43 degrees) than Woodinville (54 degrees). Vacations over…

Happily we discover that if we turn off the headlights, everything else works (turn signals, etc.). Harvey is developing quirks! We’re sure that this has nothing to do with the half-quart of water that got poured down his console…

6:00 pm Fillmore, UT

We decide to pull over at the dinky town of Fillmore and we discover that they have a KOA campground. We find that KOA campgrounds are basic and efficient. You won’t get a fabulous view, but you’ll get reliable water and electricity.

We make a quick trip to “town” (the local gas station) for a taco dinner. We hurry back, because we don’t want to drive in the dark, because then we have to turn on our headlights and that shuts off everything else!


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