It Can’t Get Any Worse

It Can’t Get Any Worse

Day 13

Flagstaff, AZ >>> Las Vegas, NV >>> Somewhere on I-40

Drive Time: 6 hours and 45 minutes

Miles: 255+

Last night we almost died. Wind, freezing rain, snow, hail, the works hit us. We laid frozen in our tent, anxiously anticipating the moment it collapsed. Somehow though we survived, only to wake up to more snow and ice. Checking the radar this morning, which lied to us multiple times, we finally seized the window of opportunity and collapsed the tent, essentially throwing it in the car before the snow hit us harder.

And from there the day only continued to get worse.

We were so looking forward to our night in Vegas!! We had at least two hot showers each planned before a night out on the town and eating some really yummy food for dinner, followed by a clean, warm night in a real bed. Michael had booked a hotel on the strip for only $40 which we both thought was a great deal. With every mile closer to Vegas, I could feel the steamy hot shower finally within my grasp.

The hotel however continued to increase in price. We found out that we would have to pay $10 for parking and that the $40 resort fee was not included in the initial payment. Thus, we were beginning to get discouraged about our night in Vegas. What we originally thought was going to be a fantastic night still within our budget quickly grew into a very large, excessive expense. However, we decided it was worth it and continued on our way.

We parked the car, packed our bag and began the trek to the check-in counter. Wearing t-shirts and shorts covered in sweat, random food particles from last night’s dinner and some dirt here and there, we passed hotel guests decked out in their best attire: the shower began to feel even more like a necessity.

In order to get to hotel registration, we walked through the casino with slot machines in every direction trying to attract your eyes, security guards standing watch and TV screens rapidly changing to display a new advertisement for a show or strip club. We were in awe, only seeing such an overwhelming scene in movies.

Finally making our way to check-in, we discovered just how popular Vegas is, even on a Monday night, because the line was five switchbacks deep. We waited for over 30 minutes just to be able to check-in. Still overwhelmed by the scale of the hotel and trying to transition from camping on dirt roads to being in a luxurious hotel, we made it to the counter.

The lady began to ask for our credit card and ID, discussing that we would need to pay the resort fee and put down a $50 security deposit. We briefly discussed canceling the reservation one last time to avoid the expensive (for our budget) stay, but reluctantly decided it was worth it and let her begin the process of checking us in. However, we didn’t get very far.

After briefly looking at Michael’s ID, she questioned us about our ages. With no intention of lying or trying to pull something off, we both stated that we were under the age of 21. Suddenly, the lady’s composure switched from being serious and almost rude to feeling sorry for us. She began to tell us that we could not even check in to the hotel because it is attached to a casino and you have to be of age.

Beyond frustrated that our shower was just ripped out from our grasp, that we now had no place to stay and that we may have lost our initial $40, we left the hotel discouraged and mad.

I drove to a park while Michael tried to figure out how to contact the booking agency about getting our money back. We played frisbee for a brief moment in order to release some stress and tension before discussing our options for the night. We decided our time in Vegas needed to come to an end as quickly as possible and that we should try to make some progress towards our next stop, Yosemite.

So, we got back in the car and began on our way only to find standing still traffic for the next three hours. We barely moved at all, driving was incredibly stressful and draining. After the day we had had we skipped the Seven Magic Mountains, a stop I desperately wanted to see, so that we could try to make more progress forward.

Finally, completely exhausted, morale as low as it had been all trip and nerves on edge, we pulled out of the traffic to get some gas and eat dinner. Gas is slowly becoming more and more expensive, making us worry about our budget and only adding to our stress levels. We payed $4.59 per gallon.

Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any worse, we turned the car on to find the “oil maintenance required soon” display pop up. As we had just added more oil the day before, we began to think there was a serious problem, perhaps we were leaking oil.

With so much worry on our minds, we ate dinner at a busy, expensive Greek restaurant, barely talking to each other, as Michael would say, “mad at the world.”

Michael got back on I40 to find even more stopped traffic. With the sun gone for hours and both of us frustrated and discouraged from such an incredibly difficult day, we decided to stop to sleep. We found our dirt road for the night, but with too much wind, we decided to tough it out in the Prius for the night. What an end to our terrible day.

Not in Vegas. Lots of traffic. Possible car problems. Terrible bed. Couldn’t get much worse than that.  

Yet we were still together going on the trip of our dreams across the country, thus the nightmare ended as we laid our seat back to attempt to sleep.

What. A. Day.

Stay tuned