Technically, this isn’t just a Day 3 problem. In order, the cities/towns where I strayed from the most direct route (through no fault of my own- or wait! It generally was my fault) are:
Great Falls, Montana, where I mistakenly got off the interstate to take the “business loop”. Not a whole lot to see. I think they could have put up a bigger sign for the main interstate, but that’s just one woman’s opinion.
Helena, Montana, where I checked into my hotel, found the aforementioned little Irish Pub for supper, and then spent an hour driving around wondering who moved the hotel.
Butte, Montana- see above note about the business loop in Great Falls.
I did leave the interstate in Dillon, Montana, but I had to get gas. I missed the first exit (the one that says “Fuel- this exit”) (who knew?) but was very proud of my performance in taking the next exit, backtracking down Main Street, finding the gas station, and making my way out of town just like I knew where I was going.
I think I got off track in either Idaho Falls or Pocatello, Idaho, but that whole part of the trip is a little fuzzy. I think I was looking at the scenery. I do remember saying to myself “no more business loops; a person can only take so much excitement” or something like that.
I know I was definitely looking at the scenery while driving though Utah, especially Salt Lake City. Wow. I only incited one person to road rage on the freeway; she thought I had cut her off and childishly decided to respond in kind. I drove all the way to St. George at the Utah/Arizona border before taking a wrong turn and ending up in the Travelodge parking lot, but by then I was pooped and just needed a bed. The room rate posted on the door was $169.00 a night, but the $29.95 rate he charged me was more indicative of the level of accommodation. Pretty clean, but oh-so-tired and run down. Just made getting here to Buckeye that much more special.
Today’s wrong turns: Instead of cleverly following the interstate through Las Vegas, I found myself in the wrong lane and ended up in downtown Vegas. Benefit: I had never seen the Golden Nugget Casino, so now I can die happy. It only took about an hour to make my way back to the interstate, but not before I accidentally found myself at the outlet mall. It was only eight o’clock and nothing was open, so I suspect the Shopping Gods were just having a little joke on me and laughing behind their hands.
Back onto the interstate, one more bad decision, and I got to check out the length of the Boulder Highway. It’s not so much a highway as a depressing commercial strip, but it had the good sense to reconnect with the interstate just before Boulder City.
Technically, this next bit isn’t a wrong turn. I took a tour of the Hoover Dam, and the elevator that took us down 500 feet to where the turbines are went bump at the bottom, and the doors wouldn’t open. I hung out in the elevator with fifty of my closet friends for a good fifteen minutes, thinking that if someone fainted, there wasn’t even enough room to collapse on the floor. If we’d been stranded down there until people started expiring from lack of oxygen or heart attacks, then it could have been considered a wrong turn.
Kingman, Arizona: Thinking cleverly that I was avoiding downtown Kingman (since the sign didn’t mention the interstate), I took a brief detour through what I thought was the commercial traffic bypass. Turned out it was the weigh scale. Smile and wave, smile and wave.
Last but not least, the town of Wickenburg: Home of the end of highway 93. That goofy traffic circle gave highway 60 as the only alternative to going to downtown Wickenburg, so what choice did I have? Downtown Wickenburg is kind of neat, and I may have to go back there one day on purpose and do some ‘splorin’. Also, I now know that where highway 93 stops, highway 60 picks up and runs right into Phoenix. Not entirely sure why they changed highway numbers, but I’m not in charge so they didn’t check with me.
Long story just as long as I thought it would be, I have over three thousand new kilometres on the car, and I figure only a hundred are extraneous. I’m here, it’s warm, I’m happy. Other than the obvious lack of Mike, it feels like I’m home. And after all, isn’t that the whole point?