DAILY UPDATES.... This page will have updates from my trip, I'll try and post something everyday. If you have any comments or ideas please send me an email.

APRIL 6 - 12      APRIL 13 - 19       APRIL 20 - 26       APRIL 27 - MAY 3     MAY 4 - 20     MAY 21 - 27       MAY 28 - JUNE 5

JUNE 6 -15     JUNE 16 - 30      JULY 1 - 8        JULY 9 - 16

June 6, 2005
I made my way across the Sierra Nevada Mountains on Rt. 108 - there's lots of snow still in the mountains.

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It's a pretty steep pass...

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....and cold,

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...and still loaded with snow! 

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Sonora Pass - 9,624 feet


June 7, 2005
The Sierra Mountains are really beautiful, here's a quick picture ------>
 
All the other pictures I took were mental images - just imagine snow covered mountains, blue skies, tumbleweeds and a few lakes and streams.

After driving on Rt. 395 for most of the day I wheeled into Independence Airport around 9pm and ran into a group of U.S. Forestry (or something like that) firefighters enjoying a few beers. While talking about my road trip I broke out my computer to show them a few pictures from the road trip and from some of my other photo projects.

After pictures, beer and a some good laughs it was almost midnight and the guys were kind enough to offer me a bunk in their barracks, but the Escape hotel was already set-up and I was pretty sure these were morning guys who would definitely wake me up way to early.

 

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Sierra Nevada Mountains

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U.S. Forestry Fire Fighters

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.... always training, even on days off !!


June 8, 2005
It's damn hot in Death Valley - about 100 degrees today. I thought driving through Death Valley would be a good way to get to Las Vegas, it was a good idea until I decide to go off-road. After seeing all the hot attractions (Stovepipe Wells, Furnace Creek and Badwater Basin) I thought an off-road short cut/adventure would be fun - the sign said "4 wheel drive recommended," I have 4 wheels so it must be all good!

According to my calculations the road (which isn't marked on the map) should have been about 20 miles - my calculations were wrong! I ended up driving over 50 miles on rocks, dried-up river beds, tumbleweeds and dirt. It was about 95 degrees when I hit the dirt road and I chose to open the window instead of using the AC - I didn't want to get stuck in the middle of Death Valley, I'm pretty sure they gave it that name for a good reason.

When I finally got onto a paved road (which was quite a relief) my low fuel light was on and my car was car was full of dust and out of alignment - but at least I was still in one piece!

 

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On the way to Death Valley

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Death Valley National Park

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Badwater Basin at
Death Valley National Park

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Sunset in Death Valley


June 9, 2005
I spent the day in Laughlin, NV cleaning all the dust and dirt out of my car - imagine putting a vacuum cleaner in reverse and then aiming into your car - that's how the inside of my car looked.


June 10 to 15, 2005
It's damn hot in Las Vegas - dry heat or not, it's just hot!

I dropped a few dollars at the sports book betting on the dogs - nothing like watching a bunch of skinny dogs run around a track trying to catch a mechanical rabbit. I thought this might be a good way to support Dagny and her dog friends.

For those of you who enjoy flying - Las Vegas Airport has a great place to park your car and watch planes take-off and land. Since I'm a plane geek, I spent a couple hours watching and listening to the planes at the airport. The Las Vegas control tower radio transmissions are simulcast on 88.5 fm.

I was watching this guy play black jack ($500 to $1,000 hands) for about 1/2 hour at the Wynn Hotel. He was doing a lot of winning, he hit black jack for $2,500 I said, "Niiccee," then he won another big hand and I said, "Yesss" -  it was nice to watch a guy beat up on the casino. The guy (Bruce) goes to cash in his chips, about 10K, and as he's leaving the table he palms me $100 chip saying, "Thanks for helping me win." So I did what any real gambler would do, I put it all on black - nah, I took the chip to the cage, collected the C note, and headed over to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for dinner with my buddy Egan.

After dinner (Ruth took my hundred dollars, and a little more) and fresh out of cash we had no other option but to head over to the Klondike Casino for 10 cent roulette - just try to visualize people who can only afford to play 10 cent roulette - nice mental picture isn't it? Too bad I couldn't get any pictures of these characters (I had flashbacks to the North Woods Tavern in Naples, ID).

And finally, after practicing at home for a few hours, Egan and I headed over to the Palace Station to play some Texas Hold'em - it was only $2 / $4 poker, but playing at the casino was a nice change from Hutch's basement in NJ. 

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Egan & JB on the Strip

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Dagny Wilden

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My biggest winnings...

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JB & Dagny