Journey Into the West – Day 6

A restless night

I don’t have many regrets, but if I could take back the decision to not camp on the chilly Kaibab Plateau, I would. The KOA in St. George stayed a muggy 80 for most of the night, so instead of shivering, I sweated.

The moment I managed to fall asleep, a loud gurgling sound near my head woke me. I couldn’t connect the sound with any mental image so I just lay there staring into the darkness, confused. Terry was faster on the uptake. “We put the tent on top of a sprinkler.”

We stumbled out of the tent and pulled it off the sprinkler head. The sprinkler sprayed against the wall of the tent for the next hour, which had the benefit of cooling down the interior air a few degrees.

Unfortunately, it also attracted all the mosquitos in the area, several of which got into the tent while we were moving it. I spent the rest of the night blearily swatting at them as they feasted on my face and arms.

Not long after, sunrise heated the interior of the tent and woke me. I opened my eyes to see dozens of salivating mosquitos staring at me from the other side of the tent netting. Rather than try to go back to sleep, I got up and showered.

A day of disappointment

Our plans, if you could call them that, had fallen apart in the last day. There were other places we could have visited in the area, but neither of us had the energy to find them. I think we were both OK with bringing an end to the camping portion of our adventure.

So after showering and repacking the car, we set off for Las Vegas. We arrived there at noon and made our way to Hoover Dam, joining thousands of other tourists visiting that day.

The tour was a disappointment. It started with a ten-minute movie that was more jingoistic propaganda than historical information. I’m pretty sure the narrator said Roosevelt cut a Stalinist baby in half to force a decision on the dam’s construction. USA! USA! USA!

I had more fun after the tour walking around and looking at the art deco designs on the exterior of the dam. I would have liked to learn more about that stuff, but they haven’t given tours of the exterior since 9/11.


Trying to make good use of the day, we headed to the National Atomic Testing Museum, which turned out to be another disappointment. They had few artifacts in their collection and the building mostly consisted of blurbs of text glued to walls. Some of the info was interesting, but, like the Hoover Dam, a lot of it was propaganda. “We blew up a lot of bombs and it was awesome!”

I did have fun playing with a Geiger counter though.

Tired and crestfallen, we booked a room at the Excalibur and settled in. We vegged out for several hours and later failed at walking to In-And-Out Burger, returning to the hotel to grab the car and drive there. I had never been and it had been suggested to me several times by friends from the west coast.

If anyone ever tells you to try In-And-Out, punch them in the mouth. After the effort it took for us to get there and the long wait in line, I was almost angry with how lame the food was. It’s cheap for a reason.

Cover Photo: Steve Parkinson