Today turned out to be longer driving both in time and distance than planned, but it worked out in the end. We'd initially planned to grab some breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks and get on the road, but all of the stores the Starbucks app showed near us in either Laughlin or across the river in Bullhead City were kiosks in casinos or grocery stores and didn't have the full selection of stuff. With no 'fridge in our room, we couldn't stock our own supplies, so we had breakfast at the Claim Jumper in the Golden Nugget. This was nice enough (the waterfall next to the restaurant was nice), but cost us time. In retrospect, we should have checked: there was a Black Bear Diner in Bullhead City, and we probably would have had a better breakfast there, besides being able to collect a new passport stamp.
After breakfast, we set off across the river and through Bullhead City and what did we find? A standalone Starbucks! We stopped there anyway because it was adjacent to Lowe's and Lisa wanted a couple of things from there. We went into the Starbucks for me to get a coffee for the road. It turns out that the full store (the only one in the area) had only opened yesterday.
Next, on a whim we took a side road that took us partway up the hills onto the Oatman Highway, an early segment of old US-66 and one of the first ones ever cut off when they started cleaning up the road. We didn't go all the way up to Oatman, but even the part we drove seemed a bit hairy to me, with lots of twists and turns. Eventually we ended up down on I-40 for a short segment before we ducked off onto the road for Lake Havasu City.( Welcome to London (Bridge) )
There was a custom t-shirt shop in the English Village from which Lisa commissioned a shirt. The guy said it would take him about an hour, so we drove up to have fish and chips — at the Lake Havasu City Black Bear diner, filling #23 in our passport book.( Bear Has All He Can Eat in the Heat )
After lunch, I dropped a London Bridge postcard into the mail for Kelli at the nearby post office and we headed back to the bridge. Originally we were going to walk across the bridge, but the heat was too much for us, so we simply drove across to the island and back, just to say that we'd done so. We then returned to the Village, collected Lisa's shirt, and left for Tempe.
The heat was sufficiently intense and the minivan old enough that we couldn't run the air conditioning at full (or sometimes at all) when climbing hills or when otherwise working the engine hard. Lisa was driving and kept an eye on the temperature, letting me know when to turn the AC on or off.( Any Shade is Welcome )
At Quartsite we joined eastbound I-10. Lisa kept our speed down in order to spare enough power to run the air conditioning. She drove most of the day, except for a short period when she needed a break and had me drive. We made a final driver change at a familiar-sounding place.( Driving in Circles )
Lisa drove us into Phoenix. By now, it was around 7:30 PM. Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings time, and that's a good thing as far as we are concerned. The worst of the Getaway Day rush hour was gone, and we faced no slowdowns across Phoenix, arriving at the Mission Palms Hotel in Tempe around 8 PM or so. Arriving this early meant we were able to obtain one of the relatively few hotel self-parking spaces. We don't plan to move the van again until we leave on Tuesday. We also could move our things into the hotel in the dark. It was 37°C this evening, warmer than the high
temperatures back in Fernley, but again, tolerable out of the direct sun. After getting our personal bags into the hotel, we walked to the CVS store a few blocks away and got some yogurt, milk, and cereal, as this hotel room has a mini-fridge. Finally, we borrowed a bell cart and moved a large load of stuff from the van into the hotel room. There's still more stuff out there, but we won't need it until we do Match Game SF
on Monday night.
Fortunately, we have no early commitments to Westercon on Saturday, the first day of the convention. We picked up our membership badges this evening, but could find nothing else going on when we came back from CVS. Tomorrow I have nothing before 1 PM. I think I will not set an alarm for Saturday morning.