Panamericana 2013

… somewhere between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego

By

Viva Las Vegas and Death Valley NP

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New York New York Hotel

We reached a suburb of Las Vegas at dusk and we were desperately looking for a place for the night. Walmart was our plan. The goofy part – Camping on Walmart is not allowed here. We headed to the next and next Walmart and Yay! we were allowed to stay finally. Before we went to bed, we watched a DVD and recognized later that we are camping just next to the runway of the airport.

As we both did’t want to search for another camp, we decided to use earplugs tonight – for one night this should be OK .
The noise is incredible. We could not sleep well even not with the earplugs because every few minutes another machine started or landed. Sometimes the ground also quaked.

We got up early because we did not want to stay here any longer. Jan found a small park close by where we enjoyed the sun and made our breakfast. Jan recognized an “unusual” car parked close to us. It’s a “Pinzgauer”, a former Austrian military utility vehicle. Jan assumed that this are Overlanders, too. Two minutes later we got to know the owners of this car. Jason and Kate. They came here to walk the dog, saw our car and came to say hello. They are not yet travelling but want to start their journey soon. They live in Las Vegas and invited us spontaneously to their home . “Yeah great. That’s very nice! Our last night was horrible as we slept right next to the airport,” I said to Jason. He gave us his address and we made an appointment for this afternoon.

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Kate, Jason and dog, whose name we forgot unfortunately.

After we had breakfast and updated the webpage in the library, we drove to Jason and Kate who welcomed us warmly. We also got to know Jason’s brother and his girlfriend who visit Jason and Kate every Saturday to watch the boxing match on TV. Kate cooked a delicious Chili hotpot, we sat together, watched the fight and chatted. In addition to the delicious dinner and evening we also got a guest bedroom with a private bathroom! THANKS Jason and Kate!
At 9 o’clock we made our way into the city, on to the “Strip” – the mandatory program of Las Vegas! As we got insider tips from Jason and Kate we know where to go.

The “Strip” was full of people, full of colourful neon signs and full of cars. As we wanted to drive here with our own car, we did only go slow. We finally parked at “Valet Parking” of the Mandalay Bay Resort and walked around… from Casino to Casino. The most exciting was watching the others. The women have become extremely tarted up: with high-heels, the shortest skirt and the most colourful lipstick they have. It’s like they are only here to be seen.
The men, however, were dressed casually or in a suit. For them it’s not about being seen, it’s all about gambling I thought. Money apparently didn’t matter.

We wanted to gamble, too of course – just for for fun we wanted spend 50$. I gave 10$ to the “House Dealer”, the guy who deals the cards, and he asked for my passport. “You have to be at least 21 years old to take a seat at the table! ” he said.
” Oooops . My passport? I don’t have it with me! ” I replied. We thought that Jan can just give him the money but that meant he can play but I still had to leave. “Sh…So stupid “, I said to Jan. Jan did not want to play on his own so we didn’t gamble at all. Well, after all we did not lose money.
Later we strolled back to the car, which was actually undamaged (Jan had in mind that someone would take the car into the parking garage and damage it) and by 3 o’clock we were finally in bed. I’m so tired that I sleep like a rock. Jan had to wake me up the next morning at 10.30 .

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Hotel Excalibur

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lights, lights, lights…

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Jason and Kate waited for us to have breakfast together. If I would have had known that, I would have had an alarm set. After breakfast Jan looked at the “Pinzgauer” and Jason checked out our Toyota and then we leave to “Titus Canyon”. Kate told us about this off-road route which brings us directly into “Death Valley” and which is not too rough.

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On our way to “Titus Canyon”.

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Off we go.

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Hieroglyphs of bygone eras.

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It’s a nice drive through the Canyon…

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…nobody is here – just us.

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As mentioned already, this route took us directly into “Death Valley”. We drove to the “Badwater Basin” the deepest point of North America with 85,5 meters below sea level, and searched for a campground. For the first time in the States, we had a pleasant warm night and took off the “tropical roof” of the tent.

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We did not stay long because our visa expired very soon. We headed to “Yosemite” and saw the huge valley of “Death Valley” from the car while driving through the park.

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Endless long and brand-new streets.

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And endless range.

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This guy did not get enough rain.

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Huge sand dunes.