day 175
valley of fire

"President's Day? President's Day?
Listen, we're Canadian. How about a discount?" -a.
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Valley Of Fire:
Formed: 150 million yrs ago
Rock: Red Sandstone
Inhabited: 300BC to 1150AD
By: Basket Makers, Anasazi

Winter Climate: 32-75F
Summer Climate: 100-120F
Annual Rain: 4 inches

Claim to Fame: The neatest keenest campsite yet!

Safety Tip
of the Day
Child: "I'm going over here to climb this mountain!"
Mom: "Okay, but remember, don't cross the road!"
What is an 'atlatl'?
An atlatl is a tool to aid the Anasazi Puebloans in spear throwing. By simple principles, it was a tool to extend the arm so that the spear would fly faster and longer than a conventional throw.

The atlatl worked something like a handheld catapult. The hunter would hold a specially fashioned two-foot stick in his throwing arm. The spear could then be set into the notch and held by the hunter with the same hand. When it was time, he would move his arm to throw the spear in the conventional manner, but also flick his wrist such that the spear would be pushed forward further by the length of the atlatl.

They say these petroglyphs show depictions of the atlatl, but I mostly just see feet.
Dear Microsoft:
During the course of this article, we blatantly use the phrase "go fuck yourself" in conjunction with your name, and strictly in reference to your recruitment team and hiring practices, rather than your software, as you may have heard it many times in the past.
Should you wish us to remove our specific request from the website, we don't think it's too much to ask for a reimbursement on our plane tickets. The approximate cost was $950.

Thanks again,
Kevin & Aimee

Only 3 More States!

Seattle or Bus
Feb 17 - Technically speaking, we've just entered the last of the 48 states.

Oh yeah, we could just stop right here, if we wanted. You see, almost four years ago, we took a bus from Seattle to Los Angeles. That's twenty four hours on a Greyhound Bus. If that doesn't count as a roadtrip, I don't know what does, because there was more adventure and excitement on that one bus ride than a jedi craves in his lifetime.

Oh, what's that? You'd like to hear about it?

It all started when we were thinking of leaving Thunder Bay to seek gainful employment in the land of the free, home of the brave, or at least, land of the 1.51 exchange rate. It was the peak of the internet industry, where any dumb idea could go public, any high school student could sell basement software to AOL for multimillions, and any man who could use WordPerfect was guaranteed $45,000 a year in an internet startup, even if he had no other redeeming qualities, personality included. We figured that with our computer science degrees and personality up the wazoo, we were a shoe in!

We were offered an interview with Microsoft in Seattle, but were really more interested in a place like Los Angeles (we've always had a thing for the entertainmnt industry). The recruiter said that they'd reimburse the cost of the tickets, so this was our chance to go in style. Thanks Microsoft!

States We Had Already Been To Before This Trip Started:
New York
New Jersey
North Dakota

*Kevin only
The flight to Seattle via Minneapolis left the Thunder Bay Airport at 7:30am. According to the tickets, anyway; the actual plane was cancelled due to lack of oxygen. Have you ever heard of this? Lack of oxygen? The pilot had to wear a mask to ferry it off to the workshop.

We ended getting rerouted through Laguardia. I don't know if you're up on your geography, but New York is the other way. Thunder Bay is North of Minneapolis, which is smack in the middle of the country. But, hey, it was either that or die of asphixiation. Thunder Bay - Toronto - New York - Minneapolis - Seattle. Sheesh. That was over 13 hours in the air (we're not looking forward to that upcoming Australia flight, I can tell you).

We landed in Seattle at 11:45pm, not enough time to get to the Greyhound station for the "companion rides free" fare. We complained to the airline, and the most they could do was change our return flight so that it originated from L.A. instead of Seattle. Now it would be the same price, but we wouldn't have to come back to Seattle to fly home. After the bus ride, you'll understand why this was a good thing.

Also, our baggage landed in Saginaw, Michigan. We got a free room at the Holiday Inn for that.

In a nutshell, Seattle was a flop. Microsoft promised to pay for the flight. They didn't. Their recruiter shouldn't have offered that because he didn't have the clearance, and he would be reprimanded. Not that that helps us pay for our tickets. And the shuttle they promised from the airport? Oh, they were talking about the $60 airport taxi to Redmond. So, we told them to go fuck themselves, and headed for the bus station.

If I had a photo of a Greyhound bus, I would place it here. Unfortunately, we haven't seen one today, nor is the signal strong enough for us to download one from the Greyhound website. So, I guess that is, as they say, that.
I don't know if you've ever noticed, but the bus station always seems to be in the creepiest part of town. Or maybe it's the bus station that causes that part of town to become creepy. Whatever the case, buses seem to have the largest conglomeration of weirdos, freaks, crackheads and thugs than any other transportation system, especially going from one major metropolitan area to another.

Before the bus even left the station, two drunk old skinny ladies were ready to start a knife fight with the teens in front of them because one of them turned around and looked toward the rear of the bus and she happened to be in his line of sight. It turned into one of those "Whachu lookin' at?" "Nuthin'" "I wasn't lookin' at nuthin' 'cause there ain't nothin' to look at." "You was lookin' at me." "No I ain't." sort of conversations. Great start to the evening.

Then there was the escaped convict in Oregon. At the second stop of the trip, a man tried to get on the bus with a receipt instead of an actual boarding pass. The driver said no, to which the gentleman replied slowly, and with conviction, "No, you don't understand. I have to get on this bus." We heard the driver say that they should go inside to figure this mess out. He and the ticketholder got off the bus and into the main terminal. A moment later, the driver came running back out at top speed, dove onto the bus, slammed the door and peeled away. The other man banged on the side of the bus until he couldn't keep up any longer. Afterwards the driver told us he was an escaped con, with a bit of a laugh, like it was all part of the job.

Oh yes, a fine collection of people on this trip. There was the group of five that passed around the crack pipe at each stop. There was the lady and her four small, loud children who were on their way to L.A., but had been on the bus since Chicago. The kid in the chair behind us with "4-20" written on his hand, who whispered, "Psst, hey! Hey! Does this mean anything to you?"

And of course, how could we forget Mr. Bubble? No, not the bath soap. In fact, I'm not sure if this fellow has encountered soap in the last few months. No, he seemed to have a complex about people coming too close and invading his territorial bubble, so to speak. Hence the name, Mr. Bubble. He was always the first in line, always sat in the right front seat, and his favourite word was "enh" (pronounced like a snivelling grunt). If someone tried to get ahead of him in line, he'd hold up his finger in their way and edge them back, punctuated with "Enh! Enh! Enh!" It was a fantastic few minute of entertainment in the Portland bus terminal, when two of the four small, loud children were poking him. Poke! Enh! Giggle! Poke! Enh! Giggle!

Ah, the memories. And now you know why we moved to New York.

far away...

Approaching Hell

Turn Back

Trapped Souls

Abandon All Hope

up close...

Death Approaches

It Is Too Late

The Keeper Has You

Your End Awaits
more photos in the archive...

Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Valley of Fire S.P.

Next Stop: Las Vegas!

see the full map...

Today's Weather:
About 5 or 6 drips of rain

Daily Stats

State Park Fee:$5.00
Camping Fee:$8.00
Ranger People Skills:Weak

Sleeping Quarters
Valley of Fire

Site 8. The second the sun went down, the wind came up. And that wind? Holy doodle. The tent even left the ground a few times.
Wappita wappita wappita went the tent. Then miraculously, at dawn, the wind stopped. An odd phenomenon, but what more would you expect from the Devil's playground?

Cost: $13.00

On The Road
Just Outside Las Vegas
Shared:Nachos & Salsa
Valley of Fire
Shared:Pot of Campbell's Chunky Steak & Potato Cheddar Cheese Soup

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© 2002. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. Wappita wappita wappita.