13.4. 2012Zuzana Salz

PAN AMERICAN JOURNEY PART III – USA

Horsefeathers team rider Zuzana Salz and her third part of the Pan American Journey blog. Enjoy!

On our Odometer: 53 922km

4,3,2,1…….and we’re finally off! A few weeks later and 4,790km farther our van has taken us to the town of Roswell-New Mexico, USA. This city is famous for the UFO spaceship crash so everyone here has become Alien obsessed! They have UFO everything, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had a Mc Alien with cheese at the local McDonalds. Anyway check this out for more info.

Spencer hot springs – Nevada / Zuzana Salz

E.T. taking a long to call home / Zuzana Salz

Our trip down south started on a cold Sunday 11.03.12 with our old 1989 V8 Dodge Ram Van and with my parents in their old 1988 4×4 Suburban Truck. After going through the U.S. Customs the guard remarked “ you really think this Van is going to make it to Mexico?” Yup, and we’re planning that this Baby’s gonna take us all the way to South America Sir!

Oregon / Zuzana Salz

The four of us decided on taking the less traveled but more scenic backroads. Better camping, tons of Natural Hot Springs and you get to see a lot of old rustic ghost towns and antique cars. Not to mention my parents have developed City-Phobia where my dad’s whiskers would uncontrollably twitch whenever we even got within 30km of a bigger city…

Madrid modern ghost town / Zuzana Salz

Ghost town Midas Spencer – Nevada / Zuzana Salz

Our first stop worth mentioning was when we crossed the border into Denio, Nevada. We stopped in for 1 beer (that never works does it?) at the historic old Bar which turned into a party with two locals excluding the bar tender Nicole and her dog. The main topics are still guns and ammo, hunting, cattle branding and eating rattlesnakes. One of the Cowboys,Lawny, was a proud abalone hunter and consequently was also celebrating his 50th birthday! Sometime after 3am we all stammered out with a few “promile’ higher and crashed right in the parking lot in right in front of the bar that night.

Lawnie in the Denio Diamond Bar / Zuzana Salz

After hanging out at the local hot spring for 1 day, the next day we decided to put some miles on our gas guzzlers so the next stretch of the drive took us through a lot of flat lands and that one Trucker Town of Winnemucca…Johnny Cash sings about this town. Then Austin the ghost town, Spencer hot springs and finally Death Valley where we stayed for the next 5 days.
For the first excursion we planned on in the Death Valley was to drive up to Red Pass made of red rock and sand that leads down into Titus canyon which is really windy and twisty. On the decent we started having engine trouble. The Van just kept stalling every 20meters among the hairpin turns until we gave up and put the van into neutral. The Van has 3 tons so it’s heavy, and with the engine turned off the steering required us to engage our entire body into turning the wheel! Way worse then your grandpa’s 1912 farm tractor! We had the fuel filter changed for $30 so we’ll see…

Death Valley / Zuzana Salz

Badwater Salt Flats – Death Valley / Zuzana Salz

85,8 meters below see level / Zuzana Salz

Sand dunes – Death Valley – California / Zuzana Salz

Anyway on the second day we spent some time on the Mesquite Sand Dunes where it got up to 30 degrees and the day after, we ran into a bloody blizzard while hiking around in the mountains! From Sunbite to Frostbite all within 24 hours! Anyway we ended carpooling and explored the park in the Suburban. The highlight was when we drove up into the mountains and ran into ice and snow covered Joshua trees!

After that we zipped down to Las Vegas to get married at the Wedding chapel and try our luck in the RGM and Excalibur Casinos. But like most people, we walked out empty handed! The truth is that researchers found out that gambling produces the same chemical activity in the brain as cocaine and heroin does. That means gambling is becoming a serious addiction. But Money is Money and Gambling is a Big Business in the USA. I just didn’t know it was the this bad. $95 billion in gaming revenue is generated by casinos tracks and state lotteries. $6 billion per year in Federal tax renevue comes from individual gambling winnings.

Luxor Casino – Las Vegas / Zuzana Salz

Las Vegas slot machine / Zuzana Salz

About 400km to the East in Arizona lie The Cliff Dwellers. It’s an area that consists of several massive rocks perched on eroding soil. The Hut on the photo was built by an American lady in the early 1900’s.

Cliff dwellers / Zuzana Salz

The next stop or Drop was the Grand Canyon that was carved out by the Colorado River. It’s a grand crack that stretches out to 446km, is up to 29km wide and drops down 1,800m!

Now in contrary to the Grand Canyon, the Monument Valley in Utah hosts rocks that loom out of the earth in random spots. It’s a place well known to everyone since movies like Easy Rider, Forest Gump, Back to the Future, Mission Impossible ll and many Westerns spent some time filming here. But I found this funny old Chevy commercial from 1964.

Grand Canyon – Arizona / Zuzana Salz



Monument Valley – Utah / Zuzana Salz

Then off to New Mexico. It’s an architectural heaven if you like natural Adobe buildings. Adobe buildings are a style of architecture made of sand, clay, straw, water and are mostly seen in desert climates. We stayed in Albuquerque and visited a few of my dad’s old school mates for a few days but also took a trip out to Santa Fe.
Two more parks worth mentioning is the Kasha Katuwepark that has fairytale like sand towers and the Bandelier Park where the Puebloan peoples resided among the holes in the walls of the cliffs.

Kasha Katuwe tent rocks – New Mexico / Zuzana Salz

Bandelier National Park / Zuzana Salz

After hiking and camping at some local hot springs, the suburban with my mom and dad waved goodbye and turned back up North to Canada. Kamil and I kept on our southwardly course towards the White Sands National Park. One white sand dune after another makes the landscape photogenic from any viewpoint. And it’s easy to get lost…and sunburned!! But not everyone is out because of the albino scenery. Actually most visitors, kids, parents and seniors are out there sledding their butts off on the steep sandy slopes!!! Wish I had my snowboard, damit!

White Sands – New Mexico / Zuzana Salz

White sand sleding / Zuzana Salz

White sand storm / Zuzana Salz

And now here in Roswell we’re getting ready for Mexico, Mexico, Mexico!
And Tequila, Tequila To-Kill-Ya!

p.s. we didn’t get married, it was a joke!
p.s.s. Please drink a REAL BUDWEISER for us…those of you who are in Europe!

Breakfast of champions / Zuzana Salz

The loooong highways in the USA / Zuzana Salz

Tulorosa Horse Feathers shop – New Mexico / Zuzana Salz

Jesus is right / Zuzana Salz

In your dreams Kamil! / Zuzana Salz

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