Previous installment: Moving to Vegas: Vistas
Williams, Arizona is only about a 3.5-hour drive to Las Vegas. Knowing this, Dad and I were in no hurry to get going on this last day of our journey. We slept in a little late and went to the Denny’s next door to the hotel for breakfast.
The visit to Denny’s was unremarkable as most are.
After breakfast, we got the Crown Vic loaded back on the trailer, and got back on the road. I think Dad and I had both pretty much reached our limits of driving endurance and were ready to get off the road. It’s not an unpleasant drive, but the scenery west of Williams on I-40 isn’t nearly as nice as the scenery east of it.
We did have a decision to make about which route to take into Las Vegas. I had never been to Hoover Dam and wanted to drive over it, but had heard that due to post-9/11 terrorist paranoia, commercial traffic over the dam was forbidden. All trucks were re-routed from US Highway 93, which goes over the dam, to US Highway 95, which cuts a different route through Laughlin, Nevada and then up to Las Vegas.
Not sure if our moving truck was considered commercial or not, we decided to take the safer, if less scenic route. There was no sense getting stuck in security lines at the dam, or worse, being turned back and having to take a 150-mile detour.
With our route set, we drove.
My notes on this leg of the journey are sparse, which I think was caused by the desire to Simply Get There. In the intervening years, I have driven this route a few times, and it’s nothing really exciting anyway. Once you get a few miles west of Laughlin and turn onto US 95, it’s a straight shot north through some Southern Nevada desert.
We would be approaching Las Vegas form the south, coming up US Highway 95 until it met US Highway 93 near Boulder City, NV. The only notable thing on this route is Searchlight, NV (home of the truly awful and evil US Senator Harry Reid). If you’re driving throughSearchlight, slow down to the speed limit. Not one over. Do the speed limit. They also frequently put a mannequin in a patrol car on the edge of town, but sometimes it’s a human. Just watch your speed carefully in Searchlight, endure it for 5 or so minutes and you’ll be fine.
Once past Searchlight, it was more driving on US 95. Eventually we met up with US 93, took a left, and then it was onto I-515 to I-215, getting off at the Stephanie St. exit. A short drive on surface streets and we’re there.
This last part of the route is amazing the first time you drive it. Once you turn from US 95 onto US 93, there are some signs of civilization. As US 93 turns into I-515, you see more civilization, but nothing too big or jaw-droppingly wonderful. About two miles from the I-215 junction, you pass over a crest and the entire Vegas valley suddenly appears.
It’s large. It’s impressive.
So here we were, about ten minutes away from my new life in Las Vegas and I was already in awe of the place. We arrived safely at our brand-spanking new condo on time. Sheri, her mom, and Grandma were all there waiting for us. I was thrilled to see my wife, and happy to be off the road with have access to home-cooked food.
Unpacking was out of the question that day. Instead, I ate a great lunch in an empty condo. There was an inflatable mattress set up in the master bedroom. After lunch, I went upstairs and took a nap.
I was in Vegas. I was home.