This morning it is cold and windy as we leave Barstow, CA. The plan today is to explore Zzyzx, pass through Las Vegas, enjoy the scenery in the Virgin River Gorge, arrive in St. George for a late lunch, do some grocery shopping, and finally check in to our rental around 4PM. We are staying at a new place in Bloomington, UT and they have made it very clear that there are NO early arrivals.
We exit I-15 at the weirdly named Zzyzx Road. Who wouldn’t want to know what is down this road? Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Zzyzx.
“Curtis Howe Springer made up the name Zzyzx and gave it to the area in 1944, claiming it to be the last word in the English language. He established the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa in 1944 at the spot which was on federal land. He used the springs to bottle his water and provide drinks for travelers through the hot desert. Springer also imported animals from around the country to attract more families to visit his ranch. He used Zzyzx until 1974 when the land was reclaimed by the government.” In 1976 the BLM and California State University agreed to manage the land around Zzyzx and established CSU desert studies.
We are driving along Zzyzx Road along the edge of Soda Lake which is a dry lake bed. We have had a lot of rain in California lately and unfortunately the road is flooded after a couple of miles. Having stupidly tried to get through a small creek in the desert and gotten stuck we know when it is time to turn around.
We spend a few minutes taking pictures before heading back to the freeway. It is important to document the fact that the Mojave River which flows under Soda Lake has some water in it. This is only the second time we have seen it with water in the last thirty years!
Now we are back on the road and heading toward the California/Nevada border. Primm, NV is the first town you come to. Near the border there are lots of gambling opportunities.
Now it is on to Las Vegas which is about 40 miles away. You start to get the LV vibe way before 40 miles. Every year it seems that Las Vegas grows further south.
Since it is Sunday the traffic is light which is not usually the case in Las Vegas. Not too much longer we are out in the wilds of Nevada. The wind is really blowing now. The forecasts said gusts up to 50 mph. I am really glad Jonathan is driving as the car is buffeted by the high wind. Even scarier are the big trucks lurching in the gale. The mountains are snow covered in the distance.
On our trip to Utah we pass through the Arizona Strip. It is the 30 miles of Arizona between Nevada and Utah on I-15. The freeway passes through the Virgin River Gorge. It is a winding canyon sculpted by the river. The scenery is spectacular.
We only need to go 5 miles into Utah to reach our exit. First order of business is to have lunch. Most eating establishments are closed on Sunday since they are run and staffed by Mormons. We know that Tia’s will be open and make a beeline there.
We make a quick stop at Harmon’s for kitchen essentials and then check into our villa at the Bloomington Country Club. We are trying a new place this year since Estrada raised its prices to around $500 a night. At BCC we get a three bedroom, 2200 sq. ft. place for $150. But will it be nice? Yes, it is and much better equipped than the units we have been renting in the past.
After an easy sushi dinner we watch a little TV but I am tired from all the driving and we decide on an early night.