Dave has been after me for years to stop at Pipe Springs National Monument. I'm not sure why. He remembers something neat about it from when he was a kid. Whatever it was, it doesn't seem to be there any more; I finally ran out of excuses (we had plenty of extra time today) and we went to this overdeveloped and pointless little wide spot in the road. The high point was the woman who exclaimed, while looking at some (grey and white) ducks in the pond, "Oh, look at the penguins!"
Dave thinks she was joking. I have no idea.
Dave found a nifty dirt road that gave us a great view of Zion. Zion's really more impressive from a distance than it is from inside the park, but from the highway there are always things in the way. This dirt road went up onto a hill and gave a wonderful view, without any need to sit behind 5mph RVs through the Zion tunnel.
Before heading up the hill, this dirt road passed by a series of local farms. In one spot, the road turned into a mud bog, which looked deep enough that we wondered if we could make it through, before we noticed that there was space up on the high shoulder of the road to drive around the mud pit, and many people before us had worn a path that way. It turned out that the mud bog was due to one farmer overwatering his field. It seemed strange that in a desert community, that farmer must overwater so regularly that the road stays so muddy that all the road users have had to make a new road around the mud bog.
Hurricane: Sand Mountain defeated us, so we didn't find the dinosaur tracks mentioned on the AAA map. We did see a roadrunner on the way back into town, though.
Once over the Nevada border, we began looking for the Moapa stand, home of "Really good beef jerky". This stuff really is good, much better than the "really really good" jerky from the Navajo stand in Arizona. We'd bought some on a previous visit a few years back. Sure enough, when we found the Moapa store (complete with fireworks and jewelry), the jerky seller was still there, in his trailer outside the store, still giving samples of all his flavors (I like regular and double pepper best; teriyaki tastes good but it's kinda sticky, and red hot is a little too hot to eat much of. The buffalo jerky is good too, but too expensive and doesn't really taste any better than beef.) The jerky is actually from Montana, not local, but hey, for some reason this is the only place you can get jerky this good.
Las Vegas at rush hour. Yuck. They have a rollercoaster up on top of a space needle now, plus a new casino that looks like the Manhattan skyline except with all the buildings different pastel colors. Dave hates the place, but I still sorta like Vegas. Where else can you see such unapologetic kitsch?
But we stayed in Jean, as usual. Better deals, less hassle, great prime rib. Friday night in Jean is pretty crowded -- it was a good thing we got here early or we might have had trouble getting a room.