Day 3.

The view from my window in the early morning of day 3.


After the good nights rest I showered and headed downstairs to the Wicked Spoon buffet restaurant at 7am for breakfast. Unfortunately it didn't open until 8:30am though and I was slightly bemused given that I (falsely) thought Las Vegas was open 24/7!

Although breakfast was included in my room rate I was keen to hit the road so checked out and headed downstairs to my waiting Camaro.


Today's plan was to leave Las Vegas and first visit the Hoover Dam. After crossing over the border to Arizona I would head south-east on Highway 93 to the city of Kingman before driving 87 miles east to Seligman on the historic Route 66.


From Seligman I would then head to Sedona via the scenic State Route 89A before finishing the day in Phoenix.

The rising sun to the east as I headed out of town on the Las Vegas Beltway.


My fleeting visit to Las Vegas was unfortunately over too soon but I will definitely have to head back to get a proper hangover experience.

Driving across the top of the Hoover Dam after being briefly questioned at the Department of Interior checkpoint if I was carrying any weapons (the answer was no).


And on the Arizona side of the dam and losing an hour due to the time difference.


The dam holding back the waters of the Colorado River to form Lake Mead. In the background to the left is Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, completed in 2010 to reroute Highway 93 from along the top of Hoover Dam.


And looking down on the dam from the bridge, the perfect place to admire one of the seven wonders of the industrial world.


Cruising down Highway 93 as the skies darkened and the rain started to come down.


I still hadn't had breakfast yet and was starting to feel hungry so after reaching Kingman I headed to Mr D'z Route 66 Diner.


The diner is famous for its 50s decor, house-made root beer and a visit from Oprah Winfrey.


I had a pretty big hole in my stomach and swiftly devoured the D'z Big Breakfast of two eggs, french toast, bacon, sausage, hash browns, orange juice and coffee.


The Camaro parked beside the 1950's Police Coupe in Mr D'z parking lot.


After the tasty breakfast at the diner I headed across the road to the Powerhouse Visitor Center, home to the Arizona Route 66 Museum.


The origins of Route 66 date back to 1857 when Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, an officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, was ordered by the War Department to build a government-funded wagon road along the 35th Parallel. This road became part of Route 66.


The highway eventually served as a primary route for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and the road supported the economic development of the communities it passed through.

A 1950 Studebaker Champion inside. Studebaker was the only company to produce both settler wagons and automobiles.


An antique rusty sign from a Route 66 gas station.


A restored gas pump belonging to Richfield Oil.


A recreation of small town shops from a bygone era.


Businesses along Route 66 became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same businesses later fought to keep the highway alive in the face of the growing threat of the new Interstate Highway System.

Filling up with gas at Chevron Kingman on Arizona State Route 66. Although Route 66 as a national highway no longer officially exists, several states have adopted significant sections of the former highway into their state road networks as State Route 66.


And I couldn't resist grabbing a couple of unhealthy snacks for the road.


I then headed out of town driving north-east following a Hummer on Route 66. I also had to brake a few times to avoid tumbleweed that blew across the road and avoid scratching the Camaro.


After 30 miles from Kingman I stopped at the Hackberry General Store.


Neon and light bulb lit Route 66 signs on the side of the store.


Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, but was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985 after it had been replaced in its entirety by segments of the Interstate Highway System.

The old garage where mechanics once worked feverishly to get broken-down cars and trucks back to hauling people and their dreams to California.


As well as souvenirs there was a recreation of a 1950s diner with polished chrome furniture, a jukebox and black-and-white-tile flooring inside that reminds travelers of the bygone era of Route 66.


I then continued my way east, enjoying the wide open road of the longest continuous stretch of Route 66 that still remains today.


In the town of Seligman I stopped at Angel & Vilma Delgadillo's Original Route 66 Gift Shop. Seligman was one of the places that provided the inspiration for the fictional town of Radiator Springs in the Disney film Cars.


Similar to other small towns on Route 66, Seligman was economically devastated when Interstate 40 was opened in 1978, with traffic through town going from ~9,000 cars a day to a mere trickle.

After the decline and eventual delisting of Route 66 from the US Highway System in 1985, Angel Delgadillo went on to found the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona to help preserve the once important road and to lobby to designate Route 66 as a historic highway, at first from Seligman to Kingman, and market it with advertising and historic signs and bring back the traveling public.

10 months after Angel launched his campaign, Arizona officials added Route 66 to the list of the state’s historic roads. Other states soon followed and Route 66 associations were eventually founded in all eight Route 66 states.

Originally the town barber, he is now 93 and still occasionally pops by the store to say hello and pose photographs with visiting tourists. I however had to make do with his cardboard cutout today.


For his work in promoting Route 66 Angel Delgadillo has been called "The Father of the Mother Road", "The Guardian Angel of Route 66" and simply "The Ambassador."

And I couldn't visit the very first Route 66 souvenir store without buying a Route 66 cap to take home.


On Interstate 40 and cruising east towards the city of Flagstaff. The elevation was now over 2,000 m (6,500 ft) and there was patches of snow visible on the side of the highway.


And navigating the winding, wet road of Route 89A in Oak Creek Canyon after I turned south towards Sedona.


For lunch I stopped at Indian Gardens Cafe & Market in lower Oak Creek Canyon, a historic general store built in 1947.


A large cafe latte topped with whipped cream to warm up from the wet mountain weather.


I couldn't resist having the appropriately named 'Dan The Man' sandwich. Filled with smoked turkey breast, bacon, avocado, green chiles, tomato, lettuce and chipotle mayo.


And the very rich flourless chocolate brownie to finish.


After the tasty lunch I headed south again on Route 89A to Sedona.


Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations.


The clay red monolithic Courthouse Butte.


And just to the west was Bell Rock, so named because of it's resemblence to a large bell.


The summit of Courthouse Butte (left) is at 1,662 m (5,454 ft) while for Bell Rock (right) it is 1,499 m (4,919 ft).


And a panorama with Lee Mountain centre and the city of Sedona to the far left.


The breathtaking views of the red rock landscape was easily the most beautiful on the road trip.


I then carried on to join Interstate 17 to continue to Phoenix.


And where the red and rocky landscape gave way to green scrub and cactuses.


The town of New River in Maricopa County, where I stopped to get a closer look at the cactuses.


Gavilan Peak looming behind the town.


A lone house enjoying a view from the slopes of the 911m (2,990 ft) tall mountain. Gavilan Peak was named in the 1880s when the U.S. Cavalry and the Apaches fought a battle in the area.


The Camaro in the parking lot at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in North Phoenix.


The area was surrounded by office parks and the hotel was setup for extended stays.


Complete with kitchen and dining table.


With a room rate of $204 per night including breakfast.


And Neutrogena toiletries.


There were numerous chain restaurants within walking distance nearby so I decided to try Jack in the Box for the first time.


I had first heard of Jack in the Box over twenty years ago when they were mentioned by Samuel Jackson's character, Jules, in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction.

Intrigued by their peculiar name for a fastfood chain, I figured it was a good opportunity to try one of their burgers.

Surprisingly fresh, juicy and tasty, it was well worth the wait!


I then walked back to the hotel for some rest before my final day of the road trip tomorrow.


Day 4.

Some healthy Froot Loops, scrambled eggs, hash browns and fresh waffles for breakfast at the hotel to start day 4.


My first and last visit to a Walmart was back in 2004 in Tennessee during my Mustang road trip. The hotel was situated just behind one of their superstores and with it being a bit of an American institution I went to check it out.


There are Carrefour hypermarkets back in Dubai but this Walmart store seemed to be at least twice of the size.


I was also impressed by the supersize portions available including one gallon jugs of iced tea and two pound bags of M&M's!


While queueing up to pay for my purchases I spotted one of the famous Walmart electric carts. I had heard about them before but it was still a surprise to see one in real life.


After checking out of the hotel I packed the car to get ready for the last day of my road trip. I realised I hadn't popped the hood yet so took the opportunity check out the 6.2L LT1 V8.


Filling up with 91 (R+M)/2 octane (~97 RON octane) gas next to a BNSF Railway Police SUV before beginning the drive out of town.


Today's plan was to leave Phoenix and head to Interstate 8 before making my way west back to San Diego.


Taking exit 112 for Route 85 and on to Interstate 8.


Blue skies and luckily no rain on the road forecast for today.


The Camaro alongside a Vietnam War-era McDonnell F-101 Voodoo jetfighter on the outskirts of Gila Bend.


Stopping at a roadside rest stop on Interstate 8. The highway was relatively empty with the Sunday morning traffic and the perfect opportunity to test out all 480 horses of the 6.2L V8.


About 130 miles out from Phoenix I stopped at Dateland, an area well known for its date palms.


Their date shakes came highly recommended and indeed they definitely didn't disappoint.


And back on Interstate 8 again to continue the journey back to San Diego.


In the city of Yuma I went to visit the historic Yuma Territorial Prison.


The main cell block. The prison opened in 1876 when Arizona was still a U.S. territory.


I had really enjoyed the 2007 film 3:10 to Yuma which features the prison and it was quite easy to imagine a time when both life and the rule of law was not so forgiving.


Stories on the wall of some of the former inmates including the Mormon pioneer William J. Flake, imprisoned for polygamy.


Back on Interstate 8 where there was an agricultural inspection checkpoint shortly after entering the state of California.


And stopping to check out the Algodones Dunes.


The deep blue All-American Canal contrasting with the dry desert sand.


The canal carries carrying water from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley and its crops of alfalfa, lettuce, sugar beets and carrots.


Offroad buggies driving across the massive expanse of sand.


The area is a popular place for dune bashing especially in the weekends.


I then continued the drive west on Interstate 8 to the city of El Centro.


Looking south to the border wall with Mexico which was only ~500 meters (1,600 ft) away from Interstate 8.


After arriving in El Centro in the mid-afternoon I was starting to get hungry so headed to the local In-N-Out Burger for a bite to eat.


My first and last time at In-N-Out Burger was in Los Angeles back in 2017 and my experience was a little underwhelming thanks to an over generous serving of lettuce in my double-double burger.

Thankfully this time the contents of my burger was much better proportioned and it made for a much more satisfying dining experience.


Filling up at the 7-Eleven before heading back to Interstate 8 again.


Sun shining through the bug-splattered windscreen as I drove up through the In-Ko-Pah Mountains.


Desert View Tower, built in 1923.


The five-story tower also housed a museum. Standing at 3,000 feet (910 m) elevation at the top of the only pass around between San Diego and the border of Arizona, it is a stony memorial to the pioneers and road workers who traveled this route many years ago.


Looking out from the observation deck on its upper level.


And a panorama showing the nearby Interstate 8 to the east.


Next to the tower was a ensemble of sculptures of animals and other figures, called Boulder Park, and were created by a sculpturer over two years during the 1930s. Both the tower and the Boulder Park are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


And back to Interstate 8 for the final push to San Diego.


Queueing at a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in Pine Valley in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Luckily this gringo was just waved through though.


And arriving in the outer suburbs of San Diego in the mid-afternoon.


I still had a few hours until I had to return the Camaro so drove over the bridge to Coronado Beach.


The historic beachfront Hotel del Coronado. Unfortunately the outdoor bar and restaurant where I enjoyed a sunset beer three years prior was now closed for renovation.


I instead settled for a simple stroll along the beach at dusk.


And then reluctantly headed back to the Camaro for one last drive.


Heading north on Interstate 5 on my way back to the airport.


And one last fill up with gas before returning the car. It was hard to believe that less than three months later Hertz would be filing for bankruptcy and the barely 8 month old Hendrick Camaros would be sold off for much needed cash.


Back at the Airport rental garage with the final odometer reading 2,595 miles, or 1,226 more miles (1,973 km) than three days ago.


My three days with the Camaro were a real blast, both with the awesome and unreal driving experience in a real American muscle car and to see a part of the USA I had never seen before.

I could have easily spent a week or even more with the car and I can't wait for the opportunity for an extended USA roadtrip in the future to see all the sights and places I had missed.

After reluctantly handing over the keys to the Camaro, I hailed an Uber for the drive back into the city.

My room for the next five nights at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.


I then got ready for a busy four days ahead of chairing, presenting and networking at the nearby San Diego Convention Center.


Day 9.

Back at San Diego International Airport, ready to begin my journey home.


Today I would be flying Alaska Airlines to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport to connect to an Emirates back to Dubai.


Airside with my boarding pass for seat 2A for the flight to Seattle. It was my first time flying Alaska Airlines so was looking forward to trying them out.


The distinctive Native Alaskan on the tail of the four other Alaska Airline 737's visible as I head to board our plane at Gate 20.


And taking off on time to the west just after 9:30am.


Catalina Island, home of the famous annual wine mixer.


Breakfast smoothie served somewhere above Santa Barbara.


Enjoying the omelettes and potato for breakfast.


After downloading the Gogo entertainment app, I watched the film Jojo Rabbit, written and directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi. As he is a person of Māori descent it was also interesting seeing him portray a comical version of Hitler in the film.

Looking down on Crater Lake in south-central Oregon, the deepest lake in the United States with a maximum depth of 594 meters.


Descending over the city of Seattle.


And masses of Boeing 737 MAX planes parked up as we come in for approach to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.


After disembarking at Concourse C I almost got lost after having to catch three different trains to my next gate.


I had a craving for some unhealthy food so got an overpriced burger and fries at one of the airport fast food joints.


The Emirates Boeing 777 for the flight to Dubai. Little did I know that this would be the last time I would board a plane for quite a while due to the quickly developing coronavirus pandemic.


9D, my seat for the next 15 hours.


The pre-departure beverage of Veuve Clicquot champagne.


The ladies amenity kit to take home to Rianda.


A flight attendant then came around and handed out the wine list and menu for today's flight:












Settling in for a bit of a fright with the Stephen King horror film Pet Sematary. I had been scared by the 1989 version as a 12 year old and had been wanting to watch the 2019 remake for a while.


Pre-dinner drink of Pepsi and warm nuts.


The delicious cajun prawns served with red pepper coulis and pineapple carpaccio to start.


The pecan-crusted chicken with creole sauce, roasted potatoes and grilled baby vegetables for the main.


Enjoying the chocolate and hazelnut tart with raspberry compote for dessert.


And finishing with a second dose of chocolate with some Forrey & Galland pralines.


Getting a bit of a laugh from Zombieland: Double Tap.


And somewhere over Northern Canada where I reclined the seat and made the most of the mattress pad and blanket for a snooze.



Day 10.

Grabbing some water and cheese sandwich after the good midflight sleep.


Watching the BBC's The War of the Worlds with the french toast filled with banana and walnuts and served with whipped cream and maple syrup for breakfast.


Descending over the Arabian Gulf as we aproach our destination.


And about to catch a chaffeur ride home after a great nine days in the USA!

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