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Subject:Home at last
Time:03:54 am
That was the most bloody annoying road trip I've ever taken.

I got on I-15 in Vegas, and it was stop and go. Mostly stop, with a little bit of go sprinkled in for good measure. I figured it would clear up in a few miles, so I decided to ride it out.

Save for a very short stretch, it continued being stop-and-go out to the California border. After that it picked up intermittently, but would slow down at random places and the freeway would be a parking lot for a while. And I don't mean urban freeway, either. I mean straight stretches with nothing but hills and joshua trees around for company.

I stopped in Baker to grab a sandwich, and then stupidly got on the freeway going the wrong direction-- I didn't see that the entrance said north rather than south until I was at the point of no return. So I went 10 miles out of my way and turned around at the first ramp. Amusingly, the car in front of me did precisely the same thing.

My low fuel light came on just as I passed Baker again, so I started looking for a gas station. I didn't see one. Ah, an exit with a gas sign-- excellent. Oh, wait, closed. I passed exit after exit, and three times I got off in pursuit of what was certain gas, only to discover that the station was closed.

I was Not Happy as the miles racked up. In fact, I started talking to myself about it, and continued doing so for mile after mile. 30 miles since the low fuel light came on. 40. "Drive softly. No sudden acceleration. Don't waste gas. Coast down the hill." 50 miles. And then traffic came to a halt about a mile before the produce inspection station, and I got to endure more stop and occasionally go a bit traffic. "I do not need this. Bloody traffic. No problem, you'll be fine. If you run out of gas, at least there are a bezillion people around, and one of them probably has a gas can."

And then I reached civilization, and gas stations. Yahoo! 60 miles since the low fuel light came on. I pulled up to the pump, peeled my white knuckles off the wheel, and filled 'er up. It usually takes 12 gallons to fill the tank; this time I added 14. I believe the fuel tank specs say 15.9 gallons, so I was nowhere near close to running out. I don't want to find out, though.

Back on the freeway, and 15 was a parking lot, so I hopped off at old highway 58 and meandered through Barstow, then onto 58 toward Bakersfield.

Google claims that the drive from Barstow to Kramer Junction is 39.2 mi (about 43 mins). It turns out that this was a worse parking lot than 15, and that segment of the drive actually took just over 90 minutes. I talked to hubbysan from somewhere in there. "When I get into jams like that, I think to myself that there had better be a huge wreck at the other end, with at least one dead body."

There was no wreck at all, just one really bloody annoying stoplight at 58 and 395. There was no cross-traffic to speak of, but the light still caused a 20-mile backup. Grrrr. Once I go through the intersection, it was mostly smooth sailing to Bakersfield. Well, except for the heavy fog warning and the dense fogbank, but that only lasted a couple of miles.

It normally takes about four hours to get from Vegas to Bakersfield. Today it was eight. Bakersfield is the halfway point for the route.

Mercifully, the rest of the trip let me make up a little bit of time. "Captain Leadfoot will be your pilot today." Precisely 12 hours after I left hubbysan's place, I pulled into my garage.

I turned on the GPS just after I passed through Kramer Junction. 371 miles, avg moving speed 76.8 MPH. That includes a fair bit of 40MPH through Bakersfield, so you can guess what I-5 was like.

If I ever suggest that I want to drive to Vegas over a holiday weekend, please whack me upside the head with a large trout, 'k?
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caged_ape
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Time:2007-01-02 03:42 pm (UTC)
*THWACK!!*
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crayonbeam
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Time:2007-01-02 05:01 pm (UTC)
I did something similar driving from San Francisco to Austin... It was late at night and we were getting low on gas... at El Paso I kept seeing so many lights that I figured I would just drive to the next exit. Turns out that a bunch of those lights were actually in Mexico. El Paso suddenly ended, and I was out in the boonies. Aieee! I hate that staring at the gas guage / odometer feeling so much.

Made it though.
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abostick59
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Time:2007-01-02 05:59 pm (UTC)
If I were fool enough to want to drive out of LV on the Monday of a holiday weekend, I would seriously consider heading north and taking one of the passes through the Sierras -- which, given the time of year, would pretty much have to be taking I-80 through Donner Pass.
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danloncaric
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Time:2007-01-02 06:45 pm (UTC)
As a 25 year veteran of Vegas to LA or Vegas to Bay Area, some of it on holiday weekends, may I make a suggestion. Exit 15 at Parumph and drive through Death Valley, coming out at Mojave. Pick up 58 there. It's a gorgeous drive, more miles, but you can drive 90mph much of the way (watch out for aircraft patrolling) and you will get some fantastic photo ops.

One Thanksgiving Sunday I took that route, leaving Vegas at 10am, same time as a co-worker. I landed home in LA at 5pm. My co-worker arrived home at 8pm.
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terrencechan
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Time:2007-01-02 07:54 pm (UTC)
The auto shut-off valve on a gas pump ensures your gas tank is far from actually full when it clicks, so assuming you didn't top up, you might have been closer to empty than you think.
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fich
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Time:2007-01-02 09:42 pm (UTC)
We americans, wo mostly pump our own gas, like to keep going past several of those clicks, not stopping until there's gas coming overflowing onto the ground.

And I said "MORE than one dead body."
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