As a precursor, I would like to say thank you to those who have posted trip reports and information. Sites such as expeditionportal, and expeditionutah, advrider, and Ih8mud, made this trip possible. And a special thanks to xjblue whose route I borrowed much from (the first several days) and for answering many of my questions.
D-Day (Day 1 and Day 2)
June 13, 2012 - June 14, 2012
We enter our coordinates in the driveway: Lutz, FL to Hoover Dam. 39hrs. 54mins...2542 miles to reach the starting point of our journey. This is after months and months of preparation (and lots of discussion with a worried wife) for our first real adventure. Maybe I will add a build thread at some point. Our home and life support for the next few weeks is our 20 year old Land Cruiser with 210,201 miles and the ORIGINAL HEAD GASKET!!!!! (LORD SAVE US!)
Hopefully, everything is ready and we haven’t forgotten anything, the day starts out with an oil change early in the morning thanks to my father, while I went in to work. Here goes nothing.
I start the first leg of driving...I75 through the rest of FL (yay). One outstanding thing is this part of the journey was spotting a fellow Floridian in a murdered out Subaru Forester will a snorkel (AWESOME), the vehicle was also apparently protected by snapping turtles.
The rest of the southeast is much the same...bugs, heat, pine trees, flat land, and more bugs. Whether it is the adrenaline (doubt it) or the thirst to get out west (too cheap to spend money on a hotel) we decide to push on through the night. The one memorable place in the southeast was the town, Grosse Teete (the name provided mild entertainment at 3 am), but memorable for all the wrong reasons. It felt like we were in a different country or maybe planet.
We kept driving westward bound. We ate at a Jack in the Box -pretty yum-in (spicy chicken sandwiches not a good idea on road trip) New Mexico. Well, we kept on driving more until we reached Petrified Forest National Park, and Mrs. 40tude was adamant on stopping even though we had just been there in March (on our trip back from buying the Cruiser is Tucson). We drove through the teepees and headed to the Crystal Forest trail.
Light and easy trails, but majestic scenery. And Mrs. 40tude had to do her signature handstands every 50 feet of the trail.
Again, we didn’t spend enough time there because we (I) were dead tired and just wanting to get to Utah. We drove and drove, and drove some more till we finally reached the Hoover Dam at 11:30pm. We tried to get a hotel room in the Boulder Dam Hotel, but unfortunalety there were no vacancies. After trying several other hotels and avoiding the seedy ones, we had to drive to Henderson, NV to a Holiday Inn Express for the night, or rather early morning. A rest...FINALLY!