A Road Trip, Day Two

AKA “What the hell have I been doing?”

College! MIT! Adult things! (not really adult things.)

So a lot of things happened and again, instead of saying it all in a jumbled mess I’m going to try and structure this in a series of interval blog posts. The road trip is rather distant from my vivid memory now so it might be harder to conjure up the most detailed memories, but I do have a lot of pretty pictures for sure.

Leg 2: Grand Canyon West Rim > Las Vegas, Nevada

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We didn’t do much at Las Vegas, especially since I’m not 21 yet, so Las Vegas was pretty much just a fun place to stop that was near Hoover Dam. I watched Mystère by Cirque du Soleil here and ate my fair share of very delicious food. I can’t wait to go back in a couple years and get the full experience for myself.

Leg 3: Las Vegas > Hoover Dam

So Hoover Dam was actually a huge pain in the ass to build, and the project was one of the most impressive feats of American engineering at the time. There were a lot of intermediate steps involved, including building gigantic tunnels to divert the entire freaking Colorado River, making intermediary tunnels, and creating an artificial lake. TL;DR:

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The lake on the right is man-made, and it’s called Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake in the United States. You’d think that it’s a pretty boring lake, but it’s actually very beautiful!

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They even had a burger place floating on the lake that was 8/10.

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As for the dam itself, well… I’ll close out this blog post with that.

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Various Pet Names for Cacti

So at the hotel I stayed at from August 5-6, there was a courtyard area with a cactus garden. Yep, only in Arizona. (Okay, probably not just Arizona.) At the same time of this realization, I was trying to toy around with every single mode on my DSLR in clockwise order from the dial on the top, and the ‘close-up’ mode just so happened to be next on the list. So I played around with some settings, and…

golden barrel
Echinocactus grusonii, ‘Golden Barrel Cactus’
whisker
Pachycereus schottii, ‘Whisker Cactus’
indian fig
Opuntia _____, ‘Prickly Pear Cactus’

I have no idea what the exact species of the above cactus is. If anyone specializes in cactus nomenclature, now is your time to shine.

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Carnegiea gigantea, the famous ‘Saguaro Cactus’

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The above close-up is part of a monster cactus, which is apparent when zoomed out all the way.

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Cereus peruvianus, ‘Curiosity Plant’

Unfortunately that is all I can give you regarding the fascinating cactus family of plants for now. Maybe I’ll stumble upon another cactus garden soon?

A Road Trip, Day One

Yesterday (well, since I’m writing this post a little past midnight I should say two days ago) I landed in Pheonix, Arizona and the following morning my family (3) plus my mom’s friend and her two sons (+3=6) went on the first leg of our road trip across the Southwestern United States.

Leg 1 | August 6, 2016: Pheonix, Arizona > Grand Canyon West Rim

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Route 93

The car ride that should have taken four hours took more like six hours because of some stops along the way for lunch and supplies. Eventually, around four in the afternoon, we finally saw some semblance of the Grand Canyon (although it wasn’t yet).

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Finally, after a lot of twists and turns, we got there. The six of us paid a total of around $400 for entry, we boarded a bus, went on the skywalk (where we weren’t allowed to bring our cameras), got our photos taken very haphazardly by a “pro,” got our pictures back and all of them were shit, and walked out of the skywalk with quizzical, slightly disappointed looks on our faces. But the views were amazing. Off to the side were places where you could take some more daring photos, if you were brave enough to risk not falling off the cliffs to a painful death.

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The clouds overhead were pretty and gave a unique feel to these shots that I’m sure were taken thousands of times from these exact angles every year.

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The view was exhilarating. I wanted so desperately to be one of the black crows (more on that later) and just fly out into the natural sculpture of meandering river and be free. I wanted to be as close to the ledge as possible without actually being stupid, which prompted the following shot:

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I’ll end this post here and start a new one because I don’t want to make these too long, but coming up: hunting for some crows and random close-ups of cacti.

PHOTOGRAPHY IS FUN!!