It’s with a heavy heart that we leave life on the open road to return back to Las Vegas. The freedom of the open road is exhilarating, and I’m not ready to be squeezed back into Las Vegas, with people walking into me with every step I take.
We stopped off at two towns en route. The first was Seligman, a town famous for being a part of old Route 66. Route 66 became famous for being the main road between Chicago and California, and being used during the Dust Bowl Migration of the 1930’s. However, this is not how Route 66 is remembered. In Seligman, the idea of a 1950’s America is being sold, using figures such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, who have nothing to do with Route 66. So why are they being used? Is it because the 1950s are the golden age of American motoring? I guess it would be pretty hard to sell the idea of a depression era and migration, which is why this idea is one which is alternatively sold. I got fairly bored in Seligman. Although there are many, many gift shops, it was a case of once you’d been in one, you’d been in them all. Nothing stood out as eye-catching or different, it was simply a much tackier version of what I’d envisioned before visiting.
(Top: Signs saying 'Route 66' were everywhere in different styles, on shops, on the road, and on all gifts for sale.
Bottom: A sign for a gift shop selling the 1950's theme of Route 66.)
Chloride, the second of our stops, was very different. The town seemed deserted, with little to no claims to fame, minus the local bar, ‘Digger Dave’s’, which was full of memorabilia, including a Tom Jones poster in the toilet. Here there seemed to be the space for freedom for creativity and expression, even though it felt like a ghost town.
(One of the highlights from Chloride, an old structure, symbolising how old and derelict the town was.)
I’ve only really come across the Hoover Dam in the Superman film, but it was every bit as impressive as I’d expected. Spanning across the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, it provides power and water to many places in the West, such as Las Vegas. Whoever decided to build such a large city in the middle of the desert obviously didn’t consider the issues with maintaining a healthy water supply, which baffles me completely. Therefore it’s no wonder that you can easily tell that the water in the reservoir is dropping each year, due to the water marks which are visible. Michael Hiltzik summarises this simply as “…there will always be more demand for the water than there is water.” He is right, and this is why places such as California have been on a drought for the last few years, and the way that’s looking seems as if the drought may just be a way of life from now onwards.
(This picture just shows how wide Hoover Dam is, and just how much water it holds back. It truly is an impressive structure.)
 Michael Hiltzik, “The False Promise of the Hoover Dam”, Los Angeles Times, July 5th, 2010