Loading Map...

Vegas to Portland

Written on: Tuesday April 8th, 2008

A journal entry from: Camping Mexico


Colin and I arrived in Las Vegas after a trip to the Hoover Dam and a pleasant night of camping at the resulting man-made Lake Mead. The Colorado River has been dammed so severely and is drained by so many water-hungry people that it doesn?t even drain into the Sea of Cortez anymore; rather it sort of peters out and dries up somewhere in Mexico. It?s better than coal, though, right?

Ideally we planned to drive into Las Vegas under the evening darkness to be blinded millions of flashing neon lights, but we couldn?t control our eagerness and ended up arriving at 8 am instead. We would see the lights that night, anyways. Our first mission was to secure some suitable budget accommodation. The Holiday Motel just off the strip was where we found ourselves for the following two nights. At $45 dollars per night, and after spending the last 4 months in a modest-sized tent, we were living it up! Our first night we enjoyed some cheap champagne and chocked back a few shots of Jose Cuervo (in honor of Mexico) before we headed to the strip. A four city-block and $15 dollar cab ride later we were in the middle of the action, and were even included in a magician?s street performance.

Vegas was a lot of fun and absolutely entertaining, but in truth I?d suggest not going there as you wrap up a five month camping trip in Mexico. Ideally, you want to feel free to dine at the world-class restaurants, shop at one of the fifteen Gucci or Channel stores on the strip, see a show, and maybe even gamble your money on a $500 minimum Blackjack table (or even a $15 dollar minimum table for that matter). Colin and I were unable to do any of the above, and still had a fabulous time. I can only imagine how fun it would be with money to burn. In time.


Our departure from Vegas marked a significant turning point in our trip. We were no longer able to spend warm nights huddled in our sleeping bags in some campground. Instead, after Vegas we were confined to motels for the rest of the trip?..until Portland that is. Lake Mead was our final night in the tent, we were somewhat saddened by our last night camping as we endured over 100 nights in the confines of a small two man tent and began to feel at home in the outdoors.

Reno Nevada, Crescent City California, Florence Oregon, and then Portland?.this is the road home. We passed through desert valleys, snow capped summits, warm green farming pastures, over raging mountain rivers, tall old growth redwood forests, and finally on to the coast in the matter of two days driving; this type of diversity has been common during our five months on the road.

Our final nights in the United States were spent with family friends in Portland. Adapting to luxury accommodations, fine dinning, good wine, and the most comfortable bed in my life was made incredibly easy by our kind hosts. We got a small taste of what the city had to offer on the way south however this time we had a few days more to spend probing the neighborhoods. The city retains a vibrant sense of an urban community that functions very well. The public transit system seems well adapted to carry the yuppies and hipsters through the various districts. We went to the first Thursday event in the Pearl district where we mingled in and out of shops and galleries while we drank wine and beer on the house. The Adidas store was quite impressive with a full DJ, MC, and break dancers lighting it up among the merchandise while customers mingled throughout the store drinking free beer and eating pizza.