倍可親

從舊金山灣區到大峽谷四日游

作者:RidgeWalker  於 2012-4-4 01:19 發表於 最熱鬧的華人社交網路--貝殼村

作者分類:中英文遊記,攝影|通用分類:旅遊歸來|已有54評論

關鍵詞:

沙漠奇觀

1

又是春假,計劃去南加州接兒子,順道走訪拉斯維加斯(Las Vegas)和大峽谷(the Grand Canyon),完了再回家。

本打算在兒子校園附近住一晚,只是旅館房間緊張,要價昂貴,就放棄了。周五起了個大早,6點稍過就上路了。凌晨路上車少,差不多11點15分就接到兒子了。這一段路太順利了,只用了5個小時。好時光來得快去得也急,洛杉磯附近的交通狀況就很糟糕,再加上後來在15號高速公路上先後被兩次車禍耽誤,傍晚6點30分才得入住旅館。同樣的距離,早上只要5小時,下午就用了7個多小時。好在夏令時已經開始,在一個全新的城市找地方,自然日光幫助很大。拉斯維加斯也早早就為遊玩者打開了各式霓虹燈。


預訂了Stratosphere Tower賭場酒店,這座城市的每家旅館都設有賭場,選擇這家酒店是因為入住客人登塔不受限制,攜帶相機比較合算。進了大門手拖行李穿行賭場的場面令人很不舒服,個人不喜歡賭場,賭場色彩令人眼花繚亂,各式燈光閃爍,空氣齷齪。最不願看到的還是賭客的眼神,一種充滿了慾望的空洞。賭城服務人員好像習慣於和行為粗俗蠻橫無理的客人打交道,舉止優雅的客人被當成輸家或者乞討者,讓人有走錯了地方的感受。一個人必須招搖過市,假裝腰纏萬貫,才能獲得尊敬。來之前聽說賭場的自助餐很便宜,可是我們那幾天沒有看到。

酒店周末收價是平常的兩倍或者三倍還多。房間還算敞亮,床也夠大,除此之外,別無它物,沒有微波爐,沒有咖啡爐,早餐自然沒有,連游泳池在下午六點鐘也早早關了。都什麼年代了,旅館電腦聯網還要收費,把旅客當成奶牛來擠。很顯然,希望來客把大部分時間花在賭場里。我們一行沒有人對賭博感興趣,舟車勞頓,吃了晚餐,10點不到就上床睡了。

2

第二天六點一刻起床,七點不到就出城了,要去大峽谷的南沿一日游。走出旅館,市裡還有夜燈,需要給車加油,內華達州的油價每加侖最少比加州便宜50美分。機器自動加油,抬頭看到滿天朝霞。


還是計劃不周,一直在談論大峽谷邊上新建的玻璃觀覽廳 (the Glass Skywalk) 卻沒有花時間查詢一下具體位置。算了,大家都說大峽谷南沿的風景最佳。

隨身所帶的地圖是美國汽車協會 (AAA) 十多年前印製的,有些陳舊過時,一時不知道如何走上215號高速公路,奇妙的是順著大體方向走,竟然順利上路。過了一個山口連接93號高速公路,這條路原來是要從胡佛大壩上經過。新修的高架橋(O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge)已經通車,雙線行車,大大節省了行車時間。到了大壩附近,還是禁不住想去看看,到了跟前又離開了,覺得回程再來瞻仰不遲。


沙漠實在是太空曠了,幾乎看不到任何植物,除了高速公路邊上一些張揚的花兒,滿眼棕黃色,焦土被太陽烘烤過的顏色。這一程實在是太漫長了,開了95英里,早晨9點到達金曼市(Kingman, Arizona),得以機會歇腳吃飯。餐館名叫鄉村的驕傲(Country Pride),離開了賭場,價錢也公道,服務也客氣,飯菜也可口。

在金曼市上了40號高速公路,車速限制一下子提高到每小時75英里,也就是說即使開過80英里也不會得到超速罰款單。從金曼到64號公路交叉點的距離為110英里,感覺比之前的95英里要短。這裡的沙漠地帶景色不再單一,看到了樹林,偶有高山,山頂積雪,有些雪堆就在高速公路邊上。64號高速公路狹窄了許多,車速還是限制在每小時65英里,這樣一路馬不停蹄,趕在十一點一刻就到了大峽谷的停車場。

停車場巨大,車子幾乎停滿了,但是景區一點兒不顯得擁擠,這大峽谷實在是太大了,令人驚訝呢。必須身處其境才能感覺這浩瀚。人們表情或喜悅,或震驚,或遲疑,或亢奮,淚水和歡笑互相擁擠。巨大巨大的一塊地表,土壤,岩石,所有的一切在億萬年前被狂虐的科羅拉多河撕裂了,衝垮了。千年洪水和歲月的雕琢留下了一條深深的溝壑,一個人需要大半天才能走到谷底哦。不想走路,只有被騾子馱起,肯定也不是太舒服。真正令人驚嘆的是那岩石和崖壁豐富的顏色變化,深褐,緋紅,火紅,紫色,淡黃,米黃,棕色,沙礫色,等等,顏色輕重,艷麗和暗淡隨著日光的強度和角度變化而變化,早晚不同,一天一個樣。岩石和崖壁的造型藝術性強,給人以警覺,害怕,震撼,興奮的感受。巨大的谷底河流奔涌,河水呈翠綠色。很多人嚮往谷底風光,只有少數人兌現了諾言。


這大峽谷無疑是真實的;但感覺那是一場夢。離開了,再回頭時,什麼也看不見了。一個形狀奇異的山脈倒立著,穿透地表。

3

在大峽谷邊上轉悠了兩小時,正午的日光實在不利於拍照,還要趕回去瞻仰胡佛大壩呢。走過的路不顯漫長,但畢竟長途跋涉,沒時間休息,就覺得無聊疲憊。一路趕來,看到大壩時正好5點。


下午天空陰沉,遊人眾多,爬台階,穿洞子走向大橋的人行道觀景。大橋懸空。峽谷浩蕩,大風呼嘯,遊人走得東倒西歪。突然間看到那巨無霸的大壩在屹立谷底。這個觀景台角度絕佳,只是有些偏高,以至於大壩上的車輛看上去像玩具。陰天也對相機很不友好。


半小時足夠了,給人以走馬觀花的感覺。25分鐘后回到了維加斯,正好是晚飯時間。吃罷去登塔,好好看一眼墮落之城(Sin City)的霓虹燈夜景。景色真不錯,只是懶於帶三腳架上來,照片成色不佳。

4

第三天逛街。吃罷早餐,直奔金銀當鋪(the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop)去了。兒子在電視上看這地方做生意有些年頭了,很想到實地看看。電視確實令這個沒有任何特色的地方名聲大噪。隨身帶了幾樣東西想讓他們鑒定一下,所以馬上被請進去了,空手而來的觀光的遊客還得在門外排隊呢。當鋪對我們的東西不感興趣,建議去隔壁另一家碰碰運氣。隔壁當鋪更不景氣,對我們所帶物的來源和價值不知所云。

當鋪在拉斯維加斯大道的最北端,這條大道以其別名「赤身街」聞名於世。驅車往南,在赤身街南端的一個賭場停車庫裡停車。這裡賭場停車免費,來者都是客,熱烈歡迎,歡迎押寶。

假如您來拉斯維加斯觀賞金碧輝煌的各式建築,這地不錯。從停車場出來,早晨的陰霾已然散盡,天空湛藍,白雲朵朵。氣溫80華氏度,行人短褲裙子,赤身露體。

人行道人滿為患,一路走去,很多耳熟的名字出現在眼前。古羅馬宮殿(Cesar's Palace),威尼斯(the Venetian),百樂宮(the Bellagio),丹頂鶴(Flamingo's),紐約紐約(New York New York),米高梅大酒店(MGM Grand),等等,等等。


對,還有海市蜃樓。這裡的一切給人以海市蜃樓的感覺。原本空曠的沙漠,來了一批冒險家,賭博客,在沙漠中心搭建海市蜃樓。只是這個海市蜃樓能經得起時間的沖刷,屹立不倒,著實令人刮目相看。這裡的繁榮實在應該感謝那令人世側目的大壩,和人們如洪水般泛濫的好奇心。

赤身街有多處行人高架橋,都是拍攝的好地方,畢竟人行道上行人擁擠,周圍大樓互相遮掩。走了兩個半小時,把自助餐攫取的多餘熱量也消耗得差不多了。回到旅館,又一次登塔,用相機俯視一下墮落之城的全景。大風清掃,天地澄明。傍晚有朋友請吃晚飯,他們搬遷到這裡八年了,走時懷抱著的娃娃小提琴已經拉得很好了。

5

這一路只有一天不開車,第四天驅車回家。周一路上空曠。凌晨7點,晨光下的沙漠景色清新,天空有大朵的雲彩,地上視野寬闊,小山小丘散落。突然間有了大山,黑雲壓頂。過不一會兒,太陽出來了,千萬頃大沙漠長滿了體型高大的約書亞樹(Joshua trees)。車裡的人都睡著了,我也不想在高速公路邊上停車照相。


早起沒有人覺得餓,在市裡沒吃早餐就出發了。突然看到一個巨大的廣告牌,「佩吉.蘇50年代式餐館」。大廣告牌子從60英里開外一個接著一個告訴旅客還有多少英里就到了。餐廳設在加州的野兒莫鄉鎮(Yermo)附近,很容易就找到了,美國家庭式餐飲,服務也和氣。門外有一軍事基地,看到坦克,感覺有些意外。


過了巴爾斯圖(Barstow),換上了58號高速公路,直奔貝克爾斯菲市而去。兩年前的春假,這裡有野花漫山遍野。但是今年這裡的山頭積雪,地面鮮有綠意。這季節年年不同哩。

長途驅車,最後一段路途最為艱難。就盡量去路邊的休息區,觀景區消磨時間,解除疲累。今年雨季雨水缺少。最近的幾場雨剛過,田野山丘也該萌發新綠了,是季節了呢。

還不錯,下午四點半到家。

2012年3月23-16日出遊
2012年3月30-31日原作
2012年3月31-4月1日翻譯

------------------------

The Mirage

1.

Spring Break came again.  This year's plan was to pick our son from his college in Southern California, visit Las Vegas then the Grand Canyon and come home at the end.


The original plan to spend a night near his campus was quickly dismissed. Hotel rooms were scarce and unreasonably expensive. So, Friday we got up early and left home shortly after 6. The morning traffic was really friendly so we met the young man around 11:15. That part of the trip was marvelous, taking only 5 hours. Good times ended abruptly as the traffic in and around Los Angeles was just horrible. After waiting out a couple of crashes along Interstate 15, we didn't get to our hotel until after 6:30 in the evening. The roughly same distance took five hours in the morning but more than 7 hours later in the day. Thank goodness to Daytime Saving Time, there was still natural light to find our way in a new city. Las Vegas had turned its neon lights early for all fun seekers already.

We booked into Stratosphere Tower Hotel and Casino. In Las Vegas, every hotel has its casino. For us as hotel guests, we wanted that unlimited access to the tower. The camera would like that. Still, it was dreadful to drag our luggage through the casino hall. I never liked any casino or gambling scene. The artificial colors hurt my eyes, with too many flashy lights and stuffy air. Personally I detested gamblers eyes, so full of desire and yet so empty. You knew you came to the wrong city when service people expected rude behavior from guests. Polite folks were treated losers or beggars. One must act like a jerk, pretending with a huge wad of cash in your pocket, in order to get respect in this town. It was said casinos served cheap buffet food but not during our stay. 

The hotel's weekend rates were twice or even three times more than week days. The hotel room was fairly sizable and beds were large but there was nothing, no microwave oven, no coffee machine. The breakfast wasn't included. The swimming pool was closed down at 6 pm. In this day of age, the hotel charged daily fees for Internet connection. They treat customers like farmers milking their cows. Obviously, they wanted folks to spend most of their time gambling. None of us had any interest in gambling. We were very tired so we all went to bed right after dinner. That was before 10 pm.

2.

The next day we got up around 6:15 am and headed out of town before 7 o'clock. We had planned a day trip to the Grand Canyon's South Rim. The night lights were still on when we left the hotel. We needed some gasoline as gas price in Nevada was at least 50 cents less than California per gallon. As the pump hummed, I looked up and saw a glorious desert morning glow.

Our plan had holes as we talked about the newly built glassy Skywalk but never bothered to find out the exact location. Oh, well, at least everyone said that the South Rim had the best view of the Canyon.

Our map was at least 10 years printed by the American Automobile Association, information was hopelessly outdated. We didn't really know where to get onto Highway 215 and yet we found it just by driving to the approximate direction. Past a mountain range, we were on Route 93 that used to go over the Hoover Dam. But now the brand new O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge was completed with two lane traffic each way, saving motorists a great deal of travel time. As we took a brief detour towards the dam, we quickly decided to come back for a good look at the dam later in the day.

The desert was barren and plants were scarce, the brown and scorched color of the earth and rocks dominated everything. Only the highways were lined with some flamboyant wild flowers. It was a long drive, about 95 miles before Kingman, Arizona, where we had breakfast at Country Pride around 9 am. Away from all the casinos and gambling, the price was reasonable, service human, food delicious. 

At Kingman, we switched to Highway 40 where the speed limit was raised to 75 miles per hour. That meant one could go over 80 miles per hour without getting a speeding ticket. The 110 miles from Kingman to Junction 64 seemed shorter than the previous 95 miles. Suddenly there were trees, mountains to interrupt the monotonous desert scene. Some mountains even had snow on top. Some snow piles came all the way to side of the highway. Even the seemingly much smaller highway 64 allowed 65 miles per hour speed. Without stop we arrived at the parking lot of the Grand Canyon Village around 11:15. 

The parking lot was huge and yet most of the spaces were taken. Yet, it wasn't crowded because the Canyon was mammoth. It was overwhelming. One must be there to experience it. People were happy, awe-struck, mesmerized, elated, tears and laughs in congestion. Huge portion of the land, its earth, rocks, and all, were torn apart by the mighty Colorado River through ions. The epic flood and constant carving left a valley that would take a person half day to reach the bottom. The only alternative transportation available were mules. That was not modern comfort. What is truly amazing is the rich display of colors of the open earth and rocks, dark red, crimson, flaming red, purple, yellowish, beige, tan, sandy. They all change their hues and complexions all day long and on daily basis, depending on the strength and the angle of the sunlight. The shapes of the rocks and canyon walls were art pieces, provoking alarm, danger, awe and other feelings from human heart. There was a river in the color of emerald green at the bottom of this enormity of a canyon. So many wanted to go there and have a look and yet so few had kept the promise.


The Grand Canyon was real but it felt like a dream. Many miles later, when one looked back, there was nothing there. A fantastic mountain range was upside down, penetrating the surface of the earth.

3.
 
We spent about two hours at the Grand Canyon; the midday light wasn't ideal for a good picture of this natural wonder; we must head back to Hoover Dam. The road traveled for the second time didn't seem long.  Still it was boring and tiring as we planned no stop in the middle. We were back at Hoover Dam at 5 o'clock.  

The afternoon was much cloudier around the Dam than the morning. There were many visitors, climbing up the steps and through a tunnel to find the pedestrian pass of the O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge. The bridge was high over a deep river gorge thus facing a wind tunnel. The wind was howling and people had to steady themselves in order to proceed. There it was, the gargantuan dam was actually way below the bridge.  The vista point had a great angle but the cars seemed to become toys traveling on the dam. Still, the cloud made it hard to take good pictures.

The visit took about half an hour, reminding me of the Chinese saying, viewing flowers on a horse back. In 25 minutes, we were back in Vegas, just in time for dinner.  After dinner, I went up the tower and took a good look of the Sin City with flashing neon lights. The view wasn't bad, except I didn't bring the tripod up with me. Pictures taken were of low quality.

4.

The third day was to mill around town. After breakfast, we visited the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. The young man had watched too many hours of this joint on the TV and wanted to take a good look. This place had made a name for itself through television programs. We actually brought a few items for them to take a look. Those items got us into the door immediately as there were many people who had to wait for their turns to go in empty-handed just to browse. They weren't interested in what we brought and referred us next door. The pawn shop next door was full of useless stuff and had no knowledge of our items. 

The pawn shop was at the extreme north end of the Las Vegas Boulevard, best known as the Strip. We drove down to the South End of the Strip and parked in one of the casino parking lots.  In Las Vegas, casino parking is always free, for they assume everyone is a gambler.  Gamblers are welcome.

If one comes to Las Vegas to enjoy all the glittering architectures and Las Vegas won't disappoint. The cloudy morning gave way to blue skies and fluffy white clouds by the time we came out of the parking lot. The temperature was about 80 degrees, people dressed in shorts and skirts, lots of skin was exposed.

The sidewalks were crowded as all the familiar names lined up along the way, Cesar's Palace, the Venetian, the Bellagio, the Flamingo's, New York New York, MGM Grand, just to name a few.  


Oh, yes, the Mirage. The whole experience was like a mirage. There used to be nothing but the desert, here, quite open and empty. Then a bunch of adventurers and gamblers came and a mirage appeared in the middle of desert. It's wondrous that this mirage lasts, withstanding the wash of time, thanks to the huge dam and the flood of human curiosity.

They had overpasses for pedestrians to go across the Strip. Those were great places to take pictures of tall buildings and huge number of tourists. We walked about two hours and a half, to burn off the rich buffet food in the tummy. Back in the hotel,  I went up to the tower again to take some day time pictures of the Sin City in bird's eye view. The wind swept up some good visibility. In the evening, we went to dinner with a friend's family. They moved here about eight years ago. The baby we remembered had already become a good violin player. 

5.

After taking a day of break from driving, we started driving home on the forth day. The Monday traffic out of Las Vegas was non-existence. It was only 7 in the morning, the desert in morning light was quite beautiful, with magic cloud formation, expansive view, and little hills here and there. Suddenly there would be a huge mountain with menacing dark clouds hanging over the mountain tops. A little while later, the sun came out, revealing thousands of acres of desert dotted with huge Joshua trees. Others went to sleep in the car, I didn't want to stop the car along the highway just to take pictures.  

We didn't have breakfast in Las Vegas, for nobody felt hungry. I spotted this huge advertisement for Peggy Sue's Diner, 50s style. Huge billboards started the advertisement almost 60 miles ahead, with a number of them telling how many miles to go. It was in Yermo, California and easy to find. They served home style American food and the service was friendly. Outside, there was a military base with many tanks. That was kind of unexpected.


After Barstow, we switched to Highway 58 towards Bakersfield where we saw flower fields a couple of spring breaks ago. But this year there was still snow on mountain tops and the ground was barely green. Guess every year is different.


The last portion of a long drive is always hard.  So, we tried find rest areas and vistas to break the boredom and fatigue. There had been a dry season. Given the recent rain, maybe the hills would wake up and become green in a couple of weeks.  It was about time.

We got home before 4:30 in the afternoon.  That was not bad.


Trip: March 23-26, 2012
Writing: March 30-31-2012
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發表評論 評論 (54 個評論)

回復 meistersinger 2012-4-4 01:25
沙發
回復 銅山 2012-4-4 01:32
這次看到水庫了~  沒有用來發電嗎~
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 01:32
meistersinger: 沙發
咖啡,喜歡這杯具(不是悲劇)
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 01:34
銅山: 這次看到水庫了~  沒有用來發電嗎~
也用來發電,多功能。
主要給洛杉磯這個大嘴鯨魚供水。
回復 meistersinger 2012-4-4 01:36
RidgeWalker: 咖啡,喜歡這杯具(不是悲劇)
這杯具好。仿中國式。
回復 卉櫻果 2012-4-4 01:39
拉斯維加斯好繁華哦
大峽谷和黃石公園有關係么?
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 01:42
meistersinger: 這杯具好。仿中國式。
藍線條的紅樓夢,所以不再吃茶。
回復 銅山 2012-4-4 01:42
RidgeWalker: 也用來發電,多功能。
主要給洛杉磯這個大嘴鯨魚供水。
旱季和雨季蓄水的落差明顯吧~~
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 01:44
卉櫻果: 拉斯維加斯好繁華哦
大峽谷和黃石公園有關係么?
大峽谷和黃石公園沒有地理聯繫。大峽谷的形成是因為大河抨擊了沙漠,黃石公園是巨大的活火山遺址。
唯一的聯繫是兩者都是自然奇觀,舉世聞名。
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 01:48
銅山: 旱季和雨季蓄水的落差明顯吧~~
水庫這裡幾乎不下雨,但是那條大河,科羅拉多河,水量巨大,可以和淮河湘江相比了。
回復 銅山 2012-4-4 02:01
RidgeWalker: 水庫這裡幾乎不下雨,但是那條大河,科羅拉多河,水量巨大,可以和淮河湘江相比了。
看了下地圖,科羅拉多河的水源也是在高原~~   融化的雪水~
回復 卉櫻果 2012-4-4 02:03
RidgeWalker: 大峽谷和黃石公園沒有地理聯繫。大峽谷市大河抨擊了沙漠,黃石公園是巨大的活火山遺址。
唯一的聯繫是兩者都是自然奇觀,舉世聞名。
那要去看一次~
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 02:06
銅山: 看了下地圖,科羅拉多河的水源也是在高原~~   融化的雪水~
就像青藏高原哺育了眾多河流,科羅拉多河是落基山脈的女兒。
回復 白露為霜 2012-4-4 02:06
"隨身所帶的地圖是美國汽車協會 (AAA) 十多年前印製的"

Old school.  
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 02:09
白露為霜: "隨身所帶的地圖是美國汽車協會 (AAA) 十多年前印製的"

Old school.   
不相信GPS,不信Google maps.   
回復 銅山 2012-4-4 02:10
RidgeWalker: 就像青藏高原哺育了眾多河流,科羅拉多河是落基山脈的女兒。
明白了~   
回復 雪的煙花 2012-4-4 02:56
繁華呀, 都市好地方! 怎麼沒人帶我去啊,55555555
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 03:04
雪的煙花: 繁華呀, 都市好地方! 怎麼沒人帶我去啊,55555555
拿著遊記,順著自己跑一遍,肯定不錯。
回復 雪的煙花 2012-4-4 03:11
RidgeWalker: 拿著遊記,順著自己跑一遍,肯定不錯。
周末孤旅去啊。。。跑丟了怎麼辦
回復 RidgeWalker 2012-4-4 03:16
雪的煙花:    周末孤旅去啊。。。跑丟了怎麼辦
那我就在後面盯著。呵呵
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