First Time Driving in the Dark

Since Lee got home around 3 am on Saturday morning he slept in a bit on Valentines Day.  He has had such a good time though working with his old friends from  Mills James Productionand it’s been a great way for Lee to get a hand back in on a job he hasn’t done for many years.  He mostly ran handheld camera and look how sexy my guy is with his big camera.  

Love that smile

Love that smile

Since we had the entire day off I  wanted to go the the Natural History museum, but changed the plan because Lee seemed tired and instead decided on a trip to the Las Vegas version of Chinatown.  As I have mentioned before, I love Vietnamese food and they had numerous restaurants in town, so after doing some research on Yelp decided on Pho Kim Long.  They had a line out the door at 11:30 and almost everyone eating there was Asian. I apologize for using the generalized Asian, by the way, but simply cannot tell what ethnicity people are and the only thing worse than using the general is mis-identifying ethnicity.   Despite being 6th or so on the wait list (quick tip: you sign in your own name, they don’t do it for you) they turned the tables quickly and the wait was only about 5 minutes.  I spent the time watching their operation and was incredibly impressed.  Everyone was working very hard, from the hostess to the kitchen staff and I was incredibly impressed.  I have spent a lot of time in poorly run restaurants lately and it was a treat to be in one that was firing on all cylinders.  Plus the food was great.  The fried egg rolls were perfect and Lee’s Mongolian beef was outstanding.

They had tons of 8 top tables and really knew how to turn them

They had tons of 8 top tables and really knew how to turn them

Loved these combination chopstick, soup ladle, and ramekin holders

Loved these combination chopstick, soup ladle, and ramekin holders

Afterwards we drove next door and went into the “Mall”.  The main strip itself was a little disappointing and the merchandise was nothing special, but I love asian stuff in general and still had fun walking around.

Chinatown Gate

Chinatown Gate

Cool statue outside

Cool statue outside

The absolute best part though was the grocery store, 99 Ranch Market.  This was a great one with a fantastic meat section (whole haunch of goat, anyone? How about beef bung?), amazing produce, varied seafood section, and of course dry goods.  Here’s the thing about Asian grocery stores in my opinion.  The prices are competitive and in general the quality of the product is great. To make a generalization, Asian folks are foodies and very selective about the product they put in their food.  Thus, in order to get their business the grocery stores that cater to them need to be top quality.  Almost everyone walking around in the shops was Asian and unlike many sections of town, I felt completely safe.

Highly recommend this grocery store

Highly recommend this grocery store

Afterwards we came back to the rig and just relaxed and watched an absolutely amazing episode of The Walking Dead  (as a side note they are really doing amazing job of keeping that show going strong), but frankly we just didn’t do the pre-leave prep that we normally do.  I did some things here and there but we had originally planned on getting out very early because of the long drive day and that didn’t happen.  (We ended up not getting out early at all, we didn’t leave until 10am. And on top of that, I was so distracted and not focused that I left behind our 50amp TRC Surge Protector.  I disconnected the voltage regulator and power cables, and then got distracted. I didn’t realize my mistake until this morning, and now I’m trying to see if some honest soul turned it in to security or the lost and found at Circus Circus. I’m not optimistic. – Lee) We haven’t driven such a long day in quite a while, but we didn’t want to try to find a campground in the Phoenix area (the halfway point) in February and we aren’t big fans of the Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel overnight stays.  Unfortunately, when making that decision we forgot to take into account we lost an hour to time change and certainly didn’t plan on a major accident on 93 which delayed us another hour.  Between that and stopping to eat twice (lunch and dinner) it was dark and we still had 90 miles to go.  We did split up the driving between the two of us, but I started looking around to see if we could find a place for an overnight.  Lee wanted to press on though, and after grabbing some Arby’s (which we ate in the truck) I took the last turn at driving.  

This was the first time I had ever driven in the dark and I definitely don’t recommend it unless you’ve had some practice.  You can’t really see the back end of the rig for one thing and rely on the headlights of upcoming cars to help you see.  Also, wildlife jumping out into the highway can be an issue at night, and although we didn’t see anything, it certainly heightens the amount of vigilance you need to drive with.  Even with my glasses, my eyes started to get tired but there was really no where to get off and switch over easily.  One of my biggest complaints about driving is the lack of places to pull over and take a quick bathroom break or switch drivers.  I like to switch out and stretch my legs every two hours but sometimes that is just not possible when towing.  The rest areas are few and far between and sometimes closed or too small for us to get into.  Pulling off to the side of the road is an option, but we are not comfortable unless there is a pretty wide space and that’s next to impossible to determine at night.  Anyway, I get now why most people are hesitant to drive at night and although I am glad I am able to do it, wouldn’t make a habit of it.  

The good news was Kartchner Caverns State Park was very easy to find and the roads getting to it were nice and wide.  It was very quiet when we pulled in around 8:30pm and thankfully it was relatively easy to get into the back-in spot and setup.  Definitely a two person job in the dark though, as I had to hold the light on the blacktop so Lee could see where it ended and the sand began.  The sites are huge and it looks really nice in the dark, plus Kelly and Bill and Cori and Greg will all be here tomorrow which I am super excited about!!

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8 thoughts on “First Time Driving in the Dark

  1. Sounds like you had a nice Valentine’s Day. I do not like driving in the dark not towing anything so I can’t imagine driving in the dark towing something that big. It is great that you can help and drive.

  2. I can totally relate, I drove in the dark for the first time last October, through construction, etc. Not much fun and unfortunately where we had planned to stop for the night wasn’t available due to construction so we had just changed drivers and got back on the road when our breakdown occurred. I think we’re done driving in the dark!!

  3. I know the feeling about driving after dark. I actually hit a deer one time, It killed the deer, but the truck was not hardly damaged. messed up the front bumper. Now have a heavy duty ranch hand bumper and grill guard. I won’t travel at night unless my son is along. I can’t back up the rig that good, and at night you can’t tell whats on both sides of you ,or low hanging branches, or whats at the rear end of the trailer. Being alone rest areas. I don’t feel real safe in. Also, the grab bar by the door and steps,that swings out for grab rail, I was in a area, that a guy came by and closed it at night, and you can’t get out. No window openings to reach it. Now it is drilled to put a bolt down through when its open, and a nut on bolt. They won’t take the time to mess with the bolt. I admire you both in doing the driving. Thank you for sharing the good,the bad, and the fun. God bless you both.

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