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Westward Ho! Day 1 of Roll Call on the Road in Arizona

My alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. to give me enough for a quick shower, a shot of caffeine and a ride via Uber to National Airport for my 6 a.m. flight to Las Vegas via Atlanta. I get to the airport and guess what? The TSA lanes aren't even open. I could have slept another 30 minutes.  

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Empty-handed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Eventually, I get on the plane and land in Sin City, where I manage to bypass all the slot machines as I make my way to baggage claim and the shuttle bus to the rental car hub. Now comes my favorite part: I LOVE driving through the desert, and I now get to drive from Vegas to Tucson, taking in some absolutely spectacular scenery.  

Here are a few of the shots I made with my phone, including a roadside place where you can shoot guns and have a burger,  

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Combo dining. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

a Route 66 sign in Kingman, Ariz.,  

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Get your kicks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

and a flask from the souvenir shelf at a gas station.  

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Drink up! (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Part of my plan for the day was to find a beautiful scene to shoot at sunset with my real cameras. And had it not been for a few self-imposed detours and a couple traffic jams (how is there traffic in the desert?) I would have made it through Phoenix with plenty of time to find that perfect spot, maybe with some cacti.  

But as I clear the Phoenix area, the sun is setting way too fast, and there isn't a single cactus to be seen. Thank you Arizona, for 75 mph speed limits. Just as the sun was about to go behind the mountains, I found a small clump of pitiful cacti. Here's what it looked like.  

The sun sets in the West. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The sun sets in the West. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This journey started almost 22 hours ago, and now it's time to sleep.

Topics: on-the-road