Kampington’s American Cousin

On Wednesday we picked up Kampington’s American Cousin (K.A.C.).

K.A.C. was the smallest van we could find for rent (he’s a “C19 Compact” for those who require all the details). He’s slightly shorter than Kampington but quite a bit taller and fatter. In true American fashion he’s a V8 petrol, though don’t be fooled; I’m not sure where the power is hiding, but I fear that 9 weeks may prove insufficient to find it…. The steering’s very sloppy, but all in all we’re getting used to it fast….

From the depot at Henderson, a Southern suburb of Las Vegas, we first diverted to the nearby Walmart for supplies then headed the short distance South to the Lake Mead Recreation Area near the Hoover Dam. The idea here was to spend a night close to Las Vegas and check the van out for any serious issues before heading off into the wilds… We spent the night at Boulder Beach on Lake Mead, and it would have been an idyllic camp had it not been for the fact that American RVs have built-in generators and their owners are not afraid to use them… at 6am if necessary….

Entry to the Lake Mead Recreation Area involved the purchase of an “America the Beautiful” pass for 80 dollars, which will give us free access to as many National Parks as we care to visit. Yes folks, this means that Mark has started a new “Savings” list. We immediately “saved” 20 dollars at Lake Mead; Mark will no doubt provide a running total throughout the trip.

Unperturbed by the generators, we trundled off on Thursday morning to have a look at the Hoover Dam and the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, opened in 2010 (a long time after my previous visit in 1993):

In case anyone was wondering, of course the Three Pesketeers (Zippy, Penguin and Hamster) have come along for the ride. A road trip just wouldn’t be a road trip without them….

All seemed well with K.A.C., so on Friday morning we skirted around Las Vegas and headed off North-East towards Valley of Fire State Park…..