It took us three days to drive from our home in Southern British Columbia to Las Vegas, Nevada. Google Maps said the drive would take us 22 hours but it actually took us closer to 26. While our VW Van is faster than most thanks to our Turbo Diesel Jetta Engine we still could not keep up to any of the new cars on the road.
Our American border crossing was a breeze. Truthfully, I was expecting a bit of a hassle since we are driving in a hippy van and spending three months in America. We have been thoroughly searched at this border crossing before and I wasn’t expecting anything different. The border guard was quite stern in his approach to us, asking us all sorts of questions about our intentions in the US, if we would be working, and how we would be supporting ourselves. After the questions he took a brief look in the back of our van and then waved us through. And on we went.
We spent the first day traveling in good sunny weather. Since we did not want to drive at night we pulled over at 5pm for the night at a rest stop along the highway. After a fitful sleep we were up at 4:30am (yuck!) and on the road again just before 7. We drove on with apprehension as we made our way through our first snow storm. Our van does not do well in high winds…it is like driving a giant box down the highway!
Another 9 hours of driving brought us to the high deserts of Nevada. Although we wanted to push on we were faced with another snow storm and uber high winds. When I got out of the van in Wells, Nevada to pump some diesel my body revolted in pain from the freezing cold temperatures and icy wind ripping through my inadequate spring weather clothing (we don’t have room for winter gear!) We decided to play it safe and spend the night there, hoping for fairer weather in the morning. We pulled in beside some RVs in an empty lot, made a simple pasta dinner, and then hit the hay.
By the morning the nasty wind of the previous night had abated and we were able to carry on South. The high desert country of Nevada seemed endless as we trucked along the straight stretches of shrub and sagebrush. The highlight of our morning for the boys was seeing desert hares on the side of the road…unfortunately they had been smushed by passing motorists.
The weather in Nevada doesn’t change to warm until a few hours North of Las Vegas and we were so happy for the change. We started to see little cactus dot the sagebrush landscape and as we drove the cactus got bigger and bigger. When we saw our first palm tree we knew we were close!
Las Vegas isn’t a destination I would normally be too excited about. It was exciting the first time I was here when I was 18 and Mike and I were road tripping down to Mexico but now it’s just another big city to me. The reason why we are staying put here for a bit is that we have family who live and work in the city and we are being graciously hosted in their lovely home in the suburbs. We will be using our time here for visiting, seeing the museums, taking in a show or two, and exploring the State Parks for some excellent hiking opportunities.
What did it cost to drive here?
It was surprisingly reasonable to drive down here. We had no cost for accommodation as we just camped wherever we found ourselves. The cost of diesel for our van topped out at $105 US ($140 CAD). Our total cost for food was $60 US ($20 for some nasty fast food that we thought was a good idea at the time and then soon regretted, and $40 for groceries). We also had to stop at an auto part store to buy some new hose clamps and tools to put them on for a total of $20 US. Let me just add in here a shout out to my husband who continually amazes me with his mechanical abilities!
So our grand total from getting from British Columbia to Las Vegas was $185 US. Not too bad to transport a family of four!!!