Three Friends, Four States and a Homeless Man
Part 3 – Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, Route 66, Underground Caverns, and a Silver Coyote

When I left off last, I was sleeping in the back seat of Heather’s car near the shores of Lake Mead. The next morning, we all pulled on our swimsuits and bathed in he lake. I’m sure we were quite a sight for the families pulling in for a day at the lake with their kids. We spent some time enjoying the cool waters and then headed to see the Hoover Dam.
I don’t know about you, but the Hoover Dam was never even on my list of places I wanted to see, let alone not being high on the list. As a momentary aside, my grandparents went to there for their honeymoon… I mean, what??.
It was neat enough I suppose. We looked down a couple of very very steep and very very high dam walls, and marveled at how high the water was on the other side. There were a ton of huge black fish that all congregated in one corner- apparently another thing the tourists like to do at the dam is feed the fish.
And really, that’s all there is to say about the Hoover Dam… I have pictures around somewhere, but this post will probably be long forgotten before I see them again. We only spent a couple of hours there, because really, there is not a lot to see there. So, we got in the car and drove in the direction of the Grand Canyon- on Route 66.
We found a neat little store full of Route 66 memorabilia, and we spent some time sitting in a rock garden in a dirt yard in front of the store drinking lemonade with the proprietor before hitting the road again.
We also found a place called Grand Canyon Caverns (warning- site has horridly irritating loud music). That was really neat, but Heather’s asthma was acting up and she was worried about the air down there so she didn’t go down. Shim generally acted like a jerk the whole time we were there. We were only two days into the trip, and I was already thoroughly tired of him, but what could I do, tell Heather to leave him on the side of the road?
After GCC, we found a Wendy’s and had dinner, and found out that you can just sleep on the ground in the Arizona National Forest, as long as you went at least a mile off of the main roads you could camp off a fire road. We decided we’d do that, and found a nice spot where the ground was actually pretty soft. We built a fire and settled into our sleeping bags and talked for a while.
I’d never been camping without a tent. I was laying in my sleeping bag, chatting with my friends mundanely enough, but just outside the ring of firelight, coyotes were howling, and I was really scared. I did the silly thing little kids do, saying if I couldn’t see them, they could not see me, and pulled the flap of my sleeping bag around my head. We continued to chat for a few minutes, then right next to me, Shim howled like a coyote and grabbed me through my sleeping bag.
I, naturally, screamed bloody murder and started crying hysterically. Heather and Shim both found my reaction hilarious, but thankfully, Dan was not amused. I frankly was ready to be driven to the nearest airport. Dan made Shim trade places with him and laid down next to me and managed to get me to go to sleep.
Okay, aside from the ending, this piece of the story sucked. But it gets better after this, I promise.