10-Day Trip

In 2006 I got a job as a test driver, working at a company called Roush Industries. When I was hired at Roush, they assigned me to Chrysler, so for a few months, I was taking Chrysler vehicles on test drives. Later, they assigned me to Ford, so I spent the next year taking Ford cars and trucks on test drives. In May, 2006, they asked me if I wanted to go on a 10-day test drive. This 10-day test drive would start in Detroit, and we would drive to Death Valley in California, then turn around and drive through Texas, to Florida, then we would turn around again and head back to Detroit. The entire trip would take 10 days and would cover more than 5000 miles. I would be driving with three other drivers. They told me I would get an expense account to pay for my hotel accomodations, and also to pay for the food I ate in restaurants. They also gave me a credit card, that was used to pay for gasoline. I took my camera on the trip, and took several photographs, the photos are shown below.     

The photo above is typical of the photos I made while I was driving. I held the camera up to the windshield, and took the picture. The car directly in front of me on the road is a car driven by another Roush test driver. 

Above: Much of the desert landscape was desolate, like the photo above.

Above: Snow on the mountains in Colorado.

We drove west through Colorado, and after passing through the city of Denver, we entered mountainous territory. Therre are several tunnels through the mountains west of Denver. The photo above shows the entrance to a tunnel.

Above: A closer view of a tunnel entrance in Colorado.

Above: Interior of a tunnel in Colorado.

Above: A photo of the interior of a tunnel in Colorado. If you go west of Denver, you go into the mountains, and you'll reach the town of Vail. The town of Vail, Colorado is a welll-known ski resort, and after you pass through Vail, there's a series of tunnels through the mountains, like the one shown in the photo above.  

Above: Mountain scenery.

Above: Mountain scenery.

Above: Mountain scenery.

Above: Mountain scenery.

Above: Mountain scenery.

After driving through mountains in Colorado, we went into Utah, where the mountain scenery gradually turned into desert scenery. We entered the state of Nevada, and went through Las Vegas, then went into the desert again, crossing the border into California, where we spent several hours driving around in Death Valley. After leaving Death Valley, we drove back to Las Vegas, where we rented hotel rooms for the night. After renting a hotel room in Las Vegas, I took my camera outside, and went for a walk on the Las Vegas trip. The photo above is a photo I took on the Las Vegas strip. 

Above: Photo of the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

Above: A closer view of the Aladdin Hotel.

Above: A replica of the Eiffel Tower, which is a part of a French-themed hotel in Las Vegas.

Above: A closer view of the Eiffel Tower replica, this is the base of the tower. 

Above: Another view of a French-themed hotel in Las Vegas.

Above: Another view of a French-themed hotel in Las Vegas.

Above: A view of hotels on the Las Vegas strip.

Above: Walking on the sidewalk in the Las Vegas strip.

Above: A restaurant on the Las Vegas strip, called the Harley-Davison Cafe, had a huge replica of a motorcycle on it. 

Above: A closer view of the motorcycle replica on the Harley-Davison Cafe.

Above: The front of a tourist attraction in Las Vegas.

Above: Dancers at a tourist attraction in Las Vegas.

Above: Dancer at a tourist attraction in Las Vegas.

Above: A dancer at a tourist attraction in Las Vegas.

Above: Dancer at a tourist attraction in Las Vegas.

Above: Motorcycles for rent on the Las Vegas strip.

Above: Motorcycles for rent on the Las Vegas strip.

Above: Part of a New York-themed hotel on the Las Vegas strip. This hotel has replicas of buildings in New York. On the left, a replica of the Empire State building, on the right, a replica of the Chrysler Building. 

Above: A replica of the Empire State Building.

Above: Replicas of New York skyscrapers.

Above: Replicas of New York skyscrapers, and the Statue of Liberty.

Above: Roller coaster. If you look closely, you can see a roller coaster that is part of the hotel.

Above: A replica of the Statue of Liberty, which is part of a New York-themed hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

Above: A hotel with a 'New York' theme in Las Vegas. On the right, there is a replica of the Chrysler Building.

Above: A view of the Las Vegas strip, showing a New York-themed hotel.

Above: The Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. The Luxor has an Egyptian theme, the building itself is shaped like an Egyptian pyramid.

Above: Egyptian-style statues at the Luxor. 

Above: An Egyptian-style obelisk at the Luxor. In the background, there's a hotel called the Mandalay Bay.

Above: A view of the  Las Vegas strip. On the left there's a sign shaped like a Coke bottle. 

Above: Signs on the front of tourist attractions in Las Vegas. The yellow character shown in the photo above is a statue of a cartoon character, part of an advertisment for M&M chocolate candy, behind it is a sign shaped like a giant Coke bottle.

Above: Sidewalk scene on the Las Vegas strip.

Above: Sidewalk scene in Las Vegas.

Above: A double-decker bus in Las Vegas.

Above: A tram for tourists in Las Vegas.

Above: Another view of the tram.

Above: Another view of the tram, on the left here's an Egyptian-style statue that is part of the Luxor Hotel.

Above: A closer view of the truss that supports the tram.

Above: A detail of the tram truss. I was standing directly under the tram truss when I took this picture. If you look closely, you can see that it has cables. The tram is operated like one of the old-fashioned cable cars in San Francisco, it is pulled along the tracks by cables. The cable cars in San Francisco have cables that are located in an undreground trench beneath the street, but the cables on this tram in Las Vegas are located in the metal trusses that support the tracks.     

Above: A view of the tram truss, spanning the street. Car traffic passes direclty under the truss.

Above: Another view of the Las Vegas strip.

Above: A statue at a hotel on the Las Vegas strip. 

Above: A castle-style hotel in Las Vegas. The replica of a castle is part of the hotel.

Above: A photo of a man walking down the Las Vegas strip pulling a kayak behind him. It seemed a little strange, since the nearest water where you can paddle your kayak is several miles away.

Above: A photo of Hoover Dam. The body of water that is closest to Lass Vegas is Lake Mead. Lake Mead is an artificial lake that was formed when Hoover Dam was built across part of the Colorado River. The dam also serves as a bridge, there is a road on top of the dam, and you can drive over it.   

Above: Much of the terrain near Las Vegas was desert, and mountains, like the photo above. After leaving Las Vegas, we drove west through a town called Pahrump, and then continued driving to the California border.

Above: A road junction west of Pahrump. There were not many towns in this area, there was a town called Furnace Creek, it's one of the only settlements west of Pahrump.

Above: After crossing the border from Nevada into California, we drove through desert landscape on our way to Death Valley.

Above: We got out of our cars at Death Valley, and walked around for a few minutes. I took a picture of this sign, that tells tourists that this is the Badwater Basin, and it's 282 feet below sea level. It's the site of a salt-water lake that dried up centuries ago, all the water is gone, and the only thing that's left is salt, there's a thin layer of salt on the ground that extends for several miles. Since we were there on a test drive, I wrote a note about the temperature in my test-drive report for that day, I said that the temperature in Death Valley was 113 degrees F. and despite the hot weather, the car's engine didn't overheat, and the radiator didn't boil over.

Above: A group of people walking on the salt flats at Death Valley.

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© Anthony Ratkov