This morning’s alarm clock rang a lot earlier than it should have done given the fact that we had spent the previous night in Las Vegas! However, we are a diligent and committed bunch, and up we got to go and park the car in front of the Mirage Hotel ready to receive interested guests as well as some members of the local media.
When we had everything set up though, the media did not arrive. After waiting around and calling a lot of people to try and find out what was going on, we heard from Cindy, the Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association PR liaison, that the media had actually come much earlier than agreed, and had disappeared even before we had arrived. This constituted our first no-show, and despite the fact that we were a little disappointed, it still gave us a lot of time to explain the car many of the hotel’s guests. We did have a good 220+ mile drive ahead of us though, so we thought it best to take a quick lunch and push onwards towards Flagstaff, Arizona!
You may be wondering, at this point, why it always seems that we are pushed for time and are not taking the opportunity to explore the wonderful places we have been through. There is a very good explanation for this. Firstly, we have a massive priority deadline, and that is to get to Austin, Texas on or before the August 1st so that we can fulfil a long held promise to one of our main sponsors, National Instruments (NI).
Throughout the project, NI have strongly supported us, and we were determined to get to their week long exhibition, where we were due to deliver one of the keynote presentations, on time. Secondly, we only have finite resources, and lengthening the trip to visit more energy-related attractions would be costly. However, our date commitments will not be anywhere near as strenuous as we go south into Mexico, so we will be able to spend much more time investigating the local energy generation and infrastructure; something which is an essential part to a future containing electric vehicles en masse. Visiting these sites is very important for the documentary series which is being produced which will ultimately help inform all those who see it as to the benefits of electric vehicles.
That being said, as long as some of these attractions are on our route, we would be able to make best use of them. And what a place we were due to cross next…the Hoover Dam! The massive 2 gigawatt dam around 20 miles out of Las Vegas, still generating electricity and diverting water for irrigation over 70 years after construction, sat imposingly in the magnificence of the Colorado River’s Black Canyon. And to top it all off, just before getting to the dam, we found a helicopter service that was selling arial tours of the area. So the team split up with myself and Toby crossing the dam in the SRZero, and the rest of the team split between the support vehicle and helicopter. Before long we were driving across the dam, with the helicopter circling overhead taking magnificent pictures and videos! Feel free to check our videos section which shows the Hoover Dam in a very dramatic video.
By now we were in the real desert; scorching heat and barren earth surrounded us. But it was true untouched beauty that awaited us as we sped east. Huge desert plateaus surrounded by dark brown mountains in the distance made for interesting viewing, and also provided the perfect backdrop to another one of Claudio’s video which will shortly make its way onto the cybersphere.
By the time we reached Flagstaff in Arizona, it was already dark but we could sense a strong difference in the climate around us as the air was cooler, moister, and thinner. A quick look at Claudio’s altimeter confirmed our altitude at over 2,100m; the height of many alpine ski runs! But the normal routine kicked in and it was time to get the car on charge at the local Ramada, which is where we were due to stay. A quick rewiring of the 220 volt dryer socket, as it had yet another plug which we hadn’t come across, and we were up and running! Yet another successful day as RGE made it safely out of Vegas and through the desert!