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24 March 2011

Planning the trip: deciding a route

Planning my route took a whole weekend of thinking and sketching. This was one of the reasons for making the trip; I have the worst sense of direction/spatial orientation imaginable, so I'd find it really hard even without the virtual/real blurring.

Some locations are over a hundred miles apart in real life, and some - like Nipton and the Mesquite Campground - look close on the game map, but there appears to be sixty miles between them on a satellite photo. So with only five days to get it done, distance is a factor.

Added to that, I'm pretty sure (from previous experience driving in the western parts of the USA) that some of the roads to the more remote locations aren't exactly "roads" as we Europeans might understand the word. They might look driveable on the satnav screen, but I think a fair bit of my adventure's going to be off-blacktop, which is why I'm renting a 4wd with plenty of ground clearance. Finally,  I want to stay in some of the game's locations overnight - and since some of the game's thriving communities are abandoned ghost towns in real life, this presents a problem.

BUT.... after two days of sweat, I've got my route. Starting easy - walking up and down The Strip itself - on Day 1, I'll drive outatown on Day 2 towards Nellis Air Force Base. After photographing/ being arrested for trespassing/ having high-explosive ordnance dropped on my head or whatever, I'll continue northeast and hunt for Bitter Springs and the Devil's Throat, avoiding cezadors and centaurs.

Next I'll swing south towards Boulder City and Hoover Dam/ Lake Mead, before describing a lazy semicircle from the east to the south to the west: Camp Searchlight, Nipton, Primm, and hopefully a Deathclaw-free zone in Sloan. One of the last areas I visit will be Goodsprings, where the game starts.

After that, I'm not returning to Vegas: other commitments are taking me to California, so I'll take in Red Rock Canyon and say hello to the Great Khans on the way. So: five days, 30+ locations, and one GPS unit with an interesting Favourites list! Will I make it?

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