Driving to VegasSeptember 20 in the United States
Up early. Packed and ready to go. On the road by 8am. First stop: McDonalds, for take away coffee. That was over the road from our hotel. "Im exhausted from all this driving" I said to Chris, as I parked the car and headed for the Maccas door. "I need coffee". Coffees in hand, off we set.
We set up Margo, our sometimes obstreperous GPS, to take us to Las Vegas, but to stop off on the way, at the Hoover Dam. I thought I heard Margo say, "Hmph typical" after we put the coordinates into her.
Our drive was wonderful. Arizona is so dry and so hot that I scarce can believe anyone lives here. Nevada the same. Still, they do, so good luck to them. I wouldn't want to. Chris' music predominated the drive and I enjoyed it as always. I did play three songs though. One opera aria, in fact, one we heard back in San Francisco: 'voi lo sapete' sung by Maria Callas. It's big and sad and anguished and gutsy and I've been humming it a lot since San Fran. Chris suggested it was the same theme as Dolly Parton's Jolene. He's basically right. The other two were Roy Orbison songs from his last album before his death, Mystery Girl, which I love. The Comedians, full of pathos, and the title track, Mystery Girl.
We pulled into Hoover Dam a little later than expected, but still keen to walk across this gargantuan structure. Did I say the Hoover Dam is big? Ginormous and very impressive in its stylistic accoutrements as well. Some art deco touches can't be missed. It was dreadfully hot, in the high 30s, so we walked across one way, turned and headed back the other, sweating like we had just run marathons. Since 9/11, cars are no longer permitted to drive across the dam, so they built an enormous viewing bridge adjacent. We skipped the bridge, headed vack to the cool of the car and headed for Vegas baby!
Having given the car back to the nice rental people, all in one piece, and said our goodbyes to Margo, we Ubered in to the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. The first thing was to change and use the pool facilities to wash the dust of the desert off. Planet Hollywood's pool is like one of those pool scenes in a movie, where all the rich and talented people show off their bodies, drinking champagne, sun baking, sitting at the poolside bar, swaying to the speakered music. Of course, Chris and I just fitted right in. We both dived in and swam to the middle of the large pool. No-one else was swimming, only sunning themselves in the baking Nevada sun. We both swam a few laps, then lolled about in the water for some time and finally left them to their cancerous folly.
Bath. Dinner in Lombardi's Italian Restaurant in the lower levels of the hotel, which by the way, all look like The Truman Show in that the domed ceiling is painted and lit like a sunny blue sky. It's very realistic. We're not gamblers so the casinos don't interest us, nor do the show girls, nor the strip clubs.
After a fabulous dinner where I ordered rigatoni boscaiola in a pink sauce followed by tiramisu and a glass of sauvignon blanc, and Chris, agnolotti, tiramisu and a Sangria cocktail, we headed outside, into the infernal heat, to look at the Vegas Strip and watch the fountain do its musical thing at the Bellagio. It was fun, but we're a bit done, and in truth, Vegas is only and was ever only meant to be, a lay over as we're flying to Texas in the morning.
The driving part of this holiday started off inauspuciously, but righted itself quickly enough. My head is completely around where and how to drive in this varied land and I can say honestly that I have enjoyed the road trip very much.
From the majesty of the Grand Canyon to the ditzy crass commercialism that is Vegas, you could not get two places more juxtaposed. Still, I guess a lot of people put these two places together. Tonight we sleep, and tomorrow brings our penultimate adventure. Till next.Read more