Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lear and Foathing in Las Vegas

Four A.M. Sunday morning; the strip in Las Vegas. Sitting in traffic on Las Vegas Blvd somewhere between the Flamingo and Bellagio. Or is it still Saturday night? The street is full of traffic and the sidewalks, although not full, have plenty of pedestrians. Some are dressed for the club; some are dressed for the pool. Guys outnumber gals about five to one, and the gals are skimpily dressed. “It’s Vegas baby,” shouts the kid in the backseat of the car next to me as he flashes a peace sign. I smile back. It is Vegas baby.

I’m on the way to pick up Linda’s dad. He has an early flight out. The trip, at least the Vegas part, is winding down, even if the town is not. We’ve been here ten days now. Walked the streets; seen the sights; paid the prices. Kids are pretty warn out from hardy partying, pool, nightclub, and amusement park. I don’t think they can stand much more fun. Tonight, Fremont street, the zip line, that’s all that’s left, in them and me.

After dropping grandpa off at the airport, I head west. Want to get the sun rise over the strip. Predawn light, good for pictures. Catch the tower at the Stratosphere in the morning sun. McDonald’s for coffee and breakfast sausage. Even the McDonald’s is special here. Harley motif decorations. The glitz and the glitter. The five star casino hotels, like little cities. The giant parking structures. Plenty of room ... on the fourth level. Parking is free and easy ... well, free anyway. Got to get those bodies into the shops.

Circular / spiral escalator ... Caesar's has it. An entire lake with dancing water show ... Bellagio has it. Pirate ship ... Treasure Island. Pyramid ... Luxor. Volcano ... I don’t know; lost track. Amusement park ... Circus Circus ... or, Stratosphere, if you can stand the height. Also roller coasting at NY, NY. The slot machines lost their arms, but not their songs. A cacophony of dinging music as you cruise the aisles.

Limousines and taxi cabs mix with cars from California. Convertibles, sedans, mini vans and trucks. Flashing red and blue lights as the well policed city deals with the crowds. Bicycle, motorcycle, squad car, and patty wagon are all on the prowl. The town is waking up as the 6:00 A.M. shift heads for work and the all-night-party heads for home or hotel. McDonald’s is full of party crowd and day workers. Some tired from early rising and some tired and headed for bed. The rhythm of a great city. An adult Disneyland. A city of great hotels and architecture that amazes, all a driving economic engine blooming in the desert. Given power and water and dollars, the desert blooms.

A stop at the Welcome to Vegas sign for pictures. One more cruise down the strip. Reservations in Grand Canyon on the rim. Now we’ll see how nature does it. Enough jangling bells and singing gambling machines. No more broadway shows on the strip. Enough parking structures. No more air conditioned expanses. Exchange the mini skirt and hot pants for longer attire. Replace the lights with stars. The trip continues.

Grand Canyon (Grand River renamed “Colorado”), four corners, Mesa Verdi, Durango, Montrose, the beautiful view (buena vista) then home. Time to recoup and regroup, refinance and reload, restore and recharge. Then off to the next stop. North, South, West, not East. Those are the directions. Point the nose and drive, drive, drive.

Not loathing, but just warn out by bright lights and glitter. Even the pool is no longer restful. Off for moonlight and starlight on the canyon, the mountains and valleys, enough of Las Vegas. Enough gonzo.

Parked on the third floor. Yellow Chevy with two asleep in the front. No hotel? No money? Does it matter? Viva Las Vegas! One more day. Then it's pack our bags and head back north. Those mountains are beckoning.

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