Rt. 66 to Las Vegas
We woke up feeling far better in the next day. I was just about back to normal, all but devouring my leftover pasta bowl thanks to a surge in my appetite. And it’s just as well, because there’s no room for illness when you’re hitting up Rt. 66 and Las Vegas!
We kicked off the day’s drive by stopping for coffee at a drive-thru espresso hut, just like the ones we’d seen last year on the west coast. I’m still not over them. The east coast needs to take note! (not that I ever drive anywhere back home, but if I did I sure would appreciate coffee huts!).
Our plan for the day was essentially to drive to Vegas via Rt. 66. We figured we’d arrive by late-afternoon and spend the evening ‘doing Vegas’ (whatever that meant). Rt. 66 was a little hard to navigate at times because it would have little side roads that would just abruptly end in the dust, without warning. It confused our GPS a little bit, and we were constantly turning around to get back to the main (boring) road. All a part of the Rt. 66 experience, I kept telling myself (obnoxious as it was).
You could say the heart of this old road is Seligman, the quintessential old Rt. 66 town, complete with tacky tourist traps, western-themed shops, and old storefronts. We had a blast poking around the absurdities here. I could have purchased a can of Whoop-Ass if I’d wanted to (instead I just took a picture ). We ended up buying an old sign that says ‘unattended children will be given a kitten and espresso’ and a Rt. 66 cork stopper for the apt But oh god, so many ridiculous t-shirts, posters, and the like. The possibilities for souvenir shopping were endless!
We stopped off for lunch at a roadside diner. There were two right across from each other with little else around, so we walked into one and abruptly walked out upon realizing there wasn’t much else on the menu aside from meat. The other diner was more accommodating, despite the dead animal heads and skins adorning the walls inside. I ordered a massive plate of eggs and couldn’t eat too much of it (still not 100% yet I guess).
But oh, then things got fun! Conveniently across the street was a replica western storefront, wagon, and jail cell just begging to be photographed! And naturally we obliged by striking some ridiculous poses all over the place. We had ourselves a little Rt. 66 photoshoot, and probably had a little too much fun with it I mean who WOULDN’T want to stand behind bars and pretend like they’re locked up, all for the sake of an absurd picture?
After all these detours, we resolved to head straight to Vegas that afternoon. We had a long drive ahead of us, which about doubled with the insane traffic we encountered approaching the Hoover Dam. Oh god, it was the WORST-EFFING-TRAFFIC I’ve experienced in a longggggg time. Way more stop than go. We amused ourselves by blasting choice tunes as cars in the other lane drove past us, and even made a video of us singing. Lauren was about to lose her mind, I felt kind of bad but there was nothing we could do other than keep on truckin’. The dam itself was pretty cool, but we were too exasperated to care too much by the time we finally reached it. But there were people who, even after sitting in a car for hours beforehand, got out of their cars and were walking around the dam for kicks. Really? All we wanted to do was get through the dam and back on the road to get to Vegas. People are nutssssssss.
Needless to say, we arrived in Vegas a bit later than expected. We had a room booked at the South Point Hotel, which was quite a ways from the Strip. But, uh, it was only $35/night and looked pretty much like a palace. It had its own casino, bowling alley, and movie theater! I’m sure this is probably the norm for Vegas hotels, but for Vegas virgins it was downright impressive. With our check-in we got lots of coupons for free food and drink, which we obviously took advantage of. Free tequila sunrise and dessert at a fancy Italian restaurant? Uh like yeah!
I have to admit, casinos are not my thing at all. The times I’ve been to Atlantic City or Mohegan Sun left me less than enthused. I don’t care for the atmosphere or the the air of overindulgence. I don’t gamble, I don’t drink much, and I’m not looking to hook up with anybody. Yet there we were, sitting at a casino table after being given more free drink tickets, being ogled by male passers-by. I was not feeling it, and really just wanted to curl up in my comfy hotel bed with some seriously comfy pillows. Which is very unlike me, since I pretty much have to be dragged into bed every night. But yeah… still feeling the residual sickness. Still couldn’t eat much. Still wanted to be horizontal. Totally sucks. This is no way to do Vegas!
But we did do a few things at our hotel. We obviously never made it to the Strip due to limited time and being tired and/or feeling like poo. We dressed up and had a nice dinner at the aforementioned Italian restaurant, where I had penne bolognese that was more bolognese than penne (for serious) and took my free dessert to go. Lauren and I wandered the casino floor looking for Kitty Glitter (the only slot machine I am eager to play) and she even won $17 (heyyyyy!). We also got checked out by a father-son duo, which was more than a little gross.
The most enjoyable part of Vegas? The outdoor hot tub at our hotel! It was BIG, looked like something straight out of a Mexican resort, and you could sit in it and stare straight up at the dark blue sky at dusk. It would have been the perfect way to wind down our trip, had we been able to relax and enjoy it. But of course it was kind of crowded. And on top of that, a 10 yr old autistic boy decided to attack Lauren and jump on her the entire time we were in there! Seriously, I’ve said it time and time again – Lauren’s life is absurd. The most ridiculous things happen to her. The crazy part was that the kid’s dad just let it happen. I think he really just wanted to talk to us about his life being unemployed, and Lauren didn’t mind giving him piggy-back rides considering the kid’s condition. But still… who does that?
The next morning, we woke up early, returned our rental car, and got shuttled to the airport. Lauren’s flight to NYC departed before mine, so I had plenty o’ time to chill out in the airport before my flight to DC. I was en route to visit Jill for a few days in Maryland
And oh! – when I was flying out of Las Vegas, we flew right by the Grand Canyon! I think this may have been better than actually being there in person. From above, it looked so massive and widespread! When youâ€™re standing on the rim, the other side of the canyon seems so closeâ€¦ but from above, you can see how far apart the two rims really are. You just have no concept of the shape of the canyon and how far it spans when youâ€™re in it. Itâ€™s just breathtaking. I absolutely need to return some day and properly hike it.