I look back at the last week and it seems a blur, images and sounds flashing in my mind. That I wake up in the same place I go to sleep seems the one thing I can count on. That, and that whatever we do it will be fun and playful. It’s funny because we planned the trip to be leisurely and it doesn’t feel that way. Already the day in San Francisco when, to quote Jimmy, we had “a rare pile of clean laundry, and a home cooked dinner with close friends” seems so long ago. I am trying to figure out when we’ll next have the opportunity to wash clothes or eat in a home. Fort Collins Colorado, where we each have friends, seems very long away, yet with the pace we are keeping I know we will be there in no time at all. Don’t misunderstand, it’s a good whirlwind. We are laughing our way across the country and taking each moment for what is available. When a choice is presented and we find ourselves choosing between “getting there” and having the experience of getting there, we pick the experience. A lot of our planned stops are for just that, the experience. Thus we find ourselves on the Las Vegas Strip staying at the MGM Grand and paying 3 times as much for everything.
There is an energy in Vegas that is different from everywhere else in the world. Like the many climates and landscapes we’ve passed through so far, Vegas has it’s own special feel and, like it or not, it is an experience not to be missed. Being here brings to mind how many years I’ve passed in this part of the world. Not too many hours from San Diego by car, I have visited Las Vegas many times. I still remember the Vegas where a fully stocked breakfast buffet bar was $1.99. Now my coffee from Starbuck’s, usually $1.96 is $4.37! It is by far one of the most expensive places on our itinerary. I am excited to see it through Jimmy’s eyes, and, if I never stopped here again I wouldn’t be missing anything much.
On our way here yesterday we stopped in a place called Tonopah in the middle of the Nevada desert.We started the day in Reno, just an overnight. Tonopah was a very small community with lots of farmers, truckers and people who serve the highway. A big hotel and truck stop were there in case, headed to Vegas, you found yourself in Tonopah too tired or hungry to go on. It is the sort of place where you choose the “safe” menu items, simple food, hard to ruin.
Christopher served us our burgers and as I watched him move around the restaurant it occurred to me what a contrast his situation is to mine in this moment. He was a smart, nice looking, polite young man and I saw the tracks his life could take: Marry a local girl, have babies and live in this tiny place with this singular experience forever, or, GET OUT! I decided to offer a rare piece of advice to a stranger and I suggested the latter. I know it is only my opinion that a life in Tonopah is not a life to cherish, but that’s all advice is anyway, the sharing of an opinion. From the perspective I hold right now, having lived so many years and on my way to a new place, it seemed like good advice. I left Tonopah with a picture in my mind of Christopher packing his things into a rusty old car, headed out of Tonopah into the world to have a grand adventure. On our way out of town as we passed by this place I thought, “I hope he goes....”