Saturday, February 20, 2010

Road trip, end of day 10

I started fairly early from Gallup, NM and plowed down Interstate 40 on my way to Barstow. It took about three hours to get to Flagstaff, where I had brunch, and after that I encountered about a hour's worth of light snow going through the mountains between there and Prescott. But I knew the temperature wasn't below freezing, so I wasn't worried.

I just want to say how helpful the internet has been on this trip. Whether it was me planning my route the night before, or at times stopping in a McDonald's to check weather conditions or look for a motel -- and a lot of McDonald's have free wi-fi now -- it's been extremely helpful. Sometimes I even called voncookie to ask her to look up something for me when I was en route and couldn't find a connection.

After I came down off the mountains, the desert started looking like the Mojave Desert I'm familiar with. I decided to take the scenic route -- old route 66 between Seligman and Kingman in Arizona. And it was really beautiful out there. The clouds were still low, and it was drizzling much of the way, but there are no giant billboards, and almost no traffic. It was like driving through a national park at 65 mph.

After that, I still had no patience for Interstate 40, and for some reason I really wanted to play roulette. I can't explain it, but it was a strong urge on my way out, though when I went to a casino in West Wendover the first night, all I did was futilely plop $20 into a slot machine to no avail. But today I found myself descending a steep slope on an Arizona state highway, from elevation 5000 to elevation 500, down to the Colorado River. You cross a bridge over from Arizona to Laughlin, Nevada, a town consisting entirely of huge casinos and a few shopping centers, with no fanfare, no "welcome to Nevada," because, well, it's kind of obvious.

I went in search of a Bank of America ATM to get some money with which to gamble, and then walked into one of the casinos at random. Having never played roulette in my life, I stood watching for a while before jumping in. Somehow, no doubt through beginner's luck, I turned $60 into $140. Actually I was up to about $163 before sliding back and then quitting before I fucked up too badly.

Having actually beaten the house, however trivially, I got the hell out of Nevada and drove the rest of the way to Barstow. I got a great desert sunset too.

Tomorrow I'll drive to San Francisco and home. It's supposed to rain.

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