June 20th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Desert landscape

Up at 7, breakfasted on a smoothie, packed up and away at 8, on a journey we’d really been looking forward to, across the desert to LA.  Drove out thro’ Colorado, the scenery changing dramatically as soon as we crossed the Rockies.  Just we 2 and Eric, so we were able to teach him Botticelli – he caught on fast.  We switched the driving around – it was good to drive a Beetle again.  Started off cool but v. soon the temperature began to rise.  Crossed into Utah around lunchtime, and soon saw Western style scenery – scrub desert, with huge rippled red rocks in the distance.  At one gas station we stopped at, we found a huge triple-decker sandwich sitting on a gas pump – Val and I shared it (Eric being a vegetarian) and that helped considerably.  By late evening we reached Arizona, cutting across one corner, and that was the most remarkable part of the journey.  We wound our way thro’ some canyons, the rocks towering over us, and throwing out vast quantities of heat.  Then we crossed into Nevada, and immediately stopped at Mesquite, Eric having heard it had a beatable BJ table.  It was just a small bar, but had a couple of BJ tables.  We drank a couple of beers, and watched for a while, then I decided to gamble $10.  Did manage to get $5 up at one point, but was $5 down when I decided to stop, stopping, in fact, mainly because I wondered what had happened to Eric.  In fact, he was outside, seeing if there was someone who could help with the car – back a way, we had had trouble starting it, turning the key and not a dickybird.  However, no-one was about, so we pushed on the 70 miles or so to Las Vegas.  We’d made excellent time, and couldn’t possibly have banked on getting to Vegas during working hours (Vegas working hours, that is), but it worked out perfectly.  We arrived at 11.30, and what a sight!  The lights of the city lit up the sky for miles, and the neon signs all over the place were incredible, flashing on and off, multi-coloured.  We parked the car, and arranged with Eric to meet him again at 2.

A few words of explanation: Botticelli is a word game, one person choosing a character from fact or fiction, and the others having to guess via direct questions.  BJ – in case you are puzzled – is Blackjack.  Interesting to read my praise for Vegas; don’t think I would be anything like as impressed nowadays.

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