Day 91 marked 4 days until I meet some family in Las Vegas. I can’t wait. That morning I woke with a plan of making it to Utah’s, Zion National Park. To me that seemed like a practical place to knock one of those days off of the countdown. Really though, I just want to skip to this coming Monday. I packed my things and hit the road via interstate 15 north from St. George. Right away, I was fighting a fairly substantial headwind and the temp was hovering around 40 degrees. Zion National Park is about 40 miles northeast of St. George in some of southern Utah’s more rugged terrain. I’ve really enjoyed the west so far and honestly do look forward to seeing more exotic landscapes and scenery, but that morning I was overwhelmed with the feeling of loneliness and indifference toward exploring a new national park, so much so that I stopped along the side of the road 28 miles from the parks entrance to take a deep breath and ask myself if I really wanted to go camp for the next few days in the wilderness or not. I heard the answer I was looking for loud and clear. I just didn’t want to go camp at a high elevation, freeze my tuccus off, and isolate myself from people for the next couple of days. Two other things were supplementing my decision. One, I’m just plain ready for some warmer weather. It’s been a cold cold ride this winter so far folks and tw0, the incident with the crazy cult guy the night before really put a bad taste in my mouth for that general area. Las Vegas is at a much lower elevation than Zion NP and would be quite warmer. So from the side of the road I did a U-turn and back tracked for a couple of miles to a Maverick Convenience store where I met a fellow, briefly, who was reading my stickers. He told me that Zion is a can’t miss park and I will not miss it. I will visit it on my journey east later this year. By that time my spirits were lifted and I felt so much better about my day. A lot of times I will go against my grain and tough out some situations that I really don’t want to be in, but that day I listened to my inner self completely and made a decision that was best for me. Even with those things going on, there is still one other player in the whole mess. When someone travels this extensively, from my experience on this trip, they become harder to impress and suffer from a sort of “lack of novelty”. The scenery in the southwestern desert region is impressive, but I’m getting antsy and want a change. Some ocean waves and green vegetation would be great. It’ s coming and all I have to do is be patient, which is one of my really really weak points. I want everything yesterday and need to grow out of that.
Much happier, I hit the road back through St. George Utah, northwestern Arizona, and back into Nevada via 15 south. I stopped at a McDonalds in Mesquite Nevada and ran across a lady working there that I met 5o miles away the day before at the McDonalds in Overton NV while writing a post. She oversees all of the McDonalds in the general area. We spoke briefly about travel before she returned to her duties. It was bizarre for me to come across someone twice while being so far from home in two completely different locations and times. Yet her familiarity proved to be slightly comforting. As much as I am in McDonalds for the wi-fi, chances are that I may see her again before I leave for California.
After that my ride was a straight blitz to Las Vegas. I arrived before dark, found a Motel 6 and did some research on Couchsurfing.com before heading out on the town. There are plenty of people on Couchsurfing.com willing to host in Las Vegas and since I have a few days to burn, I’m gonna give it a whirl as long as someone will agree to put me up for a night. Speaking of the night. I really wasn’t in the mood to drink and live it up, but a thought hit me that got my night started. The thought was “You only get one, first night, in Vegas” and with that I tracked down a taxi next door at the Boulder Station Casino and made my way down town with wild in my eyes. The Canon stayed put at the room, (didn’t want to get loose and drop it or something) so my memory will be all that I have to remember my first night in Las Vegas and trust me, I did my best to make sure that I wouldn’t remember a thing ;). Most of the night I palled around with these two young cats from Minesooooota that I met at a nightclub. They were a couple of years younger than me, which helped to keep our energy high and the fun level through the roof. From what I remember and the evidence that was on my hands and wrists, (entry bracelets and stamps) I did a little bar hopping, friendly smack talking, and 80’s hairband Karoake at Coyote Ugly. One of the taxi drivers even gave me my tip back because I made him laugh so much on the cab ride. VEGAS BABY!!!!