Across the Desert

I woke up late after a solid sleep at the Hampton Inn in Richfield, Utah. I hurried through my morning routine because I was pretty sure I could make it all the way home today. Google Maps said I was nine hours away. What’s nine hours after going for twenty?

My friend John had asked me to find some radioactive dirt in Utah. I was unable to find any, and I think I know why: The locals must have eaten it all. From the woman at the front desk to the staff and customers at the place I ate breakfast (Cracker Barrel again,) everyone seemed… off. Skittish. Paranoid. I can only assume that the population, generally being dim to the point of believing that an angel revealed God’s will to a farmer in the form of magic golden plates (which were then taken away,) saw the glowing radioactive dirt and ate it because it was pretty, thus causing even further mental deterioration, resulting in the election of Orrin Hatch.

Somewhere in the Rockies

Still, the air was fresh, the mountains spectacular, the highway empty. Off I went at a jaunty 90, trying not to jinx the fact that I’d been speeding for over 4,000 miles now through over a dozen states with nary a ticket.

Eventually the Rockies petered out and I was once again driving across the desert.

Somewhere in Nevada. Note that I'm still removing a great number of bugs from the population.

Finally, I was in Nevada. I had this thought: When they were handing out land for states, Nevada must have been in the bathroom. Really. Nevada has a desolation that no other state can match. And yet, unlike (close second) Arizona, they’ve made it work. The Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, prostitution… Power, money, and sex. And plenty of places to bury bodies. What more could you want?

I passed through Las Vegas in the afternoon. This is a city that looks 100 times better at night. During the day, it feels more like a bunch of two-dimensional stage flats. When it’s all lit up at night, there’s something to it. It’s a flashy, gaudy, soulless something, but it’s still something.

Stopping for gas right before the California border, I was approached by a man who claimed to be an ex-Marine who had run out of gas, and could he write me a check in exchange for some cash so he can get home to San Diego. Wow. I haven’t heard that scam in three or four years. I asked him if it still worked. He just walked away. Might as well. No use wasting time when the mark knows your game. I don’t know. I guess people are still falling for the Nigerian prince scam. Why not a phony check scam?

Now I was back in California, where nobody is aware of the phrase, “Slower traffic keep right.” It was becoming a bit of an issue. Traffic was heavy after Las Vegas. The fact that it was the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend was starting to become apparent. No matter. I did some creative passing and was still making excellent time.

Finally, passing through Ontario, I knew I was getting close. I saw an In-N-Out Burger!

And there was home. Right around dark, I was there. The kittehs were very happy to see me and snuggled and licked my face and purred. And I was happy, too.

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