Sunday, May 19th
We didn’t do a ton of advanced planning for this trip. We had more of a general route and a couple of things we wanted to see and we’ve shaped a course around that outline. But today we had our first real deadline – meeting Emma and her boyfriend, Nic in Las Vegas. We had originally planned to spend the night in Vegas (because, really, what better way to celebrate Pentacost). But because we need to be in Sonoma, CA by Tuesday night, we decided to cut the Vegas visit short and try instead to make it to Los Angeles by dinnertime. Our trip is starting to accelerate all of a sudden.
Bill and I got an early enough start this morning that we were able to spend an hour or so at the Hoover Dam. Amazing. A more audacious engineering undertaking would be hard to conjure. First dig a couple of bypass tunnels to divert the entire Colorado River, then pour three and a quarter million cubic yards of concrete to fill an entire exposed gorge. Then construct the (then) largest hydroelectric facility on earth. And while you’re at it, throw in some world class Art Deco flourishes. Because it should be special. Oh, and do it in three years, please. Nice. We got some really good pictures, I hope.
Then we whipped in to Las Vegas and met Emma and Nic for lunch. They’d gotten in the night before and had already lost a paycheck or two in the casinos. But we fooled around at the slots and tables a little anyway just to make sure we’d all tithed properly, then squeezed the four of us and all our luggage into our little rental sedan for a two hundred eighty mile ride to Los Angeles. We hit the first traffic jams of our entire trip on this route which took us a good six hours. Poor Emma and Nic were already pretty toasty from their long previous night but they hung in there. Squashed in the back seat.
We met my sister, Kate in Manhattan Beach and had a lovely late dinner at an excellent French restaurant a couple of blocks from the ocean. Afterwards we took a quick stroll down to the water so Bill could stick his toe in the Pacific for the first time. He stuck in more than that. We weren’t in the sand two minutes before he’d shucked his clothes and was body surfing naked in the dark. No half measures for that guy.
Then back in the car and across town to our hotel in Hollywood for the night. No plans tomorrow yet except to let everybody sleep in. We earned it. Whew.
Random thoughts for today: Vegas exists solely to separate people from their money. But it is so completely and extravagantly and brilliantly bold in its mission that it actually somehow transcends terrible and ends up being kind of cool. If that makes any sense. And It’s the only place I’ve ever been where literally everyone you see is potentially a prostitute. I still can’t quite wrap my head around that. Great to see Emma and Nic. I can’t believe we had them fly to Vegas so we could drive them to Los Angeles. Not great planning on my part. But better sports would be hard to find. We made it to the Pacific! And Bill made it into the Pacific. What a strange boy he is…