This included spending a bunch of days in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, it also meant getting up at 7 am everyday and "manning a conference booth" until evening. While the food was good; being hungover on little sleep, wearing grown up clothes in 102 degree weather and dodging drunken maniacs on the crowded streets is NOT the best way to enjoy Lost Wages.
However, I did get to spend some quality weird time with some cool people (off hours)- this included a guy from Michigan in his mid 60's on a 10 day bender, sitting at a sports bar where 3 hours of video poker ended up costing me $3.50 (and the casino about $100 in "free drinks"). Las Vegas rule #1- ALWAYS consume more free likker from the casino's then ya lose in gambling!
Also endlessly entertaining was my descent into madness playing craps and blackjack with 6 crazy wimmen from British Columbia (home of course to the most esteemed BEER of Dope City Free Press ). I got to play big brother and protector of our (not so) innocent neighbors to the North (except when I brought up that the Beastie Boys were my homies and one of the gals started to weep uncontrollably about MCA's demise).
And... I actually got to lose alot of SOMEONE ELSE'S money playing 3 card poker. Ya see... yer only allowed to play one hand at a time; and this guy I met wanted to play 2 hands, so he staked me $$$$ and had me play the other hand- $150 in losses and 20 minutes later, I said my farewells and regrets and got outta there before he got too pissed!!!!
Valley Of Fire State Park. Sandstone formations as far as the eye can see... and just absolutely breathtaking vistas. Unfortunately, old Nazz isn't the agile young monkey he imagined he was, and the desert kicked my ass. Between the elevation, high heat and climbing, there were times that I plum tuckered out, and realized that you can actually die out there (as I was solo- I envisioned vultures picking at my bones). Or, as part of 127 Hours part 2!
I staggered back from one 2 mile trail (I guess they don't measure the climbing!!!), clad only in shorts and sneakers, with a wild eyed look and heavy exhaustion. I did about 4 trails, and than headed over to Hoover Dam (thru another State Park). Heavy security checkpoints- which resulted in some nasty looks from the guards as my car was cranking Black Flag!
Cave areas give you a break from the sun. Snakes know this as well.
This trail was the one that almost did me in- climbing down was OK- climbing up on the way back? Not so much!
Damn, that's the Hoover Dam!
The end result is a feeling that this world is a whole lot bigger than any of us, and nature will be kicking the asses of planet Earth's denizens for alot longer time than Vegas will be stealing our money!