Escape from Sin City, Halfway to NYC

My first night with nowhere to stay in Vegas brought me to a 24 hour Starbucks about a mile off the strip, one I'd discovered my first trip to town. By morning I was tired and hungry, falling asleep in my chair, when Sean saved the day.

I was talking to him on Google Talk and he let me know he had called into a nearby Chipotle and ordered me a burrito and a glorious beer. It was a great way to start the day, and I then waited for the horse guy's phone call for my ride to Louisiana. It never came, I called, left a message, and waited longer. I called again around 4pm, only to hear him say he changed his mind about coming through Vegas. It was still light, time to hitchhike I thought.

I headed to the I-15 on ramp with the goal of making it to Denver before midnight. Those plans were shot when someone got in an accident nearby, attracting too much attention from police, so I left the area before they could hassle me. Hitchhiking is legal in Nevada, within limits (can't be in the actual roadway flagging cars down), but cops don't always know that and I didn't want to argue about it. I headed back to the strip.

With craigslit exhausted, and the sun going down, I had one more night in Vegas, at least. I spent a lot of it in the sports book watching games, dozing in and out of sleep. Later I was lucky enough to find a business center at the Mirage where I stayed through the night and until morning, catching some decent chunks of sleep with my laptop open to avoid getting hassled. It's a great spot I wish I'd found earlier.

I lucked out in the morning, my mom grabbed a greyhound ticket for me from Vegas to NYC. I hiked the 4 or 5 miles to the bus station, remembering why I want to keep slimming down my pack, but at the same time happy with the improvements I've made in making it lighter since I last made that same walk.

On the bus I realized I'd even be back in the city in time to see Carolina before she went back to OKC, but she had already grabbed an earlier flight. The bus I was on was to have a layover in OKC, but it turned out she'd be getting in 4 or 5 hours after we would pass through. I didn't like the idea of so perfectly missing her in transit, so I gave my old friend Shaw a call.

I went to school with Shaw, and he recently moved to OKC to design martial arts equipment and such. If it wasn't for some botched communication on my end, I would have stayed with him the last time I was in OKC instead of in overgrown lots near Best Buy. It turns out Greyhound tickets are pretty flexible, so they let me get off the bus and I can pick right back up on the trip tomorrow.

So now, after a day and a half of travel, I was able to chill with Shaw, eat a steak dinner, play video games, and now sleep in a bed. Tomorrow I can meet up with Carolina for part of the day, then jump right back on the bus again, perfect. There's also the added bonus of taking a shower, a luxury unknown to a regular 3 day solid bus ride (and the two days on the streets in Vegas prior).

Good friends and family help a lot, but it's also good to keep a mindset that help may never come. At the end of the day you should be able to rely on yourself and accept your current situation, without being too complacent to make it better if you can. Then if family comes through with a bus ticket, or a friend comes through with a place to stay or a 2,500-mile-away burrito order, you're on top of the world.

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