Vegas in Between
Going to Vegas on a whim always makes sense, and Kate was a good person to be cruising with. She moves around typically living in a city for around 6 months or so before getting bored and going to the next one, so now Salt Lake City was the place, and at the moment Vegas was calling both of our names.
We talked about our reasons for being on the move, hippies, her on-again-off-again boyfriend and our general excitement for getting to Vegas. We came close to running out of gas at one point, but filled up near the Cove Fort where I-70 and I-15 meet. Later, with about 50 miles left, her check engine light started blinking and we may or may not have smelled something funny. She made some calls to and decided to pull over and pour some oil in the engine, the light stopped blinking, but remained solid, we drove on anyhow and she decided she'd get it checked out before leaving town.
A room key was waiting for us at the Flamingo, her friends had a room and were out eating. She did the makeup thing in the mirror while I got to work on the vodka that remained from the weekend's camping trip. When she was ready we headed to the casino where we sat at the penny slots until a cocktail waitress brought us some beers, then headed across the street to the Belagio where I showed her their seasonal display of flowers and the fountain show out front. Her friends picked her up there to go clubing, something I didn't have the money or interest for.
I kept the room key and headed to the craps table at the Mirage with my remaining money, I left most of it there after an hour of rolling dice and knocking back Guinness. On my way out a couple guys asked me I wanted some yayo, I asked if they were cops and told them I had next to nothing as far as money. They insisted on giving me some bumps, I took a few and started to walk away saying it wasn't real, it was legit, I just didn't have much money to be spending on such things. They began to follow me so I turned and asked how much $5 could get me, it began to kick in anyhow, we exchanged and I kept walking until I hit a bathroom in Harrahs to sniff the rest.
Fired up, I took another swig of vodka and headed back on the strip where I saw one of them again and he offered more. I had four loose bills in my pocket and offered him those, he gave me much more than that should have afforded, mostly because I kept saying he wasn't giving me enough and I didn't want it that bad anyhow, none the less I walked away with a napkin full of powder and headed back up to the room, more interested in my vodka than the napkin.
Right behind me came Kate and her friend Mikey, drunk with stories of her friend Chad hooking up with "some fatty", she hopped in bed and Mikey the other, and soon enough Chad and the not so fat "fatty" blonde girl busted through the door. They recalled a drunken night of dancing and we all passed out.
Chad took the girl home, or somewhere in the morning. Kate decided one night was enough and planned to head back to Utah, I had two complimentary nights booked at THEhotel and had no intention of heading back to Utah anyhow. We headed to her car to discover the battery was dead, I decided to walk down the strip instead of waiting for that, it was only a mile or so anyhow to where I was going, so I said my goodbyes there.
Down the strip at Mandalay Bay I tried to check in, but they required a credit card to have on file for incidental charges, like if I were to raid the mini bar or some such. It was either that or a $200 cash deposit, I didn't have either. I tried calling some friends in town, but eventually had luck by calling family and scribbling down a card number, finally I was able to check in and headed up to the room.
The room itself was a suite like the one I'd stayed in before, a big bedroom and master bathroom, then a living room with another bathroom. I passed out pretty quick and slept through the day, waking up after the sun went down to discover a voicemail from my couchsurfing host in West Virgina, apparently he was in town. He was a great beer bar a ways away, but it would be too late for me to get there and a bit of a walk.
I realized I hadn't eaten all day, anything, so I went down to the casino and picked up some winnings, I'd put just about my last $10 on the Lakers game, they beat the spread and I now had around $20, I used some of it at McDonalds across the street to fill my belly. Back at the room I enjoyed the tub and passed out again.
I woke up early the next morning feeling like I'd caught up on all kinds of sleep, I took a lap around the pool, or "The Beach" as they call it, then filled up at McDonalds again. I wandered around my room and relaxed a lot of the day away, pondering my days spent and days to come. Eventually hunger came again, I headed towards the Luxor for a toasty sandwich, but the price tag deterred me. Oddly enough I wandered towards a place with a far higher tag, the Burger Bar. I'd been there once before and had an interesting experience, I thought it made sense. They have a big beer selection and over priced burgers, I got an IPA and a mozzarella bacon burger.
I left the spot with empty pockets and a full belly, off to my little piece of Vegas in THEhotel. Before passing out I made a sign that read "PHX" in anticipation for the next day's hitch. My bag was packed tightly and my head hit the pillow.
I woke up, in and out of the shower, out the door I went. A guy got on the elevator after me, "That's quite a backpack you have", he laughed.
"Yeah, I take it all over, going to Phoenix today", I held up my PHX sign.
"Does it work?", he laughed again, the door opened on the first floor.
"Like a charm", I replied, and was on my way to prove that once again. I caught a local bus across town to what I thought looked like a good spot to hitch from. The wind was whipping with hurricane proportions, blowing me back a bit, my sign pressed against my chest by itself as if it was glued there, my thumb extended, my eyes on the traffic, a smile on my face. Without much delay I saw a pickup truck making it's way to me, he pulled over and I opened the door, "What's in Phoenix?", he asked. I told him I was seeing a friend, he introduced himself as Cody and I hopped in.
He stopped at a gas station to fill up and grabbed a couple bombers of Blue Moon and gave me one, he'd already cracked a big can of Budweiser earlier in the ride. Later he stopped again and bought a couple more bombers, Pacifico this time. Once we were near Phoenix he went a bit out of his way to drop me closer, he dropped me off and Larry came to pick me up, it was one of the quicker trips to Phoenix I'd ever had, and I'd hitched in 5 or more times in the past couple years.
I did some driving around with Larry and wound up at his place and met a couchsurfer he had staying with him. We went out to dinner at Popos, a great mexican place I'd been to almost every time I'd been in town, we met up with a few more surfers who were staying with him. Back at the place we had some beers and hung out.
It should be a good time in Phoenix, a lot of it will be dedicated to getting our site, Trip Hopping, back online and running smoothly. I already have a couple nights in Vegas booked in April when Walter comes to town, but until then, good times.