an american tail: elliott goes west

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Really west

DAY ONE

I neither gambled nor worked on my novel during this trip.

Our Lyft driver came sooner than expected, so we didn’t get a chance to take the garbage out. Additionally, I had turned the thermostat up into the 80s. As we dashed downstairs, I hoped for the best.

The trip to Las Vegas was uneventful. I had decent sleep, wasn’t hungover and ate before we took off. I was dreading the temperature, though. The Southwest was in a heat wave and  it was 116 when we landed.

A dry heat just means it feels like an oven. It wasn’t terrible, but I was disquieted by the lack of sweat. I understood how people wind up passing out/dying here and made a note to constantly drink water.

The cabbie who transported us to our North Las Vegas hotel (it was cheaper and quieter) played Crazy Train as we rode. I took that as a good omen.

Because of the time difference, we had to at least stay awake till 11 p.m. That was as far as we got. Before bed, we went to In-N-Out Burger because it was nearby.

We walked. I wore white shoes. I had to clean them afterward.

Because of the heat, the asphalt roads weren’t completely solid. My soles were pitch. The lane markings were smeared with grey to the point that some were nigh invisible. Bott’s dots were the only hope.

In-N-Out’s burgers bore a slight resemblance to Smitty’s Better Burger. Hands down, Smitty’s would win in a fight.

Afterward, we willed ourselves to go out to stay awake. The last thing I wanted was to be up before dawn each day. We went to a local bar a few blocks down (we got a ride that time). It was terrible, even for me. We then went across the street to the Cannery Casino, we were disappointed in large portions of it being closed for the night. Then we remembered it was a Tuesday.

“Because who’s here on a Tuesday?” I said at one point.

Next up was our first road trip: the Grand Canyon by way of the Hoover Dam.

DAY TWO

We still got up a little earlier than I wanted, but it worked out. As our Lyft driver headed to our rental car in Henderson, he played a ’50s radio station as we passed countless lawyer ads and a cell tower in the incongruously disguised as an alien pine.. I was starting to groove on this arid, quirky place. Part of the route was on U.S. 95. I noted how we traded one 95 for another.

We didn’t get the SUV we requested. Instead, we got a Kia Sportage (or, as the receptionist said it, “Esportage”).

It did not have fantastic acceleration. I drove to the Hoover Dam.

From there, I drove through miles of Arizona desert and mountains to the Hualapai reservation to their portion of the Grand Canyon. It was two hours closer than the national park entrance and I wanted to give natives my money.

It goes without saying that the canyon is utterly beautiful. Our tour included two overlooks. The best was Guano Point, where I scaled numerous rocks to get sweeping views of the canyon. Additionally, I survived taking a cliffside selfie.

Renée got altitude sickness but was a trouper and drove back to Vegas. Once we returned, I walked to a 7-Eleven to get her a soda.

The 7-Eleven got robbed while I was there.

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