Road Trips, USA

Long Beach, CA to Moab, UT

Despite a mild hangover I managed to pull out of Long Beach fairly early, fortified by bananas, Odwalla, and later a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich and coffee along the way. I arrived in Vegas with the intention of at least having a late lunch on the strip. But I had absolutely no plan, and the place was crowded and confusing and hard to navigate. Nevertheless, I pressed on, found a parking spot at the MGM Grand, and after some fruitless wandering, found a buffet that might have been a good deal had my agenda not been merely to eat quick and hit the road.

I figured Friday the 13th must be a good time to at least say I gambled in Las Vegas. On my way out of the buffet I counted to 31 as I walked, and stopped at the slot machine nearest me. I puzzled over the thing a bit, inserted $20, pressed the button just over 100 times, ejected a receipt, and cashed that at the teller for $25.50. This made the buffet a better deal, in my mind, but the truth is that what I mostly lost in Vegas was driving time. Oh well.

I pushed North into Utah, making good time. Just after dark I stopped for gas in Elsimore, UT and inquired about local accommodations. The lady suggested a likely-cheap place the next town up the road. I was feeling pretty tired as I hadn’t slept much the night before, and the car has this disquieting habit where the AMP light will come on and the headlights start to flicker while driving downhill a long ways. I figured that if the car was to break down, I’d rather not deal with that in the mountains of Utah at night.

But, after a bit of relaxation at the gas station in Elsimore, a bit of coffee, a bit of chocolate . . . I took off down the road, feeling better. I wasn’t sure what I would do, but when the exit for the motel came up I kept on the highway, past the sign that promised no services for 100 miles, and into a few fairly uneventful hours of mountain driving. I missed out on what is probably some gorgeous scenery, but I managed to keep the car running safely through the night through the mountains, despite the flaky electrics. At one point I had to pee really bad so I pulled over and stepped off the highway, and was struck at the vast array of stars in the sky. That made the whole adventure worthwhile.

I pulled into the Lazy Lizard Hostel at Moab around 12:30. I felt bad about waking the guy up for a $9 dorm bed. He was way out of it and told me to just take any top bunk in a particular dorm room and we would figure things out in the morning. That I gladly did.

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