On The Road Again

Posted on | February 24, 2012 | No Comments

The year began – hilariously. Weirdest New Years ever.
We started by making the best out the San Andreas Fault: Soaking in the hellish hot mineral waters generously supplied by the scary tectonic crack line in the desert, at the aptly named Desert Hot Springs. We needed the treat. Carmen had returned from an icy Chicago Christmas with her offspring, I came back from a wet Seattle Christmas with mine. We both loved the warmth of being with our kids. But now was time for some heat. That’s were the weird part starts.

Roy's Station. Proudly ignoring desert storms and changing times

After we had enough water in the desert we headed for Las

No Photoshop: Sunset with Yuccas

Vegas. First Yucca Valley with the lonely outpost of 1950’s California livin’: Roy’s Oasis (click on photo). Then: On to the Mojave Desert. Ranger Station: Don’t forget water. Of course not, ma’am. Alone. Horizon free elbows. Huge wings gliding through the periphery. A friendly race with a joyfully honking freight train. A melancholy purple sunset worthy of a Martian’s dream.

Viva Las Vegas. Swell. Let’s Viva! Time for Viva!  It’s New Years Eve in Sin City.

The house waiting for us turned into a live demonstration how my buddy Carl Gilberg described his boyhood science: He caught a little lizard, put it into the freezer and watched it get bone hard frozen. Next morning he took it out and put it in his mother’s bed. It warmed up, started to move, maybe a little sneeze and off it went to delightfully crown its resurrection by causing Mom’s screaming fit.

Unfortunately, Carmen and I were the lizards. And the house was the freezer. No warm maternal bed in sight. Frantically I tried to get the heater going. Around 10 PM we went to the only hotel promising a room: The Golden Nugget. After shlepping our bags and finding the reception, it turns out: Error. No rooms. Back to the house. Carmen calls Hotel Service. Vegas is booked solid.

Carmen in her best survival mode asks the Hotel Service (!) where in Viva Las Vegas one could buy a portable heater on New Years Eve. “No clue. But probably at Walgreens. They are always open”. We knew one close by. It was a race against time and frost bites. On one shelf a little heater, ok let’s pay for that cheapo peace of shit. But the cashier, a grandmother without grandkids, growled: “I want to see the fireworks”, and stepped outside. Countdown to midnight. “Happy New Year”. Usually, fireworks aim heavenwards, but icy winds changed that.

Stratosphere Casino with horizontal fireworks

Here we were. On the Walgreens parking lot with a homeless man and a grumpy cashier, all with chattering teeth, staring at horizontal fireworks, firmly embracing our still unpaid little warmer-upper. We just looked at each other and laughed our frigid asses off.

Wrapped in blankets we put the little helper in one small room at full blast, while we slurped ice cold (of course, it was in the house!) champagne. Walgreens had “Cup’o’Noodles” which we could warm up – the best soup we had all year (2012). After 2 hours of heroic heating efforts and repeated playing of JJ Cale’s “After Midnight – we let it all hang out” we cuddled in every available piece of fabric  (incl. towels and curtains) and slept happily into the dawning new year. Viva 2012.




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