“West bound and Up” Part IV: The best of the rest

Tuesday June 22nd, 2011; Park City, UT to other places

Farewell Park City, hello Las Vegas, but not before stopping off at the beautiful, less glamourous cousin of the Grand Canyon; Bryce Canyon.  At some point between those two places we parked alongside a quiet road to stretch our legs.  It was warm outside, but there was still snow along the edge of the forest, so we walked the 100 yards or so from the truck toward the trees to get a closer look.  I know I have used this word a great deal describing some of the sights on this trip, but it was truly a beautiful scene.  Nice as it was though, the peace and tranquility of nature was quickly replaced by fear and uncertainty when we had a very unexpected guest.  Have a look for yourself…

Las Vegas was everything I had expected it to be; hot as the Dickens (even at 3am), bone dry, and full of restless energy.  My very first impression wasn’t all that favorable to be truthful, but after settling in for a few hours and adsorbing the atmosphere, I started to enjoy myself and began to see the charm(?).  I’m not at all interested in gambling, but the spectacle of “Vegas” is quite interesting from the eyes of a world class people watcher like myself.

The boys and I did the cliche thing and hit the town.  We had a pretty good time despite Big John having lost his iphone during a dance off with a 6’7 gay man who claimed to be a choreographer for the famed Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.  Seeing two dudes over 6’6 dance it out on a disco floor in Vegas while surrounded by dozens of strangers staring at them in disbelief should be on everyones to do list; you will not be disappointed!

The next morning I decided to get up early and hit the pool and it was there that the true allure of Vegas hit me.  It was still early, but more than hot enough for a swim so I took the plunge.  I met a nice girl in the hot tub who was visiting with her family from Canada and we were having a nice, relaxed chat until these three shlongs decided to jump into “our” hot tub.  The girl immediately became uncomfortable and we said our premature goodbyes.  I wouldn’t have been upset with these creeps if not for the fact that less than six feet away from us there were two other hot tubs with plenty of room for their sword fight.  Thanks a lot, fellas!

After Vegas it was Venice, where Rene’s childhood friend from Miami now lives.  The last time I had been to Venice had been eight years ago when Rene and I made the trip from Florida, so it was funny being back here with him again.  I think we stayed two nites, but I can’t recall.  It was a pretty quiet visit.

We spent one day ridding bikes along the beach, which was a nice change of pace after having spent so much much time in the car.  Big John also got to fulfill his goal of surfing in the Pacific waters and in the evening we hit a few of the local bars Jason (Rene’s buddy) frequented.  It was at the last bar I met my old pen pal from Japan, Kaori.  My friend Nancy introduced us sometime last winter and we’ve kept in touch via e-mail ever since, so it was great to finally meet her in person.  Incidentally, thank you for making the trip out that nite, Kaori!  *For the uninitiated, it’s a mission driving around L.A.

From L.A. it was north to our final destination,  Sacramento, affectionately known as “Sac-Town,” by some of her residents. Sac was a tough nut to crack (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).  We got to check out the huge redwood trees in a state park a couple hours away and that was absolutely amazing.  I sent Big John and Rene off back to Florida a couple of days later and embarked on my new (unexpectedly short) life in the state Capital.

We covered a lot of ground in a short time and the trip gave me a new perspective on this crazy, amazing country of ours.  Thanks for the escort, boys; I enjoyed every mile!

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