Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10, 2007
More rain. Spectacular drive home from Vegas yesterday. The Hualapai Mountains were snow covered, and there are few more breathtaking sights to me than the one coming up Coyote Pass and topping out as the entire Hualapai range comes into stunning view. I've threatened for at least four decades to come up here and paint this incredible panorama from Dynamite Rock to the Cerbats with the Hualapais sitting in regal dominance. Maybe some day.

It's a little over 300 miles from Vegas to Cave Creek and to pass the time I tabulated the number of valleys traversed on the trek and I count 13, including climbing out of the Las Vegas-Henderson basin, then across the Boulder City escarpment, across the dam, skimming the wash riddled Battle Mountain range, out across the White Hills flats and Detrital Wash where Chris McCandless (Into The Wild) left his car, Sailor's Camp, past my cousin's ranch—The Turkey Track—on to Grasshopper Junction, Chloride, Mineral Park and Santa Clause. A memory every mile. My father loved to drive out to Santa Claus after church on Sunday and eat breakfast at the Three Little Pigs restaurant. It's all falling down now.

Drove through my hometown. The train's still there. The venerable City Cafe is now The Hot Rod Cafe. Each time I pass through Kingman another landmark is gone. It's like waves coming ashore with the tide, erasing all the sand castles that were so carefully built.

Got home about four. Long weekend. Worked hard, played hard, stayed up too late. On Saturday night, Kathy and I met Charlie and Linda Waters and Paul and Tracie Hutton at the Mandolay Bay Cowboy Marketplace, and we walked through the huge walkways, catacombs actually, spidering through several casinos, and had dinner at The Burger Bar ($103, plus a $18 gratuity which I just now saw on the bill, but I didn't see it in the dark and added another $20 cash tip. Ouch!), landing at the cavernous New York, New York Casino where we caught an Irish Band at an Irish pub. On the way back through the maze, we ran into all of the fight fans attending the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs Ricky Hatton welterweight rumble coming out of the MGM Grand and pouring over the bridge to the NYNY casino. A sea of Brits with shaved heads chanting the Ricky Hatton theme song (their fighter lost in a TKO in the tenth). Charlie told me at least 10,000 Hatton fans came from the British Isles and didn't have tickets to the fight!

As we got clear of the fight fans, and were traversing back through the Mandolay Bay labyrinth, we thought we were home free, only to run into a sea of eerily dressed fans coming out of the Spice Girls' concert. As they drained into the large walkway and came towards us, all spiked out, and at 10 to 15 abreast, we were forced to hug the right hand wall and fight our way forward. To this, the Top Secret Writer quipped, "This is such a metaphor for you and I working on the Top Secret Project and fighting our way against the entire culture." Two old men stumbling against the tide. Ha. It was the defining moment of the entire trip for me.

Too true. Too true.

"This is funny. You just haven't gotten it yet."
—Steve Martin, in his new autobiography, Born Standing Up

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