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Gamblor Strikes Again!

2002-08-26 - 6:00 p.m.

8/22/01

10:45 a.m. – Gamblor can kiss my ass. Come on now – are any of us really surprised? Really? Anyone who has met me for more than 5 seconds had to see this coming. Had to see that Las Vegas –of the neon lights, and loud noises, and free drinks- would be a financially bleeding juggernaut that would clash with my dinosaur brain in epic proportions. Oh how his neon claws pinched me tight. I hate him. I will not speak of my gambling experience to anyone. Tim and Ben aren’t even sure what happened. And they won’t. If you want to know how CHEATERS Ben and Tim did, well then you can read their online journals.

11:10 a.m. – So we just entered California and we’ve already seen our first mirage as we drive towards the Mojave Desert. Weird. We would have bet big money that there was water there. Hmmmm, perhaps that not the best phrase I could have employed. So, not counting the $$$ side of Vegas, it is actually quite cool. We spent most of our time at the Bellagio, New York, New York, and the MGM Grand. I wanted to see Excalibur and the Mirage, but there’s just not enough time to see it all, let alone 1/8th of it in one night. We went to dinner at Batista’s and it was fine and dandy. Very good. Very authentic Italian food AND atmosphere. You even got bottomless free bottles of red and white wine with dinner. And a cappuccino at the end of the meal. And the bread was so fluffy and buttery and mmmm, mmmm, good. I loved it. Tim gets high marks for this little find. And here’s the weird thing about Las Vegas: It ALWAYS smells like hamburgers. Always. (All of a sudden, two vacancies appear in Brooklyn and Seaside Heights and Las Vegas’s population grows by 2). The hotel was really cool and if isn’t my favorite hotel I’ve ever stayed in then . . . no, no idle threats – it is definitely the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in. And one of the bars at the hotel is called The Pink Taco. Somehow, we thought Jeff Space would have liked that. There’s a club at the hotel called The Joint and it gets some pretty big names. We missed Guster and John Mayer by ONE NIGHT! Ah well. But Moby was playing last night. I wouldn’t have minded taking in a Moby show, but I got a pretty lukewarm reception on the prospect of going from Harry and Lloyd, so we passed. McCartney AND Robin Williams will be here in the next month or so. Also, we just passed the signs for Baker and Barstow, so now our Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas experience is nearly complete.

11:37 a.m. – Man, I am dirty. We have yet to do ONE OUNCE of laundry. We’ve been putting it off since, well, probably around Wyoming. Recycling won’t even work anymore. I have to send some of these postcards off. They’re all written and have stamps, there’s just not a lot of mail boxes in the Mojave. I can’t believe we’re in California. We actually made it. Well, we’re not there yet, but I mean, we made it from one coast to the other. And with only one major setback, and even that didn’t really knock us off course too bad. My ears keep popping. I so don’t want school to start. Boo to school. Not really looking forward to going back to work either. I have Wednesday off. That’s it. But then again, I need the money and I HAVE been gone for a bit. Oh how Wonks and Wobbs must worry about me when I’m gone. Hudson News probably thinks I’m either dead or got fired. I was going to write something here . . . but now I’m not going to. I can’t believe this god damned cheese cooler is still sitting next to me. I hate it. I know that I’m probably just jealous that I’m not in the “inner circle” of this trip (Tim, Ben, Cheese Cooler), but I just wish he didn’t have to sit next to me for the entire trip. It’s bad enough he peed on me in Denver. (I’m talking about the Cheese Cooler, not Ben.) We’re getting off at the Baker Exit so we can do laundry and eat. You know that morning sickness thing I have? Where if I don’t eat within two hours of waking up my body starts to shut down and heave? Sounds pleasant huh? It is. Well, we’re fucking starving. “Welcome to Baker, CA! Gateway to Death Valley, Home of the World’s Largest Thermometer!” (I just saw it – it is.) We are also going to the Alien Fresh Jerky stand. “Alien Fresh Jerky? How is it ‘fresh’? Do they dry it I hope?” – Tim.

11:50 – $1.99 = Gas price in Baker, CA

1:00 p.m. –Wow. Baker is fucked up. Despite it being almost 100 degrees (which you think I’d be used to after being in that New England heat wave before we left) this place is OBSSESSED with high temperatures. You may have heard that Baker has the World’s largest thermometer. This is a fact that they will NOT LET YOU FORGET. Not that you could – there’s a 134 foot thermometer in the MIDDLE OF THE TOWN. And by town I mean a 1 ½ mile stretch of pavement with a Jack-In-The-Box, a Bun Boy (where we ate), an A&W, Alien Jerky, the Mad Greek, the Country Store, and the 76 gas station. Also, did I mention? It is SOOOOOOOOO hot. Boy, nothing says paradise like being in the middle of Death Valley molded into a tight spot in the back of a 2000 Nissan Altima (beating with the baboon heart of a ’99 Fuel Pump). I share space with all of our backpacks, the whore basketball, our dirty clothes, my pillow, CD books upon CD books, old Aquafina and Sioux City Saspirilla bottles, finished cameras, Tim’s special Fat Tire beer from Colorado, the computer, our old friend Mauston (a.k.a. – cheese cooler, named after his birthplace), and all sorts of other various and sundry bric-a-brac. And I forgot to mention the problem with the shoes. The dress shoes I wore last night were the ones I haven’t worn since Chad and Mackenzie's wedding . Apparently my feet have GROWN since the wedding since I could not fucking fit in these shoes to save my life. But I did anyway. And oh am I paying the price for it now. Those damn shoes ate my achillies tendon to the BONE. So now I have band-aids (from the Hard Rock gift shop no less!) on my ankles, my knees look like purple bowling balls, and I straightened a cramp too fast in my leg last night when I was sleeping. So, yeah, I’m in good shape. Zzyzx! We just passed Zzyzx! This may possibly be a late addition to the Funny Town Name list that could actually go all The WAY!!! Oh Zzyzx, I always knew I could count on you!

1:15 p.m. – Wow. Death Valley would try to eat my brain and soul if so many other towns in this cross country journey hadn’t already successfully done so (I’m looking in your direction Lusk, WY, and Cedar City, UT) SO hot. So much sand and tumbleweeds. SO much death. SO much valley. It’s so sticky and uncomfortable and gross. Hmmm, that reminds me of Monique. Maybe I’ll call her; she should still be at work.

1:21 p.m. – Nope, Monique wasn’t at work, and Brooke wasn’t home either. Nanny was home though and she had this advice on how to tackle Death Valley: “Be careful of your tires. In that heat they could get really, really hot. And you don’t want hot tires or you could be in a world of trouble. So make sure they’re not too hot. Too hot is bad.”

1:32 p.m. – We are part of this huge convoy that is this two lane highway Rt 15 from Vegas to San Diego. Trucks everywhere, but not a lot of room to maneuver. But the trucks are assholes. It’s like Maximum Overdrive, but without the Goblin Mask on that truck. I hate that mask. Ugh.

1:43 p.m. – Oh my god we have to do laundry so bad. I am so sticky. I want out of Death Valley. I never wanted in of Death Valley.

1:51 p.m. – We just passed the Death Valley Farmer’s Market. There is nothing on either side of it for miles. It made us wonder exactly what is sold at this Farmer’s Market. Cacti juice perhaps? Pistachio nuts? There’s a LOT of pistachios around here. Grilled scorpion? Anyway, we also passed the Death Valley Water Park. Right – because there are LOTS of people around here and let’s just use the water willy-nilly on WATERSLIDES! These Death Valleyians sure are kooky.

1:59 p.m. – Ok, this CAN’T be good. We just passed a sign that said “Agricultural Checkpoint and Search for All Cars!” We’ve got this bitch packed tighter than a drum and if we have to empty it we are so fucked. Ok we’re here. Ok – we didn’t get emptied. But the guy asked Tim if he went to Umass and Tim said no, UNH. And the guy was like “New HAMPshire?!” And Tim said yeah. Then he asked Tim if he played ball for UNH, Tim said no, not on a team. The guy asked Tim if he just played by himself. Tim said yes. And then the guy burst out laughing saying “Yo, I’m not gonna touch that one!” Man, these desert folk aren’t just kooky, they’re zany. We know there’s a ghost town around here somewhere and we’d love to go but we don’t know if we have that much leisure time left.

2:06 p.m. – Dust tornados are cool. Tim wants to ride one. They frighten Ben. We just passed a billboard with The Gambler on it! Oh Kenny Rogers, you truly are our guardian angel. Though I’m not quite sure where he was when we needed him in Cedar City. Barstow is fast approaching but I may not get to write about it until later as you know who (LowBatteryWarningMan) is telling me that this computer needs a nappy nap.

2:15 p.m. – Looks like San Bernardino is the newest candidate for doing our laundry. I’ll believe it when I see it. I really hope we get to do it. Hmmmm, I just realized I might see the infamous SanRio store before everything is said and done on this trip! How sad for me. . . Tim strikes me as a ChocoCat fan. Or at least Spotty Dotty

3:00 p.m. – And then came Corona. And then came Corona. We stopped in Corona, which – if anything like the beer, couldn’t be all that bad – to ask where the nearest laundromat was. The nice Mexican man at the 76 instructed us how to get there and off we were. And now we sit here sweating our asses off at the Corona Coin-Op Laundry in Corona. And we are the only white people within a 20 mile radius. I swear to God. Everyone is looking at us funny. The Hispanic guy two stores down followed Ben and Tim out of his DOLLAR Store because he thought they were stealing. The Hispanic guy in the Laundromat has been staring at Ben, and Tim, and me for over a half-hour. Tim and I had to change in the car since there are no bathrooms around here. Tim is ready to start a race war.

It’s hot. I sweat through my Spam Museum shirt. But I read a lot of Kitchen Confidential while waiting for my clothes to dry. And I took a good picture of Tim and Ben that I hope comes out. They didn’t know I took it, but it’s of them reading during laundry. One on the inside of the landromat and one on the outside, and me taking it through the window. It’s hard to explain, but it looks good. Like I said, hope it comes out. So many Jack-In-The-Box joints around here. So So So gross. Even I have my limits.

5:07 p.m. – So the In & Out Burgers and Jamba Juice’s that Tim so highly speaks of still prove to be elusive. I’m starting to wonder if they even exist. We'll see. . .

It's been real,

Harvest Hearty

p.s - The final parts of our adventure will be posted late afternoon/early evening on 8/27 . . .

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