Friday, September 12, 2014

Las Vegas Weekend

Last Friday we went to Las Vegas. We’re usually going there for some business thing and go during the week. This was a first time we were going for a weekend. Las Vegas is a weekend getaway spot for a lot of people from Southern California, so it was all about beating the traffic.

Of course, we didn’t leave as early as we’d hoped and when we got to our regular stop at Barstow expecting to eat at Chipotle, we had a big surprise. The line for food was out the door and we figured it would be a half an hour wait for sure. We wanted to get back on the road quickly before all the weekenders clogged it up. We’d heard that what generally took us between four and five hours could be up to eight with traffic.

The good news was Starbucks had breakfast sandwiches left and we got there when the line was short. Then it was eat fast and get back on the highway.

The reason for the trip was a wedding. Michael and my son met when Michael was just learning how to walk and Max was in my arms. They spent their first Halloween together. Max was a ghost – a costume I created out of a crib sheet. Michael had a leopard costume from one of his cousins. Neither of them had a clue what was going on, so we had to place them at the door and ring the bell. They were so cute every one wanted to give them lots of candy.

They went to Gymboree together, played T-ball, spent more Halloweens, birthdays, Easter egg hunts in our front yard, Disneyland trips together. You get the idea. And since both were only children, they were kind of like brothers.

So, Michael’s wedding was a big deal to us. And Max was the best man.

I have to admit I wasn’t so sure about a Las Vegas wedding and had images of someone in a plastic Elvis wig doing the ceremony. It turned out to be nothing like that. It was n outdoor ceremony under the shade of almond trees. Yes, it was hot, but they provided fans. Michael’s cousin (not in an Elvis outfit) married them. Then it was inside to a cute little building for the reception. I thought it might feel impersonal, since to the workers this was just another wedding, but they were very friendly.

And then it was back into the shuttle buses and back to our hotel.

Sunday it rained. Yes, rained in the desert. This year there have been a lot of pacific hurricanes that sent moisture up into Arizona and Nevada. The rain came from Norbert. Mostly it was no big deal as we drove around town. But when we went to check out this new attraction that is sort of like a ferris wheel, as we left, torrents of water from a flash flood were pouring through the parking lot of a hotel and into some kind of channel. I saw a shoe float by. It always makes you wonder how it got there.

Later, we saw a rainbow. There was no way to capture the whole arc, but it was amazing to see.

Sunday’s traffic was supposed to be even worse than Friday’s as everyone headed back to SoCal. We’d heard it was best to leave after 8 o’clock at night. To make it more of a concern, there was a flash flood watch in effect.

As we were getting ready to have dinner before we left, Max got a call from his business partner who had left Vegas earlier. There was an accident and the traffic on the 15 was at a standstill. He had actually pulled onto the side of the road and gotten out of his car. We’ve seen what happens when there’s an accident before. They stop all the traffic until a helicopter can get there and take any injured people away and then they have to get the damaged cars off the road. Since the road is in the middle of the desert, there isn’t a way to detour around it so everyone has to stop and wait.

But thanks to modern technology, we could check the traffic on our assorted phone and see when the it started to move again.

There was no more rain, the moon was full and extra big and lit the desert so much that I could look out the window and actually see something. The downside was I couldn’t see the stars. The traffic slowed briefly at the agriculture check point and then it was clear sailing. Starbucks in Barstow was long closed and we had to settle for coffee from In ‘N Out. We reached out driveway around 2 a.m., unpacked the car and fell into bed.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like a fun and worthwhile trip, Betty--except for the traffic. Ugh. But at least you were able to avoid the worst of it and even saw a rainbow!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I always enjoy family road trips.