Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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Three hours sleep was all we could afford before checking out of the hotel and hitting the long road back to California. We were wounded. My memories of Vegas will always remain colourful - if not a little hazy - and it was well worth putting in the road hours to experience the magic in the middle of the desert. Getting back however was a different story.
We stopped at the border for breakfast in a little area called Primm, home to more casinos, more fast food and more over-indulgence. The casino complex used to be known as the Prima Donna but the name got changed a few years ago following a sickening incident whereby a 17 old raped a 12 year old to conclude a fun little game of hide and seek. The town hasn't quite been the same since.
We ate at the all-American buffet, which boasted a vast spread of the all imaginable - from salads and soups to thick creamy fish dishes, fatty sauces, gloopy mashed potato, deep fried chicken and a full carvery trolley of beef, pork and gammon. I went mental and wedged it down in the masses, determined to break into American culture. I was brimming to neck level before I even started on the meat.
Back in the car I had to make a decision. I couldn't avoid the inevitable so waddled back in the casino to use the bathroom. No choice really, I had to get it over with. Either that or suffer a long miserable journey.
'Dude, you've just stuffed it in and brought it up. That makes you an American citizen, for real. Your green card should turn up any day now..'
With Marco driving and Andris navigating I needed a role, plus I was in a delicate state. It wasn't long before I became the 'window guy', working the winder everytime Andris delivered a nasty gaseous meal from the back seat. I tell you, the lad's not right. He's got a rear end like a rotten farm animal. Utterly inhuman. Utterly wrong. In time things progressed and I got to be the 'ideas guy' after coming up with two amazing ideas. Andris took odour control.
The drive from Vegas to Yosemite took a good eight to nine hours, a long drive but with some full-on scenery. Long desert highways stretched way into the horizon, and cradled a sunset to die for. It lasted an eternity and cast a desolate glow across the desert plains for miles around us. We passed the fastest spinning wind turbines I've ever seen in my life. Andris was puzzled as to where all the electricity goes. 'To recharge my iPod,' confirmed Marco. We even got to travel a short distance on historic Route 66, adding a little more colour to our already excitable journey, one where I gained an immense appreciation for the voice of Cyndi Lauper, as did the hairs on my arms.
We made our final stop in Fresno, to load up on supplies in anticipation of the empty desolation of two nights in the National Park. Beers were procured and from the largest bulk buy warehouse I've seen in a long time. Our last chance snack stop was at the 'In 'n' Out' drive thru, another rapid fire greasy burger joint. Marco and Andris assured me this was one of the healthier ones: Look, the potato guy's peeling away right in front of the window so you can see..'
Fresno is loaded with retail outlets, fast food chains, restaurants and other colourfully branded retail chains. I lost count after thirty six. Once again there's a ridiculous array of options - everyone of them guaranteed to secure serious coronary problems in the next few years.
We checked in to 'The Yosemite Bug', a mountain lodge somewhere in the national park. We were within minutes of the deadline. Apparently we were 'lucky'. We were also lucky to get a small dorm to ourselves and as to be expected, we were deader than dead on arrival..