Anthony's Wild West 2007 travel blog

Sin City from the air (or is it Sim City?)

My rental car and my motel in Beatty

The saloon opposite my motel, cool, huh?

Well, a very long day, and I'm shattered, but here I am in Beatty, on the edge of Death Valley, 24 hours after getting up in Bristol. Various delays on the way, and a last minute dispute re my car rental that led to a new car from another company and probably a loss of face for me, but I was pleased with myself for driving it through central Las Vegas in the Rush Hour and a 100 miles to here. It would probably have been easier if I wasn't gawping so much, but central Las Vegas is amazing, and I definitely want to go back there at night. Looks more like Sim City than Sin City from the air though. Very, very hot, 104 F in Las Vegas, interesting to see what Death Valley will be like tomorrow! And don't forget, reported temperatures are measured in the shade, it can be much hotter in the sun!

I had a bit of a revelation about the States: I couldn't understand why I was enjoying everything so much. I've gone to a lot of places for what could be called 'romantic' rather than practical reasons, usually influenced by something that made an impression in childhood, hence trips to the Khyber Pass, Mandalay, Cairo, Jerusalem, Tibet and other such places with resonant names. But everywhere I look in the USA I am thrilled by stuff that reminds me of thousands of films and TV programmes; the sherrifs in their cars, the motels I stay in, the radio stations (even the Christian rock ones), the prisons, the long desert highways, the trailer parks, etc, etc. Amazingly, and contrary to movie lore, most people drive carefully and respectfully, and rarely exceed the speed limit!

And so tonight I am in a two-bit Twin Peaks town full of trailer parks, staying in a fab two-story motel like people in films do when they are on the run, and the only place to eat is in a casino nearby. Not a Las Vegas style casino, this is mostly slots, and full of retirees from the RV parks ('snow birds'), but still fun, though I already find the constant niceness of waitresses a bit weird. I walk past this big place that sells ammo boxes on the way there, some of which were the size of small wardrobes. But I am not suprised, because I already know from the movies that Americans need a lot of ammo once they get started shooting stuff. The RV (Recreational Vehicles) parks are amazing, not just that they exist and for their no doubt weird culture, but the size and comfort of some of the RVs, like nothing we have in the UK.

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