Friday, March 26, 2010

Waddling from Oregon to Ely, Nevada

Las Vegas is warm, right? I ask because my experience of Nevada so far is cold, freakishly windy, and occasionally snowy, but I'm sure by the time I descend from these altitudes I'll have defrosted.

As I figured from the fact that no one had suggestions of things to do along the way, this route is scenic but not tempting me to make detours or frequent photo stops. I'm happy about that because I don't have time to dawdle in this part of the road trip; I made it a road trip because I was craving the alone time, trapped alone with my thoughts and music, but maybe more importantly, because I needed the car with me for phase two of the post-employment vacation.

I hit three states in one day. The highlight of the brief Oregon segment was refuelling at a gas station next to the Redneck Cafe in a middle of nowhere town. The grizzled station attendant, on seeing my licence plates, exclaimed: "You're a hoser!" and asked if Bob and Doug MacKenzie were still around. (I said no before remembering the recent cartoon - bad TV, eh webmaster!) He also admired my little 5 year old Toyota Echo before asking if it had been recalled. "Not yet," I said. "I feel snubbed." (He laughed. I'm sure it was a pity laugh.)

I plowed through Idaho (not literally). (Get it? That's a potato joke. Not even a pity laugh?) I think the "potato ice cream" signs made me think this wasn't a place I wanted to stop.

Good thing I didn't want to stop for the last few hours because there was nowhere to stop. I'd seen Ely, Nevada on the map and on the signs and figured it would be a decent place to stay the night, big enough to have a selection of hotels, situated so I'd be poised to get to Vegas by early afternoon. Good choice, since it was the only choice. The snow and the sun started falling, cell service disappeared, and I did what I often do when driving at night on unfamiliar, semi-deserted highways: I followed a trucker. I kept a respectful distance, of course, but it's my security blanket, letting me feel like there's someone who might notice if my car turned into a fireball behind him.

I don't know if this is a normal thing to do, but I do know that someone else seemed to have the same idea, or at least I imagine so - a pickup truck who had passed me and the semi let us both pass when the snow started falling in the cell-silent darkness, and we travelled as a convoy for over an hour. Even when we got to civilization just before Ely, when I could have easily passed him and didn't need the security anymore, I chose to stick to the speed limit and to my mama duck and, I've gotta be honest, I felt a little betrayed that the pickup passed us by.

I did fly by him once we got to Ely, in case by some freakish coincidence I ended up following him to a hotel. There's a fine line between realizing someone's following you and feeling stalked.

I was going to try to post daily but I can't promise myself that. After all, I'll be in Vegas having fun with friends, not crashing in a hotel alone at the end of a day trapped alone with my (clearly very random and tired) thoughts. Plus I've heard what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I'll let you know.