So Las Vegas set me back a thousand bucks even for the car, a little under two grand in all, 4 days in time, but much wiser in more ways than I care to detail here. Many memories, fond and bitter. It was like two weeks, but on fast-forward. It's a little ironic that I now know that city better than most people do. I'm in Flagstaff, AZ for the night. Didn't get too far, but glad to be finally out of Vegas.
I thought West Texas
was intimidating, and boy was I wrong
. But I now realize even Nevada can't hold a candle to Arizona in the terrifying-desolation department. Let me explain in Douglas Adams's words:
Infinity itself looks flat and uninteresting. Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity — distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. The chamber ... was anything but infinite, it was just very very big, so that it gave the impression of infinity far better than infinity itself.
The desert of Nevada is like infinity. The mountains of Arizona, on the other hand, while equally sparsely populated, rise all around you in sublime majesty, and therefore do a much better job of making you feel the unimaginable vastness of your surroundings and the magnitude of your loneliness.
It was on the curving roads of these mountains that I was driving tonight in a wind storm, and later a thunderstorm, as usual way behind on sleep. I lost my concentration for a while with my foot on the gas pedal and didn't regain it until I noticed the needle a tad over 90 mph. At that moment I knew I was truly scared for my life. Hence the decision to stop at Flagstaff. Which means more Arizona tomorrow. Bummer. I still don't know what New Mexico's like.
I shouldn't have made fun of the Caravan so much the other day. Now that my car (a Mercury Sable) is back in my hands, I realize even the Caravan is better in terms of turning radius. I truly despise the Sable now. On my last day in Vegas I traded in the Caravan for a Chevy Cobalt, which I've driven once before, and as expected it was wonderfully zippy and handled great. One thing's for sure - no more American cars for me.
Anyway, long drive ahead tomorrow. Two timezones to cross. I'm going to try to catch up on sleep now.