Day 5 of my roadtrip and its my birthday tomorrow! Im 22 and the 5 previous days of wilderness adventure, with no real acclimatization to the modern way of life makes heading into Vegas all the more exciting! I’m celebrating in style!
First I have to travel the 6 hour journey through Death Valley in my truck .
I left the winding mountains of the Sierras at about 4am, weaving through the mountainside under a full moon- it was just as awesome as the drive during the day- a hell of a lot of fun- even if I was getting way too over zealous with my speed going into the hairpin daggers.
After a short nap in Bakersfield and a quick stock fill I was ready to head into Death Valley- the lowest and hottest place in America and the area of the highest recorded temperature in the world.
Pulling in to the Information/ Ranger point the thermostat reaches 96°F, which, is relatively tame for the valley-but it is still April.
I’m only planning on passing through the park and head along towards Badwater-the lowest region in America, where at certain times of year the lake lactates salt- similar to that of Urunyi in Bolivia- although not quite as spectacular.
At its current state its just a vast open emptiness- a desert. So is the rest of the valley.
I’m sure there is as much to see here as there is in any other National Park, but I’m not overly keen to get out and hike another grueling few hours in the midday sun and would far rather head to Vegas to relax in a pool with a well deserved beverage.
Viva Las Vegas
Back on the highway, which stands alone in a great deserted expanse, countless blown up tires and residues of trucks amass on the sides of the road- it must be chaos in summertime around here! Apart from the road intersecting the sand dunes the only other form of life is in that of the biggest train I have ever seen in my life- a good 50-60 carriages long hauling cargo far into the distance.
2 hours later and I can see the sculpted outlines of a chaotic funworld in the distance. False alarm as this is not yet Vegas, but an outlet store and theme park, in the middle of nowhere, mimicking the Vegas style- it is in fact the borderline between California and Nevada and the first wave of legal Casinos.
An hour later and I’m stuck in traffic along Las Vegas Boulevard. It was 5 years since I was last here and it has nearly doubled in size! There are new, flashy, hip and trendy hotels everywhere with enough advertising and electronic screaming to cause a fit! The place is a giant, adolescent Disney world-where grown ups can act like kids! And its awesome!
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What happens in Vegas
After checking in at Caesar’s Palace I waste no time in taking my first proper shower in 5 days. Then its down to the pool to relax with a drink in hand and do absolutely nothing. Its my birthday tonight and when the bar staff are aware of this they waste no time in offering me free drink and putting me down for the nightclub entry- thanks Caesar’s palace staff. This doesn’t go entirely unnoticed by the pool side and within an hour I’ve been adopted into a group of 8.
The next few days are mostly a blur. Also I consort to the adage of ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ so much will remain censored.
But in general I drank a lot, partied a lot, won some money, lost even more money than I won and followed the general principles of every other person who was been seduced by the city.
I met up with some friends from San Francisco and we went to see Steve Aoki in Hakkasan, MGM which was epic.
I also met up with some of Brett’s friends, who by chance, are mostly promo people, models and event organizers for the clubs across Vegas. To add to my luck it was one of their birthdays also. So for the next 2 days I tagged along to all their free, insane, alcohol fueled pool parties such as Wet Republic, Pulse and was then invited to one of the coolest house parties ever- in an insane penthouse right above the Vegas strip! I had completely lucked out on everything in Vegas- apart from the winning part- but I couldn’t complain too much, something had to give.
My last full day was spent recovering from 3 full days and nights of madness in the pools of the Rio Hotel. I took a few hours to walk up and down the strip ending with the iconic Belagio Waterfalls in the evening. Las Vegas is awesome and I managed to have an absolute blast and a hell of a birthday even though I went into the city knowing almost nobody. But 3-4 days is definitely about as much as I can handle- not least for my diminishing bank balance. Nonetheless it has further reinvigorated me to continue the remainder of my adventure into the outdoor abyss.