Friday, May 22, 2009

Vegas and McDonalds...Update at 835 Miles

Lake Meade: About 30 minutes outside Vegas. Great winds, cold water. Perfect on scorching hot days.

My couchsurfing host, Don, getting ready for some kiteboarding.

In the desert, the only wireless oasis comes under golden arches...

From Los Angeles, I made the HOT voyage to Las Vegas where I found neon lights, slot machines, lonely people staring at the slot machines, beautiful red rocks and blue lakes, and one of the biggest solar plants in the world. Night one in Vegas, I made a little tour around Vegas bars where I heard the mantra, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" over and over again. It had the eerie resonance of a company that has begun to believe its own ad I was thinking... really doesn't. 
But, that's okay.
The folks in Vegas were super-friendly once you got their attention away from the slot machines. They were often amazed to be talked to by someone who was not trying to pick them up or scam them in any way. Not sure what that says about the city, but I learned a thing or two from the locals: 
1) Vegas was way cooler and mellow when the mob ran things back in the day. 2) Vegas was once just a water stop on the railway from Salt Lake to Los Angeles. 
Frankly, it's a good thing they discovered gambling because without it, Vegas would be... a giant solar plant?
On my way out of Vegas, I checked out El Dorado (photos to come- they are living on my digital camera), one of the largest solar plants in the world. From the highway, you see it glimmering out there like a mirage, and as you get closer, it seems more and more elusive. I turned down a road that announced, "Private Road," and decided the sign wasn't talking to little ol' me. Close up, the plant is totally not what you envision when you think of "solar panels." They aren't black, but metallic, shifting with the sun throughout the day. They look a little like alien spaceships (look out Roswell-I'm on the way!) When El Dorado is complete, it will decrease carbon emissions by 200,000,000 lbs per year, the equivalent of taking 19,000 cars off the road. Lots more information on El Dorado here.
So, now I'm headed out to Zion National Park to get away from the city life for a bit. Time for some long, slow hikes and beautiful scenery. 
Dear Cities: I love you, I hate you. I can't live with you, but I certainly can't live without you.


  1. Almost a decade ago (old me, young to a tree) I hiked down into Zion's Kolob Canyon, and it remains one of the most beautiful places to grace my memory. Green stream bound by towering marble walls, and the sunlight beaming down in shafts that can only be describes as divine. Also saw the tiniest deer ever down there.

  2. Kera! I have been hiking around Zion for a couple days...SO AMAZING! I'm doing Kolob Canyon today and heading to Sedona tomorrow. I'm camped near Kolob Canyon along with cows and coyotes. The latter are a little intimidating at night...


Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
- Oscar Wilde


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