Sunday, May 16, 2010

Road Trip 2010 - Vegas, Cedar City & SLC

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Day 10 – Las Vegas – 463 miles

I slept in a little bit…and then headed towards Vegas. However, it was not to be a direct route. The night before, Laura had commented on this. Having only known me a few minutes, she commented on my “nomadic ancestry” and this was even before she knew of my road trip, just that I was visiting LA. Apparently I appear to be the kind of person that wanders off the beaten path and is often distracted by obscure things. She must’ve been some kind of witch. I was looking at a map that morning…and saw that Needles, California was about 150 miles out of the way from the direct route to Las Vegas. I also knew that Bubbles, Barbie & Keanna wouldn’t be able to hang out until that evening anyway…so I went on an adventure through Mitchell Caverns…en route to Needles. Now, you may be asking yourself “Why the f**k would you want to go to Needles?” And I have a pathetic response to that, as you might expect. A few years ago, I watched a HORRIBLE movie called “Domino” starring Mickey Rourke and Keira Knightley as bounty hunters (apparently based on a true story…but more on that another time). The movie sucked. Like…Jar Jar sucked. However, just before I turned the movie off (like I said…sucked), there was a shootout in Needles…and it was near a memorial statue to the great comedian Sam Kinison, who died in a car crash just outside of town. When was I ever going to be this close to Needles to even consider a trip out there like this? Probably never. And there was Mitchell Caverns along the way so that I could get my nerd on with stalagmites. It was on.

From Barstow starts Interstate 40, which basically runs along Route 66. How did I find this out? Because every other exit there was a sign that said “Historic Route 66, next right” and the like. There was also a sign that said Wilmington, North Carolina was only 2553 miles away. Maybe next trip. Going at incredible speed, I made it to Mitchell Caverns which was located in the middle of nowhere. I went to a small gift shop. “Are you here for the tour?” “Yes, when’s the next one?” “The only one today just left about ten minutes ago.” “Seriously? Only one tour a day?” “Yeah, if you want, you can probably catch up with them on the trail before they go in the caves.” ZOOM!!! I caught up with them in about thirty seconds…and then it went on for about two hours. It was nice and cool in the caverns though considering it was mid 90’s outside. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, I suggest checking it out. You know, if you like beautiful acts of nature that take millions of years to make and can be completely destroyed in a matter of seconds. Like when the movie “The Doors” was filmed there…and they drew fake Native American drawings on the walls…and it doesn’t wash off. Sigh… Hollywood. Anyway, enjoy…
Trust me, it's cooler looking in person
My flash doesn't bring out the awesomeness well

Now towards Needles, I was just about to reach town when I realized I had no idea exactly where the Sam Kinison statue would be. I seem to remember it being at a bus station or something in the middle of the desert from the movie…but then again, I saw it years ago. So I called my brother (knowing he had nothing better to do) and asked him to Google that sh*t for me. After a while, he couldn’t find anything on it other than he died out there. I needed gas, so I asked a few people at the gas station. “I know he died out here…but I don’t know nothing about a statue. Sorry man.” Everybody said the same thing. Then I got a call from my brother, “I think I found it…oh.” “Oh?” “Let’s see, it says here that in the movie Domino there was a scene filmed on SR-95 about 4 miles north of the intersection of I-40 involving a statue of Sam Kinison, who died nearby. However this statue was just a movie prop made of foam rubber…” “F**K!!! Are you kidding me? That movie sucks TWICE now!!!” There was some more choice language…but I’ll leave that out. So then I headed towards Las Vegas…but I did find this near the site of the crash…so all was not lost…

Around dinner time, I made it to Vegas and met up with Barbie & Keanna to hang out while Bubbles was at a work party. Barbie and I caught up on happenings while I played Battleship with Keanna (and won, of course). A few hours later, Bubbles needed a ride home…so I went to pick her up…and basically we were out painting the town red until the wee hours of the morning. See, I was only going to spend one day in Vegas because she was superbusy at work…and I didn’t want to mess that up by keeping her out until the wee hours. No biggie for one night though. We went to the Blue Martini…where they had a live band karaoke night on this Tuesday. Awesome. Then we went to Sierra Gold where we basically had the bar to ourselves and just caught up, talked about life, love, music, mysteries, adult beverages, jobs, the future, all that stuff that comes spewing out when you’ve had a few to drink (yes, I paced myself). Good times.

Day 11 – Cedar City – 285 miles

Bubbles needed a ride to the dentist (remember, I picked her up from the work party) so I went along with her…but I read a kick-ass National Geographic about prosthetics and the northern islands of Scotland. Then we had lunch at Café Rio…and then I had to be moving on. Had lots of fun with Bubbles…but she had work to do to. So I drove through the mighty powerful winds yet again…this time across a barren desert en route to the Wingmans. Gretchen is not the most aerodynamic vehicle ever made (far from it) but I made it safe…and the Wingmans & I went to Chili’s for dinner…and then…it SNOWED!!! I always seem to bring the snow with me when I come to town…
"It's SNOWING!!!"
Cedar City - We have a Lighthouse...
and we don't know why
"Chicks, man..."

Day 12 – Cedar City – 36 miles

Started off the day with chicken fried steak at the All American Diner, then checked out a few thrift shops. I like thrift shopping with the Wingmans, you never know what you’re going to find…but no matter how bad it is, you can always make fun of it. What did I find? Only a limited edition James Dean action figure from “Rebel Without a Cause” in a package that’s never been opened for five bucks AND a Batman Alarm Clock for two bucks. Seriously. I have yet to plug it in…but if the alarm is something like “I’m Batman” or “Nananananana nananananana” then I just might lose it. Oh my God, could you imagine if it has Adam West’s voice on it? Patent pending.
We also stopped by Mrs Wingman's Pet Shop...
This is an Alligator Skink
Sumkinda Lizard
Chameleon -Don't feel bad if you can't see him...
Future Governor of Arizona...after the Apocoplypse
Mrs Wingman and her massive python
Smiling Stingray
Snake devouring a mouse

After the shopping, we went to see “Kick Ass” starring Nicolas Cage, Marc Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & the most foul-mouthed little girl you can imagine. For those of you who haven’t seen the previews or read the graphic novel that it’s based on, basically it’s about a somewhat nerdy teenage who decides that enough is enough…and becomes a superhero…named Kick Ass. Well, he gets his ass kicked and stabbed a few times…but he catches the attention of the nation…and the REAL superheroes Big Daddy (Cage) and his gun-toting daughter Hitgirl…and also the local crime kingpin (Strong) and his son (CMP). The story goes from there…but despite what the commercials may have you believe, this is NOT for children. This movie is rated R. There is a lot of blood, a lot of guns, a f**k load of swearing, people being burned alive, bazookas, but with all of that…I thought it was a pretty kick-ass movie…and I await the sequel. It’s a lot of dirty humor and fun action…and I recommend it to anybody over the age of 17 as the MPAA suggests. Still can’t believe that I heard a little girl talk like that. Seriously, she used the C-word. I don’t even say that (unless talking about my brother’s ex-crack whore wife).

After the movie, it started to snow again…so that was all I needed to decide to stay an extra night and wait it out until morning. I know, twist my arm, right? We basically just watched some episodes of “The First 48 Hours” and stuff like that while enjoying a few brews. Not a bad way to relax.

Day 13 – SLC – 264 miles

In the morning, we had German Pancakes, then I left for the City of Salt. The drive was pretty uneventful…and I stopped by the center to say howdy to some of my former coworker buddies like K-Fish, JL Clyde & the Mad Scientist. I’ve missed those guys. It was great to see everybody again…and this won’t be the last that you hear of them in this summary. The evening was basically my dad & I watching basketball…and he really missed me. You could tell. His face was lit up like Christmas and we were basically just sitting around doing nothing. Good times. Really the big news of this day…was that I got a message from Bone Junior…and she wanted to meet up the next evening. Ooooh yeaaaaah…

Day 14 – SLC – 55 miles

The day was spent getting some things for Gretchen like a visor mirror, seat covers, floor mats, and stuff that I just didn’t really get around to doing during the winter and making her look even more lovely. Then dad & I went to see “Clash of the Titans” starring Sam Worthington & Liam Neeson. You all know the story. Greek fisherman (Worthington) who loses his family happens to be the son of Zeus (Neeson) and goes on an epic voyage to save a city because the Gods are having self-esteem issues or whatever. It’s exactly what you would expect. A lot of action, a lot of stupid dialogue, a few hot chicks in togas, lots of screaming, giant mythical creatures, etc. There’s even a guest appearance by Lord Valdemort from the Harry Potter movies. Okay, so they say it’s Hades…but it’s basically the same actor doing the same voice and the same mannerisms so there you go. It was okay…and like I said, exactly what you would expect…but I wouldn’t really go out of my way to watch it again or anything.

That evening, I met up with Bone Junior at the Italian restaurant Al Forno’s which I had been referred to many times…but never really had anybody to go with. It’s kind of a first date spot, so I found out. Nice, classy, great food, decent wine…but the company was the best part. We caught up on happenings, chatted about this & that & everything in between, really just a great night. We even got to show off Gretchen and her Mustang “Sashie” to one another. Truly a magical evening…at least in my opinion. Thanks for dinner, Bone Junior.

We parted ways and I went back to my dad’s and watched…wait for it…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I hadn’t seen it in a loooooong time, as you might’ve expected. Just to clarify, this is the original movie…not the CGI hogwash from a few years ago. It amazed me how much I remembered from this movie. However, there was one thing that I found out. Did you know that Sam Rockwell (“Choke”, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, “Charlie’s Angels”, “Iron Man 2”) was in that movie? No? Me neither. Go rent it and see if you can find him. He’s one of the teenage kids near the end with an actual speaking part. You’ll recognize him…even though he unfortunately doesn’t dance or anything. Good times.

That’ll wrap it up for this installation. I’m afraid I might’ve already bored you with the lack of pictures…but there’s at least a few more on the way. So until next time, have a great night everybody!!!

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