Tag Archives: southern California

Goodbye, SoCal. Hello, American Southwest.

The time had come – my LA work vacation was over and I was packing up to head home. After a quick happy hour with some coworkers and goodbyes to my fellow interns, I headed back to my apartment to do some packing before my companion for the road trip back to Pittsburgh arrived.

The friend who came back with me, Betz, is another good friend of mine (I have the best friends) who was willing to fly out simply to drive across the country. I definitely wasn’t stopping him.

After about 2 hours of not packing a damn thing I headed to LAX to pick him up. For those who have never been to LAX on a Friday night, spare yourself the Hell on Earth that awaits. Bumper to bumper 6 lane traffic with more cars entering than you can shake a fist at. When I spotted Betz I stopped my car wherever I was and yelled until he found me. There was no way I was making it to the curb.

Since it was getting late on a Friday, we hurried up and went out to meet my roommate. We were leaving Sunday morning and wanted to squeeze in as much fun as we could with the time left. Saturday consisted of sightseeing, beach going, packing, and one last trip to the bars.

Finally, the time had come to leave. Unfortunately, my roommates weren’t around, so I said goodbye to an empty house and we headed down the coast. Our first stop was to be Vegas, however we had one last thing to do in California – surfing. I’d never gone before but always wanted to try it out. Luckily, growing up, I developed the grace of a warthog and the balance of a top on its last spin. So surfing sounded promising.

There’s where we surfed and said goodbye to California.

I did surprisingly well, and after two hours I was able to stand up for upwards of 3 seconds. Additionally, I got a great surfer’s tan comprised almost entirely of a terrible sunburn on my shoulders, face, back, arms, and chest. Which called for a great car ride.

By noon we were off to Sin City. If you recall in an earlier post I mentioned that Eastern California is similar to mutants and movie settings and so on. This time it was even more painful – the Mojave Desert. Sounds kind of cool right? It is. For the first 20 minutes. Then then next 4 cell phone receptionless hours are dreadfully boring. And hot. Very, very hot.

Finally, as we came over the top of a mountain/hill/crest thing, we could see Nevada. Las Vegas is about 40 miles into the state, but right along the border they get you excited by having the biggest tourist trap I’ve ever seen, including but not limited to: mall, strip mall, hotel, casino, roller coaster, and something involving cowboys.

I decided that this trip was going to be different than the last. I made a promise to myself that I would finally focus and take clear, great pictures of the State Signs. My disappointing performance in round 1 resurfaced as we approached the border. This time was going to be different. I had my phone out, HDR off, camera open, eyes peeled. The anticipation was welling up in me like a pubescent teenage boy getting ready to touch his first boob. Then suddenly –

Don’t see it? Let’s take a closer look:

Yes, there it is. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the worthless photographer in me resurfaces to get an awesomely bad photo. Maybe it’s a first day of a road trip thing, like when we got to Ohio. Either way, things weren’t looking good for round 2.

A couple minutes later and we finally entered Las Vegas. Let the games (literally) begin.