VEGAS – Day 1

Howdy Readers! I have embarked on another adventure – this time to Sin City! My husband, Jeff, built a car and is showing it at SEMA this week. I’ve been asked several times recently what SEMA stands for and, since I had forgotten, I looked it up. It stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association. There. Now you know and can forget too!

Anyway, two days ago we loaded the car dubbed Orange Evolution into the car trailer and set off for Vegas, which is about an 8-hour drive from our place. Jeff was exhausted after staying up very late the night before to finish the last few details on the car so I kept an eye on him as he drove. He was doing pretty well … until he wasn’t. The droopy eyes and almost constant yawning told me I was going to have to take over. I’ve pulled a lot of trailers in my time – horse trailers, tool trailers, boat trailers – but never a 24-foot trailer behind a long bed crew cab Ram truck. But unless we were going to park on the side of the highway while Jeff caught a couple hours of shut-eye, I was up.

We switched off at a truck stop just outside Gallup, NM where we topped off the tank with gas and made use of the facilities. I took my time adjusting my seat, fiddling with the mirrors and the A/C vents, then pulled out into traffic, all 5-ft of me piloting nearly 50-feet of vehicle. I-40 is nearly always wall to wall semis, and I found that day to be no different. Jeff reclined his seat and passed out, leaving me with only my self-doubt and anxiety for company. I needn’t have worried, though. I soon found that I was pretty good at it, and spent the next 3 hours weaving smoothly through an obstacle course of trucks traveling at inconsistent speeds.

We rolled into Vegas around 8 pm, found the Polo Towers Resort that we were booked at and moved in. Jeff’s brother, Jeremy, wasn’t far behind us, and when he arrived, he and Jeff went out to have a beer with a friend. I opted for bed and a book until my eyes grew heavy.

The following morning, I made use of the small kitchen in our two-bedroom condo by making a pot of coffee. We had brought a few groceries with us, so Jeff and Jeremy toasted English muffins and slathered them with cream cheese before they headed out to the convention center to wash and set up the car in the sponsor’s booth. I stayed in my pajamas while I had a couple of cups of coffee and alternated between people watching from the balcony and noodling around on my iPad. It wasn’t long before I was itching to get out and move around, so I showered, dressed and moseyed across the street from the back of the resort to the Miracle Mile. I wasn’t shopping as much as stretching my legs and racking up steps toward my daily 10,000 step goal. I did take note of places I may want to revisit later in the week when our friends, Amber and Robin, come to stay with us for the last few days of our trip.

Before I headed back to the condo, I bought a lobster grilled cheese sandwich from a place called Lobster Me to take back for lunch. I now believe lobster should be a staple ingredient of every grilled cheese sandwich I have in the future. I killed time, took a nap, washed up the morning dishes and worked a little until Jeff and Jeremy came back. They were tired and ready to sit for a while. When evening rolled around, the three of us went out on foot to find a place to eat. We wandered the strip, meandering through some of the hotels and casinos as we went. We finally settled on a place called Rock n Reilly and the guys sent out messages to some friends who are in town. We were joined by Jeremy and Melody McClellan, the owners of the car Jeff built and a couple of their friends as well as a high school classmate of my brother-in-law’s and his boss. We sat out on the patio, enjoying the desert breeze, and had a really pleasant evening with dinner, drinks and conversation. Melody is from the Philippines and I learned that it was her first visit to the United States. I assured her that Las Vegas is not typical of our country and that most of our cities do not have mobile billboards advertising prostitutes driving up and down the streets.

The party broke up after a couple of hours and we headed back to the condo, ready to call it a night.

More to come!