“Three Best Friends that Anyone Could Have”

March 2018

Mom, Anthony and I journeyed the 4 hours from Disneyland to Las Vegas to meet up with some friends and celebrate a triple Dirty 30 birthday. Oh, the irony of starting my birthday trip in a place where alcohol isn’t even sold in the Magic Kingdom to the city of sin; a city where I would join two of my best friends from college to commence our collective third decade around the sun.

Driving through the desert didn’t prove as monotonous as it sounds considering the number of roadside pit stops we found. Street art is to Melbourne as desert art is to the Southwest, you can find it in obscure places. The free Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch sent us through a whimsical display of recycled glass bottles. As a child, Elmer and his father collected bottles in the desert and after he inherited hundreds of these glass treasures, he decided to display them in an ultimately unique way. The drive bordering the Mojave Desert National Park proved the most naturally beautiful to me. That’s a place I would love to visit next time I’m in the area. When you’re in the desert, it’s hard to fathom the vastness of the landscape and I marveled at the thought when we stayed in Death Valley the next leg of our travels.

About 45 minutes from the Las Vegas strip, we visited two more worthy pit stops. Nevada’s oldest saloon established in 1913, welcomed us to the Wild, Wild West. After three tap beers and a chat with the bartender, we learned about the quirks of this establishment and how people believe it to be haunted. Maybe next time when we visit, we’ll be lucky enough to share a cold one with one of their resident ghosts!

On the other side of the highway, we found the iconic Seven Magic Mountains. Due to the popularity of this temporary art instillation, the display will now remain at least until the end of 2018. Seven sacks of vibrantly painted boulders stand alone in the backdrop of crusty foliage and brown dirt terrain. I love how some artists find their inspiration in the midst of such open spaces.

We cruised into Vegas just after sundown, which made perfect timing to welcome the spectacle of the city lights. Kayla and Katie Green’s flight landed shortly after we arrived and we kicked off our birthday celebrations along with two of Mom’s best friends, Markus and Faith. During our reunion, shabby us indulged in a bottomless happy half hour on the world’s largest observation wheel at The LINQ while classy us admired the wonders of Cirque du Soleil’s “O.” Over the course of four nights together, debauchery ensued. (Shocking, I know.) What keeps Vegas interesting for me is the volume of entertainment options. With the ever changing establishments, every trip there feels fun and different. Until next time, Sin City!

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Next up: Death Valley NP and the Racetrack la Playa

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