Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Back After 40 Years

Our first outing since we arrived in Nevada was a visit to Cabelas, the outdoor provider. We have only once visited a Cabelas store, in Nebraska, though John often shops from their catalog. At Boomtown we found a casino, an RV park, and Cabelas. The wildlife display inside is amazing.

There we enjoyed shopping—and buying. We bought seat covers for our truck, to protect the vehicle from our cats.

On our drive to Las Vegas we saw a large area of the state of Nevada. The landscape is barren, but has its own beauty. The Nevada state map describes the state as the most mountainous in the country, with 314 individual ranges and hills. Our entire journey we drove through areas ringed by mountains. We saw many dry lakes and a couple with water, including Walker Lake.

As Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto."

Nevada allows prostitution and we saw at least four brothels as we drove south. They were named "Shady Ladies," "Pink Ladies," "Wild Cat," and "The Cherry Patch." This building advertising "Adult Entertainment" shared a parking lot with a gas station. It is open 24 hours a day.

Today on the streets of Las Vegas we saw this signboard driving around town again and again, advertising their wares.

All of this is very different from what we see in the rest of the country. It gives a real insight into the state.

We also drove through "Area 51," a top-secret US Air Force research facility. This is the billboard at the gas station on the south edge of that facility. Yucca Mountain, a nuclear waste storage facility is also nearby.

The Nevada Army Ammunition Depot is located on the edge of Hawthorne. It is huge. For miles we saw storage buildings and ammunition bunkers. According to Wikipedia, "The Hawthorne Army Depot stores reserve munitions to be used after the first 30 days of a major conflict."

Today we visited several Las Vegas casinos. It has been 40 years since we were here last. When our older son, Doug, was 9 months old, we left him with his Aunt Cindy and Cousin Craig and came to Las Vegas with my parents. We left Denver on a snowy day in October. Now it is October, 40 years later. Here the temperature is 90 and it is supposed to snow in Denver this weekend.

Many of the casinos are more glitzy, more sophisticated, and they include more fine shopping and good restaurants than they did where we were first here. This is where people come to escape the reality of their lives and live a fantasy. As we walked down the street, music even came out of the bushes. The front entrance to the newer casinos looks like the front gate of a private estate, or like a sea where pirates roam. The Mirage and the Venetian are really beautiful and elegant.

The orchids and tropical foliage at the Mirage are just beautiful.

The canals at the Venetian seem to flow under a night sky between the shops of Venice. Really, we were inside a large shopping mall. It is lovely, but surreal.

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