07 November 2008

THE LONELIEST HIGHWAY IN AMERICA

That could refer to almost any book tour, at least for us lesser known writers. But it's not really true. There's the people who work in the bookstores and spending time with them is like visiting friends. And someone does always show up.

At Cheesecake & Crime in Henderson, Nevada, five women from a book group showed up. They didn't know me or my books, but they seemed genuinely interested and they bought plenty of books and asked good questions. Here they are, with me:
Afterwards I went back to my hotel. I was in room 23-319 of the MGM Grand (it has 5,044 rooms in its main wing.) The rooms are perfectly engineered to make you want to go out. The bed is okay, but not so comfortable that you want to spend a whole lot of time on it. The desk chair is too low for the desk, so working is a problem. The air conditioner cranks up no matter what you do to the thermostat at night; and the heater kicks in high in the morning. The TV gets lousy reception and has no cable. The whole room, like everything else in Las Vegas, shouts: "Get out and gamble."

Well, I didn't gamble, not even a dollar. Instead I went to Michael Mina's Stripsteak in the Mandalay Bay Hotel where I had the finest French Fries I have ever had. They were double fried in duck fat and served with, among two other sauces, a white truffle oil aioli. Along with them I had an incredible steak - a Black Angus ribeye cap that wasn't on the menu. Washed down with a good single malt and I was very happy.

After that I walked around for a while, but Las Vegas doesn't change much. Having been there last year, it was the same place - except for the enormous multi-building project that is fast rising on the west side of the Strip. It looks like it will have some great looking, quirky buildings. On the way back to my room I was stopped by two cookie cutter Blonde 101 hookers - bleached, plumped and siliconed, squeezed into tight red dresses. The casino at the MGM seems to be one of the current strolls for what is known as CGs - casino girls. They wanted $500 for one of them or $600 for the pair. Don't they know there's a financial crisis? I politely declined and went to bed alone.

Today I hit the road to Boise, taking Highway 93, one of the two roads that lay claim to being "America's Loneliest Highway." It quickly became apparent why. It was strangely beautiful.

I stopped for lunch in Ely - a truckstop of a town that is also historic.
And I've stopped for the night in Wells, at the junction of Interstate 80 and Nevada 93. It seems to exist entirely for tired truckers: gas, groceries, casino, cafes and brothels. It has the remnants of a historic downtown, and two busy brothels - Bella's and Donna's. (Just imagine if they ever merge.)

Tomorrow morning it's off to Boise, my triumphal return - 37 years after my one year at Boise State University.

2 comments:

Bill H said...

Mate, I'll take 1, 2 & 4. Do what you'd like with the rest. Cheers, Bill

GLENMORANGIE said...

Hi , nice story and interesting to read about the loneliest highway, it looks a great road for a decent bike , the little town photos were interesting also, not much to do there except have a cold one and check-out early .
I am from Scotland , have you ever visited ? Keep up the good work , if you would like to exchange photos my email is as follows..
SNOW_LODGE1711@YAHOO.COM
bye for now and good luck.