by James Walker
Days 11 and 12 - Friday and Saturday, June 29-30th, 2012
Our last days were simple. We came down to Las Vegas for a reprieve before returning home, and we got some Chipotle and checked into our hotel. We also found a little video blackjack machine down at the South Point Casino that made us feel like we were winning, but ultimately took all the money we fed into it. A note about the people at The Silverton Casino: I was absent-minded enough to leave my wallet on top of a slot machine. A few minutes later I realized what I had done and went back to get it, but it was already gone. Reminding myself not to get worried too quickly, I talked to the security there and they raised their eyebrows and smiled at me saying I was one lucky guy because they had just found it! Apparently, moments after leaving my wallet, the janitor picked it up and turned it in, with nothing missing. I was so lucky!
The next morning we went to a few other casinos, really just to browse more than anything else, and stopped at the Paris Hotel to ride the elevator up to the top of the fake Eiffel Tower. It was fun to be at the top of even a false Eiffel Tower, but the hot desert air was determined to remind us that we were far from France and we didn't stay long.
The last leg of our Grand Adventure was the same as the first, but instead of stopping momentarily in Las Vegas, full of excitement about the days ahead, we were taking our time in the city of neon lights, making the most of our last few hours of vacation. Soon we would be returning to work, the monotony of our daily lives replacing the constantly changing landscape of the last two weeks on the road. Despite the relative shortness of a 12 day vacation compared to the countless days spent at home, we had found a new normal, one that we were not excited to let go of. We had trekked across the United States in a nice little SUV and it had been good. The hikes, the sweat, and the sunburns had made us stronger and we felt healthier and happier than we ever had from the comfort of our soft beds at home. We had by no means been on an adventure as wild as the likes of Christopher McCandless or John Muir, but we had found our own bit of adventure and our own bit of home out on the road during those two weeks. We had always been wanderers at heart, stuck in a town we didn't like, hoping for something new. But those days spent driving across the United States reminded us that we aren't stuck and we weren't without hope, but we can find something different and new if we really want to. Someday we'll settle down and I'm sure that place will be full of tall pine trees and mountain tops. Someday we'll find a true home of our own. But we'll always travel.
View Larger Map