There’s an age-old tradition in The Theatre, that when the Stage Manager makes a request of his actors, they answer back with the request itself. That’s probably because actors can’t be trusted and/or they’re dolts who you can’t be sure understand you. Either way, just before nine this morning, I called out to Gracie, “Five minutes ‘till we leave” and she shouted back, “Thank you, five!”. She was making a carrot smoothie, elbows-deep in a blender. She had not yet put on pants.
(Grace did eventually put on pants)
(Noah reps Walt, even though he's a Jew)
We ended up on the road not long after, The Good Dog nestled in the wheel-well of the Jeep, en route to Las Vegas, the first stop on our odyssey. Just after we passed a towed boat named “MargaritaVille Cruiser Number Two,” pondering what was up with Number One, we stopped for gas. A “Church Group” sold cherries on the side of the road, a flock of a half-dozen, dressed in their Sunday alrights. There was also a baby in a playpen, just kicking it on the side of an offramp in the middle of The Desert. That’s how you know it’s The Desert or a Jodorowsky movie.
(Death Valley, the hottest potty break)
("Are we there yet?")
Rolling into Vegas, we met up with my sister, her husband and their kid, my niece, Honey. She’s seven and really likes Grace’s work. They bought us ice cream from an anachronistic shop run by a mysterious “Mr. Wong”, who makes everything homemade. Apparently Mr. Wong is out of town, so they were out of most everything. My sister was bummed that “black sesame” was unavailable. We made due and opted for pedestrian flavors like red-bean-boba although there was something scrawled on the ice-cream case that looked like “toasted gremlin”. We didn’t try it. Even though she noticed my sister and I having the same ticks and hand motions, Grace felt at home based on my brother-in-law’s Sriracha t-shirt and Honey’s shirt with Shel Silverstein on it. It’s always nice to see family, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?
(Where The Sidewalk Ends, the ultimate NormCore cookie-dough-cookies-and-cream hybrid begins)
(If you look close, you can see her GRILL)
Serendipity struck just as we were planning to jam. Thanks to the beauty of Social Media, it became apparent that Badass in Chief and Man of Great Cats himself, Devin Faraci, was holidaying in Sin City. He and his special lady-friend had reconnoitered a fucking villa at the Mirage. It isn’t a hotel room. It isn’t a suite. It’s a house. In the middle of The Strip. Logically, the entrance to the villas is right off the Terry Fator Box Office in the lobby. He and his welcomed us into his own personal Versailles for a few minutes. We dipped our toes in the pool, putted on the green, and then Hildy took a shit in the lobby.
(Devin gets the best seat in the house since he's now editor of BidetAss Digest)
(Stand-ins for a family portrait)
(Then Vegas got too real)
On the road, we stopped at a Subway in an abandoned office park and high-tailed it. We were on a roll. We drove through the upper tip of Arizona for about a half-hour, and entered The Beehive State through a spectacular gorge. It was a gorgeous gorge. Appropriately, it is called “The Virgin River Gorge” and is under major reconstruction. Speeds are limited. It’s very tight, down to only one lane. You find the entendre there, dear reader. The only thing that could stop us was a force of incomparable magnetism, a place we had to stop and regroup, take stock, and breathe in. We stayed in Beaver, Utah for the better part of an hour, Hildy munching on kibble, the humans enjoying the first jerky of their trip, and shooting the shit with another couple driving cross-country.
Our first night on the road is at a motel in a small Utah town about halfway to Denver, tomorrow’s major stop. It might been the fact that Grace is The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, or my jaunty Mickey Mouse neckerchief, doing my best Bogdanovich, but we are surprised at how nice everyone is. Folks seem genuinely good, even before they meet our Muppet dog. The road, even down to those famous two-lanes, is welcoming, and we’re relatively on schedule. Tomorrow’s the first day we’re truly on our own, out in the wild of the country, too far to turn back and too far to see the end. It’s also the day we hit a hot-dog-shaped diner.
Via con dios,
Grace and Noah