With a Little Help From My Friends

susan and I

The absolute biggest blessing in my life is all the many wonderful people that I love and I call friend. Life has it’s ups and downs, good days and bad days, but through it all there has been one constant. The joy, memories and love that come from surrounding yourself with like-minded souls. This weekend I had a chance to take a little road trip and visit with two special women. The first has been my friend going on forty-one years! The second lovely lady is someone that I met through mutual friends and though yesterday was the first day to actually meet face to face, it feels like we’ve known each other forever.

I arrived in the outskirts of Nashville late on Saturday afternoon and after hugs, stowing my suitcase and more hugs, Susan and I decided to make the short drive down to Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of the Jack Daniel’s distillery, and though neither one of us care for whiskey, it was a gorgeous spring day and worth the drive alone. Spring is slowly making it’s way into Tennessee and though a lot of the trees were still bare, the grass is beginning to turn into that awesomely bright green shade and the pear and apple trees are in full bloom with lucious white blossoms. The drive down wasn’t long, but it was beautiful and made me appreciate the wonder of the first of spring.

We arrived and were assigned a tour group and had just a few minutes to wait. The majority of the tour of Jack’s famous whiskey is walking and we really couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. Making whiskey is a fascinating process and to hear the history of who Jack Daniel was and how this place has changed over the years was interesting. We learned how they make their own filtration charcoal and the processes involved. Along the tour, we stopped at Cave Springs which is why Jack Daniel’s whiskey tastes like it does. They use Tennessee spring water that is naturally filtered through lime-stone and has the unusual attribute of containing many minerals, but none of them, iron. Iron would change the taste of the whiskey. How fortuitous that Jack intuited this all those many years ago!

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Before walking into the fermentation and distillery areas, we saw where the spring from the cave comes out and meanders down to the buildings where it will be used to make all the spirits that Jack Daniel’s currently makes including the famous Old No.7 whiskey. Along this peaceful, babbling brook, we saw ducks and then the tour guide explained that these are Peabody Ducks. Now, for any of you that have read my blogs, you will know that the Peabody ducks are quite famous here in Memphis and they live at our most famous hotel, The Peabody. Everyday they march from the roof top down to the lobby where they play and frolic in the fountain there. Well, turns out, when the ducks have gotten older and are ready to retire from their jobs, they are taken out to the beautiful Middle Tennessee countryside and live out the rest of their lives at the Jack Daniel’s distillery.

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We continued into the buildings and saw the fermentation process and smelled the smells of yeast, barley and moon shine. We finally made our way to the room where they filter the liquid through the charcoal and our tour guide lifted the huge oak lid just long enough to get a whiff and it did indeed finally smell like liquor. And, that’s an understatement. The smell was so strong that it made your eyes water and I swear I might have gotten a little buzz had I inhaled anymore of the alcohol vapors. All in all, it was a fascinating tour and one I’m glad that I got to do with my oldest best friend. Susan and I have literally made a life-time of memories together and I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world.

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This was a very short road trip and after a nice dinner, we curled up with Susan’s dogs and ended the day next to each other. How blessed I’ve been to have this woman in my life for almost all of my life. It’s a once in a life-time kind of friendship and we are each better for having had the love and companionship and laughter along the way. I left the next morning with promises of lots of phone dates and hopefully getting to see each other either in Branson or Las Vegas. Or both.

I headed out a little before noon on Sunday and made my way to the other side of Nashville and out into the gently rolling hills and countryside. I found the correct exit on the Interstate and drove for about ten minutes until I came to the small, quaint town that my friend, Rebecca lives in. I managed to get myself a little lost, but hey, this is Tennessee and the towns aren’t that big! It gave me a chance to drive around a little before finally meeting up with my courageous, funny friend. As I mentioned earlier, we had never actually met face to face, but through mutual friends on Facebook. Rebecca, myself and two other ladies have formed a very strong bond in the past couple of years. We are all writers and we share a love and fascination for the words. We also have formed a writing sisterhood that is a story in itself that I’m sure will be written one day.

Rebecca was everything I expected and more. She’s strong, she’s smart and she’s also quite the beauty. She looks younger in person and she has this inner glow about her that says that something very special lies below that quiet exterior. She presented me with three gorgeous sets of earrings that she had made for me, and not only will you see me wearing them, they will forever be some of my most cherished possesions. She’s not only a brilliant writer, but she’s also a fabulous artist and to know that she hand crafted these pieces just for me truly is priceless.

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Rebecca and I talked and had coffee and then talked some more. We are in similar positions in our personal lives and had a lot of experiences in common that we shared with each other. We went to a park and tried to brave the chilly spring breeze, but finally just sat in my car and talked some more. It was just like when I finally met one of the other members of our unique quartet in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, this was destiny. Rebecca is part of my soul family, and indeed, part of my heart. I so admire, respect and love this woman whom I’ve been so blessed to finally meet in person. This is what life is really about, folks. Friendships, love, laughter and giving yourself the freedom and permission to fully embrace and appreciate every single second.

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The only negative about the entire weekend was that it was entirely too short. Not enough time with Susan and definitely not enough time with Rebecca, but this morning I still count myself as one of the luckiest people alive. Thanks, girls, for the sweet memories.

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Three Days in Las Vegas

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There are some memories that we make in life, that will always stay with us. They live in our hearts and our souls and serve as reminders of what life is really about. I recently had the chance to do a cross-country drive with my best friend and since our final destination was Las Vegas, I also got to enjoy a little mini-vacation. The best part of the trip was not the casinos and the neon lights. The best part wasn’t the glitz and glamour that Las Vegas offers. The absolute best part was the memories made with my best friend and getting to meet a sister of the soul for the first time. If I live to be one-hundred, I will always look back at my adventure in the late winter of 2015. The snap shots that I have in my head are better than any my camera could take, and the feelings born in my soul will last for all eternity.

The bestie and I started out on Saturday by getting the car unhooked from the back of the moving truck. Oh, his poor car! It was covered in road grime including the sand and the salt from the snowy parts we had to drive through. It looked like someone had taken my friend’s car and drug it through the desert and some mud and then decided to douse it with sand and whitewash paint. Before we had a chance to wash it, a little girl commented that it was the dirtiest car she had ever seen! We laughed because there were no more snowstorms to drive thru and we were finally in Las Vegas.

After our chores and a quick bite to eat, we headed out and drove down the famous Strip. No matter how many times, I’ve seen it, it’s still over the top impressive and for someone like the bestie who had never seen it before, it really does look something like the 8th wonder of the world. As you head north on the Strip and you pass the Wynn and Encore, you get to the older part where the Stardust used to stand and I was relieved to see that they did not tear the Sahara down when they closed the doors, but are doing some major construction to build a new fancy casino. Imagine that! There’s very little left of the old Las Vegas that the mafia helped build and ran back in the day. Casinos like The Sands and The Sahara and The Stardust are gone. I’ve seen old pictures from the 40s and 50s and would have loved to be able to see this town as it was originally.

We eventually found ourselves looking for a parking garage near Fremont Street which is the only old part of Las Vegas that’s still around. Even the parking garage was dirty and grimey and the elevator groaned as it took us down to street level. We walked a short block and then turned the corner and the bestie got his first look at Fremont Street. The first thing we saw that made us stop in our tracks, was a lady about sixty years of age, if I had to guess. She was only wearing a pair of brief shorts and nothing else. Her nipples were covered but nothing else was. She wasn’t the only mostly naked person we saw that day, but she was our first and you didn’t know whether to stare or to look away in embarrassment for her. We’re not talking Vegas show-girl and in fact, had it been anywhere other than Las Vegas, I think I would have run as quickly as possible in the opposite direction. I turned to the bestie and said, “Welcome to Las Vegas!”

fremont st lady

I was too embarrassed to take a picture of the older lady with no clothes on, but thanks to Google, I did find a very similar image for you. At least the one I posted is young and somewhat attractive. But, to give the older woman we saw a little credit, she’s putting herself out there just to pay the rent or put food in her stomach. A little sad to be sure, but that’s Las Vegas. We strolled down Fremont Street and stood in amazement as people on zip lines zoomed over our heads. We wandered into a couple of the old casinos and even tried a few slot machines. In the evening on Fremont Street, the crazy, drunk people come out to party and there is live music in the streets. On that Saturday afternoon, the stages were just getting their equipment set up and we were blasted with canned music so loud that you could feel the bass thumps in your chest. Cheap Trick was playing that night and had we had more days, we probably would have ended up staying up half the night, going deaf and dancing to a band from our high-school days. But, time was definitely limited so we left Fremont Street and headed to the more popular tourist destinations.

We parked at The Mirage and tried to see as much as possible in our short allotted time. We toured the Venetian and Palazzo complex and marveled at the grandeur and the enormity of this huge casino. The Venetian has an indoor mall and it’s unlike any mall you’ve ever been to in your cities and towns. This mall is classic Venetian and it’s all high-end stores and artwork on the ceilings. There’s even a river that has gondolas guided by singing gondoliers and the ceilings are painted to look like the sky. There is nothing else like it in the world and I think Bestie and I would have gladly spent an entire day just looking at everything there was to see. We promised each other that in our future lives, that we would shop in the brand name shops and buy each other extravagant presents.

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ceiling at venetian

gondola at venetian

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We tried to find our way back out onto the Strip and was unable to do so without a little assistance to point us in the right direction. Once there we marvelled at the casinos, shops and restaurants on the east side of the Strip before we crossed over the busy boulevard and found ourselves in front of Caesar’s Palace. What a grand, grand place. The statuary and the architecture is something out of Roman times and you could almost believe that Casear himself might be lounging in one of the opulent suites. I’ve never been able to afford to stay at a place like Caesar’s but I’ve been told that it’s first class all the way and that it’s not just a hotel, but an actual destination. I can only imagine.

caesars statues

caesars

caesars palace

From Caesar’s, we crossed over Flamingo St. using the pedestrian crossing and found ourselves in another beautiful casino, The Bellagio. We made our way across the enormous gaming floor and once again had to ask for directions that would lead us out to the front of the hotel, where they have an impressive water show. The gardens were beautiful and the view of the Eiffel tower and the rest of the Strip was simply amazing. The fountains soon shot high into the air and though we were a little disappointed in the music that accompanied the show, we could feel the mist from the water and the sun was just beginning to set in the west which lent itself to the magic of the evening.

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bellagio fountains

Our final stop on the Strip that night was to watch the Volcano show in front of The Mirage, and it was the perfect way to end the night. We stood at the railing and only had to wait a few minutes until the beat of the native drums began and we were in for a treat. There was fire and a volcano and fire in the water. The lava shot up into the air and the music came to a heart thumping crescendo as the volacano finally erupted. You could feel not just the mist from the water, but you could feel the intense heat from the fire and with the first stars appearing above our heads and the neon lights shining in our eyes, we were transported for just a few mintues to a magical world so unlike the one in which we live.

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The Mirage Volcano-5

We had chores to do again on Sunday morning because, afterall, this just wasn’t a quick vacation to Las Vegas, this was a cross country move for my friend and we had things like unloading a moving truck and getting a storage unit to accomplish. We got a fairly early start and once the “work” was done, I decided to show Bestie where I used to live and work in North Las Vegas. We took Interstate 15 out to the Craig Road exit and within a couple of minutes, we were driving by my old storage place where I lived and worked for a couple of years. When we left that place back in 2012, I honestly never expected to see it again and for those of you that know me, you know it’s no big shocker that I got a little emotional. Not much had changed and in a way, that was a good thing for me to see. We also had the chance to stop in my favorite local’s casino for a couple of hours of slot machine fun before we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our evening out on the town.

I play this game on Facebook that gives me comps to Vegas shows and restaurants and I was pretty happy to have used those comps to get us tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show, Ka, at the MGM Grand. We assumed that because they were comped tickets that I had gotten from a stupid little game on Facebook, that they would be up in the nose bleed section or somewhere behind the stage, but they were top of the line tickets that cost a small fortune had we been paying for them. They were close to dead center of the astounding and impressive theater and we couldn’t have asked for better seats. I have to tell you that when you’re standing in line for the show, and you see the doors that lead to the theater, it looks like any other theater. You don’t have a clue of the magnitude and majesty of the stage and theater until you walk through those doors. The sight made me catch my breath and I felt like I was living in a Blade Runner movie or maybe a scene straight out of Mad Max.

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ka two

We were entertained with acrobatic maneuvers from members of the cast that included flying over our heads and leaping up the columned balconies. Once the lights did finally dim and the curtain came up, I’m not sure that I breathed again for the next ninety minutes or so. I have never seen anything like Ka and I was mesmerized with every facet of the production. The music was stirring, the storyline was touching and the feats of acrobatic and aerial stunts left me with tears in my eyes and my heart racing fast. The performers literally put their lives on the line with every show as they performed impossible sequences of battle all while climbing on a vertical wall. In the end, good prevails and the two Imperial twins are brought back together to save their kingdom and live happily ever after. I love a happy ending.

Ka dragon

Monday was my bestie’s first day at his new job and I was left at the hotel to sleep in a little and get some laundry done. I was also left in the hopes that I would finally get to meet a sister of the heart that I’ve known all my life, but had never actually met her in person. Years ago, when I was just a wee little thing, a teacher came into my life that forever changed who I was, who I would become and who I am all these many years later. His name is John Dillis and he was the first man I ever idolized and admired and respected. He was also the first person to believe in me and to encourage me to get out the words. He’s one of the reasons, I’m a writer and he’s one of the reasons that a scared little girl managed to fight her way through life no matter the obstacles. Through the technology of Facebook, we reconnected four or five years ago and I immediately started noticing comments and posts on his timeline from another former student named, Tanya.

Tanya was behind me in school by seven years and so we never had a chance to know each other, but through John Dillis’ suggestion that we become friends, I discovered a fellow human whose heart beats to the same vibration as mine. Sisters of the heart and soul, we finally had a chance to come face to face and to talk and laugh the rest of the day away. I’ve been so blessed and fortunate to have friends that surround me and make life more precious, but this is one of those really special relationships that is hard to describe. We both come from the same little town in the Central Valley of California. We both had terribly hard childhoods with difficult and derranged relatives that were the people we were supposed to be able to count on. We both have a vivid imagination and are in love with the words and we both were sent an angel in the form of a mentor, our teacher, John Dillis.

Tanya and I shared our stories and the similarities were almost eerie at times. We laughed about the past and rejoiced in the women that we’ve become. There are things in life that are just meant to be and it’s really as simple as that. You can call it fate, destiny, spirituality or para-normal, but when you find a soul that so meshes with your own, there aren’t many words to describe it except maybe, magical. I loved every minute of the afternoon and evening that Tanya and I spent in each other’s company. We made a silly video and sent it to our favorite teacher and then the bestie took some goofy pictures of the two of us together. That afternoon in Las Vegas felt like a coming home and I swear while I was listening to Tanya talk about her life, something clicked into place and a piece of the puzzle of my life suddenly snapped into place. The moment made me understand that we’ve walked at least a few dozen lifetimes together. As sisters, as friends, as soul-mates. Yes, it was a goose-bump kind of moment. The evening ended after the three of us went out to dinner and arrived back at the bestie’s hotel. At dinner, this wonderful woman that I’ve shared lifetimes and memories with, gave me a card with a magical key inside. She helped unlock a space within me that has had me locked out for all of my life and now that the door has been flung wide, the me I’ve always known was there can step up and finally spread those wings and soar to the stratosphere.

me and Tanya

You know they say that what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas. But, they couldn’t be more wrong. I spent three days in Las Vegas and took away the biggest jackpot that they could have ever offered. It wasn’t in gold, silver or dollars; it was in life changing currency. The woman that boarded that plane early on Tuesday morning, was not the same woman that crawled up into the Penske truck that Wednesday morning less than a week before. The woman that returned to Memphis has new memories and new places that are filled to overflowing within her heart. My bestie and I are closer than ever and while I miss him terribly, he’s at the start of his own adventure and once again I’m so very thankful for the age in which we live and the technology that makes the distance seem not so great. My friend Tanya and I have grown to love each other through that same technology, but we finally got to experience “us” in person. I’ve been blessed for years by just knowing her, but now I can hear Tanya speak when she writes. I know that she pronounces her ending g’s in such a way, that were I to go blind and senile in my later years, to hear her say, loving, or thinking, or wanting, or living or any other word that ends with that sound, I will know instantly that she’s my Tanya.

What I want to tell my grandchildren someday is that I was so blessed to be able to take a little road trip to Vegas one year and I made memories like no others. I will never look at a cow without remembering mine and the bestie’s trip across the country. I will never look at the lights and beauty of Las Vegas without remembering showing it to the bestie for the first time. I will never think about destiny and synchronicity without thinking about my dear soul sister and how we finally came face to face on an early March day at a dirty hotel room. Now, that sounds like a great plot to me!

Thanks for coming along for the ride and while I know you can’t begin to understand the depth and emotions involved with this trip, I urge you to get out of your comfort zones and go live life. Make sure that you are making memories to last forever.

Road Trip to Las Vegas

I had decided many months ago that spring of 2015 would be the time for some big changes in my life. Little did I know when planning my move last fall that my best friend would get a job offer and make a move ahead of me. Of course, I’m happy for this man that I’ve come to love so much. Who wouldn’t be? He had the opportunity to move to Las Vegas and while I hated to see him leave me in Memphis, I understood that life does not stand still and that there was no way he could pass by this chance to start fresh in his own life. My devious, little mind decided to prolong the having to say good-bye part and volunteered to do the long road trip to Las Vegas, sitting beside him in the bright yellow Penske truck while towing his car behind us. It meant another week before we had to say good-bye and even though I had come down with the flu only days before we left, I wouldn’t have missed this road trip for anything in the world.

We pulled out of Memphis at around 8:00am on Wednesday morning and crossed out of Tennessee with the early morning sun at our backs and the wild west in front of us. It started raining not longer after we drove into Arkansas and we had a steady but light rain for our drive across The Natural State. Arkansas is at the very southern end of the Ozark mountains and our terrain was a gentle up and down through green, rolling hills. The interstate bypasses Little Rock, so there were really no cities to see or to travel through, just miles upon miles of evergreen trees and the bare branches of all the other trees as we were still entrenched in winter in the Mid-South. Our drive was peaceful and uneventful and filled with quiet conversation.

Arkansas gave way to Oklahoma after we passed by Fort Smith and Russelville and we left behind towns with names like Toad Suck and Pickles Gap. Within a mile of crossing into Oklahoma, the rain gave way to sleet and freezing rain and another thirty miles or so, the rain changed over to big fat snow flakes with a strong wind blowing them every which way. We stopped and got gas and discussed how much further we should attempt to drive in the snow and decided that we should push on and try to make it to Oklahoma City before we stopped for the night. The road conditions were good at first, then we would get a driving snow storm and then it would clear for a few miles. We continued on into the early evening before we finally hit another batch of wind blown snow and decided that we needed to look for a place to pull off for the night before the road got really bad. Thank goodness for billboards and thank goodness we found a really nice place called, The Grand Hotel to finally stop at and take refuge from the late winter storm.

After pulling off, parking and getting a room, we traveled back down to the truck for suitcases and favorite pillows only to find that the locks were all frozen shut. Even the one on the back of the Penske which was an ordinary padlock. The snow was falling, the temperatures were in the teens and the wind was howling from the north at about 30 miles per hour. If I had been by myself or with anyone else, I would have been spending the night in Shawnee, Oklahoma in the same clothes that I had worn all day, but I was with my bestie who was determined to get into the truck that night. With a tiny Bic lighter and both us trying to shield the flame from the wind with our hands and bodies, he persevered until the locking mechanism finally warmed enough to allow the key to turn in the lock. We were in! And, with that we made our way back into the hotel for some dinner and a little fun. We ended up staying up half the night before finally closing our eyes.

snow in oklahoma

After a nice breakfast which included conversation with a 92 year old, World War II veteran, we loaded our suitcases back into the Penske and headed west on Interstate 40 once again. Earlier that morning, Lee had managed to use de-icer to get into the front of the truck and had sat in the cold, frozen parking lot warming up the truck and getting us ready for another day on the road. The storm had moved east overnight and while it was still cold, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and we made our way mile by mile across the rest of Oklahoma and finally crossed into Texas early in the afternoon. A quick stop at a Denny’s in Amarillo and a quick resecuring of the straps that were holding the car on the tow dolly and we were bound and determined to make it to New Mexico before we called it a day. We stopped and asked a trucker who told us about a town called Saint Rose and while eating our nachos and burger, we tried to find a motel convenient to the interstate in this place the trucker said was full of motels. Lesson learned. Don’t ask a trucker who has such a thick southern accent that you misunderstand the name of the town. We quickly found out that there was no such town, but after a little research by the bestie, we found out that there is a town named, Santa Rosa and we both had to laugh about it.

We pointed the truck west once again and drove across the panhandle of Texas and into New Mexico. There was absolutely nothing to look at except for cows, horses and tumbleweeds. Amidst conversation, my bestie started making mooing sounds or neighing sounds whenever we would spot cows and horses grazing in the endless fields on both sides of the road. There were manly moos for the steers, feminine moos for the cows and the cutest baby moos for the calfs. The horse neighs were also subtle in their differences, but we decided that there were happy horses and not so happy horses and of course Lee made all the appropriate sounds. I finally decided to get in on the game and saw a group of cows that included several young calfs and some tiny, tiny babies. I thought I could make a youthful cow sound and what came out was, baaaaaaaawwwwww! The only sound I could make was the sound of a sheep of which we had yet to see any on the trip. It was hilarious! We laughed until we both were coughing and for the next several hours whenever I would see a baby cow I would make the sound of a sheep. It never did stop being funny. I’m sure that for the rest of my life, whenever I see cows, I will think about our long trek across Texas and New Mexico and the camaraderie and laughter that we shared across the country.

We finally made it to our room in Santa Rosa and got a good night’s sleep before heading out in a fog-shrouded valley early the next morning. New Mexico seemed like miles and miles of nothing until we made the gentle climb up the mountains and descended into Albuquerque. It seemed to take forever to finally reach the bottom of the valley and once we left the city behind, the desert stretched out before us with rock formations, scrub brush and stunted cactus. The drive through New Mexico and Arizona had this exotic quality to it, and at times felt almost extra-terrestrial. As if we were driving across Mars or another planet deep into the solar system. There were little towns here and there that were sad to behold and it was hard to think about what the people who lived there did for jobs or fun and wondered what their lives were like.

new mexico

Arizona looked a lot like New Mexico and the desert streched for miles and miles until the San Francisco Peaks came into view. The highest point of the mountain range is called Humphrey’s Peak and the mountain reaches 12,633 feet into the sky. It is the highest point in Arizona and to just see it suddenly in the distance of the flat horizon was magnificent. This mountain range is what’s left of an eroded stratovolcano. As we drove closer and closer, the view of the peaks brought goose bumps and an appreciation for this stark, barren landscape that holds such a treasure. One entire side of the San Francisco Peaks was snow covered and the snow seemed to cover the mountain from the impossibly high peak to the gentle slope at it’s base where it rises powerfully from the desert floor. Quite a sight.

We encountered snow on the sides of the road before long as we gently wound our way up to Flagstaff. The roads were terrible due to the changing weather condiditons, and the day was becoming long at that point in the drive as well. Our next landmark to look for was Kingman, Arizona and for whatever reason, the drive seemed to go on forever and forever driving over one hill and then down the next. I can honestly say that from Flagstaff to Las Vegas was what seemed like the longest drive of my life and it wasn’t until we finally made it through Kingman and got off the interstate that we had now travelled for three days, that I started to believe that the end of the trip might just be in sight. By this time, the sun had sunk below the horizon and the highway was dark, though busy with tourists all headed the same direction as us. About 40 miles out of the Las Vegas valley, we started to see a glow behind the mountain tops and I declared the bright light in the distance to be Sin City and we both started to get excited.

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The last hour of the drive from Memphis to Las Vegas had it’s own ups and downs including a lot of ups and downs. We had seen signs along the 1600 mile journey for deer, and falling rock and even moose. But on the last highway we saw signs for rams. Big, horned, rams! What are they doing in Arizona? I could finally make the sheep noise that I had perfected by now and with adding just a little bass to my voice, I became the ram. Baaaaaaaaa! Finally got it right. The other thing was that the last few miles in Arizona were the scariest of the whole trip. We were winding our way through rough, rocky gorges and there were wind warnings about what lane high profiled vehicles should be driving in. Combined with the threat of huge horned animals leaping onto the roadway, I have to say I ended up breaking a few fingernails from holding onto to the armrests so tightly. We crossed by Hoover Dam but I couldn’t see anything. We made our way into Nevada and into the little border town of Boulder City. And, it felt like the end was near.

hoover dam

We finally topped the rise that overlooks the Las Vegas valley and it was so enchantingly beautiful that I literally caught my breath and became emotional. There’s no other sight like it in all the world. The entire valley is spread out below and it glitters with a billion gold and silver lights. The air is so dry that the lights are brilliant in a way that is impossible anywhere else on our planet. The lights twinkle and sparkle and shine with magic stardust and quiet moonbeams. It truly is Cibola after a long journey, and I’ll never forget that sight for as long as I live.

las vegas at night

We finally pulled into our motel early on a late winter’s evening, and my best friend was home. He had never seen Las Vegas before, except from the airport and I couldn’t wait to show him around. We had just had an incredible trip that I know neither one of us will ever forget. It was long and stressful and tiring. We were both somewhat sick and the weather was definitely less than ideal. But, it was still some of the best memories that I’ve ever made. I will cherish each and every mile that we travelled and I will never forget the laughter and the love. I wish my friend well in his new city and with his new job. I know that wherever life takes him, he will be successful and happy. I want to thank Lee for including me in his cross-country journey and for allowing me to be a part of his life. Good luck, my friend, and thanks for the road trip of a lifetime.