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Las Vegas, Nevada

January 30, 2007

Out of the mountains of Colorado, into Utah, a sliver of Arizona, and onto Nevada. Tara and I escaped the snow covered ground for the debauchery of Vegas. We hit the road before sunrise because our room in the Ramada Inn stunk of stale cigarette smoke. I woke up in the morning and coughed out something I hadn’t seen since I quit smoking three years earlier. We would have changed rooms, but Ashby was so tapped out, as were we, we didn’t bother. Also, we figured the next non-smoking room was likely going to be as smokey.

We watched the sun break the over the Rockies as we neared Grand Junction. The scenery was stunning. An hour or so into Utah we came across some of the most amazing mountains you’ll ever see, they looked as if the wind had blown them on their side. We stopped at a viewing area to take some photos. Turns out at this viewing area I was standing atop rocks from the Permian extinction that have been thrust upward and exposed. I was standing on rocks were from about 250 Million years ago when the greatest global extinction known to man occurred. It’s beleived that volcanic eruptions in Siberia 251 million years ago began a series of of events that lead to high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and atmosphere and precipitating the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history. During this extinction 95 percent of all species on Earth became extinct, compared to only 75 percent of all species in the next major extinction, which is theorized to be when a large asteroid caused the dinosaurs to disappear. When you read up on the Permian extinction it’s a little terrifying. It all with a little global warming. It was all downhill after that. Sound familiar?

After Utah on highway 15 we passed through a small piece of Arizona, about 20 to 30 miles. This was some of the most spectacular scenery of the entire trip. White River Canyon in Colorado was amazing, but this too was brilliant. The section is the Virgin River Gorge. I found this page that describes the highway segment by segment in great detail, very cool. After the gorge you roll out into the desert of Nevada. We were in Las Vegas before 5 PM.

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After initially booking a place at the MGM Grand I realized there was no way I could easily slip the cats past the door men. None of the hotels on the strip take cats so we ended up at a La Quinta about a half mile off the strip. After getting the car unloaded for the night we headed for the nearest buffet. Unfortunately it happened to be Excalibur, which sucked. While Tara was with Ashby I played the 3 dollars I promised our renter in a slot machine. He lost. Then I dropped 20 bucks into another machine on my way to catch up with Tara and Ashby. About three minutes later I walked away with $47.75. I broke Las Vegas!! WoooOOOOooo!

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