The Road to Beverly Hills

On I-70 and I-15 between Dillon, Colo., and Las Vegas. Thursday, Oct. 7, 1999

Brutal day. We have to drive 14½ hours today to stay on schedule, so I am being forced to write this dispatch from the car. Bob is in a pissy mood. I think I know why.

A few words in my defense. Re shopping: Let the record show that I bought nothing at the outlet malls, while Mr. Why-Are-We-Stopping-Here became slightly unhinged in the Le Creuset emporium, acquiring several heavy cast-iron pots, which now burden our already over-burdened car (see below).

Re the East-European “flasher”:

His penis really did appear to just accidentally fall out of his pants. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Re the handsome 7-11 clerk:

Bob is on to something there.

Back to the drive: It’s snowing in the Rockies today, and the roads are slippery. Our car is laboring under the load of all my worldly possessions and can’t go very fast, even under favorable weather conditions. In fact, every car on the Interstate seems to be making better time than we are, even the pickup trucks towing large objects. Right now, we’re being passed by a house (or half a house anyway, being carted to a foundation waiting somewhere), and a large tree is gaining on us.

It doesn’t bother me though. Colorado is so beautiful, I could stay here forever. I can’t believe Gary Hart, as senator from this very state, was willing, at one point, to grind up the Rockies into shale oil. Now, there was a case where sexual misbehavior was an accurate indicator of poor overall judgement. Bob thinks Gary Hart must be the most bitter man in North America because his peccadilloes pale by comparison with Clinton’s and yet Hart was driven from public life for them. But right now the most bitter man in North America could well be Bob. He’s barely talking to me.

Six hours later:

We’re halfway through Utah. Bob’s mood has improved. He sees a sign that says “Chain-Up Area Next Exit” and finds it hilariously suggestive.

I’ve had a recurring dream since I was a child. I’m in a strange, barren, surreal setting and there are lots of snakes. Utah looks like my dream come true. There are lots of enormous rocks, anyway, which in my experience tends to mean lots of enormous snakes. I’m afraid to step out of the car. Also the rocks are not quite as red as Bob claimed they would be. And we haven’t seen a single human being since we entered the state hours ago. How could the Mormons have practiced polygamy? It seems like it would be hard to find even one wife around here, let alone several.

Total trip skunk count: Four (surprisingly low).

Seven and a half hours later:

We arrive in Las Vegas, which is extremely impressive for about 17 minutes. We visit Caesar’s Palace and discover that the fabled Noshorium (which Bob has been talking up for the last day) is no more. We visit the much-hyped Bellagio too late to actually see its collection of modern art, or its supposedly sensational water show “O.” The hotel itself, however, is almost unremittingly awful. Not just tacky, but uninteresting tacky. Why doesn’t somebody like casino mogul Steve Wynn spend the same amount of money getting a good modern architect to design a hotel that would be truly visually stunning and dispense with the imitation Renaissance clichés?

I’m feeling sort of down. I’m going to get Bob to take me out tonight.