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242/365 – The Trip-Day 8: Destination California

Up and Adam!  Sort of.  With a twinge of dehydration and a yearning to be in California, Megan and I embark on our last day of travel.  We wake up, pack and head downstairs for the essential Las Vegas staple: the breakfast buffet.  Never really worth the money, you still need to see a giant room where waffles and scrambled eggs rest comfortably next to tacos and hamburgers.  Hey, it’s dinner somewhere in the world.

With breakfast secured in our bellies, we buy a magnet from the MGM store and call security to take us to our truck.  And like that, we’re on the road.  The fun thing driving out of Vegas and into California is all the real world references to Fall Out: New Vegas.  To the uninitiated, Fall OUt: New Vegas is a post apocalyptic video game where nuclear fallout has ravaged the planet.  The creators of the game, Bethesda, took great pains to recreate the world surrounding Las Vegas.

So as we drove down  I-15 towards California, I explained all the cool landmarks that were in the game as we passed them in real life.  My wife is a champ, listening very intently to the ramblings of a fan boy.  There was The Hoover Dam, Goodsprings (where the game begins), Sloan, Nipton, Searchlight . . . and Primm.

A screenshot of Primm in Fall Out: New Vegas.

Good ol’ Primm, Nevada.  I had to stop there and get gas.  Why?  Well, we needed gas, dummy.  That and the fact that in the game, there’s a casino with a roller coaster on top of it.  I wanted to see if that is a real thing . . . guess what . . .

It is.

It really, really is.

This began a very fun last leg of our road trip.  The way to Los Angeles from Las Vegas is paved with road side attractions.  The kind you would expect on a road trtip, but in the midwest, rarely ever see.  Yes, there’;s nothing but uninteresting desert all the way to LA, but the roadside attractions make it worth while.

First stop, Alien Fresh Jerky!  Yeah, Alien Fresh Jerky situated in Baker, CA.  We stoped for gas and saw a sign advertsing teh word’s biggest thermomitor.  Little did we know that the thermomitor was nothing compared to Alien Fresh Jerky.  A store that combines everyone’s favorite 2 things: extra terrestrials and really good, homemade beef jerky.

You thought I was joking . . . well this guy is not into jokes. Just jerky.

They're just like us . . . the big one wants peace while the Mexican one is an illegal alien.

They’re just like us . . . the big one wants peace while the Mexican one is an illegal alien.

Doesn’t that face make you want to buy beef jerky . . . or cry?

Megan Green . . . meet Green Aliens.

I was hoping to seduce some free jerky out of these guys.

Inside Alien Fresh Jerky were racks of nuts, hundreds of rare sodas, trinkets and . . . JERKEY.  Now, if you do stop at Alien Fresh Jerky, get as much of the whiskey jerky as you can.  It may be the most delicious stuff on Earth.   Also, they sell invisible jerky — basically an empty bag for 1.50.

Aliens are communist?

We pull out of Alien Fresh Jerky and head back on the road.  Rolling down the highway we keep seeing billboards for Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner.  Lots of them.  They never say how many miles, but how many minutes.  Which seems relative.  Why not miles?  Must be some 50’s thing.  In anycase, we’re famished and it’s coming up (in 10 minutes).  So, we stop.  And we’re glad we did.

Get in here! No, seriously, it’s the 50’s and there’s a air raid siren so GET IN HERE!

I really hope that the boys from the Military base come here and get in fights with the local greasers.

The place is packed and for good reason.  First – Barstow, CA is the first town after a stretch of nothing for about 70 miles.  So a lot of travelers are probably famished by the time they reach this oasis.  Second, it’s a pretty cool place with hamburgers, shakes, cool 50’s atmosphere and perky 50’s waitresses.  Also, there’s a Diner-Saur park in the back.

Because nothing says 50s like a dinosaur.

And nothing says dinosaur like a gorilla.

This was a great stop.  We get another magnet and prepare for the final leg of the journey — it’s exactly 120 miles to our destination: Studio City in Los Angeles, CA.  We’ve almost made it.  We hit some traffic on the way, but nothing too serious.  Less than we expected as we drive deeper into the city.  Once we reach the apartment we’re subletting, we breath a sigh of relief.  At least for the next couple hours.  A old college friend of mine and her husband have graciously offered their apartment for us to sublet while they are in NYC for the summer.  So we have a home.  Their babysitter was watching the place till we arrived.  She’s great – Ingrid.  She gave us a tour, showed us the ropes and left us to finally sit down and let the last 8 days wash over us . . .

But we also have a tomorrow to load our belongings into a storage unit.  Tonight to get certain things into the apartment for the next two months. And the next few days to buy a car.  The trip feels far from over . . . and least the work does.

But till then, we made it.  Door to door, approximately 2,025 miles in 8 days.  I drove the whole way.  Just want to brag about that a bit.  We’re Californians.  I don’t think that will hit me for a few weeks as I will always consider myself a Chicagoan.  Tonight, these two Chicago ex-pats will rest easy knowing that we made it.

 

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