Thursday, July 13, 2006

Still around town

Thursday, and we’re back on the road tomorrow to Fresno for a wedding. I kind of like Fresno, when in the Navy I was stationed at Lemoore Naval Air Station in the central valley, and Fresno was the nearest ‘big’ town. I always said that it was a nice central location; halfway between LA and San Francisco, halfway between the ocean and the mountains. In other words, nothing there and in the middle of nowhere. Kind of how I picture Kansas (sorry Kansas), halfway between Mexico and Canada, halfway between the Atlantic and the Pacific, a good central location.

Back to Vegas – we are not really in the middle of anything here, other than nowhere. But there are things to do in Vegas, and other places are within a reasonable drive. For people living out on the west coast of the US, and I still consider Vegas to be the west coast even if it isn’t California, a reasonable drive probably is a lot different than what other parts of the country consider reasonable. Reasonable to us means we can get there if we leave in the morning when the sun is shining and get to our destination before the sun sets. This is why LA and San Diego and Fresno are reasonable drives. It might involve four or five or six hours in the car, but we drive while the sun is shining. The air conditioner is on, the radio blaring, and fast food and rest stops are conveniently spaced. Most people driving from/to LA hit Barstow for a gas/rest stop. The roads are fairly straight, no cross traffic or lights, and everyone else is moving along fairly well. If you pick the right day there is very little traffic or slowdowns.

Some shots from my drive home from work today. For people that drove to Vegas from LA before I-15 was built the road into town was the Strip. Past the end of the airport, right past the Welcome to Vegas sign, the first hotel/casino you saw was the Klondike. Other hotels along the same area include the famous Glass Pool In and Casa Malaga. The Klondike is rather old now, all the other places have already been torn down. Being at the far south end of the strip it is kind of alone. It is also at the end of the airport runways, where there are height limitations on buildings. On the east side of the property they are limited to just two stories.

The property has sold, and will shortly become another empty lot. It’s fenced off and just waiting. The new owner has not announced plans, but the same company owns the empty lots just to the north of this one. The local paper had stories about the Klondike, which was built and run by one man. Back in the 60’s there was a little battle between the city and the county about the Welcome to Vegas sign and power was turned off to the sign. Since the Klondike is right across from the sign the owner ran a power cord from his place to the sign and kept it lit until the discussions over who would pay the electric bill were settled.

Heading down the Strip just past the Klondike is the Little Church of the West wedding chapel, and the empty lots where those other motels used to be.

The Glass Pool Inn was famous in itself. An LA Times story from 2002 talked about it, a local web site with lots of pictures of old Vegas motels has a page on the Glass Pool story. And you can also still see it at 360 Glass Pool.

In the distance on the above shot is a billboard that usually has ads for the Bally show. It alternates between this one, the front view of a topless showgirl with one arm held over an appropriate place, and the current one (it was changed yesterday) of a rear view, the same shot as on the big Ballys sign displayed before.

Almost across from this section is a billboard for a local Spanish radio station. I am assuming that the listeners of this station are mostly older, as I don’t really see the kids anxiously awaiting music from the people portrayed on this sign.

The lady in the upper left corner does not seem to fit my image of a pop star. And that big hat at the bottom?

Driving home over 15 and then down Arville I drive through an industrial area. One of the lots there is used to store parts from those big cranes used all over town.

Put together, a crane tall enough to build a fifty story building can be made. There are lots of projects around town going this high right now. The frame sections can be quite colorful, with large pieces in red, orange, blue and yellow.

OK, for Virginia Gal let’s also include and E pic. Here she is enjoying her mac and cheese. She is a real cheese fan.

You can also see Max in the lower corner, waiting for something good to drop. E hasn’t yet learned to drop things for the dogs on purpose, but she does have a tendency to miss her mouth at times, so at lunch time the guys do hang around down below. B doesn't bother with a bowl, E takes stuff from the tray just fine. And she is learning to use the fork and spoon instead of just fingers.

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