Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Road Trip, Part I

I made my tearful farewells on Friday morning, then picked up RateVegas.Com's Hunter Hillegas at McCarran for the first leg of my road trip to Ann Arbor. We drove north from Vegas on U.S. 93 through Pioche, Ely and Jackpot, Nev., where we spent the first night.

Here's something funny that happened:

I had been to Ely a couple weeks ago on my Eureka sojourn and have had a separate slideshow ready to go from that whenever The Daily runs my Eureka-gold piece. Thus, I'll hold off on those shots, and the shots in the slideshow below are only from this trip. Hunter's got a bunch, too, but he hasn't posted them yet. I'll link when he does.

I had routed us to Panaca for lunch because... I'm not sure why, actually. I'd heard of it and included it in my Vegas Bucket List column. Turns out, there's truly nothing there. Pioche, on the other hand, was utterly lovely and quaint and we stopped for gas and lunch there. There are shots of that in my slideshow.

After lunch and Ely, we drove to Jackpot, a border town on the northern edge of Nevada intended to lure gambling dollars from Twin Falls, Idaho folk. But this place surprised both Hunter and me as being far more built-up and legit than we expected. Cactus Pete's, owned by the same folks as the Stratosphere, was a real place with a decent all-night cafe (on weekends) and a busy casino floor. Our hotel, the West Star Hotel "Casino", by contrast, was just sad. I'll update my slideshow with Hunter's shots later in the day.

Then it was on to Sun Valley, Idaho, where we attended a massive party hosted by Elaine Wynn for four Sun Valley friends who turn 90 this year. They included Vegas financier legend E. Parry Thomas, California real estate mogul Harry Rinker, California accounting giant Ken Leventhal and Chicago industrial park developer Marshall Bennett. I'm working on at least one significant feature on Elaine Wynn, so I really wanted to attend this for the color I needed to place Elaine at the center of Sun Valley high society.

The pictures reflect the party. Vegas bigwigs in attendance included Irwin Molasky, the Thomas and Mack clans and Janie Greenspun Gale. Also, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter gave a toast.

Here's a whole slideshow from Flickr:

Today I take Hunter to Salt Lake City, from whence he flies back to Vegas to check out the new Plaza before heading home to California. I'll have a day on my own through the Rocky Mountains, then I'll pick up Amy in Denver for the rest of the drive. We'll hit three or four state capitols I've not seen, including Jefferson City, Springfield and Indianapolis. If we have the energy, we may carry on to Columbus, too, before heading north to Ann Arbor.

Miles decided he wanted to drive on his own for some post-Vegas catharsis, so he has Aces as his co-pilot and I have Black & Jack.

Gotta go! More later. Also, check out Hunter's stuff on Twitter.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the pictures Steve.
Safe travels, you will be missed.

LinFromNJ said...

love the photos. there's noting like a long road sorry I can't take them any more.