I really like being on airplane. That shouldn’t be too surprising, of course, but I recently managed to surprise myself just a bit when it comes to options for getting between cities: I chose to NOT fly. Back in September I had a two week stint with three different conferences, all travel-related and all in the western US. Rather than flying back and forth in between I chose to stay out that way for the duration. And, as part of that, I had to get from Anaheim to Las Vegas.
My answer to that was actually an easy one. Southwest flies from Orange County to Vegas several times a day and the flights were cheap enough that it all worked well in my budget. I even went so far as to buy the ticket. And then that plan blew up in a great way.
A friend of mine was also going to be making the trip from Anaheim to Vegas between the same two conferences. He was going to make the drive through the desert and was looking for company. It took me all of half a heartbeat to change my plans. I don’t know why, but I really wanted to make the drive. And time with a friend is hard to pass up.
The first 90 minutes or so is mostly urban and suburban sprawl hell. Eventually that gives way to Barstow, famous mostly for being the last bit of civilization before the desert takes over. We stopped for a quick lunch and then it was into the nothingness of the desert.
It was vast, wide open and hot. It was also beautiful.
There were long stretches where the road seemed like it would never end. Just a straight shot as far as the eye could see. We saw dust clouds stir up over the flats and passed by a massive solar power plant not far from the California/Nevada border.
And then we were in Vegas. The drive was not necessarily short, but it went quickly enough. With travel time to/from the airports it probably wasn’t all that much different than the flight I had originally planned. And I got a new experience out of it.