We just recently returned from our cross-country trip to Kentucky. If there is any one word to describe the entire traveling experience, it would be: exhawesome.
We were exhausted, but you were awesome. Therefore, awesome gets the bulk of the word I just made up because that defines most of the trip. It was incredibly awesome seeing family, and you were incredibly awesome not melting down at any point during the trip, but this does not take away the fact that traveling with an infant is very, very difficult. It’s like playing the Halo on Legendary while only using pistols.
As previously mentioned, before flying to Kentucky we first had to drive to Las Vegas. At 3 and a half hours, this is a Sunday drive for people on the west coast. So we loaded up approximately half the known universe in our Honda Fit (seriously, did the engineers put Hermione’s Undetectable Extension Charm on these vehicles?) and took off across the desert.
You watched the desert scenery out the back window but since you don’t remember this I’ll describe a few highlights. Shortly after the 210 hits up with the 15, we started climbing to the city of Victorville. Along the way, we passed a freight train going the same way. Every time I have been on this road, I have seen a freight train slowly plodding up the hill. I think it just keeps going up and down the hill for decoration. For some strange reason, I always look forward to seeing if the train is going to be there. Spoiler Alert: It is.
There’s also the town of Primm (where I once lost my iphone on a roller coaster), the abandoned waterpark with graffiti tattooed all over it, and the giant field of solar panels that may or may not have been the headquarters of S.H.I.E.L.D.
You slept through almost all of this, champ. All except the last hour and a half. To most people, this is no big deal. The same rules do not apply to parents. A road trip is not just a car ride. It’s a prizefight. Each round lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes, and you win if you can keep your kid from crying at the end of those three minutes.
Your mother was a champ. She kept winning those rounds for an hour and a half. Buying three minutes with the well-timed introduction of a new toy. Five minutes by attaching red ribbons to the roof. Six minutes by singing “Slippery Fish” over and over again. You didn’t cry once, Blue. Champion.
And at the end of the prizefight, we finally reached our destination: Las Vegas. To call Vegas something like “Disneyland for Adults” is crap. Disneyland is a theme park wedged into a couple acres of land in Anaheim. It’s awesome, but relatively small. Your great grandpa’s farm is bigger.
Las Vegas is not just Disneyland for Adults. It’s the Disneyland of Disneyland for Adults. Las Vegas is a city, an entire CITY, built to be a theme park. In most cities, tourism is a side effect of the industry it built. In Vegas, tourism is the industry.
Because it embodies this spirit, the city is bright, luxurious, alluring, crass, tacky and altogether American. Case in point. Some two hundred years ago, we gave the French a really cool present. The Eifel Tower. It’s a beautiful, iconic spire that defines a city. And not just any city. We’re talking Paris, France, Blue. The city of Love! Then, two centuries later, entrepreneurs built a copy in the desert of Nevada, just down the street from a pirate ship and a Planet Hollywood.
You saw it. Briefly. We stepped out from the Bellagio for a moment but the cold winter air drove us back inside. Which was fine. We spent the next half hour taking pictures of you in front of polar bears made of flowers and walk-through snow globes along with a thousand other people. In the density of that packed lobby of the Bellagio, there were so many photobombs going off the total payload could flatten the city.
And then you pooped your pants. And we went back to the hotel room. And we got hungry, so I went out to get chipotle while you and your mother got ready for bed. And I stayed up watching a television show featuring a guy named Tickle telling me how to make moonshine.
And that was our first trip to Vegas as parents.