Las Vegas

Notes from the Road – Las Vegas to Le Roy


I found this mini travel diary amongst some forgotten belongings when I was home last month and hope you all enjoy reading about that exciting trip I took in mid-December, 2005…

5:30PM  Stop near Kingman, AZ for dinner at Wendy’s: Mandarin Orange Salad, rootbeer, frosty; cost $6.76.  The salad has extremely low eatability factor and takes about 10 minutes to assemble.  I spilled salad all over the table when I was trying to mix it.  Oh dear.  I should have ordered something warm – this salad is all cold and crunchy.  It’s just that I’m really into crispy noodles lately.  Misty the cashier-in-training is so freaking slow.

It took me soo long to leave Las Vegas!  After seven months of depression and work, work work I still can’t believe I’m “Leaving Las Vegas“.  I have no idea where anything is in my car.  Mmm, I love frosty’s.  Salads I can live without.  At least…premade Wendy’s salads.  My phone is pretty dead.

After two hours of driving, I’m already starting to fall asleep and get bored!  Hellow!  Thirty-eight hours more to go!  Wake up girlfriend! (Sidenote: so far I’ve listened to The Band, the mixed CD’s Andy from Bouchon gave me for the trip, Mexican tunes and Country).

This salad really sucks.  should have gotten a baked potato and chili or a chicken sandwhich.  There’s enough freaking iceburg here for a whole family of rabbits.  I already feel sick.

I wonder how far I’ll get tonight…I wonder where I’ll be sleeping for the next three days?  Hahahaha!  It’s taking forever to eat this frosty.  It’s giving me a cold headache.  I think I’ll just leave this impure refuse for the rats.  Time to get back on the road.  It’s already pitch black out.  Good thing I’m staying on the same road for the next 1012 miles ! HA!!!

8:00PM  Have made $4, $8 and $9 gas stops so far.

10:00PM I’m stopping every two hours so as to not fall asleep.  Two large pops don’t seem to be doing the trick, so at Love’s in Justin City (?I think…) I pick up some Red Bull and Smart Pop.

12:30PM Stop for gas and another energy drink (worked well last time, though I feel a bit like I’m having a heart attack). “Kick start your heart!” Chef Kipp would say. Still haven’t found my CD’s. Getting kind of tired. Don’t really feel like finding a hotel- may just sleep in the car. Amarillo is the goal for tonight. but may only make it to Albequerque or a little past there…We’ll see.

Saturday, 9AM Freaking Amarillo feels like 8 million miles away 15 hours of driving and two time zones later I arrive and check into The Best Western (a very ghetto one) at 8:45AM. Housekeeping better not wake me up. Who installed the shower at at 5 feet!? Hello!!!
Highlights of the trip so far:
Beef brisket ad in a cow field
Purple Texas sunrise
Did I mention that I got pulled over in New Mexico – apparently there was a 75 mph speed limit.
Where’s my camera?!
7:20PM Stop in Shamrock, TX at McDonald’s – their bathroom sink was in the shape of the state! HA! I find Enya and the Spanish mix CD’s that Ruben (buddy who worked the night shift with me at Bouchon) gave me. Thank God. I’m starting to have a crush on Randy Travis because of his sexy voice and use of words like lonesome and whiporwhill (I’m driving farther than a whiporwhill’s song tonight). On the radio they’re playing Texan Country Christmas music. …there are lots of windmills here… Indianapolis or Saint Louis tonight?

Sunday, 5AM Stopped in Rollo, MO to sleep….there was a weird guy at Wendy’s and a nice guy at the gas station (gas costs $1.57 here). There are so many truckers – fish schools of trucks!! They seem to have a series of light signals and trucker communications. I wish I could be a part of it.

Christmas in America!!

1:45PM Cross the Mississippi River

5:44PM WHERE THE HECK is Indianapolis?!?!!?!? Stop for nap in McDonald’s parking lot.

Truckers – Are you my mother?

2:10AM Monday Snow in Ohio. Decided to push on through to Cleveland. I think I’ll only have to drive for four hours tomorrow.

Drove like a bat out of hell from Colorado to Cleveland until it started to snow – there are no snow plows out. Back down to 50mph, which is a big difference when you’re used to going 80mph. Apparently the windshield wiper fluid they put in my car in Las Vegas didn’t have antifreeze in it. I stop to buy a bottle of water with a sport top and a couple liters of windshield wiper fluid with antifreeze in it. Every so often I roll down the window and squirt some on the front window so I can see again. Hahahaha. This is so ridiculous.

Drag between 7-10pm – took two cat in the hat naps (which basically involves me locking the doors. pulling a big winter hat over my face and sleeping.) The second nap was one hour after the first. Woke up in a different time zone…did I sleep for 1 1/2 hours or 20 minutes?

I feel like my eyes are popping out of my head…bloodshot, barely open.

11:30PM I look and feel like a freaking vampire. Cat naps are the best if taken for 15-20 minutes.
I slide into the Hampton Inn, because it’s really snowing too hard to go on. This hotel costs way more than I expected, but I’m too tired to care much right now. Plan on using towels (there are at least 2000 in my bathroom) to clean the car off tomorrow because I have no idea where my snow brush is. I feel like I’ve been dipped into the Wendy’s Late Night Fryer: burned out, dirty, full of disgusting junk food.

Finally make it to LeRoy..not sure what time it is or what day it is. The thing I do know is that it’s important to have plenty of willpower when you drive cross-country by yourself. The will to go on!! You’ve got to keep the big picture in mind at all times and there’ll be no getting lost. Next time, I’m going to pack each day’s necessities in separate plastic bags so everything is easily accessible.


Kitchen Spanish

Esas son algunas palabras �tiles para cocineros. The Hispanic guys I worked with in Vegas taught me these words, none of which are in any of the Spanish-English dictionaries I own, so I can’t be sure of their accuracy, but I used them on a daily basis and everyone seemed to understand what I was saying. Perhaps they’ll be useful to you as well!

mantecida; mollete- muffin
panquecitos- little pastries
jarabe- syrup
raspada- sorbet
garapi�era- ice cream machine
tapadera- lid, cover
fiebra- scrubbie
charolla- sheetpan
espatula- spatula
chaparito- little one (i.e. short little guy)
orno- oven
cocer- bake
gorra, cachucha- cap/hat
tabla- cutting board
bascula- scale

And We’re Off!

bag.jpgPacking is just the worst. I definitely prefer unpacking. Friend and fellow co-worker Ben and I spent all Thursday loading up Beatrice. And she was loaded, let me tell you.

But let’s back up a little. I was supposed to leave on Wednesday, the 15th, but delayed my trip and went to the company Christmas party instead. Definitely a good move– I mean it’s not every day you get to see Thomas Keller dancing to Funky Cold Medina (lyrics listen ). I even won $50 in movie tickets (which I spread among my friends not fortunate enough to be leaving Sin City). With the free drinks, food, friends, dancing, prizes and whatnot, I do believe a good time was had by all. SO good a time, in fact, that it was necessary to delay departure for a … few days.

Is the World Ending?

mgm.jpgFor the past two days it has been sprinkling non-stop. All roads are flooded (we’re talking FEET of water!). Who was the genius that decided LV roadways don’t need drainage sewers. Hellow?! And this morning as I was coming home from work the sky was bright emerald green. Picture The Wizard of Oz. I was totally freaking out–certain that we were about to be wiped off the face of the earth by a monsoon caliber tornado. Then I realized that it was just the light from the MGM grand reflecting off the water in the clouds that was making everything green. It was still really weird though. And this rain isn’t exactly normal either. What’s going on?

Climb every mountain, fjord every stream

bwpump.jpgI’m celebrating (quietly, at home, alone–lol) tonight! Tomorrow marks the start of consistent shifts for me at Bouchon! Woohooo!!! Graveyard, baby yeah! I’ve been feeling like an upside down pineapple cake lately…starting at 8am one day and 9pm the next…never knowing if I’m coming or going or what’s going on. It’s a good thing everyone else has a handle on what’s happening in my life…

I just got a voicemail from the bakery (the guys at night like to listen to the radio to make things go by a little more quickly. Rock and roll and work with dough. Hahaha. Okay, sorry that was a bad one. Anyways, their favorite show is John Tesh: the radio host who offers intelligent facts about life, things you always wanted to know, tips for improvement…the 411 so your life doesn’t become a 911. Get the picture? He also plays cheesie 80s music for hours on end, so that’s another bonus). Anyways, apparently they’re listening to good old Johnny boy tonight because they called and left me a message that Tesh is sharing tips for first dates, and suggested that I turn on the radio straight away. Ha. Ha. Ha. Very funny boys, very funny! (Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice? It’s dripping like cold lavendar honey).

I know what they mean though; I feel like I’ve been on a million first dates in the past five months! In reality, the actual number is a little bit lower, but the pressure that comes with first dates–Ay, Dios Mio! Is there a more uncomfortable or awkward experience? (Okay, so I can think of a few, but first dates are definitely in the top ten). Even if you purposely work at easing the tension and share every joke you know (Why do cows wear bells? ……Because their horns don’t work!! HAAAAA!)–nothing seems to help. Anyways, at this point in my life I feel like dating is just not worth it! (Though I have had a couple good first dates and I suppose if I really found a kindred spirit I wouldn’t banish him to the end of the earth, but how far from Las Vegas could the end of the earth possibly be? I’m thinking max five miles, so the banishment would be wasted!) I’m sure this is just a temporary phase I’m going through…but until I’ve worked through it, could all you guys out there just leave me alone? Thaaaaaanks!

Perhaps I’m being overly dramatic. But, No. I really don’t think so. You should try being a woman in the restaurant industry for a week. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating that in any other industry, the constant flirtation, inuendo, and sexual commentary bordering on harrassment would not be tolerated. The HR department at Bouchon goes to great lengths to discourage and protect against any sort of harrassment, but a certain amount is built into kitchen culture. I appreciate this fact, was aware of it coming into this profession, and am a lot tougher now because of it. I’m just a little bit sick of being pestered all the time. The workplace is not a singles bar. Hellow.

Seriously, the next culprit is as good as on a plane to Patagonia.

Carrie’s Photo Documentation of Las Vegas

hats.jpgOh Lord. So, you know how Carrie came to visit Las Vegaaaaahhhs a couple of weeks ago? Well, you’re all in luck because she has posted Official Pictoral Documentation of our visit here in Sin City (which means that I don’t have to do it: DING!). Unfortunately while partying it up Sin City Style, Shanunu experienced a minor case of amnesia and neglected to document our jungle goddess experience during which we were chased by a bloodthirsty dragon, but if I shared all the details I’d have to… well you know how it goes (and I think it’s best to avoid any more bloodshed).

She did however go into detail about our journey into Nature and also mentioned the discovery of our new favorite thrift store! For complete coverage of Carrie’s trip to Las Vegas, go here. I have to say, the teal prom dress (which you’ll see if you go to the aforementioned photo gallery) definitely competes with the other 80’s style prom dresses we found a few years ago. You’ll have to decide for yourself which ones you like better! Beware travellers, as it’s obvious that hereto forward, the motto “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” no longer rings true…

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