If I took out a singles ad today, the description would include, “must love long walks in the desert, and getting caught in the wind.” My trip to Vegas ended with a three hour drive to Death Valley, which is in the Mojave Desert across the border in California. The drive there was just as breathtaking as the actual valley itself, which is over 200 ft below sea level: the lowest area of land in the entire United States. I cannot possibly describe the desert in adequate detail. In Vegas, every one of my senses were overloaded and feeding me more information than I could process. The Mojave Desert was quite the opposite. A barren land, very little vegetation or life lives out here. As soon as you exit your vehicle, you’re met with 120 degree winds blowing at your body. The air is as hot as the air inside a dryer, but much more dry. Within a short time, your sense of touch is severely limited by the wind. There are no smells. There is no taste other than the arid air. The only sound is the sound of your own breathing and the wind blowing in your face. No animals to howl. Very few cars to drive by. No cell signal. Being in the desert is a sobering experience that makes you aware of your own mortality as a human. It further makes you realize just how small and dependent on others you are.
Farewell for just a couple days, Bass/Nature Camp… I’ve got to head to Vegas baby. In just two days, I’ll have flown to Vegas, toured the Las Vegas crime lab (including the Secret Service offices), gave pointers to help with an iPhone-related case, and hiked in Death Valley in the Mojave Desert. I’ve never been to Vegas before, and I must say there were plenty of turnoffs to the city, but there were also many amazing things to explore. I barely scratched the surface, but the strip at night has got to be the most lively activity one can do. People are out and walking around everywhere at all hours of the night. Club music is playing everywhere, large volcano shows are going on, fireworks, and much more. What I didn’t care for were all of the losers snapping up a racket trying to hand out tickets for strippers, or the fact that you can’t turn anywhere without seeing some racy advertisement for something sleazy. But if you can ignore that, you can actually have a ton of fun in Vegas at night… just be careful what streets you walk down.
In addition to being jet lagged, as soon as I stepped off the plane, the culture shock of going from the Tennessee countryside to a city like Vegas had already begun giving me anxiety. In Tennessee, we focused on peace and music, and appreciating the stillness of nature and the world around us. Vegas was a sensory overload on all fronts… I heard everything. I smelled everything, I saw more than I wanted to… every single sensory gate in my mind was overloaded and it took a while to clear my head.