On Sunday, my husband and I went to Las Vegas to watch Oglethorpe‘s golf coach, the irrepressible, inimitable Jim Owen, get inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America’s National Hall of Fame.
But since we got there a day early, we had some time to cruise around the casinos. I am possibly the most hopeless gambler ever, because I obsess if I lose a quarter, but I love to gambol about the hotels looking at the people and the pimped-out decor… especially this time of year.
The Venetian was restrained in the lobby but quickly reverted to the lurid as it got its holiday glitz on… The Wynn, as usual, was tasteful and gorgeous. Okay, the flowers were fake — …but they were $5 million worth of fake……which makes them almost as good as real. It was freezing cold in Vegas, which I found bracing, but Larry was sick and needed to stay in bed the next day. I needed to see something natural, so I abandoned him (he was so relieved), rented a car, and headed up to the Hoover Dam. I walked across the new Michael O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Bridge which gives you a jaw-dropping view of the dam from afar… then gave myself vertigo looking directly down into the cavernous depths. I still had a few hours to spend not being in Vegas, so I headed up to the Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest state park. To get there, you drive past lovely Lake Mead for about 30 miles until you find yourself basically all alone in the desert, surrounded by nothing but sun, sky and some distant mountains. The Valley of Fire is 42,00 acres of clumpy red sandstone formations, formed from huge shifting sand dunes in the era of the dinosaurs, then beaten and gouged by the elements ever since. It is gorgeous…. even without tinsel.The sky was an unearthly shade of blue (probably because it was so cold) and there was not a cloud in the sky.When I stopped at the ranger station, I learned that if I walked on one trail I might see petroglyphs….wowsa!Later that night, as I watched Jim get anointed into the high holy roster of golf coaches, I was thinking how we all yearn to make our mark, like the Anasazi or Stephen Wynn. Or even the Outback boys.There’s nothing like Vegas to make you philosophical!