August 23: Santa Monica, CA to
Las Vegas, NV
Officially, the trip started when we left Santa Monica on Wednesday night at about 7:30. But I think walking around the Santa Monica Pier and the 3rd Street Promenade should count for something. Peter bought a pair of sunglasses on 3rd Street and inquired about a haircut--$40! Also, Santa Monica should get an award for the most unkempt McDonald's bathroom in the world.
We left the Promenade parking lot at 7:30, but I got turned around in my usual Bridget way and it took us until almost 8:00 to get to a freeway I recognized (the 90 Marina Freeway). We took that to the 405 to I-10 and stopped for dinner around 9:00 p.m. at an In and Out Hamburger off I-10 in Ontario, CA. Peter agreed that In and Out has a better hamburger than his usual California favorite, Carl's Jr. Plus it was a uniquely California experience, the last one for a while.
From Ontario we continued on I-10 to I-15; there was construction on I-15 that slowed us down, but otherwise we made steady progress to Barstow, Baker, and finally Las Vegas where we arrived at 1:30 in morning. We checked into the Stardust Hotel (very nice, and only $45 for the room since it was midweek), freshened up a little, then went out to walk along the Strip. We walked by Treasure Island, the Venetian, and the Bellagio. We stopped at Paris for coffee but the good restaurants were closed by then (it was 3 a.m.). We settled for coffee at the casino bar which never closes. But even coffee was not enough to keep us awake at that hour so we walked back to the hotel and went right to sleep.