Mojave (the drive to Vegas)

If you want to feel the full, jolting, thrilling, brilliant and repulsive impact of Las Vegas, approach it from the south and west, driving through (at least skirting) the Mojave desert. It’s about 220 miles from Mojave and there’s little in between. I spent 70 miles transfixed by the glinting chrome of a truck in the far distance, thinking about life. One minute it’s dark sky, then – over a hummock – Vegas explodes into view. It’s a gazillion watts; blasting loud, the pavements packed, the streets jammed, 80 giant flashing neon screens left and right ( ‘SHANIA’, ‘WIN A MILLION $$$’, ‘SOME MAGICIAN’) in every eyeful. There was London, Time Square, the Statue of Liberty, Luxor and the Eiffel Tower all visible from first set of traffic lights.  Like fast food, Vegas is decadently satisfying for a little while. . . then you feel sick. There was a plain simplicity about Mojave – the town and the flat empty road – that I really liked and appreciated. High-fiving at the slot machines an hour later, I felt I’d let myself down.

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