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Coming to America

By neilb@uk ·
I'm currently in the Holiday Inn at Kayenta Az (for Monument Valley). They wanted $12 per day for internet in Vegas! It's free here so first chance to post. This is an expansion of an earlier post.

Mum's arthritic hip flared up so she could hardly walk two days before we flew out and we nearly called it off but we got here thanks to my boss for a 5am lift to Heathrow and helpful pople with wheelchairs. I've hired a wheelchair myself for the three weeks and we're getting around pretty well. Actually better than without as I can push her further.

Vegas was - well - Vegas. Stayed at the Sahara which was OK and then walked the Strip going into every casino. Walked 11 miles on Wednesday. Not showing a profit - about $100 down. Fremont Street was amazing and Max missed out on a killer meal Binions! Crab stuffed mushrooms, rare sixteen ounce rib-eye, strawberries Romanoff 24 floors up.

Vegas temperatures in the low 80s.

Death Valley was awesome. Better than we both expected although I reckon that I left half of my left lung pushing Ma up Zabriskie Point (go on a diet, woman!). Temperature was a nice 76F.

The Grand Canyon was up to it's publicity. Yep, "Grand" will do it. Very helpful park ranger gave us the secret Illuminati codes that got the car through all of the barriers. The Riff-Raff were forced to use the shuttle bus. People kept coming up to us and asking how we got the car in. For those who came up when the wheelchair was obvious, I took to replying "I break your lumbar spine - that's all there is to it".

Monument Valley also exceeded expectations by miles. The car was blue and is now pink with dust.

My only quibble. It's so DAMN COLD!!! Snowed at the Canyon and around 45F here now. While we driving up to the Canyon, it hit 34F.

Just had a meal of Navajo fried bread sandwich. Nuff said... Temperature is around freezing.

Off to Moab, Utah, tomorrow for "Arches" and "Canyonlands" national parks. We have a $50 All Parks Pass so we're going to damn well see them all if I have to drive all night!

More later, peeps!


p.s. I'm on my fourth hire-car but this one seems to be holding together. 1200 miles so far.

p.p.s. I'm pretty sure that I hate lots about the new site.

p.p.p.s With the site being chewed up beyond all recognition, strangers might stumble across this thread, So, for those of you wondering who I am, well I'm a aging geek Brit taking his mother on a trip around the South west USA and, now you've read this far, tell me WHAT IS THE POINT OF ALL THOSE BLOODY "STOP" SIGNS? You can SEE that there's no-one for 35 miles in any direction except for me just behind you and still you stop. Dead. Do I have to stop too? Guess I do. Can I bring myself to do it? Not so far...

Bloody ****! Haven't you got a lot of SCENERY?

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My loss, Neil

by maxwell edison In reply to Coming to America

You have no idea how close I came to going, but I would have left a lot of other people hanging. I've got too much going on, almost as though I'm losing control of my own life -- not good, not good. (And I'm even kicking the preverbal "TR cat" as a result!)

Glad you took my recommendation, and that you enjoyed the Ranch Steak House. It's a nice view from up there, isn't it? (Their prime rib is the best - and HUGE!) I always go at least once when I'm in Vegas, and I almost always stay downtown instead of on the strip. (I go to Vegas 3-4 times a year.) I prefer the Golden Nugget, but I used to always stay at Binion's Horseshoe -- before it lost its a$$ and the "Horseshoe" name. That casino's just not the same anymore (but the Ranch Steakhouse is still on the "must visit" list.)

You may not know this, but the IRS (the USA's tax collector) raided and closed Binion's Horseshoe a few years ago, and the era, the aura, and the character of one of Las Vegas's original and best gambling halls came to an end. A dozen or so agents went into the casino, told all the patrons to cash-in their chips and leave the casino, after which they seized over a million dollars in cash. Benny Binion's daughter, it seems, who took over the casino after her father's death, had a bad habit of not paying her taxes, association dues, etc, and she ran her father's casino into the ground. I would love to have been there when it happened, but as fate would have it, I was there just the week prior. So I missed TWO historic events at the same place -- the end of the "Binion's Horseshoe" era and Neil's visit -- my loss indeed.

Nonetheless, it was closed for several months, reopened briefly as the "Horseshoe", but was then sold to Harrah's, a huge corporation which owns several casinos. I'm not sure why they decided to, or perhaps were forced to, refrain from using the "Horseshoe" name, using only the founder's name "Binion's". I'm sure there was some legal mumbo-jumbo involved, and I've never really cared to look into all the details. And since the Golden Nugget treats me well (and "comps" me well), I guess I've found a new Las Vegas "favorite" -- and it's right across the street from my still-favorite steakhouse.

Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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Sounds like a great trip (and I hate the new site too)

by jmgarvin In reply to Coming to America

I think the stop signs are payback for the "mind the gap" woman.

If you ever want to come back to the southwest lemme suggest a couple of areas:

White Sands, New Mexico - BEAUTIFUL! It looks like snow and goes on for miles.

Carlsbad Caverns, NM - Pretty cool to check out giant caves!

Trinity Site - Open only in Oct and uh...April (I think). Cool to see the place where the first atomic bomb was detonated

Socorro, NM - Gotta stop by a place called Socorro Springs for a nice micro brew beer and some great wood fired pizza

Santa Fe/Canyon Road - Artsy Fartsy, but very cool.

Albuquerque also has the balloon fiesta (happened last week) and around 80-100 ballons go up at once. Pretty cools sight. Albuquerque also has some cool historic stuff and the longest tram in the world (buy into's all we've got).

Anyway, have fun and watch out for those crazy drivers ;-)

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Watch out of "rolling stops"

by jdclyde In reply to Coming to America

If you DON'T do that complete stop AND your friendly police officer sees it, that will be a ticket. When your from out of state, let alone out of country, they MAY expect you to pay the fine on the spot, all depending on where in the country you are.

How about the speed limits out in the desert? Roads straight as far as the eye can see, and everyone is doing between 80 and 100mph. THAT is traveling.

Enjoy yourself.

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Reminds me of the old joke.

by TonytheTiger In reply to Watch out of "rolling sto ...

A man does a rolling stop and the policeman pulls him over.

"Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?"

"No, Officer."

"You didn't come to a complete stop at that stop sign back there."

"But I slowed down!"

"But you didn't stop!"

"Stop, Slow down, What's the difference?

So the policewman jerks him out of the car and proceeds to put a beating on him with his nightstick, and said, "Now sir, do you want me to slow down, or do you want me to stop?"


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by wschindewolf In reply to Coming to America

Wasn't there a movie called 'Coming to America'? Anyway, I hope you and your Mum have a great trip. But do follow JD's advice about the stop signs. Some of our 'Boys in Blue' have no sense of humor !!

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You're goin' to jail, son!

by JamesRL In reply to Enjoy

That was my first and only discussion with an officer of the law in the US.

I was in Raleigh, NC on business, and yes, I was speeding. I was not driving recklessly, driving drunk, following too close, disobeying traffic signs - I was driving 83 in a 65 - my bad.

The officer explained that anything over 80 was an automatic court date, and that since I was from outside the country, his best way of ensuring I would make the court date was to keep me overnight and get me to the judge first thing in the morning.

He also explained that if I failed to appear I would have a warrant out for my arrest and most likely would be picked up at the airport next time I landed at Raleigh.

Needless to say, I was not happy, but I was exceedingly polite and contrite.

He then went on to explain that he wouldn't put me in jail after all, but I needed to make arrangements to have someone attend court for me if I couldn't myself. At that time paralegals did not exist in NC, so I had to hire a lawyer. The lawyer cost $250 US and the standard in that court was that first offenses would be automatically reduced to a $25 fine.

Needless to say, I've learned a lesson, and I don't excessively speed in the US.


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In most states

by jdclyde In reply to You're goin' to jail, son ...

20/25 over is "Reckless driving".

That is an AUTOMATIC go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200.

Then if you HAVE been drinking, not good. Two beers in an hour is enough to get you locked up in Michigan, and they hold you for a minimum of 8 hours before you can have anyone pay the $300 to pail you out. If your going drinking and don't have someone to drive you, a cab is MUCH cheaper than the court costs will be.

If you DO get pulled over, keep your hands OPEN and in plain site. I pull my wallet out BEFORE the cop gets there, because I don't want to give him ANY reason to think I am going for a weapon. I will also pull out my insurance and registration from the glove box and set it on the dash board in plain site. If it is dark, I make sure my dome light is on, and the car is turned off. Oh yeah, do NOT try to open your door and get out unless instructed to.

From there, everything is "yes sir, no sir".

If your a wise a$$, they can FIND reasons to make your life interesting.

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Only in Fargo

by drowningnotwaving In reply to In most states

Whoa man that thing about the hands and car????

In Fargo ND a few years ago. 2am - Buddy driving the car and pulled over for speeding. The cops start doing the 'touch your nose, walk the line, recite Proust' routine to see if he was drunk which, as it turns out, he wasn't at all.

Now this was extremely funny as I had only ever seen it on US movies and the Cops telly show. So I'm watching and laughing but it takes a fair bit of time.

But I was also very drunk. And I wanted a ciggie. Desperately - as you do at 2am. So I opened the door and started going for my lighter, when the SIX cop cars that had surreptitiously come up behind us all kind of went freaky-mad, doors open and a whole lot of screaming in a particular american accent that takes some getting used to.

Some very quick explanations, a demonstration of my passsport from far more innocent and naive lands and a promise-sir-never-again-sir sorted it all out.

Very glad my company was based in Fargo and not in California, a very different outcome would have been on the cards.

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Almost had that "very different outcome"

by pennatomcat In reply to Only in Fargo

Back in the early 70's I was riding a somewhat legal Harley chopper near Los Angeles. Got pulled over by a CHP officer. While he was checking out my paperwork, I reached inside my jacket to get my smokes out of my shirt pocket. When I heard a metallic click, I looked up to see the business end of a gun barrel pointed at me! Yes, smoking CAN kill you!

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Yeah, was as serious as a heart attack

by jdclyde In reply to Almost had that "very dif ...

These people work a very dangerous job and never know when someone will try something.

I want to make sure they know that I am not a threat in anyway. I have no intention of getting shot by anyone, let alone by a cop that thinks I am going for a weapon.

and yes, it is the smarta$$ that gets the business end of a night stick on the way to the cop shop. "he tried to get away".

gawd, I hope I edited that before Mae could see it.....

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