Odometer (Legend): 550,486
Odometer (ILX): 192,625
Trip Distance: 1,000 Miles
Yeah, I know. Who RSVPs to a birthday party in one state, and a bachelor party in another state, on the same weekend, and still attends both? You’re looking at him. And here I am 1,000 miles later to tell you how that all played out. The good news is that it feels amazing to go from the awe-inspiring 54th floor of the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip one day, to the picturesque and sweet-smelling Mission Beach of San Diego the next. The bad news is that coming back to reality bit. Hard.
This past weekend’s adventure started with me scooping up my friend Kyle at his place in central PHX and us making our way, Taco Bell crunchwrap supreme in hand, in the ILX to Las Vegas. It’s a drive that takes about 4.5 hours through the picturesque yet pretty barren reaches of Highway 93. We arrived just in time to join the rest of our gang for a bite to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings before venturing out on the town.
And I can assure you, what happened in Vegas that night will stay in Vegas. Well, I take that back. The group text message with 8 people in it became a dumping ground for all the photos and videos from that night’s debauchery, and they will forever live on in the memory bank of each participant’s iPhone. But this isn’t the time nor place to divulge any of those details. Las Vegas Boulevard, known better as “The Strip,” is home to some 62,000 hotel rooms. Tourists are out on the streets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is seriously no end to the available entertainment and we got our share of it.
On Saturday morning, we pulled our acts together in time for brunch at “Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar,” home to some of the best nachos I’ve ever had. They’re called “trash can nachos” and basically come out in a big tin can that gets dumped on a plate in the center of the table. Trust me, they were amazing.
Kyle, Lance, and I hit the road by early afternoon for the next chapter of our road trip weekend: a bachelor party in Southern California. Luckily the drive was a breeze with 95% of it being on southbound Interstate 15. We stopped briefly in the middle-of-nowhere town of Baker, home to the World’s Largest Thermometer at 134 feet tall. In typical fashion, traffic was slow-and-go the closer we got to the Los Angeles area, but as dusk settled in, we kept cranking the iPod and karaoke’d to classics like Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” (a song now 20 years old!) to pass the time and the miles.
Primitive but predictable, the Motel 6 on 2nd Avenue in downtown San Diego was our resting spot for the evening. We had just enough time to freshen up there before heading to dinner and a night out on the town at Oxford Social Club in the Gaslamp District. I felt like a true A-Lister there: VIP entry, special reserved seating, and a meeting with the owner himself who came over to shake our hands. The lights and music raged onward as we celebrated the upcoming wedding of my friends Wade & Rustin until the wee hours.
Speaking of, this is what happens when you’re part of 2 massive group texts and you put your phone away for a few minutes. Ugh, the anxiety of unread messages. I put both threads on “do not disturb.”
And what California trip would be complete without a stop at the beach? My phone told me we were a mere 14 minutes from Mission Beach so we saddled up in the ILX and went to check it out. The smell of a fresh sea breeze and the sound of crashing waves will never get old. We wandered northbound along the sand for a little while before looping back to meet the rest of the gang in Little Italy for brunch at a spot called Prepkitchen.
The final leg of this epic weekend journey was the stretch of Interstate 8 that links San Diego with the Phoenix area, an oft-desolate road that runs parallel to the Mexican border. Kyle took the wheel from the halfway point in Yuma onward, which was great because I needed some time with my eyes off the road.
The gang in an elevator
View from the Cosmopolitan hotel room
Soaking it all in, with Lance
This was the burger I had at Guy Fieri’s restaurant. I liked the fries better!
Stop in Baker, CA with Kyle along I-15 southbound.
Gas prices there, ouch!
World’s Tallest Thermometer – 134 feet tall – indicative of the highest temperature ever observed in Death Valley nearby. Notice it was only 67 degrees at the time of our visit.
Continuing on down Interstate 15
California’s inspection stations have never caused me too much delay. I just get waved through.
Ahh, the beach!
Looking northbound alongside the sidewalk at Mission Beach in San Diego
Fuel and bathroom break in Gila Bend, AZ on the way back to Phoenix Sunday night
Check out this story about my friend Steve who flew across the country recently to buy a minty 4th generation Honda Prelude and drive it all the way back to Arizona! Congrats, Steve! I’m looking forward to seeing the car when you visit tomorrow.
And finally, does anyone out there want to be my twin? This Legend coupe is up for grabs in the Los Angeles area!
Have a great weekend!