My goal is to raise $9,490 for breast cancer research - a dollar for every day my mother, Lorraine Raimondo, battled breast cancer. I'm driving across the country raising funds for every mile I drive.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pioneertown to Vegas

Miles Traveled:356
Funds Raised: $100

Pioneertown is a crazy place. It’s this old movie set for westerns. A bunch of residents of Pioneertown were dressed up like characters from a typical western. You had your cowboys, your gunslingers and your Miss Kitty’s (except these ladies had tattoos). I couldn’t get a straight answer of whether this was a special occasion or they dress up like this all the time. Roy Rodgers built a bowling alley here way back when and it’s still an operating alley. The bars and the bowling alley were real, all the other buildings, like the jail, the bathhouse were sets.
A man with a pistol that goes by the name “Diamond” (pictured above) gave us the lowdown on the town. It’s a great place, and I’ll be having my next milestone birthday party here. After witnessing a real, live reenactment of a shootout we headed to Joshua Tree National Park.
What can I say, other than its beautiful and there’s plenty of those Joshua tree’s (not just one like some of you thought). We drove around a bit then went to the Keys Lookout and ran into Jeremy, Bob and Jeff (previously erroneously referred to as Steve), the guys we met the night before at Pappy’s and Harriett’s. We joined together for a quick hike up some hills for a spectacular view of the desert. The desert is, ok stating the obvious, but really hot and you get really thirsty just like in the cartoons.
From there we decided to try the scenic route to Vegas given to us by Diamond. It was a long, winding road through amazing desert, however what he described as “oh, 3-4 miles” to the next street to turn on, was actually around 25 miles. At around 23 miles, we thought we may be lost. So we pulled over to a lone station in the middle of nowhere where a group of bikers were leaning against the wall. I walked up carrying my map and asked every so nicely, “Hi, who can help me with directions?” Silence. Me, nervously shuffling. Finally, in a German accent, the blonde biker with the spiky hair said, “Where you trying to go?” “Vegas.” Which in response, 3 bikers just pointed east and said “that way.” Well, I knew it was east. I was looking for actually names of roads to take. Anyway, I hopped back in the car and headed east and soon came to the road Diamond had mentioned. The good thing was this road lead straight to the World’s Largest Thermometer” which read 104 degrees when we got there. That was around 5PM. See, like I said, the desert is really hot.
Finally got to Vegas around 9PM and were hosted for the night by Sharyl’s sister Robyn and niece Morgan. We were tired and hungry. We headed to the old strip hoping to find a cool, old Vegas style place to eat. We wondered a bit and then saw this neon sign in the distance like a beacon. It was a steak place called the Flame. (See photo below). Oh, it looked perfect. We headed towards it salivating, and then just stood by it for awhile because the arrow on the sign directing you to the restaurant was pointing straight to the ground. Well, we eventually realized that it was just part of a neon sign museum along the road. But we just stood there, wanting so much for it to be real, thinking, hmm, is there a stairway to under ground? How do we get in? Through that parking garage? We finally snapped to and slumped back to the main strip. We went to Binion’s where we feasted on giant plates of Chinese food. And the rest, well as they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.


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