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Posted 12/16/09 (Wed)


I’m back! And you didn’t even know I was gone! That hurts. That really hurts.
A nice time to leave. Way below zero with cows and calves to feed. Lucky I bought Shirley some nice work mittens before I left! It was her birthday and all. And I am a thoughtful guy.
Well, I have to tell you about my trip. I think I’m getting dumber. If that is possible. I was hauling some pipe to west Texas. Which is a long way south of here. Across the corner of South Dakota. Across scenic Wyoming. Through Colorado and New Mexico, and into west Texas near El Paso.
In scenic Wyoming, I got caught in the high winds north of Chugwater. Zero visibility and poor roads. Took low out of the transmission on my pickup.
In Colorado, I took a wrong turn while looking for a place to stay and think I went over Pikes Peak.
In New Mexico, I crept over Raton pass in four low at ten miles per hour. Which seems awfully slow when you still have six hundred miles to go.
Then, when I got into the deserts of New Mexico (the one Marty Robbins sings about), I finally could relax. So here I am driving along, whistling El Paso, when I see a sign. Las Vegas! 90 minutes away!
Well, since the National Finals Rodeo was on, I got excited. I called Shirley, and told her I might spend a day in Vegas if they didn’t need this pipe right away. Being an understanding wife, who was a little chilly from feeding cows, that announcement was greeted with silence. Which I took to  mean, “Have fun!”
As I neared Las Vegas, I could see mountains off to the west. I even recognized some of them from a golf trip to Las Vegas last year. It was beautiful. I came over a little rise in the desert road and there it was! Las Vegas!
Boy, had they toned it down a lot since I was there last spring. The bright lights were turned off. I wondered, how it could have happened so fast. I couldn’t even see The Strip. Which is visible from outer space. Or so I’ve been told. There were only two exits off the Interstate.
Well, I’d been hearing about the economy and all. And how housing was really depressed in Vegas. But man, this was beyond anything I had imagined. I felt sorry for these people. Las Vegas had been set back a hundred years! Thinking of all the unemployed dancing girls and cocktail waitresses, I felt I had to do something.
So I pulled in for fuel. With tears in my eyes. As I was fueling up, a young couple pulled up at the pump next to mine.
I wiped the tears from my eyes and asked how to get to the Strip.
They looked confused. Poor things, I thought. I imagine they are out of work. And probably have little kids at home.
“What Strip?”
They were completely lost. I felt sorry for them.
“You know,” I gently chided. “Caesars Palace, The Mirage, Wynn’s.”
“Oh,” the poor guy says, “You mean Las Vegas, Nevada. Not New Mexico!”