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Hey, you got Chicago in my Vegas

So today I made a dangerous discovery.

That discovery is that there’s at least one brewpub in Las Vegas that is open and serving beer all day, every day. And all night. 24/7, as they say. I still don’t know why that expression annoys me, but it does.

Don't ask me why it's named Chicago. It's not cold, windy, or smelly.

Don’t ask me why it’s named Chicago. It’s not cold, windy, or smelly.

This is dangerous, of course, because I’m not one who believes there is a proper time of day to drink beer. It’s not just for breakfast, you know. Nor is there a proper time of day to not drink beer.

Oh, and did I mention the place also has a cigar lounge?

Why, again, do I not live in Nevada?

Oh, yeah, because I’d be broke in a week. Or possibly dead.

Many places here are open 24 hours, incidentally. There are, as far as I can tell, none of those silly laws about when you can or cannot buy or consume beer. Virginia has silly laws like that. Bars have to close by 2 am, if I recall correctly, and shops can’t sell beer between midnight and six am (though they may have changed that law recently – I don’t have to buy it at those hours because I’m usually stocked up). Haven’t run across much of anything like that in Vegas. Places seem to open and close when they feel like it. It makes finding snacks at 4 am much easier.

Anyway, I had a good day at the blackjack table. Good enough that I decided to try some Kobe beef. Well, not real Kobe beef from Japan, but the same kind of dead cow, only the cow, when it was alive, lived in Idaho. I’m not sure it lives up to the hype, but further research may be necessary.

Tomorrow, I’ll see if I can visit more brewpubs. I was here in August, but I got sick, which kind of puts a damper on the whole “tasting” part of beer tasting.

North Vegas

Had to get this pic as I was leaving Page:

Because I'm actually 12.

Slot. Canyon. Hummer. Adventures.

Sign me up!

Anyway, lots of long stretches of nothing today. Nothing, that is, except freaking amazing scenery.

Like this.

Like this.

And this.

And this.

And then, approaching Las Vegas, I saw the city shrouded in mist (okay, it’s probably smog. But I’ll call it mist.)

I'm now *breathing* that stuff.

I’m now *breathing* that stuff.

This afternoon, I found a hotel near a brewery. Though that’s rarely worked out for me before, I’m not one to learn from my mistakes. Fortunately, it’s a good hotel and a good brewery: Tenaya Creek. I was there during a brief visit to Vegas this summer, but it was so good I had to go again.

As an aside, Tenaya Creek doesn’t do food, so first I stopped at a taphouse (even closer to the hotel; both these places are in walking distance) called Aces & Ales. Amazing, absolutely stunning, beer selection – but my primary focus is, of course, visiting actual breweries.

Tenaya Creek does what a lot of places in Vegas do: they have video gambling at the bar. If you’re gambling, your drinks are “free.” I put “free” in quotes because like every other game in Vegas, it’s horribly slanted in favor of the house. And the more you drink, the more money you put into the gambling machine. Science proves this.

So, basically, I had the most expensive beer EVER.

Worth it.

Kayenta, Arizona

Today’s destination is deep in Navajo country. I went up to the hotel counter. The woman there said, “Hi! Can I help you?”

Me: “I have a reservation.”

Then I realized what I’d just said and I’m sure I turned beet red. I don’t even know if she caught it or not. But I’m still embarrassed about it. Next time I’m on Native lands I’m going to be sure to say something like “I have a room booked.”

Problem is, today’s internet connection is very, very slow, so instead of the complete update I’d been planning, I’m going to go for a summary: Reno, Virginia City, Carson City, and Vegas. Some good beer and good company (at least in the Reno area). And a picture of me in a Porsche.

What’s the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine?

I have other pics now, since my camera’s working again, thanks to my friends in Reno, but since it took me five minutes to upload that one, they’re going to have to wait.

Oh, and one reason I haven’t been updating is y’all saw the Reno-to-Vegas thing I did last year, and there’s not much point in rehashing old routes. It’s a boring enough trip to have to endure, let alone go through more pics of empty desert (at five minutes a pop).

I’m hoping I’ll have a better connection tomorrow, because I expect to have some semi-interesting things to post.

Something to Hide

Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
-Lennon/McCartney

Okay, I wasn’t going to blog about this, because I could think of no good way to do so while avoiding attracting innuendo. But hell, I write comedy, and I figure, “anything for a cheap laugh,” so here goes:

I played with some guy’s monkey yesterday.

That’s not a metaphor, so shut up.

I’m driving through the blink-and-miss-it “town” of Beatty, Nevada (it was on yesterday’s map) when I decide I really need a Rockstar to keep me awake. Next to the convenience store is a t-shirt store, which I go into because some of the t-shirts look amusing. I find a jar of fission-strength hot sauce I want to try, and go up to the counter. The guy behind the counter is talking on the phone, but I can tell he’s wrapping up, so I wait patiently, looking around. Over by the window is a cat carrier. Something’s moving around inside. I assume it’s a cat, until a tiny, dark hand with an opposable thumb pokes out of one of the air holes. I’m like, wtf?

Guy gets off the phone and goes to ring up my purchase.

Me: “Is that… a monkey?”

Him: “Yep. She’s very friendly. Want to say hi?”

Me: “Um, sure.”

Him: “Okay, try not to make any sudden moves. She might grab your hair and any shiny objects.”

So he takes the monkey out of the carrier, telling me she’s a 9-month-old Capuchin monkey named Hannah. I’d never seen a monkey outside a movie or a zoo, let alone had one climbing me like I was a rainforest tree. And the monkey had a hell of a grip.

Him: “Don’t worry; she hasn’t bitten anyone yet.”

Wow, I’m thinking, what a relief. When she opens her mouth, she’s got a little pink tongue and neat rows of teeth that look a lot like ours only maybe a little sharper.

The capuchin, by the way, is the kind of monkey you used to see with organ grinders (hey, there’s another phrase you can make fun of). I think the monkey in Pirates of the Caribbean was one of that species as well. And I understand that lately, they’ve gained some popularity as helper animals for the disabled. Dogs are fine, I suppose, but without the whole opposable thumb thing it’s hard to convince one to open your beer. Point is, these monkeys are intelligent and highly trainable. Also, freaky-looking – they appear just human enough, with their close-set eyes and relatively flat face, to be a bit disconcerting. And then there’s the tail: as long as the rest of the monkey and prehensile, almost a furry tentacle, really.

From what I was able to find with about five minutes of quick internet research, I think the evolutionary lines of new-world monkeys (which include capuchins) and humans diverged something like 30 million years ago. This was long before the chimp-human line divergence of about 7 million years ago. For reference, the dinosaurs went extinct about 65.5 million years ago, and there have been animals on Earth for nearly 600 million years. So yeah, there are striking similarities – and even more striking differences, like the tail thing.

Anyway, I think the dude said he was training Hannah to take money from tourists. Fortunately for me, he had just started the training, so I was only out the price of a bottle of hotter-than-hell sauce – though I found myself checking to make sure my wallet, keys, hot sauce, energy drink, and glasses were all there as I made my way back to the car. The thought of a 15-pound capuchin monkey drinking a whole can of Rockstar is not one I’d like to consider for long.

Now, if you’re wondering why I’m talking about yesterday and not today, and perhaps why there are no pictures or maps, it’s because my sightseeing plans were thwarted by un-desert-ish weather around here. Plus, I didn’t sleep worth a damn last night – the guest bed at my friend’s house near Reno was incredibly comfortable, and after that, a cheap hotel bed is a bit of a letdown. So today, I mostly had a pounding headache (until I got a couple of beers and some tequila in me, this evening) and hung around the casino winning more money.

Tomorrow (Friday) promises to be mild and sunny, so maybe I’ll get some sightseeing done then, if I can fight through the Vegas traffic. I intend to leave early Saturday morning, so I really would like to see something other than blackjack tables before that happens. Now, go ahead and get the “monkey” innuendo out of your system in the comment section. I know you’re dying to say something about shocking, or spanking, or some such.

Vegas, Baby

What happens in Vegas goes on this blog. Well, some of it, anyway.

Yes, this is a late update – that happens when you’re winning at blackjack and lose track of time. Not enough to retire on, but enough to pay for my room. Which is not to say I won’t lose it back tomorrow – though I have some sightseeing goals to meet instead.

Today’s map:

The trip here from Reno is long, and some might consider it dreary, but I think the sere desert mountains of Nevada are pretty awesome. And sometimes there are nice surprises like Walker Lake here:

Seeing a lake in the middle of the desert was a surprise to me, anyway, but I've visited deserts like twice.

 

Then there are the mountains, which are omnipresent on both sides of the road through the whole trip – that is, when you’re not crossing one. As far as I can figure out, on the other side of the mountain in the next picture, a whole lot of atomic bombs have been detonated. I don’t mean that figuratively, either.

And even further beyond that is Area 51.

 

So yeah – long drive, but worth it. Even if I didn’t get to drink any beer today.