While standing in line at the grocery store this morning, a girl in front of me pointed to the back of a One Dollar bill in her hand and asked her father, “Daddy, what does this mean?”
The man knelt-down, held her hand and explained, “In God We Trust means, God is always here for the little people. The broken pyramid tells us that our country is not fully built. Above the pyramid is a great eye, the eye of God. The words over the pyramid are “annuit coeptis,” meaning, “He has smiled on our undertaking. “ And beneath the pyramid it says, “novus ordo seclorum,” which means a new order of the ages. This new order is built upon Almighty God. He’ll show us the way, even when we go to the grocery store. We just have to believe.”
In that moment, I was part of an old EF Hutton commercial. “When EF Hutton talks, everyone listens.”
The man paid the speechless cashier and the two walked out of the store hand in hand.
In our next election, I will vote for the little people because I think they are humble and will show the world how to be constructive for humanity. William Penn wrote, “Unless we are governed by God we will be ruled by tyrants.”
God is cool, no matter what he or she is wearing in color or dress. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
Yesterday, I took the bus from Sun-Coast Hotel & Casino thirty minutes away from the strip, to yet another “traveling on a budget” adventure, to check out some cool and weird destinations around downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. Little did I know Booze, a Dog and a Tongue would be the guiding force…
The one hour bus ride through the Vegas concrete jungle was a perfect excuse to stop at a great watering hole in the shopping center of Aria Hotel & Casino downtown. The stout (I think it was), stronger than braided horse hair, brought me into a wobbling hypnotic state in a very short time…
And, near the brink of hallucinating, I staggered down multiple hallways in a casino where tripped out carpet and other weird things on the walls and ceiling had my head spinning.
Turning the corner of the hallway, my eyes squinted, because suddenly, there was a pack of dogs sitting in a circle and chatting.
Bizarre as it sounds, I listened carefully. The leader, Lord Dog, spoke softly to the others then, suddenly turned toward me and said-LICK!
Instantly I darted away from the pack terrified and within moments everything around me began to change. It was like running through Alice and Wonderland, an Adult Disney Land of sorts. I think the Lord Dog put a “Mo Jo” on me.
The hallway I was running down was actually the back of a giant prehistoric dinosaur looking thing. And, there was water flowing between all of its scales as I hopped between them like crisscrossing a river.
Staring into the imaginary sky I heard music in the distance. What seemed far away was a flower garden, with an array of colors, butterflies and birds, music drumming into my ears from ancient tribes before the time of man.
Floating through the garden, I began to think about Lord Dog and the meaning of the word LICK?
Suddenly, it hit me!
Should I be fearful of this for crying out loud? NO, Lord Dog seemed like an old soul! I should take a chance. Hungry, I devoured everything I put my lips on. And, I put my lips on a lot!
EVERYTHING WAS SOOOooooo SWEET AND DELICIOUS!
I couldn’t help myself and LICKED everything!
And, I couldn’t help but think that Lord Dog guided me this way for a reason, but, what could it be?
Surely this was not just for entertainment or some joke? As I ate the last piece of candy, “POOF” a mysterious and magical force created a travel map inside my head, like a GPS of where to go, what to write and photograph. It was amazing, I could see the map so clearly in my head and instantly, I knew that Lord Dog was responsible for all of this. After-all, the things I’d done up to this point was all on the road map. The only way to find out new surprises would be visit each and every one of the locations on the map inside my head.
The Worlds Largest Chocolate Fountain, a Guinness Book of World Records holder, a behemoth that circulates 2 tons of white and dark confectionary grade chocolate at a rate of 120 quarts per minute was instantly in front of my eyes!
Suddenly, everything seemed normal again but, was it really? I mean, is this normal, a chocolate fountain four times the height of an average man?
I was getting weak and needed another piece of chocolate to press on. Of Course Chocolate is the necessary fuel to write a nutty travel piece, so down the sweet sensation went…
According to the road map, the bus stop located at the base of The Eiffel Tower would whisk me away to yet another attraction!
Oh by the way, reflections and shadows cast within architecture in Las Vegas is stunning if you pay attention.
The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is a “Museum of the Mind,” a community auditorium and one of my favorite pieces of architecture in the United States. Founded by Larry Ruvo who started the foundation in memory of his father Lou Ruvo along with Bobby Baldwin, CEO of Mirage Resorts, who both lost their fathers to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Opened in May 21, 2010 and designed by the world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry of Gehry Partners in Santa Monica, California.
Gehry’s best-known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain;
MIT Ray and Maria Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles; Experience Music Project in Seattle; Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis; Dancing House in Prague; the Vitra Design Museum and
MARTa Museum in Germany; the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris; and 8 Spruce Street in New York City. But it was his private residence in Santa Monica, California, which jump-started his career, lifting it from the status of “paper architecture”-a phenomenon that many famous architects have experienced in their formative decades through experimentation almost exclusively on paper before receiving their first major commission in later years.
One of Las Vegas’ most important charity initiatives and a key participant in the national fight against Alzheimer’s disease; since its inception the event has raised more than $20 million towards achieving its goal-the realization of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
While, there are critics of the architecture, it was built to mimic the human brain.
It was kind of weird seeing all of this after being key witness to a talking dog earlier in the day.
Anyway, kudos to all involved in this project and other charities.
Traveling around Vegas, chipping away at my road map list of attractions from Lord Dog, I realized that there’s so much more to see and experience than the ole’ “Sin City” – the World renown adult entertainment hub. Like Binion’s “Licker” bar, of course. After-all, it was on the list.
And, on the way home, I stopped at old Fremont Street where the World’s largest TV screen is located. See the big upside down “U” looking thing in the photo.
And, got to check out some of the old Neon Signs left from back in the day…
The city has done amazing things to revitalize this area of history.
Well, its time to say goodbye. I’m down to the last attraction on Lord Dogs list and I’m wanting to LICK something delicious. When you have a chance, you should too.
This month, I’m back in Nevada for a jaw dropping scenic tour that ultimately led to an old timber mill in the high desert. Located at 7400 foot elevation, the mill operated during the Gold Rush and supplied the town of Belmont and surrounding areas wood supplies to build homes and business and was the fuel that kept everyone warm.
There’s so much to see in the desert and while it appears to be just miles and miles of sand and devoid of life, there’s lots of history here and an interesting and intriguing place.
Nevada is the driest state in the United States. It is made up of mostly desert and semiarid climate regions and daytime summer temperatures sometimes may rise as high as 125 °F (52 °C) and nighttime winter temperatures may reach as low as −50 °F (−46 °C). While winters in northern Nevada are long and fairly cold, the winter season in the southern part of the state tends to be of short duration and mild. Most parts of Nevada receive scarce precipitation during the year. Most rain that falls in the state falls on the lee side (east and northeast slopes) of the Sierra Nevada.
The average annual rainfall per year is about 7 inches (18 cm); the wettest parts get around 40 inches (100 cm). Nevada’s highest recorded temperature is 125 °F (52 °C) at Laughlin on June 29, 1994 and the lowest recorded temperature is −50 °F (−46 °C) at San Jacinto on January 8, 1937. Nevada’s 125 °F (52 °C) reading is the third highest temperature recorded in the US just behind Arizona’s 128 °F (53 °C) reading and California’s 134 °F (57 °C) reading.
Legend has it that the Mormons named the yucca brevifolia the Joshua Tree : (from the resemblance of the tree’s greatly extended branches to Joshua’s outstretched arm as he pointed with his spear to the city of Ai (Joshua 8:18) .
To see historical settlers homes still standing for nearly 150 years is amazing considering the extreme conditions in this desert region.
Driving along dusty and rocky back roads, there’s snow-covered mountains with small hills in the forefront. If you notice, there are hundreds of small vertical looking brown rock things.
These are called hoodoos. ‘Hoodoos’ are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and “broken” lands. Hoodoos or Goblins as they are called are one of the most spectacular displays of erosion. They are geological formations, rocks protruding upwards from the bedrock like some mythical beings, conveying the story of hundreds and thousands of years of weather erosion.
Most Hoodoos are made of sandstone, sand-sized particles cemented together by calcite, silica, or iron oxide. They are created by erosion. Rains, running water and strong sand winds slowly chip away the material from the bedrock.
As some parts of the sandstone are stronger than others, uneven shapes of remains begin forming.
Most of the time Hoodoos have a very hard rock on the top, called the Cap-rock which protects the softer sandstone layers beneath it from further erosion. That is why Hoodoos usually appear as ‘spikey’, ‘human’ looking formations ranging in size from that of a human to that of a ten story building.
The old mill was still standing despite removal of all its timbers, steel lintels, wood doors and windows throughout the years.
Snapping a few photos from the leeward side of the sunset as shadows cast on the backdrop of Table Top Mountain was truly a site to see.
It was dead quiet inside the mill and for a moment, I thought I heard voices…
Maybe, it’s because Belmont’s a Ghost Town, or maybe, just maybe, it’s because, I was standing there alone and the fantasy of how it use to be a thriving town of 15,000 people played back in my mind, a place of opportunity full of stories back in the day …
Whatever it was, the panoramic view from the old mill paints a vivid picture, that once upon a time mountains surrounding this desert valley was filled with trees and Belmont was a very prosperous wild west town to live in.
Once upon a time…
Back in the day…
***TO ENLARGE PHOTOS – “CLICK” WITHIN GALLERY BELOW ***