Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Voyaging with the Voyager

Small towns in the California high desert are like oases; food, water (pools, that is), shelter for the night... nomads passing through, palm trees and country music in the back of the roadhouse...

We finished our conference asking tricky questions and pinning down a member of the IE team for an interesting discussion about what UX you need for managing privacy and went up to Todd Bishop's Olives at the Bellagio for lunch overlooking the fountains. There was a whole table of Vegas entertainers beside us celebrating someone's birthday - definitely Carrot Top and several others I couldn't identify without harassing them by looking too often, and I think that's just rude - and Vegas had suddenly filled up after being quiet like a small desert town all week, so while the food was as good as ever the service was a bit spotty (and for the first time we had to wait for a table; we wandered off and took photos of the Bellagio conservatory, which is a funfair with floating glass balloons and fields of Icelandic poppies and hyacinths and a stunning version of a David Hockney done from real flowers, as well as the usual butterfly garden). Still the pear elderflower martini, the cauliflower bisque with chunky lardons, the squab and the skirt steak were all excellent, the sun was wonderful and the fountains founted...

We had daylight for the scenic drive back out of Vegas and there were far more landyachts racing by the RV encampment than the couple we saw driving in; dozens of them, doubled by a mirage that made it look like they were sailing on water as they rounded the curves of the course, and one lone kite cart. A lot of the slopes and peaks heading into California look post-volcanic; I don't know if the rocks scattered around are lava or just erosion but it looks as if something blew a few mountains apart. There are veritable forests of joshua trees, the cactus is streaming with orange and the yellow flowers are creeping over the land (flowers like a poppy but plant like mustard). The landscape carried on being dramatic until we pulled in Mojave where we're back in the motel that has the Voyager round-the-world-glider carved into the mirror surround and the bed head and the cupboard (the crew stayed here and the owner is a huge fan); Mike's Roadhouse had boysenberry pie and country music in the back room and I soaked my feet in the hot tub (the water was too cold to soak the rest of me - I am missing the pools at Mandalay Bay that we managed a whole half hour in this week). On, probably, to Paso Robles tomorrow, via our usual stops in Tehachapi for the railway spiral, Keene for tri-tip sandwiches and the back of beyond for scenic photographs. In January it looked like this...
Reflecting lake vista 4
Tags: food, las vegas, photo, travel

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