Sandy & I woke up around 7:30 am and putzed around a bit before getting ourselves sort of together, then we headed down to Starbucks around 9:30 am for some breakfast. I don’t think I mentioned this before but the Rio is currently hosting the World Series of Poker so the place is full of “poker nerds” as Jaime or Brian the bartender noted last night. Yesterday when we were sitting at Starbucks, which is near the convention center part of the Rio, there must have been a break in the WSoP because there suddenly a constant stream of dudes (only a few women that we saw) making their way toward the casino or to the Starbucks line. It was really quite a sight to see.
After Starbucks, we went back to the room and finished getting our bags packed and made our way to the elevator right around 11 am. Now 11 am is the standard check-out time for the Rio, and let’s just say the elevators were jam-packed. We were only on the 3rd floor, but the hotel only allows guests to use the stairwells during an emergency. After about 7-8 minutes, there was finally room in one and we got downstairs and outside. Here’s something I learned: there was no extra charge for using the valet. Of course, there was a resort fee so maybe it’s covered in it, but it’s never quite articulated anywhere that I saw. Same with the pool hours.
Anyway… I drove Sandy to the airport and bid her farewell with thanks for a fun time. Then I hit the road. I figured I’d get gas before I got really going, but then I was on 15 south and then I was in Jean, then I was in traffic, crawling along to the state line. I had plenty to keep going so I did. I passed Baker where the big thermometer matched what my car had as the temperature:
I stopped for gas and lunch in Barstow and GPS showed that it would be 2+ hours until I got home even though it should have been an hour and a half. Here’s a shot of some traffic around 4 pm.
That’s good times, amirite? It’s okay though, I had the West Wing Weekly to keep me company. I got home (home!) close to 5:30 pm and was greeted by my sweet mama and this little doggie with amazing jumping skills.
Mom and I talked for a while, unloaded the car, then I took a shower, opened a beer and turned on the TV to decompress. Lucky for me, Mom made cannelones for dinner (delicious!)
I posted this photo on Facebook with the following caption which is brief but explains a lot.
This is my room at my new (old) home. I still have boxes to unpack. But after 24 days on the road, around 8000 miles, 23 states (2 twice) plus Canada, 30 books sold, 6 features, 3 open readings, 0 tickets, 8 homes of wonderful friends & family who welcomed me, 6 hotel rooms, lots of West Wing Weekly episodes, and countless memories, I’m grateful beyond measure for this amazing experience.