On a sweltering July 27, I set off for a mini-vacation to Las Vegas. With me in the car were two friends, M. and R., both of whom I have known for more than fifteen years. We packed our car wisely: a half-eaten box of Pappa John's finest, two mountainous crates of bottled water ("buy one get one free" at Rite-Aid), a dazzling array of beverages thoughtfully buried in chips of ice in a giant cooler, and two ipods filled with road trip-appropriate music.
This was R's first time to Vegas so he was very excited. He kept asking all sorts of questions, most pertinent, others not so much. Pretty soon we were out on the Interstate 15, going a leisurely 80 miles and admiring the scenery. The land out there is so bleak and so vast that it naturally inspires awe and a deep sense of isolation. The mountains that crop up alarmingly close to the roadside are stark and stern, studded with harsh rocks and nothing else.
While I was busy driving, M. snapped pictures from the passenger seat.