Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

We drove from Big Spring to Flagstaff in twelve hours, stopping for lunch at the WOW DINER in Grants, New Mexico, as suggested by the Internet.  We highly recommend it.  It’s a real silver diner with good food, an interesting atmosphere and vendors who come by your table offering Indian jewelry for sale.  It looks like a place that you would see on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.  

After spending the night in Flagstaff, we stopped in Williams, Arizona, the last place on Highway 66 to be by-passed by Interstate 40.  It still has that Route 66 tourist town feeling.  Rod’s Steakhouse is still there.  When my wife was growing up, she and her parents spent the night in one of the mom and pop motels in Williams on their trips west.  At Williams you can catch a train and go to the Grand Canyon.  The sped limit in Williams is 15 miles per hour and highly patrolled.  It’s OK, though.  You wouldn’t want to go much faster because there’s so much to see.

I don’t know what it is about truck drivers in Arizona but they handle their 18-wheelers like they were sport cars, darting in and out of traffic as they zoom down the highway.  We didn’t notice such antics in Texas or New Mexico.

We crossed into Nevada at Hoover Dam (which used to be called Boulder Dam) and stopped at Boulder City, a place with a pleasing ambience, outdoor murals and sculptures and an eating place called THE COFFEE CUP, which was on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.  You need to see it.  

Our destination was Las Vegas to meet our two sons there.  Kevin, the TV director, was broadcasting a UNLV basketball game and BZ, the composer, came over from his California studio.  For years Kevin had wanted to be in Vegas during the Super Bowl to experience the madness.  The basketball gig gave him the perfect opportunity.  It was just the four of us: Kevin, BZ, Susan and me.  Our daughters-in-law and grandkids were busy with work and school.

Kevin placed four bets.  He chose the Seahawks to win, which he won.  He chose tails for the coin toss, which he won.  He chose Manning to make a running touchdown, which he lost and bet that nobody would make three consecutive scores, which he lost.  To place his bets, he stood in a line that snaked across the casino floor for a hundred yards or more.  When he went to collect his winnings, he stood in line again.  All the winners were paid in cash.   Each Casino had a list of possible bets.  Each list was several pages long.

Being in Vegas for the Super Bowl was fascinating.  When we met people, they would ask, “are y’all here for the Super Bowl?” like it was in Vegas.  I think we saw more drunks than usual.  It was definitely a party atmosphere.  We tried to figure out where we would watch the game and decided to watch it in our hotel suite.  Susan laid out a party tray of wonderful snacks and wine.  We made a good choice.  It was extremely comfortable. The four of us hadn’t hung out together in years.  

Tumbleweed Smith rolls around Texas looking for people with unique stories.  Contact him at ts@tumbleweedsmith.com