Monday, October 16
Set up camp at zion national park.
At 5 AM I was woken up in the motel by a rapping sound on the wall by the bathroom. I got up to see what it was, it was coming through the walls but didn't sound like it was from a person, so I went back to sleep. At 6 AM I was woken up by the front desk telling me the room next to me was flooded and would I please check if I had my water running. Well I did not have the water running, but the bathroom floor was completely flooded. I went back to sleep. At 9 AM I woke up, waded through the puddle in the bathroom to take a shower, packed up and checked out. I demanded my money back from the manager but I made my reservation online so they said I have to run it through them and refused to discuss it further. That along with the bedbugs in the Motel6 in San Diego the previous night have made two nights of horrible motel experiences.
When I went to load up the bike, I found ants crawling all over the handlebars and front. I poured water to get most of them off but they kept coming back. On top of all that I have a cold; my throat is sore, nose won't stop running and I'm feeling generally drowsy. An Advil sinus pill and tea helped a little. Maybe the fresh air riding to Utah today will help.
I'm in the food court in one of the many malls on the Strip now. I came to Vegas to see Penn & Teller, the show was awesome, but I don't want to gamble so there's no reason to stick around. I'll get a sandwich for the road and head out on 15N soon.
I came to Vegas and paid $90 just to see the Penn & Teller show, because I love their Showtime show so much, and it was definitely worth it. It was their usual wonderful combination of magic, psychic debunking, political statement, comedy and messing with the audience's minds. (For the uninitiated, Penn is the tall guy in the picture and Teller is the short guy who never talks.) They started with the timeless magic cup trick and then did it again with transparent cups so we'd see how it was done. (Breaking all the rules of magic is one of their trademarks. As is refusing to use planted volunteers in the audience.) Penn juggled fire, caught the burning end to show it wasn't as dangerous as one would think, then smashed liquor bottles in half (leaving jagged glass that would certainly cut his hand) and juggled those. There was a fire breathing "romantic" skit with a female magician. They threw knives at a female volunteer and just barely missed (or so it seemed to the volunteer...) They did the infamous segment of burning an American flag inside the Bill of Rights, as done on the West Wing, for their political statement of free speech. They did an amazing demo of psychic methods - hot reading, cold reading and the third (I forget what it's called) - guessing jokes picked from a stack of joke books by random people in the audience, to show that it's all tricks. (The people were definitely random because they had people in the audience pass them around to anyone they wanted several times. The books also seemed real because they had the audience go through them to check that they weren't trick books.)
The final trick was the best, seemingly shooting revolvers at each other and catching the bullets in their teeth. I have no idea how they did it. The bullets were really fired, they went through glass plates in front of each of them, and two experienced shooters from the audience were used to draw recognizeable markings on the bullets and verify the smell and appearance of freshly fired bullets. They wore bulletproof vests so I suppose it's possible that they actually fired at each other and then put the bullets from the vests in their teeth, but I find it highly unlikely, considering that it could easily crack their ribs at best and the bullets didn't seem to be flattened. There was obviously some illusion to it but what it was, I have no idea.
Sitting next to me in the audience was a couple in their 60's I would guess, very well dressed, obviously wealthy. The husband was drinking whiskey and we were chatting before the show. He's a huge South Park fan and suggested I go to the meteor crater in Winslow, Arizona (as mentioned in the Eagles song). Just goes to show that you can't judge people by their clothes, as I would never have guessed anyone over 30, let alone someone dressed like that, would be a regular South Park watcher and swear more creatively than drunk college students. There is hope...
The rider: Ben Buckman, 21