Cross Country Trip Day 1: Santa Monica to Las Vegas

Monday, June 22, 2015 - time to hit the road! But first, we had to clean our apartment, pack up the car, and say some goodbyes. Having scrubbed the carpet, walls, and floors all morning, we grabbed a final lunch with Loren at one of our favorite places - Tender Greens on 2nd St & Arizona in Santa Monica. Steak and salad and roasted veggies and good beer. YES. Brendan and Loren packed up the car after lunch while I finished cleaning, and then we took off, with a brief detour to say goodbye to Anna.

image of empty apartment

image of packed up car

Los Angeles wished us well with heavy traffic. Thank goodness for the carpool lane. We took the 405 out of the city to the north and then cut across on the other side of the mountains of the Angeles National Forest. It was largely one-lane roads, but lower traffic than the highways and kinda cool.

image of traffic

image of Angeles National Forest

Google Maps will tell you that the drive to Las Vegas from LA can be just 5 hours, but you have to time it really well. We were an hour or so late in getting on the road, and we paid for it. Cool, though, was that we were driving in the daylight and getting the full view of the desert, which wasn’t usually the case when we drove that way since we would drive late at night to dodge the traffic.

By the time we got into Las Vegas, we were not in a Vegas mood. Check in at the LINQ took forever because somehow it was crowded despite it being a Monday night at 10:00 pm. We grabbed a late dinner of ramen from a cafeteria area then headed for the tables. I was not feeling the gambling, so I watched for a bit then headed to bed. Brendan played craps for a while and called it quits after maybe an hour when he was up - $15, woot!

ramen in Vegas

One cool thing about Las Vegas, though, especially on weekdays, is that you get to stay in fancy, trendy hotels for relatively cheap rates. Because the LINQ is new and not yet pulling in crowds like some of the other casinos on the strip, we paid just $40 for our room, and it was really nice. After a hard day of packing up the car, cleaning the apartment, and driving 7 hours, we slept like babies.