Cross-Country Adventures

     I have always wanted to share the adventures I have had during my travels in writing. This blog finally gives me a place and space to do so.  I figured what better story to begin with then to share the wild adventure me and my best friend/soul sister and partner in crime, Samantha (aka “Sammi”) had during our two week trip cross country. It will take me a while to compose and recapture  all of the madness of this trip,  but bear with me as I tell the most unexpected and crazy adventure the two of us are yet to have, and if you know Sammi and I, you know that your in for one unique story…
     Sammi and I have been friends since high school.  We were brought together by soccer and our Polish boyfriends, which neither one of us will gladly speak about. Since high school, we have had many ups and downs together, but she is one friend that has remained by my side through thick and thin. In a weird sense, our lives have this parallel connectedness and energy about them. We played soccer, went to colleges in Philadelphia, studied abroad in Australia and over time have become passionate travelers who enjoy interacting with locals, exploring new cities and just being open to the spontaneity of life. I admit this openness has got us into a bit of trouble in previous years, landing us on midnight boat tours around Atlantic city, paid hotel sweets in Washington D.C., sleeping on floors in New York train stations and ending up in hostels way outside planned destination cities such as Barcelona. It seems our wild energies put together tend to be a formula for adventure and unexpectedness. No matter what, our plans never go accordingly and we always wind up in the weirdest situations.  Our road trip cross-country is the epitome of such.
     After college Sammi decided to see what life would bring by moving to San Diego California for a year. I on the other hand decided to go to Graduate School and remained in Philadelphia.  This years distance was tough, but we still managed to get together a few times throughout the year. Little did we know that all the built up energy from this distance would play a huge part in the adventures that lay ahead of us. 
     In May, Sammi called and said,  “Kimmy, we are going on a road trip cross country!” She knew I would be in. The purpose of this trip was to drive a car her uncle was giving to her out to San Diego. I was along for the ride. We had two weeks to get across the country, from Philadelphia to San Diego, as I had to be back for the start of summer classes in my graduate studies.  We had very little money to spend, about $500 between the two of us, so we made one rule:  NO HOTEL ROOMS! We figured we needed to save the money and neither one of us, if worst came to worst, would mind sleeping in the car.  Before we knew it, we were off, with a road map and no plans. It was us and the open road, free to decide where our first stop would be...
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     Not long into the car ride, we decided it would be smart to knock a big chunk of the driving out right away. Our first stop would be in St. Louis, Missouri. We chose this place because I had a good friend, Kat, living there that I met while studying abroad in Granada, Spain. I was excited because I had not seen her for years. Sammi is always up for meeting new people, so she was down for this plan. We also knew, visiting friends meant no sleeping in the car. It was going to be a long 14 hour drive, so we decided to stop along the way and to use some of our tight budget to purchase CD’s.  We felt a road trip without music would be worse than going broke. We ended up buying, Green Day, The Almost Famous Soundtrack, Kings of Leon and Grateful Dead Greatest Hits.  The next 14 hours was spent listening to these CD’s, stopping for food/gas, catching up on each others lives, watching a beautiful sunset from the road and switching drivers every few hours or so.  There is something quiet lovely about watching a sky fill with shades of blue, pink and orange, especially when you have your best friend there to share it with you. 

     Around 11 p.m. we arrived at Kat’s place exhausted and ready for bed. However, since I had not seen my friend in years a good bottle of red wine was in store. After meeting Kat’s friendly parents, Kat, Sammi and I spent the rest of the night catching up on life and sharing stories of our past. Until, the red wine sunk in and Sammi and I were soundly asleep on the basement couches. I am sure Kat go a kick out this night and how she put us to sleep with red wine and bedtime stories.  For the record, this low energy level was not typical of Sammi and I. I guess that 14 hour car drive really wiped us out.
     Bright and early the next morning, Kat woke us up and was ready to give us a tour of St. Louis. Sammi and I were in need of showers and coffee, as we both were still a bit groggy from the previous nights bottle of red wine. After washing up, our energy levels were restored and the three of us were off to tour the city.  This was our first time in St. Louis, so we were excited to see and explore what this city had to offer.  I was also curious about walking around a city that has been named the most dangerous city in the country. 
    The city itself felt a lot smaller than Philadelphia.  In truth, the main attraction is the Gateway Arch, which sits right along the waterfront. The park surrounding the arch was nice and overall I felt was a quaint green space for this city.  Surrounding the arch, you will find tourists, school children and a bunch of teens hanging out and getting into who knows what.  The arch itself is a fascinating piece of architecture.  I enjoyed taking photos here and capturing the many angles this structure has to offer. We even go to take a tour inside of the arch, by riding in a small almost Ferris Wheel style car, up to the top. If you have fears of heights or get claustrophobic, this is not the tour for you.  The view from the top was great. You have full city views and it is really neat to think about being 630 ft above the ground, standing in the tallest national monument in the country. If you have any claim to fame from visiting St. Louis, it is that one!  

     After visiting the Gateway arch, we walked around the streets of St. Louis. In truth, there really was not an abundant amount of things to see and explore. We did get to try a neat new drink at a place called Bubble Tea. Bubble tea is a sweetly flavored tea drink from Taiwan. Bubble teas contain a tea base mixture with fruit and/or milk. What makes this drink unique is that Bubble teas have small tapioca balls or pearls called "boba". These are pearls made from jelly that you get to chew as you drink or eat after you drink, it is really up to you!  There are tons of different flavors, but all in all I enjoyed adding a little texture to my beverage and being introduced to something new.  After Bubble tea, stopping for some lunch and walking around the city a bit more, Sammi and I knew it was once again time to hit the road and figure out destination number 2…
     It was not long before we were back in the car and on the road once again. Looking at the map, Sammi and I knew we wanted to get to Denver Colorado at some point to visit her French friend Stephan.  However, we were not exactly up for another 14 hour drive so we decided to break this drive up a bit by checking out the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. For some reason, Kansas just seemed like a state to take a bit of detour around. Who knows why we chose Tulsa, but we did. It would take us a little over 6 hours to get there, as we decided to stop for a bite to eat at the General Store which was also home to the World's Largest Rocking Chair!

     Boy or boy was this a sight to see! No offense to the World's Largest Rocking Chair, but Sammi and I slowly began to feel as though our road trip adventure was lacking a bit of the typical Sammi and Kimmy unpredictable style.  Nonetheless, we continued on ready for Tulsa fun!
     We arrived in Tulsa around 9 p.m., and after taking a quick drive around this very small and almost lifeless city, we asked ourselves what the heck are we going to do? A quick look at Sammi and we both knew what each other was thinking... FIND A LOCAL BAR! After driving around for what seemed like forever, we found a a few teenagers wandering around the streets and decided to ask them where the best bars in the city where at. They looked us like we were nuts, but directed us  to make a left a right, 2 lefts, then 2 rights, go to this street and then that street, and then we would for sure be at the bar district. We figured what the hell and gave their directions a shot. A solid 20 minutes later, we had found Tulsa's so called "Bar District." However, aside from a bunch of motorcycle hangouts, we were yet to find a bar that looked somewhat populated. At this point Sammi and I did not care, and decided to pop into a pool hall. I love playing pool, so this was a good option for me. Also, pool halls can be a great place to meet some nutty, but fun people. Waking into the hall, we went straight to the bar and ordered two very needed shots of whiskey and some beers.  The car was parked on a back street and ready for us to come crash at any time, so we were ready for some drinks. Maybe it was the long drives, maybe it was the next few shots of whiskey, but it was not long before I began talking to different guys in this hall and looking for a doubles  game of pool. Sometimes you just got to put yourself out there and talk to people and see what happens...
     I ended up scoring us a game against two fellows, Rick and Marshall. They were local Tulsa boys who got a kick out of our cross country trip/ random idea to stop in the city of Tulsa. They quickly informed us that Tulsa would not be the most vibrant city on our trip. However, at that point the whiskey, beers, and our kind new friends made Tulsa seem like a lovely to be.

     A few hours later, and still playing pool with our new friends, some of Rick and Marshall's friends showed up.  Sammi and I were excited to meet and hang out with some more Tulsa folk. After telling one of the girls, Kara, our story as well as informing her about our NO HOTEL RULE, she insisted that we would come stay and her place for the night. We were thankful to know that we would not be crashing in the car and that once again the randomness of meeting new people had worked out to our advantage. 
     Before heading back to Kara's apartment, we stopped at Rick and Marshall's place, which was right around the corner from the bar. They were anxious to set off some fireworks.  All I really remember from this part of the night was a dark beat up old house with no lighting, a huge Great Dane dog that I fell in love with, and Marshall setting his hand on fire while lighting the fireworks! Not anything Sammi and I thought we would be doing in Tulsa!
     Kara's apartment was the complete opposite of the old beat up house. It was such a cute and well designed space with the best part being the huge couch Sammi and I had to sleep on.  It did not take us long to once again pass out on the couch of another kind hostess...
     Morning came very quickly as the previous night ended late and Sammi and I were once again woken up by the energetic voice of our new friend and hostess Kara. As I opened my eyes, I was immediately drawn to all of the artwork around Kara's apartment.  I thought to myself, where the heck am I? I soon found out that I was in the presence of a very talented artist, Kara, herself. Sammi and I began shooting so many questions at her about her art, inspirations and if she ever thought about trying to sell or promote her work. However, Kara was just a simple Tulsa girl who painted for her own soul, as not all  artwork comes with a price. I admired her for this, but couldn't help but wish she would have been a little more passionate about showing the world how talented she was. At least, Sammi and I will always remember that Tulsa brought us pool games, fireworks and a talented,  kind spirited artist. 
Kara's cute apartment & artwork...                          

     After leaving Kara’s apartment and stopping for some coffee and breakfast, it was around 11 a.m. by the time Sammi and I were on the road again. We knew where we were headed next, Denver Colorado, to visit her friend Stephan. Denver would be yet another long 11 hour drive for us but we had our coffee, trustee 4 CD’s (which at this point we had already listened to each one once through) and stories to laugh about from the previous random night in Tulsa. We were tired, but ready for destination number 3…. 
     Colorado is a place both Sammi and I had never been before. We were excited to be heading towards a city that we were certain would be a lot more active than St. Louis and Tulsa.  Both of us had been told that this mile high city is one we would truly love!  Even better, we knew our host Stephan would be showing us the best of the best, as this entrepreneur enjoys the finest. We had our hopes set on an amazing late night dinner. I think this is what kept us awake and moving during this long ride! While the sunset we got to see on this drive was beautiful, nothing else that exciting  (except the fact that Sammi and I could now recite 4 entire CD lyrics) happened during this drive, until around 9 p.m.
Fast forward.
9 p.m. I am driving. We are about 3 miles past the town of Burlington Colorado. It is pitch black outside. I can only see as far as the headlights allow. Both Sammi and I are in need of an outlet to charge our phones, as hers has already died and mine only has a few minutes remaining. 
“That was a weird jerk.”
Sammi and I look at each other, but figure whatever it is an old car.  Bump. Bump. Bump.  “Oh man this is not good.”
Bump. Bump Bump. Bump. Bump.   I manage to pull the car over and park on a thin sliver on the side of the highway. If Sammi opened her door, she would be headed down a large slope to who knows what. I try to restart the car a few times. No luck. The car is dead. Sammi’s phone is dead.  Didn’t I warn you, we are a formula for randomness.
     Luckily Sammi had triple A. The problem was that I had less than a few minutes remaining on my phone.  “Low Battery,” had already been flashing. She makes the call. It takes her 5 minutes to get a hold of the operator.  Frantically, she tells her our phone is about to die and that our car broke down a few miles past Burlington Colorado. The operator needs all of her information. Sammi starts getting frustrated.  She gives it to her and then the phone dies. We wait, and wait, and wait…
     This waiting continued for over an hour, and just about when Sammi and I were ready to give up all hope, flashing lights became visible in the rear view mirror. What a relief that was.  The police officer pulled in behind our car and began approaching us.  He was a tall man wearing a pair of jeans, a red and black plaid long sleeve shirt with his shinny badge easily observable in the upper left hand corner and a cowboy style sheriff hat.  It became obvious that the cops out there had their own sense of laid back style.  His personality matched his outfit perfectly as he asked us, 
“What seems to be the situation girls?”
     Our frustration and exhaustion lead us to tell him our entire story, ending with… and then our car died…  Honestly, I think he got a kick out of it all, as he didn’t seem the least bit worried that two girls car broke down in the middle of the night on their trip cross country.  The officer waited with us until triple A arrived a good hour later and then gave us a ride to the nearest town, Burlington, Colorado.  The car was also towed to Burlington, to a local shop and man the officer knew well. It would not be until morning that someone could look at it and figure out what went wrong. 
     At this point Sammi and I had some serious rule breaking to consider, as our car/bedroom was out of commission.  We told the officer we had very little money to spend on this trip and asked him for some options. He told us about the nearest and cheapest hotel for only $60 per night and he also offered to drive us to the local shelter ran by the church where we could stay for free. At this point, Sammi and I were not exactly up for the adventure of sleeping in a shelter, so we decided to break the rule and spend the night in a hotel room.  We checked in, showered and went to bed hopping that our car would be able to be fixed in the morning… 
     Bright and early the next morning, Sammi and I called the repair shop and had them come take a look at the car (which we had towed to a back street behind the hotel).  The repairman, Frank, was very nice and sympathetic to our situation. He inspected the entire car, as no cost to us.  We sat on the sidewalk anxiously awaiting his diagnosis. A good 15 minutes or so later, he told us that the repair costs would be over $1,500, which was more than the car was worth itself. What had happened was Sammi and I were suppose to be putting oil in the car every few hundred miles. Her uncle had told her to do this, as it was just a funny thing the car needed to stay running. Well we forgot to put oil in and in turn killed the car.  We had a decision to make, do we call relatives and ask them to loan us some money to fix the car, which would take a few days; or do we hand the title over and leave it behind continuing our road trip as hitchhikers? We figured it best to leave the car behind and continue on.  This was a crazy move, but we really didn’t have the time or ability to pay to get the car fixed. 
     Before watching the car get towed away, we asked Frank where the nearest bus or train station was.  There was no bus or train station in Burlington, so if we wanted to get to Denver, we needed an alternate plan.  Before resorting to asking one of the sleeping truck drivers at the local gas station to give us a ride, we figured we better call Sammi’s friend Stephan. 
     After telling Stephan what had happened to us the night before, he was on the road coming to pick us up and bring us back to his place in Denver. Thank goodness for that. It was about a two-hour drive, so we had some time to kill. There really wasn’t much to do in Burlington, so Sammi and I got some coffee and planted ourselves at Burger King. We looked ridiculous because we not only had our backpacks, but Sammi’s entire bedding set that she was bringing back to San Diego. We got some weird looks and even had some lady bring us bottled water.  Sammi and I did not speak much during this wait, but our stares said it all… something like this would happen to us...     

     Stephan arrived a good two hours later and could not help but crack a sarcastic smile as he introduced himself to me. He got a kick out of the whole car situation, but it was good to have a fresh breath of air around.  Stephan is a 30 something, very well put together, good-looking French man whose attire was worth more than all the clothes in my backpack.  One thing was for certain, this man was the male version of a fashionista.  I got to know a lot about Stephan on our two-hour drive to Denver. I learned that he owned his own motivational speaking company. He more or less traveled around the world giving life seminars/ pep talks.  He even managed to slip one of these pep talks in for Sammi and I, which definitely helped cheer Sammi up.  She was a lot more affected by the car dying that I was, as she needed that car out in San Diego. I got a kick out of this lively man and was amused by his stories.
     Finally as planned, we arrived in Denver around 4 p.m. Compared to all of the previous places we had been sleeping, I almost passed out when Stephan gave us a tour of his home. It was gorgeous, and only about a 5-10 minute drive into the center city. Sammi and I were told to get showered and clean up a bit because we were scheduled to go out to a French restaurant for dinner.  Yes, we were finally going to eat some delicious food on this trip!  The best part was, Stephan was treating us, so we did not even have to think about the last $300 dollars we had to spend between the two of us.  After our showers, Sammi and I needed to have a quick conversation about our new game plan. Stephan was only able to host us for the night because he was leaving for Las Vegas the next morning. We had no car, so we needed to figure out where our next destination might be and how we would get there. This conversation did not get very far, but we decided if worse came to worse, we would have him drop us off at a bus station in the morning. We were more focused on enjoying the night and a good dinner.
     The French restaurant was a small but vibrant place. Stephan was a good friend of the owner, so we received the best. Stephan started us out with some red wine and cheese plates, but needed to run out to pick up his girlfriend (who he needed Sammi and I to analyze and feel out). So Sammi and I sat drinking red wine, talking to the owner and his wife and mingling with Stephan’s friend Mick and company who had also joined us.  The red wine was flowing, the appetizers were delicious and Sammi and I were relaxed not even worried about where we were headed in the morning. As conversations continued, it was not long before everyone knew about our cross-country story. They were amused but nervous about our bohemian attitudes of being able to find our way to San Diego somehow. Then, out of nowhere, Mick spoke up.
“Me, my brothers and a few friends are heading to Utah tomorrow to camp at the Dessert Rocks music festival. Do you want to come?”
Sammi and I looked at each other and within a second both replied,
“Sure, we’ll go!”
     So it was set, in the morning, we would gather some camping gear and be off to the Dessert Rocks music festival with Mick and company. Utah was indeed closer to San Diego than Denver, so we figured what the heck, why not?
     Sammi and I were even more relaxed now that our next destination was set. We spent the rest of the night, ordering bottles of red wine, delicious French food, meeting Stephan’s girlfriend and having great conversations with different people throughout this active restaurant.  All and all it was a great night and we had a lovely time….
 Cute couple we met at the bar, Mick, Sammi, Stephan and Me
 Owner of restaurant, this guy was very amusing!
     The next morning, Mick was at Stephan’s house by 10 a.m. We had a few stops to make such as the grocery store for supplies for the next 3 days, and Mick’s brothers house to pick up camping equipment. Since Sammi and I jumped on the camping band wagon, Mick, her and I would have to drive separately because there was not enough room in his brother’s car.  By 12 p.m., we were headed to Moab, Utah, which was about a 6 hour drive from Denver. It was nice to have a chauffeur, as Sammi and I got to sit back and relax throughout this entire drive. From the rain to the snow; the sunshine to the whirlwinds, this drive was by far one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken.  I will let the pictures tell the story….. 

     Around 6 p.m., we arrived in Moab Utah at the Desert Rocks Music festival. Desert Rules were as follows: No campfires, No fireworks, No weapons, No illegal stuff, No rock throwing off of cliffs, No dogs, No bad vibes. These rules gave us a good laugh, as everyone knew at a music festival,  these rules were made to be broken...
     It was rainy when we arrived and we were loosing daylight quickly, so we hurried up to find a camp ground and get settled in. The rest of the first night was spent walking around in the rain and checking the camp grounds and music festival. 
     The next morning we were awoken by the sun. I was happy the rain had passed and was ready to get a better feel for the scene. It was neat to see tents and tents for miles up and down the cliffs. I couldn’t believe how many people came to this desert party. There were round the clock bands playing and tons of characters to interact with at all times. There was such a high energy throughout this place. Immediately, I was absorbed by the entire scene, wondering why I had never been to one of these festivals before.  I began talking to people, exploring others campsites, wandering through the cliffs and dancing to the music whenever I felt like it. This place was magnificent and the beautiful views around the entire site were breath taking.  Sammi and I spent hours lying on the ground and talking to the clouds, as we listened to the music from the bands.  It was a very mind altering experience.
     I realized midway through the day that Sammi and Mick had certain chemistry together. Everyone knows in these situations, three becomes a crowd. I decided to give these two some space and let Sammi find me if she needed me. It did not matter much because I ended up hanging out with tons of other people, including Mick’s brother and friends.  For the most part for the rest of my time at the festival, I was a wandering spirit on my own. Looking back, I am happy about this, as it challenged me to be even more free and open.
            The day energy of this festival carries right into night, as the bands keep playing and people keep dancing.  The night was filled with hula-hoop fire dancers, light shows and just a bunch of crazy people walking around doing crazy things. The best part is at any time if you need a break from the mosh pits or music you can head back to your camp site, build a fire and hang out with whatever people end up joining you around it. This was part of the magic of this festival; everyone interacted with each other. It was a very welcoming and free atmosphere and I loved every minute of it.  I wandered around until I couldn’t wander anymore, until I ended up falling asleep. 

     The next day I was up early and ready to start all over again.  However, before heading to check out the bands we got to meet the people camping next to us Earl and his son. They came ready to camp in style with their R.V. and all. I was so jealous they had a bathroom, as the porter potties we had to use were gross.   After spending some time getting to know Earl during breakfast, he was happy to let us use his bathroom.  Earl was a very free spirited man who just could not seem to get his head out of the 60’s. Music festivals were the perfect cure for him. He was happy that his 15 year old son was finally old enough to join him. Earl was one of the parents who believed in letting kids experiment in front of him instead of behind closed doors, where so often kids get into real trouble.  Earl was a “cool” Dad that seemed to get along well with his son. His parenting techniques were new but refreshing to Sammi and I.
     After hanging out with Earl and eating breakfast, Sammi and I went down to the main area to check out the bands. However, my attention was quickly directed elsewhere as I watched this lady dancing freely inside her hula-hoop. As I watched, I knew hula hooping was something I needed to try. I loved the circular movements and how the hoop and body become one. I quickly walked up and began talking to this lady, asking her several questions. It was not long before I had tried hula-hooping, bought my first hula-hoop from her, and was wandering around the campsites hula-hooping and encouraging everyone I met to try. My hula-hoop became a great way to interact with people. To this day, I am still hula hooping and asking others to try. There is something fun and freeing about a person’s spirit when they are inside of a hula-hoop.  I spent the rest of this day hanging out in different campsites, talking to tons of people about tons of random things, walking through the cliffs and hula hooping until finally heading back to our campsite around sunset, ready for a bonfire. After a short bonfire, due to rain, Mick, Sammi Earl, his son and some other random people, all headed to listen to the bands and dance like crazy in the rain.  It got cold that night, but none of else felt a thing. We danced until close to sunrise and had a night none of us will ever forget.
            After passing out and sleeping until around noon the next day, it was time for Sammi and I to figure out where and how we were getting to our next destination. We had several people from the festival offers us rides that would get us closer to San Diego, but what we really wanted to do was go visit Stephan, who had a luxury sweet in Vegas. It did not take long for Sammi to use her charm to convince Mick to come along for the ride and the three of us where off to Vegas…


     The drive from Moab Utah to Las Vegas Nevada was about 6 hours. I spent most of this drive asleep, exhausted from the festival, as Mick and Sammi took over the wheel.  We arrived in Vegas around 6 p.m.  The entire scene was quiet opposite from the music festival. We went from being in the middle of nature to the middle of materialism. The strip was filled with elaborate resorts, trendy tourists and designer everything. Entering Vegas in our hipster dirty clothing, Sammi and I knew we would have to search through our bags and swap some outfits, so that we would be able to join Stephan in this in vogue life style.  
         We met Stephan at the Mandalay Bay Resort in his gorgeous sweet. His first comments towards us where, “You dirtballs all need to shower, clean yourselves up and get ready for dinner!”
       That is exactly what we did. Before I knew it the four of us where in a cab and off to explore Vegas and eat some dinner. Stephan took us to one of his favorite Italian restaurants, which to say the least was amazing!  This was the second good meal Sammi and I had eaten in two weeks. We spent hours enjoying red wine and enjoying incredible seafood and pasta dishes.  After dinner, we walked around Vegas enjoying the different resorts water shows and light displays before heading back to the hotel and falling asleep, again due to exhaustion from long drives and crazy music festivals.  


       The next morning we were all up bright and early. Sammi and I needed to figure out our next move as Stephan was heading back to Denver the next morning, and the two of us were running out of money and time, as I had to be back in Philadelphia in 3 days.  We also knew our awesome chauffeur Mick would need to head back to Denver the next day so he could get back to reality and work.  After checking the prices of buses and flights, Sammi and I made the smart decision to end our road trip in Vegas. We both had just enough money left to book our flights back to San Diego and Philadelphia.  Even though it would end our road trip 2 days early, we realized it was what we needed to do.  
     We spent the rest of the day by the Mandalay Bay pool swimming and laying the sun.  During this time, we got to meet another one of Stephan’s lovely ladies Amada, who I ended up really clicking and getting along with.  And so the 5 of us, hung out, drank Mimosa’s until around 4 p.m., when we decided it was time to shower and get ready for our last night out in Vegas.  

     Don’t ask me why, but Stephan, Mick, Sammi and I decided since we were in Vegas, we would spend our last night in a strip club.  None of us were gamblers, so we figured why not check out how good looking the Vegas strippers were in this city of royalness.  So we went, dressed to impress figuring that there would be a dress code for entering the club. We got in the taxi and not really knowing where to go, told them driver to take us to the best strip club in town.  Arriving at the strip club with no line and no dress code, we were worried that this driver might not have dropped us at the most classy place.  We were right as entering this club and observing the scene we quickly realized the Vegas strippers were not what we expected them to be. We spent about 15 minutes in the club, all of which I spent critiquing the strippers styles and dance moves with Sammi, before swallowing our pride and getting over the fact that we paid 10 dollars each to enter.  We decided we were much better off going back to Mandalay Bay and checking out the nightclub there, where Amana and her friends were already off to a good time. 
     The scene at Mandalay Bay was much better, as everyone was dancing, gambling and having a great time. We spent the rest of our night around this casino dancing and talking to people.  It was obvious that people go to Vegas to PARTY, so that is exactly what we did on our last night.  Many of the glances Sammi and I exchanged said it all. Our two-week road trip cross-country did not go according to plan, but all in all we had a great time.
     The next morning we were up bright and early and Sammi and I said our goodbyes as she headed back to San Diego and I headed back to Philadelphia. From good friends, bottles of red wine, bubble tea, the St. Louis archway; to random pool games, fireworks and kind free spirited artists; to our car breaking town in the small town of Burlington Colorado and becoming hitchhikers; to meeting new people in Denver and ending up at a music festival in Moab Utah; to partying and fine dining in Vegas, all and all our road trip cross country is a trip Sammi and I will never forget.