And finally, Las Vegas.
But first, the Four Corners.
We paid our four dollar admission in pennies, nickels and dimes of found change. We saw, we smiled, we spanned borders, we photographed.
And then we went to Vegas.
All of Katie's stories about the unbelievable heat of Las Vegas are undoubtably true. The heat was immobilizing. Nevertheless, we had an amazing time. Upon arrival I didn't know what to do with all my excitement over seeing Katie. I said ridiculous things, hopped around and was shamelessly giddy. Meanwhile, Katie spoiled us rotten. She made us roasted vegetable pita sandwiches with baba ghannoug for dinner, delicious. And she gave me her last fruit popsicle.
The next day we saw the Hoover Dam in all of its art deco glory.
Ted sported a child's sized plastic not-so-hard hat that I found on top of a trash can.
Later that evening, Katie took us to the Pinball Hall of Fame and handed us a roll of quarters. The word amazing doesn't do it justice, and neither do photographs.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is owned by a hero of a pinball aficionado, Tim Arnold, who donates all the proceeds to the Salvation Army. After paying nothing to get in, you may play the fully restored machines, art pieces in and of themselves, from the 50s through the 90s. The best part was Tim's handwritten blurbs taped to the front of most machines, detailing the behind the scenes scoop with all sentences ending in exclamation points. I will never look at a pinball machine in the same way again.
And then I stumbled upon Peppy. . .
And my heart nearly exploded with joy. A puppeted clown that you make dance by pushing buttons?? It was the only one I played twice.
The next day we went to Ronald's Donuts. Katie had searched the internet for Vegas' alleged "vegan donuts", and discovered Ronald's. We walked into a donut shop that looked like any other and my heart sank. No signs reading "vegan", "healthy", or even "soy" were anywhere to be found. I had resolved myself to be content watching Katie and Ted enjoy eating donuts, but then Katie told Ronald that she had read about his donuts and wondered which ones, if any, were vegan. ALL OF THEM, except the two trays of cake donuts were vegan, and they even had soy milk for your coffee!
(I had to get this one after Ronald pointed to it and said, "Soy cream filled donut?")
Delighting vegan tastebuds whilst stretching vegan waistbands. Heroes.
And then we went to the neon sign boneyard!
Katie didn't like the first tourguide we were put with, so she told him she forgot something in her car and that we would wait for the next group.
This guy was fantastic.
The Neon Sign Museum, aka: Boneyard is a non-profit organization that collects, conserves and exhibits neon signs from Las Vegas. Walking around the dirt lot they keep them in, our tour guide told us the histories of the signs and that of Las Vegas.
Ted pointing to his birthplace, Reno, Nevada.
For dinner we went to a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant, and had some of the best boba ever. Then we went home and watched many, many hours of Arrested Development. The whole experience was divine.