Brett Stanley

Commercial Advertising + Fashion Photographer
(Los Angeles & New Zealand)

info@brettstanleyphoto.com
USA +1 818 751 9705
NZ +64 (0) 21 711739

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Buy the ticket take the Ride

Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.

Mr Hunter Thompson had the right idea there, the only way you can drive to Vegas is like a bastard since it’s a bastard of a drive.

I landed at LAX without event. I managed to get some sleep and only watched one in-flight movie (American Gangster, awesome.), which was good since every movie I put on my laptop before I left was in the programme and I was counting on them for the jet lagged nights ahead.

I got to the car rental place and picked up the SUV. Figured out how to drive on the right again and took off into LA to drop some bags off at a friend’s place in Hollywood.

I am pretty good when it comes to organising a trip, spending time getting maps together and which place to see and were to stay etc, but I’m a dumb-ass when it comes to the actual trip because i don’t print anything out! I forget that it’s all on the internet and that I don’t have wireless in the car. Stupid.

So I head in to LA with the crappy little map i got from the rental place that only shows the major roads and try to navigate from memory. After a few hairy turns into on coming traffic I make it to Hollywood and proceed to drive around in circles looking for the street I need because it’s actually off Hollywood Blvd not parallel like i think. I end up calling the place and getting directions not once but three times because I’ve had little sleep and I keep taking wrong turns.

So after 12hrs on a plane, I drop my bags off at Dan’s place and start to head off to Vegas. It’s about 5pm now and I think it’s about 4hrs to Vegas so I should be there by 9.30pm, no problems. I ask the guys who live upstairs from Dan and they think I’m crazy. Apparently there’s about 2hrs worth of traffic just to get out of LA, and THEN another 3 hours of driving so they think about 1 am I’ll get there. I think I’d rather be driving than wasting a night at the hotel so I set off. Without a proper map.

So after heading the total wrong direction for about an hour, I turned around and took the unmarked exit off the highway (damn you USA Signage!) and headed back towards Vegas. After a eyeball melting 4 hrs I managed to make it across the border into Nevada and could see the lights of Sin City off over the hills in the distance.

Actually it was mainly one light I could see:

The huge spotlight on the top of the Luxor Pyramid!

So I made it to my hotel around 1am which was pretty spot on but I was ready for bed. The next day I had to get up for a tour of the Neon Boneyard, where the old casino signs come to die.

It was amazing, total time warp.

The colours and letters just stood out in the desert sun.

I could have played here all day.

All the signs had been donated and were starting to be restored.

I prefer them like this.

Seriously, who throws a shoe?

The other hightlights were the Stratosphere tower…

… where you can see all of Vegas laid out and lit up.

I also went and saw the Cirque Du Soleil show “O” at the Bellagio. It was absolutely mind blowing! An hour and a half of acrobatics, stunts, fire tricks, trapeze, music and a million litres of water all mixed up with visuals that I never thought were possible. Truly amazing, check out the trailer.

After winning few games of Blackjack and abusing the room service menu, Ralphie and I left town and headed to Death Valley.

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