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Visiting Dawn in
Las Vegas

Visiting Dawn and her family in Las Vegas

Leaving Oregon
Leaving Oregon's Fir Covered Slopes

Although Oregon and Nevada are adjoining states, it took me two days to traverse the vast open spaces between Roseburg, Oregon and Las Vegas, Nevada. For awhile I traveled south near the old Oregon Trail which brought tens of thousands of pioneers to the Pacific Northwest in the late 19th century. The hills were so steep that the pioneer's oxen could not always pull the covered wagon up the slopes. Family furniture and other heavy items were often left by the trailside. Sometimes the oxen died while climbing and the family would only be left with what they could carry on their backs.

 
Highway 50 Across Nevada
America's Loneliest Road - Highway 50
Desert Floor
A relentless sun bakes the desert floor
 
Canyon Shadows
Canyon shadows at the days end

MMy journey was long but not arduous. I stopped often to take pictures, contemplate the expansive view and relish in the solitude of the open desert. Frequently I would drive 100 miles or more without seeing a town or gas station. Unlike the early pioneers no hill was too steep nor any distance too far for my car and I to travel. Country music singers Martina McBride and Faith Hill gently sang to me while fresh coffee kept me alert to the ever changing scenery I was passing through. The sun was bright, but in the high desert in September, the temperature barely broke into the 80's.

Dawn's children: Ethan and Karah McCullough

Dawn and Karah
Karah and Dawn

Dawn has two children, Karah and Ethen. She is married to Matt McCullough whom she met while living in Colorado Springs. Karah, pictured to the left, was born on October 5th, 1997. Nathan was born on June 17th, 1995. Dawn first saw this world on September 7th, 1975 in New Haven, Connecticut. Dawn is my brother Larry's the second oldest daughter.

I arrived in Las Vegas one day before Dawn's 29th birthday. The next morning I rose early and found a flower shop where I purchased two dozen, lovely yellow and pink, fragrant roses for Dawn. Christopher was staying with Dawn and we agreed to meet around 1 in the afternoon. Las Vegas is a town that is more alive at night than during the day. Dawn and her roommate Debby work until the early hours of the morning and then sleep until noon.

 
Christopher, Debby and the pets
Christopher, Debby and the pets

Dawn's younger brother, Christopher, moved from the Colorado Springs homestead to Las Vegas, early in the summer of 2004. His birthday was January 16th, 1981 which made him 23 at the time of my visit. He left behind his older brother Ricky and his youngest sister, Susan. All were originally born in New Haven. They lived in Fair Haven, Connecticut until their Dad, my older brother Larry, decided to go west in the early 1980's. Debby also came from the east by way of Michigan. It seemed like almost everyone in Las Vegas was from somewhere else. It was an easy place to be anonymous.

Family Photos

Dawn and Family Members
Left to Right - Christopher, Tim, Ethan, Dawn and her husband Matt

This was the first time I visited Las Vegas and I did not like it. The neighborhoods in north Las Vegas were often set behind 10 foot walls which turned the wide streets into canyons. At night the sidewalks became a no mans land and were deserted. The people who worked in the bars, casinos and strip clubs lived here. Alcohol and drugs were prevalent as was the palpable fear of crime that hung over the walled neighborhoods.

Dawn, like her younger sister Susan, is a cat lover. She also has a cute little dog that sometimes acts like a cat. He curls up in his own chair, is protective of his territory and gets along well with the real cats.

 
Tri-Color Cat
Comfy on a cat quilt

Visiting Las Vegas was like watching an Alice in Wonderland show. Nothing seemed quite real. Sometimes people and places appeared one way but were actually 180 degrees different. I visited a Greek Temple which held not a statue of a deity but contained a den of inequity. The marketing phrase "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas" rang true. Many people behave in ways here that would shame their parents, brothers, sisters and other folks back home. Despite all the glitter of the city, poverty of soul and worldly goods was widespread. I never felt comfortable in Las Vegas and was glad when my visit was over.

 
Dinner Time?
Is dinner ready yet?
Dawn's Home
Dawn's pet dog
 
Dawn's Home
Dawn's home in Las Vegas

The afternoon turned to evening as the September sun dipped below the western horizon. The lights came on in Las Vegas and the city started to awaken from its daily slumber. Dawn and Debby had to prepare for work. Matt soon left with Ethan and Karah and took them to his home. I gathered my belongings, gave everyone a hug and said good-bye.
The next morning found me climbing through the desert north of Las Vegas. I was headed to Salt Lake City via the vastness of Nevada and the red rimmed canyons of Utah.

 
Open Road
Back on the open road...
Red Rock Canyons
Ascending a red rock canyon road

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