Thursday, August 3, 2017

The traveling road show (2017)

For most of my life, Las Vegas, Nevada, has been a footnote.

In 2001, I spent part of my fortieth birthday at Treasure Island and beat the slots — the nickel slots, mind you — for the only time. My twenty-dollar payout was enough to finance a buffet dinner and a cocktail and that was somewhere between splendid and sublime.

Nine years later, while traveling from my home in Helena, Montana, to my in-laws’ house in Mesa, Arizona, I purchased a new pick-up truck. I had scoured the four corners of the globe for a black Nissan Frontier with a manual transmission and found one on a lot in Vegas.

With those two exceptions, Sin City has been Flyover Country, an afterthought, a place I’ve seen on television, movies, and postcards but rarely up close. For the past three days, however, it has been something more than that. It has been my home.

Thanks to my education-warrior-new-Masters-degree-packing wife, who starts a teaching position in Las Vegas this week, I am now a resident of the Silver State. As such, I hope to blaze new trails as a writer, a researcher, and a person who loves to learn and explore.

I know I did plenty of learning and exploring as a resident of Alabama. In my three years in the South, I immersed myself in the history, music, food, and culture of a different region and came away more educated. As I result, I was able to write more knowledgeably about Galveston and Chattanooga, the settings of two novels, and even places beyond Dixie that were suddenly within reach of a car.

Las Vegas presents even more opportunities. Located in the heart of the Southwest, it puts deserts, mountains, California, the Pacific coast, and nearly a dozen national parks in play. I look forward to setting at least a few future novels in some of these places.

In the meantime, I have a two-bedroom apartment to settle, a job market to test, and a vibrant city to explore. Inspiration awaits.


  1. Wow! Back on the Montana side of the world. I've been to Vegas once in the 80's. And my family and I are getting ready to head back to NC in May of next year. Have a great time exploring your new area.

  2. Thanks, Judy. It feels good to be back.