Sunday, September 11, 2011

A river runs through it

This afternoon I set out for the Strip to play some poker. I knew we had just had an extremely heavy rain--perhaps the hardest I've ever seen it rain in five years of living here--but it had been brief, so I didn't think flooded roads would be a problem.

I needed to stop at my bank first to make a deposit, so I headed down 7th Street toward Charleston, where the nearest U.S. Bank branch is located, rather than going toward the interstate. Above is what I encountered at Bonneville, about three blocks south of my apartment. That orange thing bobbing by the law firm's sign is a construction barrier thingy, which had been floating vertically in this river until just before I managed to start shooting. In fact, the strange sight of it bouncing along in the current is what made me pull out the cell phone and try to record it. (I forgot to turn off the radio. Sorry.)

I chickened out and didn't try to cross this torrent. I've seen way too many video clips on the news and online of people stupidly getting themselves stranded by venturing into water the depth of which they could not know. I turned around and headed east to Maryland Parkway, hoping that our city engineers would have better drainage on the major arterial roads.

The Bonneville river, however, was still looking about the same as it had been at Maryland--maybe even a little deeper and definitely wider. But before turning onto Maryland, I was able to watch five or six other cars traverse the stream, and they all made it without stalling. I even saw a Ford fording!

So I gingerly crept through. I thought that with that I was done with the street rivers, but no. Essentially all of Maryland was covered in an inch or more of water for the next two miles, and every intersection was pretty much like the one at Bonneville. A couple of them had police cars parked nearby, but the officers weren't doing anything except watching. So I tiptoed through them, thinking each would be the last. I believe that if I had to list the three deepest bodies of water I've ever driven through, all three of them would be from today. Seriously.

Between the slow driving and some going out of my way to avoid the very worst spots, it took me nearly 45 minutes to get to Mandalay Bay.

I shoulda just stayed home. What I had intended to be a hit-and-run session actually turned out to be more like a get-hit-and-run-over session.

In Vegas, the river is not your friend--either on the felt or on the streets.

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