On the way to Vegas

The 2017 holiday began with a journey from New York to the capital of gambling.

Limited, student funds prevented us from renting a car, forcing us to make difficult decisions, having no more than 21 days to hitchhike to the destination.

The World Trade Center station seen from the outside, right in front of it is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attack.

Tourists hide from the scorching sun in the shade of trees next to Brookfield Place. There are hundreds of hot dog stands on the streets that can be found on virtually every corner of New York City.

Tourists enjoy the views from the free Staten Island Ferry. This is one of the tricks to get to the Statue of Liberty. The only people that waited inside the ferry were local residents.

The streets are full of diverse people, very expressive and usually smiling. Quite a rare sight in Europe, especially in its central part. The last photo shows an emergency exit on the side of a block of flats in NYC. They are criticized for poor construction, destructive elements and rust.

Times Square is full of oddities, people trying to hand you flyers, street musicians and unusually dressed animals. In such a crowded place, filled with locals and tourists, almost anyone who wants to express their opinion can reach a whole lot of people.

It was getting darker and darker, time to escape the park, sleep and hitchhike to Las Vegas. Some places in New Jersey, on the way to the overnight stay, brought to mind rap music clips from the early 2000s.

One of the first people who took us hitchhiking was John. Before saying goodbye, he asked if we wanted to go to the Butch Ross concert with him. A few hours later we were listening to the folk sound of music (with John on the left).

After the show, John took us home where we spent the night. In the morning he drove us back to Butch, who was headed for Pennsylvania. The day before, John had a long talk with Butch, convincing him to give us a ride.

Along the way, Butch and I stopped at his parents' house, where we got a taste of life in a town called Dubois, Pennsylvania. The interesting thing was that the French name of the city is read "duu-bo-is" instead of "dee-bu-ahh". In this city, as in other US cities, there is a center for veterans with sculptures and memorabilia.

A few hundred miles later, after having lunch with a Mexican whose neighbor is a KKK member, being kicked out of gas stations for trying to hitchhike, and many hours in the sun, we landed in a small village where we were allowed to pitch a tent. The landowner said practically everyone here is dead, so no one answers the door.

We found ourselves at the largest trucking station in the USA thanks to a driver from Montenegro named Ned. He took us with him from Chicago, where it was supposedly very dangerous. Truck Stop shone with chrome trucks, colored LED lights and steering wheels of all kinds. Ned's truck was really old, its windshield full of insects collected in many American states. We arrived in Iowa mid-day.

On Sunday, Ned left us in Omaha for unloading. Nobody wanted to pick up hitchhikers on such a lazy day. After a couple of hours, the driver came back delighted that he had won a lot of cash at the casino mainly thanks to the luck we supposedly brought him. Our Montenegrin driver couldn't control his joy to such an extent that he decided to take us to Utah with him, offering food and accommodation along the way.

It seemed that the boring ride would never end. On the way, we passed small, non-touristy towns like Auburn. Despite the colossal boredom, such places were much more interesting than the interstates. Another day of boring driving in the lowlands of the central part of the USA ended with crossing the Wyoming state border.

A moment before the night we stopped at the station to refuel and stretch our bones. Soon after we reached Utah, which eventually became one of the most visited states by us. With Ned running out of supplies, he crossed Utah quickly to get home and rest.

After reaching the Salt Lake City area, we left our stuff at Ned's house and went out for a walk. As we put down our backpacks, we noticed packed suitcases, probably belonging to the wife Ned had just divorced.

We continued our journey with another trucker who believed that Alaska was not part of the USA but part of Canada. By the way, the driver was extremely depressed because he was returning with an empty semi-trailer after losing the load.

Saint George, Utah is one of the highlights of the entire trip. This is where we met Mexicans who became our friends, as well as Father Adrian from Poland, which turned out to be extremely useful in connection with the approaching Hurricane Katrina. Diana, who took us in, not only offered her home for a few days, but also showed the area , including the red rocks typical of St. George.

A few thousand miles from New York, we managed to reach the capital of gambling. The last moments were quite stressful, because you had to walk past dozens of tents with homeless people and addicts.

After visiting Las Vegas, it's time to visit the national parks in the western part of the USA in a rented car. At the very beginning, Zion, which lies in beloved Utah. Links to albums below.