NERD ALERT! I’ve been scouring the internet doing loads of research, and that means it’s time… for a CARDIO TO VEGAS UPDATE! If you’re late to the party, no worries. Grab a chair and get comfy, and let me tell you all about it. Cardio to Vegas is my current cardio workout challenge. I’m logging the miles that I complete during each and every cardio workout, no matter what type, with the goal of amassing 274 miles – equivalent to the distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
I’m plotting my progress on a map, and every time I update that map, I look for fun, interesting, bizarre, or intriguing facts and stories about the city or town that I’ve reached. It’s the ultimate nerd endeavor, as it combines my love of trivia with my love of tracking my exercise efforts, so, really, I’m in hog heaven. I love putting these posts together, and I hope you get a kick out of reading them!
- My first post featured the story of a Fontana, California home that was reportedly built by notorious gangster Al Capone, as well as some impressive facts about the largest county in the United States.
- The second post explored the tiny town of Llano, California, which was once home to both a renowned novelist and a failed socialist commune.
Where did my cardio journey take me this time? Read on!
As of my last update, I had traversed 80.9 miles. To that, I can add:
- 7/8/13: 4.1 miles on the elliptical
- 7/10/13: 1.5 miles on the ARC Trainer
- 7/11/13: 1.6 miles on the elliptical
- 7/12/13: 6.0 miles total (.1 mile on the StairMaster, 1.7 miles on the AMT, 4.2 miles on a bike)
- 7/13/13: 3.6 miles on the elliptical
- 7/14/13: .1 miles swimming (part of my scuba class involved a 200 yard swim test. Every little bit helps!)
Add up the new miles and it’s 16.9. Add that to my previous total, and I’m up to 97.8 miles! The new 16.9 miles takes me north through the Victor Valley, through a string of cities and towns that nearly 400,000 people call home.
My exact stopping point is at the northern edge of the city of Victorville, along the 15 freeway. It’s partway between the Stoddard Wells Road exit, which you’d take to get to the Victorville Landfill, and the Dale Evans Parkway exit, which leads to the High Desert Juvenile Detention Center. Having those facilities as your neighbors must do wonders for your property values!
Victorville has a population of 115,000 and, not surprisingly for a desert town, it is hot there. Very hot. For the months of May, June, July and August, the average temperature is well over 90 degrees, with July being the hottest at a sweltering 99.
A list of notable residents didn’t include any names that I recognize, although Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for June 2010, Katie Vernola, hails from Victorville. Her turn-ons include “smart, responsible guys with nice smiles and can-do attitudes” and her ambitions include “being the best Playmate I can be.” So there’s that. If you wanna learn more about this beauty and see pictures of her boobies, click here (you’re welcome, loyal reader Pat).
Victorville has been in the news lately for being a southern California mass-transit hotspot. Some private developers are keen to build a high-speed bullet train from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and a few years back, they announced plans for a $5 billion project that would link Las Vegas to… Victorville. That announcement led to a lot of head-scratching, because that’s a ton of money to spend on a train that would only take you 2/3rds of the way, and dump you off in the middle of the desert. A later revision of the plan included an extension to Palmdale, another high desert city that’s technically closer to Los Angeles, but still 45 minutes away. There, passengers would be able to transfer to a different high-speed train, also still in the planning stages, that could bring them the rest of the way into the city. Don’t hold your breath for the bullet train to Vegas, though, as the final nail may have just been driven into its coffin. Despite having private backers, the project was said to have been reliant on obtaining a huge loan from the federal government, and, last week, that loan application was officially suspended indefinitely by the Department of Transportation. Bye bye, train!
Victorville’s biggest claim to fame might be its connection to one of the most acclaimed films ever made. In 1940, 24-year-old Orson Welles dreamed of telling the story of a newspaper mogul. First, though, he needed a screenplay. Herman J. Mankiewicz was perfect for the job: he had worked in Hollywood in over 15 years, often as an uncredited script doctor that fixed problematic screenplays (including the recently released “The Wizard of Oz”). Better yet, he actually knew William Randolph Hearst, Welles’ source of inspiration for this project, and had spent a lot of time at the Hearst Castle, as he was great friends with the nephew of Marion Davies, Hearst’ longtime mistress.
But there was one problem: Mankiewicz was a raging alcoholic. His drinking had already caused him to be banned from high-society events at the Hearst Castle, and Welles needed him to sober up and focus to get this script done. Welles’ solution was to send Mankiewicz to the desert for a few months, away from the temptations of the big city, with a producer to baby-sit him, until the pages were complete. They ended up renting a cottage on a ranch in Victorville, and it was there that the first two drafts of “Citizen Kane” were written.
One final fun fact about Herman J. Mankiewicz: he died on my birthday, March 5th, in 1953, 26 years before I was born. Two other famous men died on that exact same day, both Russians: Joseph Stalin and composer Sergei Prokofiev (best known for “Peter and the Wolf”).
Let’s take a look at how far I’ve come!
And here’s what’s still ahead of me:
With 97.8 miles under my belt, I’m 35% of the way to Vegas!
KEEP IT UP, DAVID!