Gonzo fans can now recreate the psychedelic road trip from Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. (Mescaline, high-powered blotter acid, and cocaine saltshaker not included.)
CarRentals.com, owned by Expedia, has mapped the coordinates from this iconic 1970s book, with 10 pit stops from Los Angeles to Las Vegas that include the Pioneer Saloon, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Flamingo, and Circus Circus Hotel. No, you can’t stop in bat country.
The total trip can take 6.5 hours crossing 346 mils. Here is the map.
Thompson took this route before Fear and Loathing was written, as the book was inspired by the travel involved during two magazine assignments from Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated. Thompson and his attorney, the Chicano activist Oscar Zeta Acosta, traveled from L.A. to Sin City during March and April of 1971 to cover the killing of Mexican-American TV journalist Rubén Salazar and the annual Mint 400 desert race.
Fear and Loathing is rooted in autobiographical incidents, tracking the story of journalist Raoul Duke and attorney Dr. Gonzo as they travel from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on assignment. Duke’s intent to work becomes overshadowed by an intent to trip balls in the City of Lights. Does he still get his work done? Yes, he does. Thompson himself was notorious for working under the same boozy and drug-hazed circumstances.
In Fear and Loathing, Duke’s odyssey to chase the American Dream reveals the failures of the 1960s countercultural movement. However, a recreation of this road trip does not need to be as culturally charged for you and your travel companion. All we suggest is traveling with the Thompson mantra: “too weird to live, too rare to die.” And in true Gonzo journalism fashion, blur the line between reality and imagination, because road trips have the power to reveal pieces of ourselves we never knew were there.
“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas.”
I’ll leave you with this motivational speech to pack up the car and ditch town:
“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
Make your Fear and Loathing road trip extra savage by renting a red 1971 Cadillac Eldorado convertible and don your favorite yellow aviators, visor, and party shirt.
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