Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What happens in Vegas...., no really, WHAT happens in Vegas?

Well, we had kind of a weird day today, but it ended up working out great.   We had another rough night with Aldous not sleeping that well, but Michelle won somewhere between $5-15 (we still aren't sure on the exact amount but we are convinced she did not lose any money  :-) ) last night at the casino in the "Hacienda" so we woke up in good spirits, ready to take on the world...or at least pilot a minivan a couple hundred miles.  As it turned out, we did neither.  We had planned on visiting Hoover Dam, driving to Vegas, cruise down the strip just to see it (we've never been here before), and then head for Death Valley.  It seems as our travel plans never work out the way we planned, but always end up working out for the best (at least that's what we tell ourselves, because we always end up having fun! :) ). 

We headed over to Hoover Dam today and walked out on the new bridge to take a few pics.  We then drove over the dam to the other side to get a few pics from the backside of the dam.  It's funny, but being on top of the dam, it's underwhelming, but when you view it from afar, it's very impressive.  We also took a few shots of Lake Mead, which is just gorgeous.  The color of that water just seems to beg you to jump in....even from very far away or very high up.  :-)  We then jumped back in the car to head to Vegas, but a recurring problem made me decide we needed to do a little auto repair first.

Ever since I gave that guy a jump start back in Durango, CO, our minivan has these little episodes where it loses all electrical power and won't start.  I figured out that when we gave him a jump, somehow the connector to the positive terminal post had a piece of metal broken off that prevents it from being tightened enough to ensure a good solid connection that you need to start the van.  Since Durango, about every 10th time the car would not start, I would have to get out and jiggle it to get it to work.  Yesterday it started getting worse to the point it was happening every time we had to start it and I had to hold it on while Michelle started the van.  I had enough of this so we went to an auto parts store in Boulder, NV this morning and got some parts to fix it right there.  While we were doing that we realized we needed to do some laundry.  We found a nice clean laundromat literally right around the corner from the auto parts store and took care of that.  I also realized that we needed an oil change (just turned 5K+ hard miles since the last one), but there were no quick oil change shops in Boulder, so we headed for Vegas.

We arrived in Vegas and as we approached the strip Michelle started to get excited.  She said she could feel the energy coming off the strip as we approached.  Let me let you in on a little secret...Michelle likes to gamble.  :-)   I'm not really the gambling type, so I didn't really feel the energy Michelle felt, but I was curious nonetheless.  We hit the strip and it  was actually kinda cool, but I have never really had a desire to come to Vegas before (like I said, gambling has no appeal to me) and the cruise down the strip kinda confirmed that feeling for me.  I was glad we did it, but it almost seemed to be a bit of a let down.  Michelle commented that it all seemed "excessive," which is hard to argue with, but even though it did seem excessive,  I think I expected it to be even more "larger than life" than it was.  I'm sure that was partially due to the fact that this was a midweek afternoon.  I bet it's more impressive at night with all the lights glaring.

We finished cruising the strip about 3:30 and then I found a Jiffy Lube to get a quick oil change and I had them throw on some new wipers when Michelle pointed out they did not do such a great job in the snow storm at the Grand Canyon yesterday.  Just about the time they were finished Aldous needed a bottle.  By the time he was done with that, it was 4:30 and there was no point in hitting the road.  So, after a grueling 30 miles of travel, we got another $29 a night room at a HUGE hotel complex called "Circus Circus" right on the strip.  It was by far the cheapest one on the strip (actually, the cheapest anywhere in Vegas), so it was another easy decision.  We checked in and walked the 1/4 mile to our room.  I'm not joking, it felt that far.  This place is CRAZY.  Imagine if you took a big top circus, amusement park, an east coast touristy beach town boardwalk and a Casino, mushed them all together then put it on a 20-30 acre complex on the strip in Vegas and you would have "Circus Circus."  The inside of the Hotel/Casino/Entertaiment complex gave me the "larger than life" feeling I was expecting from Las Vegas in really is "over the top."  It's older and certainly not "posh" but the rooms are clean and in decent shape and the atmosphere is exactly what I expected from Vegas.  And any place that features in a James Bond film AND an Austin Powers flick is alright with me. :-)  If you are looking for a cheap place to stay in Vegas and are looking for the Vegas experience I don't see how you could beat this place.

After getting settled in the room, we all went and got a quick bite to eat, then headed for the acrobats show that was in the carnival/boardwalk like area of the hotel.  It was a short but entertaining show.  Definitely worth the price of admission (i.e. it was free).  We then decided to play some of the boardwalk games.  Both Isabella and Michelle won little stuffed toys (Bella actually won two), while I left the games area without a toy and a little less dignity as the only confirmed loser (Aldous technically did not participate in any of the games, though I did hold him while tossing a few rings :) ).  This hour of fun was a whopping $7 or so.   The look on Bella's face when she won those prizes was awesome.  After that it was back to the room to catch some ZZZZs, which I will be doing momentarily.  After initially being underwhelmed, I'm starting to enjoy the Vegas thing for what it is thanks to this place.  We are planning on getting up early to walk the strip before we leave...we'll see how that works out.  :)

Random funny moment of the day.  We were sitting at a stop light in the middle of the strip of Las Vegas with a giant pirate ship on one side of the street and a copy of Venice on the other side of the street and yet there were people on the sidewalk commenting and taking pics of our flower and bumble-bee covered mini-van like it was an attraction.  

We are light on pics today, but here are a few...

I love this old-style sign from the just screams "VEGAS!"

This is Bella after winning her first stuffed toy prize.  No, you are not hallucinating, she is wearing a totally green outfit with a big shiny sequined four-leaf clover on it.  If I ever take up gambling, I think I will get an adult sized version of this myself.  It seemed to work for her and I would not look out of place in Vegas judging by some of the folks we saw today.  :)

On top of the new bridge they built that overlooks Hoover Dam.

Pic of the bridge the previous pic was taken on.

The back side of Hoover Dam.  I really wanted to jump in that water. Bella said she wanted to swim in it, "as long as there are no sharks or fish that will eat my toes."

The front side of Hoover Dam.

Lake Mead.

Lake Mead on the backside of Hoover Dam.

Vegas from our Hotel Room.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Tell Bella I'm with her...I NEVER swim in places with sharks that might eat my toes!