Sunday, March 16, 2014

Road Trip 2014: Las Vegas

Day 5

On this day we elected to visit the Hoover Dam, which is a mere 40 minutes drive or so out of Las Vegas. Alan drove though; I had had quite enough of driving by this point and was glad of a day off. The Hoover Dam is very large and very impressive, it’s a wonderful piece of engineering. We did the full Dam Tour, which takes you inside the dam to view the water-driven turbines, and then into one of the vents that opens out half way down the dam wall. Here’s the view from the vent, showing the beautiful arch bridge next door:

We were amused by this part of the display inside the museum section. It seemed relevant ;-)

This is the view from the bridge, looking back at the dam.

Next to the bridge is the Welcome To Nevada Sign. There’s a similar one for Arizona on the other side, since the river forms the state boundary here.

Back in Vegas, we went for a walk along the Strip. The whole point of this road trip was to show Diane around Las Vegas, as she's never visited before. She wanted to see lights. I think we can provide that! We visited the Bellagio Shops and City Center. City Center is one of the newest parts of Vegas and contains some of my favorite buildings. They’re all angles; those towers are deliberately leaning.

A couple more Vegas shots - here’s Paris:

and Excalibur:

We finished the evening in The Pub at Monte Carlo. This advertised over 100 beers and turned out to be filled with NASCAR fans, since the race was in town this weekend, and they were doing a radio interview as we arrived with someone who we didn't know. They all dispersed once the interview ended and we enjoyed our meal in relative peace...

Day 5: 64 miles, none of them mine!

Day 6

We started the day at the Black Bear Diner up the road a bit, where we met friend Frank for breakfast. He turned up in his Model T Ford which was most excellent! Alan and I hadn't seen Frank in years, so it was good to catch up. After breakfast, he gave each of us a ride in his T which was a lot of fun. Here it is parked next to my Jeep:

We detoured back via Rio to buy some tickets, then drove over to the old part of town, and parked at the Golden Nugget. We spent a few bucks on the slot machines in here, since they're cheap! Or at least; you put a dollar in and get several turns, rather than one turn as in the newer casinos. We won just enough to lose it all again without feeling like we lost anything; except Diane who kept her $10 and bought us coffee :-)

We walked down the big covered archway through Fremont Entertainment District and checked out another casino or two, before driving back and parking the wagon for the day.

Then we took the monorail down to the Venetian, to have a look in the shops there. These are cool; there is an entire underground area that looks like Venice. They have canals outside too. Look at these gondolas! They are apparently 1/3 scale versions of the true Venetian ones, although they're big enough, so I wonder if they're maybe 1/2 scale ones.

We took a ride :-) We had a very entertaining gondolier.

A quick refreshment at The Rockhouse, before heading back towards the Bellagio to look at the fountains. Here's a few views of that area.

Finally, we headed towards the Yard House, a beery restaurant in The Linq, which is the newest bit of Vegas. At the end of the Linq there is this new ferris wheel called the High Roller; apparently it is bigger than the London Eye. Sadly it was yet to open; they were saying maybe in April but it has to run for 20 days without passengers to test the bearings. It wasn't yet moving at all, but it looks great.

Day 6: 20 miles.

Day 7

We had breakfast in the hotel (we had a twin-room suite with kitchen and living room, so could look after ourselves somewhat more easily than in a regular hotel room) before heading out to look at the southern end of the Strip. We started at New York-New York, since Alan wanted to ride the roller coaster. This is an old school roller coaster that wraps around the building.

I was somewhat nervous about riding it, but got on anyway... I coped with the steep downhills by pretending I was doing aerobatics.... but planes are a lot smoother than roller coasters, the jolting is what makes me cope with it less well... OK, I guess I enjoyed it; at least I can say I've been on it! Diane took the sensible route and remained ground side, playing the arcade machines :-)

We continued on south, towards Luxor which is the Egyptian styled hotel. Here's a view from inside the tram - sorry about the reflection but it's the only one I took with the pyramid from the outside!

And here's the scale of the Sphinx at the front; see the people walking in?

Inside, the pyramid is hollow. It's pretty impressive. I'm still not entirely sure how you would get to the hotel rooms, since normal elevators aren't going to work. Maybe they have steep escalators that run up the walls.

Above the entranceway, you can walk into the middle. I don't think the Egyptians had lit-up segments on their obelisks, mind...

We had lunch at the Slice Of Vegas Pizza, which had an entire vegan menu; awesome! Then we walked on through the Mandalay Bay casino, before getting the tram back towards our hotel. Here's a view of the Vegas strip by day, taken from the walkway alongside Tropicana Avenue:

We spent a relaxing afternoon by the pool and in our suite, before driving back to the Rio. Here's a shot of my wagon driving down the Strip, just to prove we did :-)

We had our dinner at the Royal India Bistro, which turned out to be the quietest place in Vegas, at least when we arrived! To be fair, we were probably a bit early for dinner, and the place filled up as we ate. We enjoyed a very nice curry. Then we wandered through the hotel to the Penn & Teller Theater, to see Penn & Teller's show. This was very good indeed, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

And thus finished our time in Vegas. We started very early the next morning to get back on the road, and that will be the next blog post...

Day 7: 5 miles

Vegas segment: 89 miles


Rob Edgcumbe said...

We must have been close to being there at the same time. I was in town for a couple of days covering Red Flag for the mag. Wish I had known at the time!

Jo Hunter said...

Damn! Ah well, another time.