Vacation Day 14: Leaving for Las Vegas

Yes, Rich did happen to wake up today.

Breakfast was at the IHOP attached to the hotel.  Rich had a bad experience at an IHOP a long time ago, but it was the only thing close by.  I had stuffed French toast, Rick had a bacon omelet, and Rich went for an omelet as well.

We got packed and took things down to the car in the parking garage under the hotel.  I went to the lobby to check out.  When I returned an older gentleman in a Route 66 camp shirt was getting into his vintage Corvette.  He fired it up with a very loud noise.  Rich gave him a thumbs up as he drove past on his way out.  The gentleman waved.  It was the start of his adventure on the road called Route 66 all the way to Chicago.

We got out and headed over to the building where the Naughty Dog gaming company had their offices.  Rich and Rick jumped out at the light to go take a picture of Rick on the premises.  I found parking around the corner and took a few minutes to let them know to walk over to where I was.  Another item on the to do list was checked off.

We got onto The 10 with no problem.  Traffic soon became typical for LA and slowed way down.  We did this until the split where The 10, The 5, The 405, and a bunch of other feeders all broke off to go their own way.  It was smooth sailing out to The 15 from there.  The 15 leads you out into the desert toward Victorville, Barstow, and eventually Vegas.

I had done most of the work for Motorola up here.  I love the desert out this way.  It was good to see the area again and think about all the adventures while I was here.  I saw a lot of the sites I had been at, including the mountaintop ones that were treacherous to climb.

We stopped for gas and drinks in Barstow before heading in the empty space between there and Las Vegas.  The wind was blowing things around, including us, and the temp was climbing into the 90s by then.  Then we were off into the desert, without a camel.

Our first stop after the desert was Hoover Dam.  We got parked and found out that the tours were sold out.  We did the self-guided tour, which allowed us to do everything but the generator room.  We went through the exhibit on building the dam and then out on the observation deck first for a good look at the structure and the river.  From there, we walked down one side of the dam and then crossed over to walk back.  It was hot out there.  But then you remember the guys building the dam in the 1930s and the fact that there was no air conditioning at the end of the day. 

We walked back to the spillway to see the structure that handles the overflow.  It was impressive.  I wondered why there were no skateboards in there.  It was a good place for skating.  I guess that would be frowned upon by the authorities.  We took lots of pictures and I got a postcard for my kitchen display.

Next, we headed into Las Vegas proper.  We got to our hotel, The Flamingo,without much trouble.  It took a little bit to figure out how to get into the actual hotel.  It definitely wraps around itself.  Once I got to the check in desk, there was a very long line.  I took my place and watched the people go by.  There is one of everything in Vegas.  I couldn’t classify them all using my usual chart for people watching.  The hotel even allows dogs inside with a special place for them to go for their duty!

After 30 to 45 minutes, it was finally my turn.  I got my cardkeys and a map of the place.  No, there was no cart to bring up luggage with.  We had a lot of things to get upstairs and it was not going to be pretty to do.  We stacked up suitcases, packs, along odds and ends and made the trek to the elevators and then to our room. 

The first thing was the noise.  There were jackhammers running right under us.  I called the Guest Services to see when the noise was scheduled to stop.  They told me they didn’t know since they didn’t understand why it was still going on at 6:30 PM.  She assured me they were working on it.  Thanks, Alex.  You recommended the place. 

We went down to the buffet to eat before striking out on the street.  The flamingoes were in the garden eating and generally entertaining guests.  We could see them while we wait in line.  Two gentlemen in front of us started up a conversation.  They wanted to guess where we were from.  One guy was Indian and the other an American.  They threw out Indiana, but I believe they had been listening to me talk before they started a conversation.  My guess is the Indian gentleman knew something of linguistics and was using it against me.  That’s fine.  We had a good conversation before we got seated.

After dinner, we went out to walk the strip.  First, we went to the Bellagio to watch the water and light show.  It was impressive.  Then we walked down to The Venetian so I could see the canals.  While we were looking, The Mirage lava show went off and we watched from across the street.  We could feel the heat from here and there were people right under it! 

As we walked down the street, it became a wave of people surging against us.  We felt like salmon swimming upstream to spawn.  Later, we figured that the crowd was coming from the pirate show at Treasure Island trying to get down to The Mirage for their show. 

After seeing the canals, I was trying to find out from Rich what we should see.  It took a bit to get that the Grand Shoppes in The Venetian had an interesting motif.  The shop area was arranged as squares in Venice with painted skies above.  One square even had an evening sky at dusky.  That was truly awesome. 

We then decided to go back to the Flamingo, where we were staying.  But we couldn’t find the exit!  The hotels are all set up to take you through the casino floor to allow you access to anything else.  We found an HP convention in The Venetian, but it appeared to be all Japanese attendees.  Finally, Rick found the hotel front desk and we made our escape out the doors.

Walking in the street wasn’t much better than before.  It was crowded with a lot of pushing and stopping.  And the cigarettes and cigars!  I could only cough and try to stay away from them.  I grew up in a house with a smoker (my Dad). But once he stopped, the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke only makes me nauseous.  I can stand some pipe smoke though.  My grandfather was a pipe smoker and it brings back good memories when I smell it.

Back at the Flamingo, the jackhammers had stopped!  I wanted to log in and try to post Day 13.  Rich tried to log in with his Nook and found out that they were charging $14.95 to connect!  No way.  I could wait for a free WiFi connection the following night. 

So we fell exhausted into our beds.

It's me doing another Rose pose in front of the Hoover Dam!
It was a long way down, but the water looked so beautiful. It was really dam hot one up here.
Rich and Rick walking across the Hoover Dam. It's a little bit of a walk in the heat.
I was across the street from our hotel, The Flamingo, to get this shot.
Just an example of the water and light show at the Bellagio. It was beautiful and the choregraphy with the music was great.
Rich and I were having a good time in Vegas so far.
The canals were beautiful. One girl even stopped her gondola to seranade the crowd.

Rich and Rick with the stone beauties at the fountain in The Venetian.

We were across the street, but you could feel the heat from the water being pumped with the flames for the lava show at The Mirage.