Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vacation Part 3 - Vegas

Its a really desolate drive from Phoenix to Vegas.  Its a few hundred miles of nothing but desert for as far as your eye can see.  Kinda like being on the ocean, just the opposite.  If you broke down out there you would be in serious trouble.  Especially at night.  There is no lights. 

Between Phoenix and Vegas there are 3 cities, Wickenburg, Wikieup and Kingman.  And Wikieup is a gas station.  If you count Nothing there are 4.  You've heard of Nothing, AZ.  Its aptly named.  I think its a ghost town now. 

A boring road trip to be sure.  There are some cool Joshua Trees, which is a mix between a cactus and a tree.  Some really pretty canyons, especially as you get towards the Hoover Dam.  But really, just hundreds upon hundreds of miles of nothing.  If you believe in over population you have not visited AZ.  You will surely feel your smallness on Rt. 93. 

Our side of the Hoover Dam was ok.  I was worried with the Security Check point, but we got right through.  The Vegas side however had about 4 miles of back up.  We decided then to take the Laughlin route back home. 

We should have gotten out and looked around but it was very crowded.  Maybe next time. 

Once past the dam you aren't far from Vegas.  First we stopped at Ethel M Chocolate Factory, I highly recommend a stop if you are visiting the area.  The tour is free and you get a free sample at the end.  Be warned, you will want to purchase more.  Fresh chocolate right off the line is so much better and different than the stuff sitting around for weeks in your local grocery. 

From there we went to the M-n-M store.  Sadly the free 4d movie was under construction but I have been before and its a really great movie for the kids.  A lot of fun.  Definetly a good stop while you are there.  And if you go right next door at the MGM Grand is the free Lion Exhibit.  Real lions, not the giant one outside.

 Then on the other side of the M-N-M store is the Coke Store.  We didn't have time to go in there; another thing to add to the list for next time.

Yea, its an elevator, how cool is that?  From there you take the walk way over the street to the NY NY.  We have stayed there before and really loved it.  The ground floor where the gaming is has a replica of streets in NYC.  The storefronts are actual eateries and store fronts.  The next floor has an awesome arcade with a roller coaster that goes through. 

At this point we headed to the hotel to check in.  We went swimming, then grabbed some dinner at the hotel.  The people there were incredibly family friendly.  I was amazed at how many kids were there, families of all sizes, we saw plenty with 5 or 6 kids in tow.  I recieved so many wonderful compliments on my family, it really warmed my heart.  I guess when everyone is a stranger its easier to let your guard down and be nice. Really wonderful people there.  Of course there were the crazies, but they are everywhere anyway.  A patron at the buffet told me I looked young!  And then the server told me it was healthy to have so many, and maybe I could have 8 more.  I really needed to be lifted up, it was nice to hear so many compliments back to back. 

We went out after dinner to Treasure Island to see the Pirate show.  Really recommend this.  The fire scared the kids, but it was 30 minutes of singing and dancing, fireworks, canons, ships sinking, high diving fun.  Did I mention its free?  Everything we did in Vegas was Free.  Except eat.  And we have to do that regardless. 

We got in the van to go check out the rest of the shows like the Fountains at the Bellagio.  When I say Fountains I mean, Niagra falls going the wrong way.  It was really FOUNTAINS.  We wanted to go to the Freemont Street Experience but the kids fell asleep.  So we went back to the hotel and went to bed.  Which was one of the best nights sleep I have had in a long time. 

The next day we took in some shows at the Hotel.  We saw Magicians, and Clowns, Acrobats and High Wire acts. The dh loved the magic show the best, but I was not close enough for pictures.

We played in the arcade for awhile, the kids had a ball.  They hadn't seen an arcade so big before.

Prizes were won all around, but sadly we had to head home.  But we have a list of things to do the next time we go. 

The ride home was a bit more scenic, we went through Laughlin.  We saw many Rainbows on the way. 

There are 2 in that picture.  The bottom one we could see span the whole sky.  And we saw a Dustnado.  I don't know any other way to explain it.  It was the biggest dust devil I have ever seen, it had 5 or 6 mini dust devils inside it, just like a tornado.

So there you have it, for the cost of 2 hotel rooms (with AAA discount) and gas and food (which we would have had to pay regardless of where we went) we had a fabulous vacation.  You don't need to spend a lot to have a lot of fun. 

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