Friday, March 30, 2012

Vegas Vacation

It came from out of the blue. Hit my cell phone while I was having dinner with Sean one Wednesday night - maybe six or seven weeks ago. In short, it said that I had been invited to a wedding. Well, that's not true actually. Carrie had been invited to go her friends' wedding, and Kristi (the said friend) had made a point of writing my name on the envelope.

Who am I to say no? Carrie - looking beautiful at a wedding. The bride suggesting that I be the "guest." Me, getting to rock a nice suit. Food. Drinks. Dancing. Fun!

Oh yeah, and did I mention it would all take place in Las Vegas?


This was the part where I was going to complain about American Airlines.  And flying.  And Delta Airlines.  But really, who cares about plane troubles? We got there safely, and it's the destination that counts!  It's not like the pilot went off the old reservation of something.

Touchdown had us off and running quickly, into a rental car (Huyndai, not bad) and onto the Strip, where in no time we had checked into the ab-so-lutely spectacular ARIA Resort and Casino. I can't recommend it highly enough - from the fact that the casino did not smell like an ash tray, to the shops, to the restaurants, to the room and all of its amenities, it was a first class place (that did not break the bank). We soon dashed off to meet a classmate and friend of Carrie's at Hash House a Go Go inside of the Imperial Palace. Now, I should tell you that this restaurant is a chain with six locations, and more to come. I should also tell you that Carrie and I ate at the one in San Diego in January, 2011 (look for the picture of the bacon waffles). And the person we had dinner with - the friend and classmate of Carrie's, is none other than the owner of this fine chain! Oh, and the food is so good.
Chicken? Meet waffles. Now meet Rob. Enjoy! I would have recommended it before I ever met the man. Now I'll recommend it even more.

The next day, we hit the road for the brand new Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (aka Hoover Dam Bypass).  Holy cow but what an impressive site it is, and it allows for an even more stunning view of the Dam (or as Beavis would say, "is this a God Dam?").
We would drive down there also, stopping where old US 93 stops (you can't go any farther on the old road, for security reasons).

On our way back into Nevada (leaving Arizona and Mountain Time Zone), we were stopped on US 93.  Slammed into a long line of traffic.  It seems some guy named Obama was in Boulder City and that slowed us down, and eventually detoured us around Lake Mead - in the end, all good.  The rest of the day was spent goofing around in various casinos, figuring out where and what to eat, and enjoying Las Vegas.

The following day was Kristi and Jared's wedding.  I have no problem telling you that they are a fairly perfect couple, and I was thrilled to be at their party.  Hey, if one could find a complaint, it was that the evening was so nice and it ended too soon!  It was surprising to hear the DJ say that the last song was coming.  I wish them so much love, happiness, and laughs in their life ahead.  I can't help but believe true love still exists.

Oh, but I failed to mention a little thing over at the Mirage (I walked through so many casinos!) called "Love."  Or more importantly, The Beatles' Love!  Now I didn't go see the show (ticket prices are high) but I looked around at all that they had there, including the shop where I bit the bullet and picked up a few trinkets.
Here, 50 years after they began to hit, the Fabs continue to dominate and amaze.  That's probably a topic for another time.

Friday began at Hash House again, but this time at the location on Sahara (ah, the streets that are named for the older - and demolished - casinos).  More waffles for me - the plates are crazy big but the food is amazing.  From there, it was a long drive into the desert, this time on US 95, California.

OK, it's only 56 miles, but those are some long and boring miles at times.  Granted, you can do 75 on them (yes, that's the speed limit, folks), but still!

That is, until you hit the town of Searchlight, then 25!  But what a charming town it is, with a general store, casino, and McDonald's, along with the turnoff onto the Joshua Tree Highway, which carried us back into California, and onto I-15, where I drove us back to Las Vegas.

That took us to our last night with more dinner, more walking (more blisters on my feet), and eventually to sleep to get ready to come home.

Saturday involved more driving, more food, and time at the Rio casino.  Not the best casino - at all - but an OK way to grab a final meal and waste a few more dollars.  And by that point, I had a serious case of end of vacation blues.  Just sad.  Things on my mind.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.
And back to New York we went.  I feel like I've been adjusting to the time change ever since.

I guess there should be more to say about this trip, but I seem to be doing the "brevity" thing.  More stories at another time, perhaps.

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