Stop Twenty Four

Before we left Zion River Resort, Kathryn bought me a t-shirt befitting our experiences there. It says, “Lose Reception Gain Perspective.” How true, how true! We had no cell service and limited internet but were surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Zion. What is completely on the other end of the spectrum? Las Vegas, Nevada!

It seems like every inch of Las Vegas is wired. Buildings not only have signs and neon everywhere, they somehow become giant billboards lighting up the night sky to make it seem like daylight, and bright enough to be seen during the day. Back in the day, Las Vegas used 99 cent shrimp and 97% slot pay back to get visitors into the casinos. No disrespect intended to Frank, Sammy, and Dean. Of course there has always been THE shows! The attraction of shows hasn’t changed, but I must admit, I never heard of half the names advertised. OK I have heard of Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, Penn and Teller, and yes Donny Osmond is still alive and performing! But, after that? Now, the buildings themselves are an attraction. You can walk thru New York, Paris, (the Eiffel Tower twinkles at night like stars in the sky) and Italy. Or ride on the biggest observatory wheel in North America. (The High Roller, 550′ high, seats 20 per car, with a bar and bartender, and takes 30 minutes to rotate) Or in a gondola while being serenaded at the Venetian. (yes, Usher went too. In fact he became part of the attraction) You can twirl high above the city while dining at The Strat, watch the world famous fountains shoot almost as high as the Bellagio Hotel behind them, and visit Gold & Silver, the most famous pawn shop in the world. And that is just on The Strip!

Las Vegas was a good stop for us for what I will call “routine daily living.” We had some preventative maintenance done on the coach as well as fix an issue with some bay doors, on our way into town. We got the oil and transmission fluid changed on the Fit. Poor baby has been working extremely hard in the mountains on the trip so far. Usher had a groomer’s appointment and a vet’s appointment for his scheduled rabies shot. Kathryn and I both got needed haircuts. This is the stuff you just don’t think about when you are home in the same location every day, but on the road full-time, these are not always available. It was all available here, and so much more.

We stayed at the Oasis Las Vegas Resort, conveniently located just South of the Famous Las Vegas Sign on the southern end of the strip, but right next to I-15, so we could use that to avoid the congestion if we wanted to. This truly was a resort with every amenity you could ask for, including a concierge. We were here for nine nights which gave us plenty of time to do all of the above, visit the strip several times, go out to the Hoover Dam, do nothing, plus a few unexpected experiences. Our ratings: Kathryn 7, Paul 8 out of 10.

We added a new entry into “The Best Burger On The Trip” contest, from Fuku Burger, voted best burger in Las Vegas. For Kathryn, it tied for third place. For me it took a second place.

We visited Hoover Dam. We didn’t go down into the dam for the tour, but just drove across and up to the viewing area on the other side. It is still very impressive!

We discovered something we never heard of before, The Freemont Street Experience. FSE is a pedestrian mall and attraction in downtown Las Vegas. It occupies the westernmost five blocks of Freemont Street, including the area know for years as “Glitter Gulch.” This place is like Times Square on steroids! The streets are filled with street hustlers of every type. There are almost naked show girls wearing their plumes, Chippendales, also almost naked ladies in leather with whips, hancuffs, and chains, (I don’t know what you are supposed to do with these people) street performers who come to life if you put tip money in their basket, street hustlers with every type game of chance, people selling everything, others screaming about scriptures and the Bible. The blocks are lined with permanent buildings and legitimate businesses like bars, casinos and restaurants. In fact, there is one called The Heart Attack Grill, where you can eat for free if you weigh over 350 pounds. The waitresses are dressed like nurses and you have to wear a hospital gown to eat there. While all this is going on, music blasts from speakers overhead and from stages every few blocks with bands and DJ’s performing live. Above all this is The Viva Vision Light Show projected on the canopy that covers the entire area. As if all this wan’t enough stimuli, just below the moving laser light show ceiling are four zip lines where people fly overhead like Superman, arms extended out to the sides. I LOVED IT!!! I’ve zip lined before in New Hampshire and along Niagara Falls, but this was the ultimate zip line experience.

We Travel Not to Escape Life, But For Life Not To Escape Us! Anonymous

In Las Vegas, you can purchase any experience, (some of them legal) like skydiving indoors, rent an exotic car and run it on a race track, and the first and only Dig This! Dig This is “a giant sand box where adults learn how to operate construction equipment and can go play in the sand.” I chose the mini excavator so I could dig with the bucket and fill it in with the blade. I’ve driven a car, motorcycle, NASCAR on the Dover Magic Mile, snowmobile, jet ski, rode on a horse, been up in a hot air balloon, and been found by an Avalanche Rescue Dog, but this was a first for me!

On to Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

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