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Published: August 20th 2012
In reverse order, of course...
Ellie has been doing some catching up, & I thought it would be good to link to her blog
, much more photo-based than mine - see http://www.americatrip2012.tumblr.com
- a pretty good reflection of some of the fun we've had so far. It's hard to believe, but we are only half-way through this adventure - a shattering trip, but we're seeing so much it's a shame to slow down so we won't !
Before leaving our cheapie Lake Havasu Travelodge, we finally managed to catch up with Granny & Grandad on Skype - great technology !
We liked the City, despite it being darned hot and kind of in the middle of nowhere - & headed up to the interstate...then took a bit more of the old road, good old Route 66 north towards Oatman. What a treat! Like driving on the moon, and for many miles, not a soul in sight :-)
Oatman is famed for a few things......a former mining town, it was the honeymoon location Clark Gable chose in 1939 with Carole Lombard.....it came on hard times, but now has many wild burros that roam the streets for the
few tourists that make it there. What's more, we arrived late morning, and at noon they shut the main road (no great shakes with the low level of traffic!) and held a mock gunfight ! A bit cheesy, but helping raise thousands of dollars for charity, and entertaining enough.
The old stores were actually very nice to peruse - how often do you find a store with a real Saguaro Cactus shooting out through the roof ? the folk friendly and a good source of a few gifts.
After a pleasant hour or so roaming there, we headed on north out of town.....again, moonscape country, hard to believe that was once the main road west, twisting & winding up & down the mountains.
100 miles later we were heading over the new interstate bridge over the Colorado: I hadn't realised that one no longer drives over the Hoover Dam - the risk of terrorism is too great, hence the new & impressive bridge.
Instead, you drop back down from the Nevada side to park up and take a wander around. Hot hot hot (again!), but the visitor centre was interesting.
Funnily enough, they didn't make
too much of the 112 folk who died (or the fact that the 42 who died through carbon monoxide poisoning were marked as having pneumonia, just to avoid unnecessary payouts to families.....)
Nor too much about the tide mark the users of the water appear to be causing....& how many of you know it was "christened" the Boulder Dam when completed in 1936? It was only formally renamed Hoover Dam in 1947, after Herbert (the president, not J. Edgar, the more famous FBI dude!) had left office.
Still an absolutely amazing
feat of engineering, and a truly beautiful structure with classic Art Deco trimmings!
& on to the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world....
Las Vegas....the city of Lost Wages......Sin City.
We followed TomTom, nervously wondering whether we would make it to our humble lodgings....and sure enough, we got to the MGM Signature Hotel, to rise to suite 12-814 in Tower 3 - what a space !
A full-on apartment, with huge bedroom & lounge (sofabed), each with large flat panel TV, kitchen area, massive master ensuite (whirlpool bath, shower, two large areas with his'n'her sinks, plus another shower room, even a small balcony
with views (at a stretch!) of the MGM Grand on the strip: everyone was very happy !
We unpacked a bit, then headed out to see some of The Strip: busy place, made it to Caesars Palace to dive into The Cheesecake Factory for a nice dinner, then up a bit more to catch the Sirens of the Deep at Treasure Island: widely disparaged by the family who expected a bit more Pirates of the Caribbean + Monkey Island.
Heck, some folk are hard to please with a free show....although the original one that I remembered was much
better - watch that one for yourself on YouTube - search for "Treasure Island Pirate Fight").
Finally a slow walk "home". Sat 18th - Day 15
Saturday dawned and we took the morning to do some laundry (we know how to live!).....relaxing, reading, then heading poolside for a swim later - we found the main MGM pool area to be hideously hot & busy, so went back to enjoy the relative calm & privacy of "our own" pool - nice & relaxing, albeit still roasting in the 100+ heat!
Later, a couple of hours over at
an outlet mall, followed by some time at Fremont Street - quite some overhead musical lightshow they put on, with American Pie followed later by Bon Jovi....
....& then a live band (on their retirement tour?!!) - Survivor ! We listened to a couple of loud tracks none of us knew & realised it could be an hour before they hit Eye Of The Tiger, so gave up and headed back.
Caught some of the Ballagio Fountains whilst parked on the Strip :-) Sunday 19th - Day 16
Another hot one, we had a final wash load to slip in (great facilities here!). Quick run in the already baking heat to Walgreens for some supplies and time to rouse the kids. Therein lies a challenge: think the holiday is taking it's toll!
I'm loving this apartment more & more....our concierge is able to print our tickets for Beatles Love show later, saving us a big queue at The Mirage later! Ahhh...or so they said on the phone....then they couldn't. Hey ho.
We had a wander through the MGM Grand, then over to New York for some daft arcade games: Stephen showing his stuff on
guitar hero. A rapid go on a mad simulator ride for him & me, then a chance for the kids to ride the 'coaster.
Bit of a hot hike down the Strip followed - thank goodness for the cool zone fans - dropping in to the Hard Rock Cafe (obligatory pin collection, they know how to sucker folk in!), Harley Cafe, then a rest & a FroYo....bliss.
Onwards to peruse Bellagio (briefly) before heading to The Mirage for our tickets. They thought they had already been printed but after a call to the Signature it was all sorted. Just time for a quick salad or burger (adults or kids, resp. !)....not to mention Stephen and his awesome Twinkie Milkshake......then in to the Show.
What a fantastic
show it is! Everyone felt it was astonishing and utterly spectacular. So much great music weaved into 90 minutes: Circ du Soleil have some amazingly acrobatic tumblers & high wire artists, and the evening was just brilliant :-)
Managed to catch the Bellagio Fountains properly on the way back, and an indoor thunderstorm too, so all in all, it feels like we "did" Vegas!
Oh, a final word: families, don't
take babies and toddlers to Vegas: it really isn't appropriate, and taking them to see the 10pm show on a heaving pavement at Treasure Island is just wrong ! Teenagers: okay, take a couple of days, get the experience over, then move on to better things. Just an opinion, of course..... Now to pack for an early start tomorrow
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