Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Into Arizona

Our extra day stay in Las Vegas mean that we had to be mindful of the time we had left and we now really had to push on to somewhere in the Grand Canyon, which was our next planned stop.

After another hot night we could not resist having another cooling swim before we left Las Vegas. On our way out of the city, our trusty SatNav (Garmin iPhone app!) was constantly trying to get us to turn left to the east, but I’d decided a daytime tour along the Strip would leave a suitable impression, and it was worth the detour, as the children were amazed by the sights including the Eiffel tower, Pyramid, Sphinx, the giant Harley Davidson we had seen the night before, the New York buildings; they were snapping away on their iPod cameras.

Hoover Dam – The ‘Full’ Side – Click for Panorama

It was a short trip east to the Hoover Dam which is another incredible sight but it was again very hot, and appeared to have been the same for a few months as the water levels were many feet below the top of the spillway – even the mighty Colorado River which feeds the dam, has not been immune to the recent hot weather in the US. It is amazing to think that, once plans had been drawn up and agreements reached, it only took 3 years from first concrete laying to final concrete and power generation – all of this happening during the great depression of the 1930’s. We parked up and walked back across the dam and took pictures to try to record our memories, and then I went back to get the RV to meet dad, Liz and the children on the other side.
We carried on back past Lake Mead, the lake created by the dam, which is also very beautiful and an oasis in the Nevada desert, but even here the water levels were very low after long warm summer.

Liz’s Lightning

We stopped briefly for lunch in Boulder City and a few more provisions before we went to the airport at boulder city to enquire about flights around the Grand Canyon, which we were hoping we’re going to be cheaper than in Vegas!

It was a fairly easy, but long, journey to Williams, just south of the Grand Canyon, and we had to contend with the first rain of our trip as we drove through thunderstorms, which were a fascinating sight as we approached from the arid conditions of Nevada. It was sometimes a bit hairy on the roads with the large trucks passing though, especially with the RV struggling up the hills!

We steadily increased in altitude again, and the scenery got a lot greener as we made our way east across Arizona, along what was the most southerly part of our journey through the States, almost at 35°N latitude compared to our starting point of 45°N at Salt Lake City.

Eventually, after a couple of rainstorms, and some rainbows and brilliant displays of lightning across the mountainous plains, one of which Liz with a lot of patience, managed to get a photo, we turned off the I-40 and stopped at the Grand Canyon Railway RV park, in a place called Williams. This turned out to be one of those places that was originally on Route 66, the ‘mother road’, which stretched across America before the introduction of the interstate highways. The town was steeped in memorabilia for the old west, route 66 and Indian Navajo crafts, all remembering the bygone eras before 1984, when the town was the last on Route 66 to be bypassed. We even saw a reenactment of an old western gunfight between bungling bank robbers!
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Williams Cowboy Gunfight

After a bit of shopping, we retired to a good old 60’s style diner and while the children had their now common chicken strips, dad and I had a local Grand Canyon beer and barbecue spare ribs!

I’ll need to run tomorrow 🙂

RV Trip, Day 11: Las Vegas, NV to Williams, AZ via Hoover Dam
Day Mileage: 240 miles
Total Mileage: 1655 miles
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Swimming in Vegas

It was so hot overnight, we spent most of the morning and early afternoon darting from swimming pool, breakfast in the A/C RV back to the pool, lunch in the A/C RV and then back to the pool!
Today went something like this:

  • Swimming in the Pool
  • Breakfast in the Air Conditioned RV
  • Swimming in the Pool
  • Lunch in the Air Conditioned RV
  • Swimming in the Pool

 

Cotton Candy Dessert

In fact, we had planned to go back into Vegas to ‘The Strip’ mid to late afternoon to see if it was less crowded, but in the end the heat won over us and we decided against it.

We had to get some supper though, so we treked our way to the hotel Circus Circus opposite where we were staying and had a meal in the air conditioning there instead! We went to a Rock ‘n Rita’s for a pleasant supper, but the boys were more interested in the American Football playing on the big screens. They naturally assumed it was rugby (because of the shape of the ball) so I had to search my memory for the rules of the game to explain to the children and dad!

The children had even more surprises coming as we ordered them cotton candy for dessert which, of course, they loved.

As we departed the restaurant dad and I threw a couple of dollars into the ‘Slots of Fun’ and although we won a few times on the 1c slots, we eventually lost our stake money and came away.

We settled the children down in the RV with grandad kindly baby sitting for us, and then Liz and I hit the town!

Outside the Harley Davidson store

We got the bus back into the Strip, but stayed on it a little longer than previously, going further south almost to the MGM Grand Hotel, opposite New York, New York, where we saw a (large) scale replica of the statue of liberty, and another building made up of a medley of skyscrapers including the Empire State and the Chrysler Building. We crossed over the road to the Hard Rock Café and walked north taking in all the sights. This end of the South Las Vegas Boulevard seemed a little more characterised by restaurants and tacky shops though (and the inevitable locals every 20ft trying to give away flyers for escort girls, nude shows and all other manner of questionable entertainment!)

We passed quickly along the street stopping briefly at the Harley Davidson store, complete with giant Harley breaking out of the first floor.

We then made our way to the Bellagio again as we wanted to see not only the magnificent fountains (which I could spend hours watching) but also to go inside to have a look at the massive casino floor of Ocean’s Eleven fame.

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The unique Bellagio Fountains, to the Beatles “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

There are many spectacular sights in Las Vegas, but one of the most astounding, in my opinion, is the size of the casino floor in the Bellagio, which is only one of the hundreds of casinos in the town, and yet this, as with most others, was packed with people gambling at all manner of games to try to ‘strike it rich’. Liz and I are not gamblers, and so it was fascinating to watch the gambling on the roulette wheels, the ‘craps’ tables, black jack and poker as well as any number of other games of which neither of us had ever heard.

We quickly lost a couple of dollars in the slots in the Bellagio, and then made our way back to the RV park by bus again.

We could not resist a quick flutter as we walked back through the air conditioning of Circus Circus casino floor again (maybe that is how addictions start!) and although we had won earlier, our money quickly dwindled away to nothing. All in all we came away about $4 down on the night; the house always wins 😉

When we got back to the RV it was between 12:30-1:00am and all the occupants were fast asleep. For the record, Dad reported next morning that the children had been as good as gold, and after watching a couple of DVDs had taken themselves to bed without any fuss.

Miracles will never cease 🙂

RV Trip Day 10: KOA Circus Circus, Las Vegas, NV
Total Mileage: 1415 miles
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Viva Las Vegas!

We woke early with the sun in our isolated car park but, after negotiating with the owner of the B&B whose car park we had stayed in, we hired a hot tub, fed from the hot springs that Benton is, apparently, famous for and had breakfast alfresco while the children enjoyed playing in the deep-earth-warmed water. It was rather too hot for dad, and Liz and I cold only stay in for a few moments at a time.

Rusty Classics

The place was quite idyllic; there was a real old cemetery on the side of the hill, of the sort that you see is countless old western movies, and there were heaps of old farm machinery, rusty, derelict wagons and some more modern scrap and rusty cars as well, but being American, they looked large and stylish, even in the twilight of their existence. It seemed to me to be a real old settlers village – Benton Hot Springs Pop 13 1/2

We were all packed up and on our way to Tonopah, NV, in an hour or so and by about 10:30, we were passing through many strange old settlements on US-6 and US-95 south, many of which were exactly as one would expect from the post-gold and silver rush environments of late-nineteenth century America; ramshackle saloon, boarded up shops and sad-looking casinos; in fact all that was needed was the tumbleweed blowing across the street and we could’ve been back in frontier times. We didn’t stop in the couple of places that passed as habitation every thirty of so miles.

Once we had passed Tonopah and turned south, we started seeing signs to Death Valley (where the Badwater race is run) as Death Valley is just to the west of US-95. It was tempting to go have a ‘look’ but we had been warned that the RV A/C would struggle with the heat, and that we were not insured, should anything breakdown on our vehicle, so we had decided to stick to the detour route. Sadly.

We stopped at a place called Beatty for lunch and gas (the RV was only managing about 8-9mpg with all the hills and mileage we were throwing at it!!!!) and we had our one and only experience of ‘Subway’ sandwiches in the US.

Swimming Time

Having seen the size of the sandwiches, I decided I needed to work up a bit of an appetite and go for a run along the road, but also as a taste of what it would be like in Badwater. I wore a rucksack to carry bottles of ice-cold water, my white Sahara hat and sunglasses. I only managed 4 miles in 30 minutes before the family caught me up after lunch, but I was certainly glad to be back in the RV. The run was mostly on the level, and running into the wind occasionally, but still like running into an open oven door!

A shower on the move was quite a novelty as well!

We continued south-east and passed the Death Valley sand dunes, more beautiful stratified landscapes bordering our journey on the way down to Las Vegas, as well as the Nevada Test site and Nellis Air force base, where we saw a couple of Predator UAVs doing circuits and landings, which was quite fun for the boys.

Finding the RV park was a doddle, and as soon as we got there, we went straight into swimming pool a few hundred feet away to cool off. Even dad joined us at this point and he enjoyed it immensely, finding it very refreshing after sitting in a stuffy RV for some hours.

Paris, Nevada?

We were all a little tired after such a long and hot journey, but were keen to see ‘The Strip’ or Las Vegas Boulevard, to give it its proper name, so we walked a fair way to the other side of Circus Circus, but then luckily got a lift into Caesar’s Palace on the Strip. We walked about for a bit more and then realised we were still on Caesar’s Palace!! It’s a Big place. We were approaching the panic hours with the children (food or mood) so managed to get an outside table at Serendipity 3 overlooking the Strip watching all the Hum-Vs and Limos going by.

After a yummy supper, with only a couple of tantrums, we walked on a bit further to the Bellagio to see the fountains and the light display. It was understandably very crowded and the children, although impressed for an instant, were more interested in having their pictures taken with the Mad Hatter, Edward scissorhands, Iron Man and Bumblebee (the Transformer) 🙂

We were all tired by the end of the evening so we got a very crowded bus,with a VERY strict bus driver who simply refused on let anyone on at the middle as she had a one-way system working and needed to count people off and on to ensure she was legal – the PA system was shouted in to several time during our journey, and one poor lady was made to get  off and back on the bus again after she slipped on at the middle of the bus! 

Eventually  we got back to Circus Circus where the RV park was, but i was hard work for Dad.

We were all VERY hot overnight, but I think slept well anyway.

RV Travelling Day 9: Benton Hot Springs, CA to Las Vegas, NV
Day Mileage: 297 miles
Total Mileage: 1,415 miles
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