Today was a slow day with Katie working and Heather and Ryan back in FL. We were up early to make adjustments to the coach to prevent damage from the strong winds that were rushing between the mountains, as another front moved thru the area. We reportedly had winds steady up to 40 MPH with gusts over 50 MPH.
We decided to head to the strip to see a few of the landmarks that we have not seen before. We started with Circus Circus, which was packed with families and many children. They have a circus act every 15 minutes or so in an area that is also surrounded by a circus style Midway. They also have a 5 acre adventure dome with rides and other assorted entertainment for families. While clearly outdated compared to the newer hot spots on the strip, it seems to have found its niche with the family crowd.
Walking south along the strip, we passed the Stardust. We missed our opportunity to see what it was like, as it closed earlier this year. I imagine in the near future it will make the news as it collapses into dust to make room for the next mega resort. We did get some pictures of the remains and will perhaps see the famous neon sign at the local museum that collects such relics of the Las Vegas fallen. In its heyday, it was the gem of Las Vegas and it lasted for 48 years.
We then visited the Wynn resort, which is clearly at the other end of the target market. Everything upscale and designed to separate you from your money as quickly as possible. But based on the volume here, that seemed to no problem for the throng gathered there. It is certainly on the list of places to stay if you would like every whim catered to in grand fashion. We enjoyed the brief visit but were glad to head back to the coach for a quiet evening.
Wednesday was Heather and Ryan’s last day in Las Vegas and since Ryan is an aquarium enthusiast, we decided to take in the Shark Reef aquarium at the Mandalay Bay. It turned out to be a very good exhibit, if a bit smaller than the advertisements might lead you to believe. It was very crowded during our visit but certainly would be a good outing if you could visit on a less hectic day. They provide self guided audio tour recorders that allow you to go to your own pace. The walk thru tunnels in the large tanks allows a great vantage point to enjoy the fish in a simulated natural environment.
After completing the tour, we did a quick tour of the Mandalay Bay shops and then strolled to the Luxor to see the inside of the now famous pyramid of Las Vegas. All were impressed with the structures.
We then rendezvoused with Katie and headed to a Mediterranean restaurant which we had enjoyed last winter. We enjoyed dishes from Greece and Persia.
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I am pleased to report that the Christmas Eve BBQ actually came off without any problems. We got a bit if a late start, which in the high desert in December means it is going to get cold before you are done, but we had a good time and ate lots of the wrong kinds of food. We tried to make up for this indulgence with our traditional attendance at Christmas Eve service, no matter where we are, at a local church, this time at the Nellis Air Base Chapel.
Christmas day was spent at Katie’s home, which she shares with two other Air Force Lieutenants. They have a quite large place with minimal furniture and single women’s distain for cooking and the equipment that goes along with cooking. Despite these obstacles, Anneke managed to prepare a good Christmas dinner, which we all enjoyed. We had fun exchanging some gifts and playing some games. All in all, we had a very good holiday.
Yesterday was spent walking the strip and browsing the many shopping areas. I would vote the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace to be the most lavish of those we had time to check out. We had dinner at PF Chang’s in the Aladdin. We secured in time to prevent wearing out the soles of my shoes.
Since the last update we headed to the strip for a second visit and took in the “Tournament of Kings” at the Excalibur Hotel. It was good entertainment with a very weak link to the King Arthur legend. The Cornish Hen dinner was good and had to be eaten in the middle age fashion. Hands only. Luckily the soup dish came with a handle for easy use. No pictures were allowed.
We are camped at the family campground at Nellis Air Force Base, which has a lovely view of the mountains and is away from the rigors and noise of the city. However, it is on an Air Force base and we occasionally get to the see the “projection of Air Power” first hand as they practice their skills.
We are looking forward to a BBQ today here at the campground and a family traditional dinner at Katie’s tomorrow.
We headed to the “strip” today to try and catch up with our kids who are staying in a hotel room for two days at New York, New York. They, of course, were on the nightlife schedule and we were on the sedate schedule. So we had a brief get together and then went out separate ways for the day. We walked the strip and looked at the preparations for the season. The crowd was surprisingly thin. We will look to see what shows we might all agree on seeing together.
The weather here has been cool but clear. During the day the temperatures have risen into the low 50’s, but as soon as the sun sets, around 5pm, it drops rapidly into the low 30’s or high 20’s.
In the meantime, here are a few views of Las Vegas during this holiday season.
We have made it to our big destination of Las Vegas to spend the holidays with Katie, who lives here, and Heather and Ryan who took the easy way and flew from Florida for the holidays. It has been a mostly fun journey with challenges thrown in to make it really worthwhile and appreciate the adventure of the trip. We also traveled thru 17 states.
As we were planning the final portion of our trip from Tucson to Las Vegas, we realized that we were going to go right by Quartzsite, AZ which has developed into a huge RV destination that is much talked about in RV circles. It was a topic at the RV seminar we attended back in May, and the bottom line of that discussion was you either hated it or loved it. So we decided that we would at least stop there overnight and see what was going on. The short version of the attraction is that this small AZ town of three thousand or so inhabitants swells to 1.2 million during the months of January and February for a huge rock show, RV show, car show etc. All sponsored by the community. Most of the people attend these events by RV. They are able to do this due to the large amount of Bureau of Land Management land that is available for RV’s to park nearly free in the “dry “camping mode. (No services)
So we stopped at a quaint RV park on the main street that was still fairly quiet before the influx of vendors and RV visitors for the upcoming shows. We walked the permanent flea market type establishments and some of the local stores. It was hard to imagine what it was going to be like in the coming weeks with a million more people and hundreds of thousands of RV’s covering the desert floor all around the town. We are not sure we want to know. We did notice in walking around that there seems to be a lot of males in this town that resemble Willie Nelson. I am not sure what that means.
We saw a note in the Quartzsite Improvement Associations flyer of a show being held at the main QIA building at 7PM by Rick Morgenstern, a singer and impersonator/comedian. Entrance was a $5 donation and the turnout was, to put it politely, rather small. It was never the less a very good two hour show. A good introduction to Las Vegas, and I am sure at a lot better price.
After leaving Quartzsite, we headed west and North and traveled part of the historic route 66 highway and crossed a good portion of the Mojave Desert on a two lane road, much like those of my childhood travels.
A word about the frog. If you have noticed the frog in any of our photos of the road, it is the symbol of the Northwest Ohio Winnebago owner’s chapter that we belong too. After our run in with the drunk driver in Louisiana, we put him in the corner of the coach where he could watch for traffic in the mirror. Since then no one has been able to sneak up on us from the right. It also means that he appears in many of the pictures along the road.
We wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of readers of this blog who we did not know before we started this effort, who have been kind enough to take an interest in this adventure. We are also pleased by the number of people that we originally intended this for that are actually reading it, as well
These entries make become less frequent as we stay over in this busy city, but will resume when we “hit the road” again after the New Year.