Vegas-Florida-Vegas Again

Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
Trip End Apr 01, 2003

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Friday, December 20, 2002

Greetings from Las Vegas,

In the morning we said goodbye to Steve in Palm Springs and made our way towards Las Vegas. We had reservations at Circus Circus, which was the only hotel on the strip that had its own RV park. As we traveled along the interstate, I could see the gigantic hotels with all of their grandeur slowly rising over the horizon. It looked like Disney World for grown ups. Each hotel was a theme park and they even found a way to make losing money enjoyable. We came to see the sights, the lights, and the people. I wanted to explore and verify that everything I have heard about Vegas was not a myth or an exaggeration, and I had all 24 hours of the day to do it. We did a lot over the next two weeks, so get comfortable and enjoy this long one.

Friday - After we set up camp and ate a scrumptious vegetarian dinner, Erik and I left the house to feed our hunger for excitement and walked into the closest attraction we could see...The Stratosphere. We took the elevator up to the top floor with the hope of riding the rollercoaster we saw at the top of the Stratosphere. We were disappointed when we found out that it was not open round the clock like everything else in town was. Instead, we walked around the casino and enjoyed the bird's eye view of the downtown scene.

The Sahara was across the street and it also had a rollercoaster. I started to think that maybe rollercoasters were the exception to the rule because it was also closed when we arrived. However, we did not have any trouble finding restaurants still open. It got late and we got hungry. Nothing tasted better than a good steak and eggs meal late at night.

Saturday - We left the city to see Red Rock Canyon National Park. The weather did not cooperate with us because it was foggy and snowing outside. We blamed the bad weather on Erik and decided to go hiking anyway. We went through the snow, the mud, and the fog. At one point, we lost the trail and at another time we had to help each other scramble up the slick rocks. All in all, I think we enjoyed what the Vegas outdoors had to offer us.

We headed back to the strip and explored some of the grandest hotels. We watched a choreographed fountain show in front of the Bellagio. The gods of Atlantis battled each other right before our eyes inside Caesars Palace. The gondola ride inside the Venetian was closed by the time we got there, but it looked interesting. Another interesting thing was the way time sped up while we were inside a hotel. These beautiful hotels creatively hide their true motive which is to get as much money from you as they can. They give you free alcohol when you are gambling, you don't know how long you have been gambling because there aren't any clocks around, and they strategically place things in front of the exit doors so you can't find your way out.

We were trapped in the belly of a hotel/casino/food court/shopping mall, and we had to eat at an all-you-can-eat buffet to recharge our batteries. We hoped that if we gambled the hotel would see that we were cooperating and let us go. Gambling did not work so we went to a bar to regroup. Jenn noticed that a bucket of coins sat right next to us and no one claimed them during the 45 minutes we were there. She asked the bartender if the bucket was there for tips and then she asked where she could cash in the coins. Have you ever heard of someone finding forty-six dollars worth of casino coins sitting on top if a bar? Jenn's power of good fortune was just beginning.

Sunday - We said goodbye to Erik and thanked him for the visit and good times. Jenn and I returned to the casinos because we believed that our luck had changed. Jenn told me then that she thinks she is going to win 300 dollars. I didn't have an exact figure for myself but I told her that at least a 100 would be nice. I did not win anything, but Jenn played Roulette and became 50 dollars closer to reaching her goal.

Monday - Jenn is a big Star Trek fan and a trip to Vegas would not be complete without a Star Trek Experience at the Vegas Hilton. We followed the Star Trek signs through the casino and then stopped at the slot machines that offered a new red Ford Mustang Convertible if you get three mustangs. Jenn threw in some coins and began to win a little. All of a sudden the machine's siren flashed and music played from it. She hit three mustangs in a row and we thought she won the car. It turned out that she needed to have three mustang cars and she had three mustang horses. Instead of winning a new car she won 1000 quarters. Amazing! She called it, 50 yesterday plus 250 today equaled the 300 dollars Jenn said she would win.

The Star Trek Experience was one of the best simulator rides I have ever been on. We were debriefed by starship officers and then we were beamed up to the ship. It really felt like we were there as we walked down the ship's corridor to the bridge. We walked out onto the bridge where uniformed people were busily running around because the ship was about to be attacked. I began touching some of the control buttons behind me when our guide walked up to me to inform me that my DNA was not programmed into the computer and that I should stop. Then she thanked me sarcastically for trying to help. When we tried to get away from the Klingons in our escape pod, Jenn was busy arming our photon torpedoes by entering in the necessary codes into the computer beside her chair. I guess her DNA was accepted by the computer and she helped us escape. She deserved a medal for bravery.

Tuesday - We left Circus Circus and relocated to Arizona Charlie's East RV Park. We set up, packed our suitcase, and took a cab to the airport. We had tickets go to Orlando for Jenn's grandmother's (Grammy) 80th birthday. We learned earlier that Chris, our good friend from Tennessee, was to arrive in Vegas a few hours before our flight was due to take off. We made plans to meet in the airport. It was great to see Chris again as we caught up with one another.

Wednesday - Our flight went all night long and we landed early Christmas morning and Jenn's dad, Jeff, was nice enough to pick us up at the airport. I napped while Jenn visited some of her friends. Later that day, we helped Jeff and Lisa set up for their annual Christmas Party which was a whole lot of fun. We knew everyone because everyone was a relative and that always makes for a fun night.

Saturday - Today was Grammy's birthday party, but the day began with morning services at synagogue where Grammy rules. Grammy proudly gave us a tour of the synagogue's new school she was instrumental in establishing. My parents even drove all the way up from Boca Raton to help us celebrate Grammy's birthday. As everyone was munching on food after services, Jeff, Lisa, and I quickly slipped out to set up the room for the party.

We got everything set up just in time before Grammy arrived. There was food and dancing and everyone was having such a great time. The highlight of the evening was a PowerPoint slide show of This Is Your Life. She enjoyed looking at the photographs and reliving the memories. We treated her like someone famous and she loved all of it.

After the party, Jenn and I left with my folks as we drove back to Boca. They dropped us off where Jenn's car was and we drove out to her friend Jan's Christmas party. We arrived around ten and the party was kicking. Jan and her husband Dave held a stuffed bear contest which afterwards they donated all of the bears to the local fire department. Jenn's bear won softest bear which won us a gift certificate to Blockbuster. Thanks Jan and Dave for the great fun party and the gift certificate.

Sunday - The fun continued as we took Jenn's mom, Betty, out for a champagne breakfast for her birthday. The restaurant buffet was right on the beach and the weather was perfect. The food was superb and the view was soothing.

Tuesday - Today was the last day of the year and New Year's Eve plans were being made and then rearranged all day long. First we stopped off at Michele and Glenn's new apartment for cocktail hour. Their new place was nice and cozy and we enjoyed seeing our friends there. Then we headed south to John's apartment; he was the one who visited us in South Dakota. We stayed up late and still made it home safe and sound.

Wednesday - First Grammy's birthday and then Betty's birthday and finally our friend Rob's birthday was today. Plus we've been to a Christmas Party, Jan's Party, and a New Year's Party. Whew! We met up with Rob and a bunch of our other friends for some sushi. Brian and Vickie were also there from Mississippi and we talked about some fun things to do when we get to their place.

Thursday - Today we left Florida, but not without first meeting our friends we missed the last time we were in Florida. This meant breakfast at Jenn's grandpa, Grandpa Nate house. He does not have email so all of our stories were new to him. We enjoyed seeing him and hearing all of his best jokes first thing in the morning.

We next met up with Jim and Cindy for lunch. I had a lot of fun working with these two people plus Clint, who we met in Wisconsin, when I used to work for TGIFriday's in the accounting department. It was nice to hear what was new with them and discovered that some things did not change at all.

Thank you Betty for driving us to the airport. Breakfast with Grandpa Nate, lunch with Jim and Cindy, and now it was time for dinner with Betty. Right there in the airport, we sat down and ate a picnic meal. Betty brought some of her famous homemade cookies for dessert and she even let us take home what was leftover.

Saturday - We spent the day at the Hoover Dam. We watched something like three different movies about it. Then we spent over an hour going through all of its interactive exhibits. We walked across the dam and began in the Pacific Standard Time Zone in Nevada and ended in the Mountain Time Zone in Arizona.

At night we went to the Blue Man Group live at the Luxor. This was my early birthday present to Jenn. I can't tell you about it just in case you plan on seeing it, but it had us saying "WOW" throughout the entire show.

Sunday - We went back to the Vegas strip because it takes days to see and do everything there. I love hiking and climbing. So, I jumped on the chance to rock climb up one of those imitation mountains. This one happened to be 75 feet tall which made it one of the tallest indoor rock climbs. I strapped on the safety harness and methodically pulled myself up to the top where the bell of champions waited for me to ring it... ding a ling ding a ling!

There was no way we were going to leave Vegas without riding one of its many interesting and intimidating roller coasters. All of them were operating and we choose the one that flew around the tall buildings of New York New York. Yahooooo!

Monday - This was our last day in Vegas and Jenn was determined to see it all. She went out and saw King Tut's Tomb in the Luxor, walked and shopped the streets of Paris, found herself in the middle of an indoor rainstorm in Aladdin, and then she watched a freak show of contortionists with a bellydancer/magician. She walked to the Rio and watched the Brazilian Masquerade in the Sky show, rode the tram to the Mirage and checked out their gigantic aquarium behind the front desk, as well as its jungle and oasis rooms. She enjoyed the Mirage's tiger habitat where she got to see one of the white tigers. Her night ended with the exciting pirate battle that took place in front of Treasure Island. Where does she get the energy to do all of this in one day?

I was not about to leave Vegas without winning some money first. So, I also returned to the strip to gamble the last of my gambling money. I used to be a fan of the Blackjack table, but today it was not kind to me. I had better luck at the Roulette table, but I was not done yet. I looked around and decided to try 3 Card Poker. I was not sure how the betting was done and the dealer did not much help. I played only one game and beginner's luck was one my side because the one hand I played had a nice payout which allowed me to leave the casino with my head up high.

I can not believe we are now on the final leg of our loop tour around the US. This means that every mile we travel brings us closer to our starting point, but we have to go through Arizona fist. We have heard many great things about Arizona such as Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Pink Jeep Tours. My parents went one time and fell in love with the state. Everyone who has been there seems to want to move there. Who knows, maybe we will also fall in love and never leave.

Playing in Vegasland,
Love Dave & Jenn
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