Leaving Las Vegas

Trip Start Jul 27, 2003
Trip End Jul 26, 2004

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Tuesday 19th August
The train from Flagstaff arrived ontime at 9.23pm. We arrived in Needles at 1.30am, we had got quite used to the nice evening chill at Flagstaff so we were quite taken aback when we arrived at Needles, just a few hours down the road to find it was 101 degrees and it was the middle of the night.
We boarded our bus that would take us to Las Vegas Airport, just one other person was onboard, a guy called Adam from New Jersey, he gave us some pointers on where to go in Vegas. We had a really nice driver and stayed awake chatting as it was only 2 1/2 hours to Vegas and we had a short stop off en route. We had been on the road for about an hour when the driver pointed out the lights ahead which was a place called Searchlight, the place we would be stopping at. We travelled a further 22 miles before we reached the lights this road was the straighest road yet, you could see for miles. We stopped at this diner, where we had toast and coffee. The coffee was only a dime (6pence) yet you got free refills. You could have Steak and Egg for $1.99 and apparently it was good!?!

We then started back on the road and the driver warned us when we should be ready to see Vegas. We climbed up through the mountains and suddenly there it was, a sprawling mass of lights in the middle of the desert. It looked so much bigger than I imagined and our driver said it keeps getting bigger. Our driver was so nice he said that he would drop us off directly at the hotel rather than the airport so we got a direct service, saving us a cab fare.

It was 4am and unfortunately our reservations started on the Tuesday so the hotel wouldn't let us check in till 8am so went for a walk. The hotel was pretty nice with a big outdoor pool, surrounded by Palm trees and had a few restaurants. If you look at pictures of the strip you can see it just next to Treasure Island a big neon sign saying "Frontier". The hotel naturally had a big casino and people were there playing at this hour. We left our bags with Concierge and headed out into the heat. We were really well located on the strip just next to all the main Casinos. We had the Ventian next door and the Mirage, Caesars Palace and The Bellagio. We headed down the strip stopping off in the casinos to get relief from the heat with their Air conditioning. The Venetian was a mini replica of Venice, with canals running through it and gondolas taking people for a ride (literally with the prices they charged!!). It had a Rialto Bridge and a St Marks Square which looked pretty realistic. We walked a good mile down the strip getting our bearings and finding all the big casinos, there were quite a few people around for 5am on a Tuesday morning. We turned back at the MGM Grand and walked back to our hotel. We went and sat next to the pool on the sun loungers till 8am. You could feel the heat and we were in the shade. We checked in and went to get a couple of hours kip.

We got up at 1.00 and headed out to see what vegas was like by day. There is so much to do in Vegas other than gamble. There are a number of Art Galleries, the Venetian has the Guggenheim Las Vegas and the Bellagio hosts The Gallery of Fine Art. There are lots of shows and some are free. A lot of the casinos have some major attraction. The Mirage was quite entertaining. It had a volcano at the front that erupted every fifteen minutes, with a water, fire and light show, it had a dolphin habitat, an elephant in the gardens and white tigers walking alongside the entry hall. The Mandalay Bay Casino has a Shark Reef and The Flamingo has a graden that you share with Flamingos, Penguins and Turtles. The Casinos are quite enormous with rollercoasters, Zoos, shops, casinos and restaurants. The big ones must be about the same size as a shopping centre like The Trafford centre. You get totally lost inside as the Exits are not very well signposted (if at all). Caesars Palace has a huge shopping mall inside its Colluseum with a show every hour in the middle where Roman statues come to life. The MGM Grand has 229 lions that they circulate into a den. We went to the Luxor and had a buffet dinner fit for a Pharoah!! The Luxor is the shape of a pyramid and the escalators go up at 45 degree angles.

The truth of it is we could get a load of pictures and forget going around the world. Vegas has the New York skyline and statue of Liberty at New York New York, the pyramids and Sphinx of Cairo are at the Luxor and The Eiffel Tower and The Arc de Triumph are located at The Paris.

We walked around the Casinos, people watchind, seeing free shows and exhibitions and then we went to see the water show at The Bellagio. Anyone who has seen Oceans 11 will know what I mean. This was by far the highlight of our day it was fantastic. The water was choreagraphed to music by Frank Sinatra and Pavarotti. It was amazing. Every half hour a song would start up and the water fountains would jet into action.

Wednesday 20th August
Today we headed up the Strip to Freemont Street, another famous part of Vegas in the downtown. I had a snowcone (a sort of slush puppy) to cool off. We then headed up to the Imperial Palace Casion where they have a free car show (Simon needed a fix!!) with 350 Classic cars most of which were for sale. We headed backout into the street we saw three new Cadillacs that were all in cladding as they aren't out yet. Apparently they do a lot of car testing here and in Death Valley particularly for things like Air Conditioning. Simon got some picture as he reckons he could sell them to Autocar magazine!!?! On the subject of picture, I promise to get some developed and posted here in the next week or two.

We headed across to The Bellagio to watch the water fountains again and then headed back to the hotel. There was a Mexican restaurant where they had a special Fajita for 2 dinner on for just 10 bucks and it came with 2 frozen margheritas. The Fajitas where really good. It was our last night in Vegas so I decided to put 4 quarters into a slot machine. My first and last bet in Vegas. I won $7.50.

Vegas is an adult Disney World and the hotels are designed brilliantly with no expense spared. We spent our time there walking around the sights and sounds and not made a single bet until now. The truth is I didn't want to. There are millions of games to play, some quite complex some quite easy. We were going to keep $50 aside to gamble with but when you're here there is more to do than gamble. I would rather have fun spending $50 than losing $50.

I guess I am a little disappointed in Vegas, don't get me wrong it is a great experience its just also quite sad to see how consuming it is and to see how it affects people. Watching people sitting on their own putiing quarter after quarter into these machines. I am definately glad we came to Vegas but I am also glad we are leaving for San Francisco tomorrow.

Thursday 21st August
We woke up at 7.30 and got a cab to the bus station. Today is a travelling day. First we got a bus to Bakersfield which took 6 1/2 hours. Which was uneventful until we picked up 7 prisoners just released from gaol which was a bit weird. They were all wearing blue jeans and white t-shirts and carried a brown paper bag that had their belongings in. We got to Bakersfield to catch our train to Oakland just outside of San Francisco. This was to take another 7 hours. We were only on it 2 hours when the engine packed in and they had to get a new one out which took 2 hours to fix. It was soon fixed and we were on our way again when a car was parked on the train tracks at an Intersection so we had to wait till the police were called and towed away the car. Once this was done we had to wait for a track inspection, no-one on the train was authorised to carry out an inspection so we had to call someone up who had to get out of bed and head over to check the track. This took another 2 hours. We eventually arrived in Oakland where our bus was waiting to take us to San Francisco, fortunately only a 5 min ride away. It was now 2.30 am so we headed to our hotel and checked in.

I will leave it there for now and will fill you in on San Fran in the next week. We are hiring a car in San Francisco to head up to the Napa Valley so web access may be unlikely before next week. Hope you are all well and thanks as always for all you emails - they keep us going.

Take care all and see you all in 48 weeks.
Lots of Love
Liz and Simon xxxxxxx
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: