From Canyons to Caesars

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Thursday, August 12, 2004

We arrived in Vegas Friday morning after a 6hr flight and not much sleep. Our last night in Manhattan had been spent watching a late night movie (Catwoman), drinking lots of coffee in a 24hr diner & then getting a 3am taxi to the airport... who needs a hotel anyway??

We had hired a car which we collected at the airport and then headed out to Bryce Canyon in Utah where we arrived late afternoon and very sleepy... We headed into the Canyon in the morning - a very spectacular place filled with rock formations that look like stalactites towering in every direction, all the colour of sandstone. We hiked into the canyon where the views were even better & as you walk along you scare the little chipmunks into scattering in all directions! It was really hot and sunny - over 100 degrees F so lots of water was drunk and poured over each other to keep cool. Later in the day we drove out twds the Grand Canyon. Accomodation was harder to find near there and when it's dark & late you don't expect to see two huge Cattle standing in the middle of the forest road but they obviously didn't want to move. After avoiding the animal hazards we found somewhere to stay and rewarded ourselves at the diner opposite with the best Cherry Cream Pie that we've ever tasted !!

We got to the Grand Canyon early the next day - we had come to the quieter North Rim and our first views from Bright Angel Point were amazing. The canyon is over a mile deep but we made sure we didn't get too close to the edge as we didn't want to take the 12second tour to the bottom! We spent a lovely day at the canyon & sat on the rocks near the edge to watch the sunset when the colours constantly change from reds to pinks to blues. A great experience all enhanced by the large takeout pizza which we munched on as we watched (yes even the grand canyon has takeout pizza!!!).

The day after we drove back to Las Vegas which was a total contrast to the natural beauty and serenity of the previous two days. We stayed at the casino Circus Circus, you can guess the theme.. the weather in Vegas was brutal at 117degreesF and you could hardly walk two blocks down the street before you were looking round for anywhere aircon to escape into. Las Vegas is unlike anywhere else in the world - huge neon lights everywhere, tv screens 50 feet high at every junction & every sort of entertainment, vice & luxury you can imagine - all absolutely great fun!!!
We had blackjack lessons in Circus Circus and soon we were all playing the tables in a casino called Frontier.. losing a few dollars here and there but getting free drinks as we played to compensate! Funny that they have no clocks or windows in the casino's... we were having a great night and it was 6am before we knew it!! I blame those Texans that we met who kept buying us all drinks... (beer only 99c, marguerita's the same price!)
Treasure Island is a casino which has a huge lake outside with two pirate ships - then at night they run a 30min show called 'Sirens of Ti' every 90mins which was great fun to watch with lots of pirates, music, dancing & explosions! MGM Grand Casino has a big glass lion cage inside - the lions actually looked quite happy even though they weren't allowed to gamble... The highlight of Las Vegas for me though was on our last night when we went to a casino called Stratosphere. It has a huge tower several hundred feet high and when we got to the top the views over Vegas were fantastic. Through huge glass windows you could see along the whole of 'The Strip' and right across Vegas to the mountains which surround it in every direction. You seemed to be on a level with the mountains and the view was spectacular. In addition (this being Vegas) there are 3 rollercoaster rides OUTSIDE the tower at the top. We chose one called the High Roller which did circuits around the top of the tower - absolutely mental!!
After 3 nights in Vegas we are heading off on Thurs 12th twds Yosemite National Park via Death Valley - we now have the car until the 27th August as it's so cheap. Gas (Petrol) is only $1.83 a gallon!
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