Monthly Archives: November 2007

Day 21 — Home again, home again!

Home! I’m home!

I dragged Jay out of bed before six, and we were on the road by 6:30 this morning. It was foggy all through Oregon, but we didn’t hit rain until we got to our home state. Of course. We couldn’t go straight home, since we had a rental car, but even with the drive through the city and a swing by the airport to switch cars, we were home by 3:30. All of the animals seemed glad to see us, and I was most happy to see them.

The house was sparkling clean when I got home. Our house sitter, Monica, is welcome to move in fulltime! 😉 She said all went well with the dogs, though Aslan made his displeasure of the situation known by taking everything she owned outside and depositing it by the front gate. He missed his mom!

The trip was a resounding success. I enjoyed every single leg. Meeting Lynn and Adam was incredible — so glad to have them in my life — and I’m ever so grateful to have gotten to see Christie. Sincerely, I can rave about every leg of the trip. I saw so many people and had such great experiences. I simply couldn’t imagine a better trip.

Thanks to all of you for reading along and for dropping my notes and phone calls along the way. Your support means more to me than you possibly know!

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Day 20 — Beginning of the end

We started our two-day trip home this morning. I got us up about a quarter before six, and we were on the road by 6:30. It’s over 1300 miles between Vegas and home, so I wanted to get an early start!

I have done phenomenally well navigating on this trip. Until this morning, the only wrong turn I had taken was missing the driveway to McDonald’s during a lunch stop. This morning, though, I shot right past the first turn I was supposed to take — the one right outside of the hotel. We were never lost, but we did a fair amount of driving on Vegas surface streets before we finally got on 15 South.

The drive today, despite the inauspicious start, was phenomenal. California is long, straight, and boring — and that’s good for this kind of driving. Just point the car and go. And no snow! Beautiful sunny weather. Our goal was Redding, which is roughly the halfway point. We got there at 6:30 this evening, but I wasn’t remotely tired, so we continued on. I crossed the mountains — I repeat, NO SNOW! — and we’re settled for the night in Medford, OR. Less than 500 miles to drive tomorrow.

The only bad thing about continuing past Redding tonight is that we missed some of the most beautiful scenery on the trip. Dark on the way down, and now dark on the way home. Oh well, like I told Jay, if I’m choosing between pretty scenery and seeing my dogs sooner, my dogs win every time!!

Home tomorrow. Finally!

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Day 19 — Vegas, day two

Any pretense I had of eating reasonably well was completely shot today. Oy, what food! If there’s any saving grace it’s that Jay and I split everything.

Breakfast was at House of Blues. We had sweet corn and banana fritters, hashbrowns smothered in bacon, cheese, and onions, and “Cajun pigs in a blanket” — chicken andouille sausage wrapped in corn cakes served with maple butter.

Lunch was at Nathan’s Hot Dogs. I had a plain hot dog, and we split an order of bacon cheese fries.

Dinner was at Tao. It’s sort of a pick-and-choose, by the piece, kind of place. We had a sashimi tuna appetizer, four kinds of tempura (onion, sweet potato, asparagus, and avocado), and a wasabe-crusted filet. I had about a third of a cup of chai for dessert. Jay made an offhand remark about being married to me for ten years, and the waiter assumed it was our anniversary. He surprised us with a glass of plum wine. I drank mine to be polite. I very much appreciated the sentiment, even if I don’t like wine.

The rest of the day? Pretty much just as decadent as the food. We started with a massage. I added on a scalp massage, which is done with a peppermint oil, so it’s a bit of aromatherapy as well. We went to the north end of the strip and walked around the Bellagio and the Venetian, and we gambled a little, and then I went back to the hotel for a nap.

Speaking of naps, have I raved about the bed here? Best bed ever. Seriously. I sleep like a log and I haven’t woken up stiff or sore a single time. I’m madly in love with it, and desperately want to recreate it at home. I wonder if the hotel will tell us what they “made” it from.

This evening we went to see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. It was amazing!! Since it’s a permanent show, they can do incredibly technical and elaborate sets. It’s such a great play with such amazing music.

And now the day is done. We’ve packed, and we’ll be up early tomorrow to check out and begin the trek home. It has been a terrific vacation, but I’m ready to go home now.

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Day 18 — Vegas, day one

Where to start, where to start? Might as well start at the beginning. We woke up early… sixish. Before sunrise — saw nice color as the sun rose. We got dressed and ventured downstairs early. A hotel staff person recommended a restaurant called “Raffles” for breakfast, so that’s what we did. It was pretty and overlooked the Mandalay pool area. One of them, anyway. I had a yummy egg white omelet with chicken, spinach, tomato, and basil. (Hashbrowns were mediocre, but that’s a good thing because I didn’t want to eat them anyway.)

After breakfast we went walking. We walked through the Luxor, the Excaliber, New York New York, and MGM Grand. My favorite, by far, was New York, New York. Really well done theme. It captured the idea of New York really well. At some point I got a little hungry, so I got some soft pretzel sticks with cream cheese to dip them in. Nice snack that turned into our lunch. (So it wasn’t as decadent as it sounded.) The casinos were interesting, but I’m not as much of a people watcher as Jay is, and I’m not a shopper.

This afternoon we got a hot stone massage. HEAVEN. Oh my God, I want a massage like that every day for the rest of my life. We both loved it so much that we made an appointment for another massage first thing tomorrow morning. They have a full gym there, and they offer personal training. What I wish I’d thought to do was sign up for an hour of personal training before my massage tomorrow. Man, that would feel good!!

After the masssage, we spent an hour or so in the casin playing slots. I lost money, and Jay made it back up, which is how it always works. I have lousy luck in a casino, and he has great luck. Is it any wonder I don’t really enjoy gambling? And Jay wondered why I took only a fraction of my gambling allowance downstairs and pocketed the rest.

Next we had an early dinner — seafood at RM Seafood. Man, it was elegant and scrumptious! I had a spicy hamachi appetizer that included hamachi sashimi, avocado, and grapefruit. For dinner, then, I had dover sole stuffed with truffles, served on a bed of pureed potatoes, with a light herb sauce. Incredible!

Then it was off to Zumanity, the “adult” Cirque du Soleil show. It was funny and entertaining and not nearly as “alternative” as I’d thought it might be. We sat very close to the front, but we were in the middle of a row and were fortunate enough NOT to get picked on by the performers. It was fun though!

Oh, and before I forget, here’s a picture of the ring Jay gave me (and the lovely rose I got at Zumanity):

Tomorrow we’re doing the north end of the strip.

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Day 17 — Driving to Vegas, part two

I woke up in a bad mood because of the snow. We listened to the news and found out quickly that we had made the right decision when we chose to stop in Tucumcari. There were tons of accidents the night before between Tucumcari and Albuquerque. It would have been a LONG drive had we continued on. I’m glad, however, that I didn’t know how much further it was to Las Vegas, or I probably would have foolishly continued on. Finding out that we had over 700 miles to drive today — and that we weren’t leaving until after 8 local time — did nothing to improve my mood.

By the time we left, there was snow on the ground, but the roads were bare. They were sometimes wet, sometimes dry, and sometimes icy. I white knuckled it for half an hour or so, but eventually there was more dry than wet, and the icy patches were few and far between (except in Kline Corner, but we were warned about that). Then we got to Albuquerque and suddenly… no snow. We crossed the mountain and BOOM, nothing. Nothing except the first and only sign warning of winter driving conditions. Aaarghhh.

Once we hit Albuquerque and the winter driving conditions were behind us, my bad mood evaporated. The drive became easy from that point, and the skies were clear and sunny. I pegged it at 80, and we made great time.

The drive proceeded well until we were on 93 about 10 miles from Hoover Dam. We had been told there would be a 15- to 30-minute delay. Um, try an hour and forty-five minutes. Sigh. It wasn’t hard, but it did delay our arrival in Vegas (and we were hungry).

My first impressions of Vegas? Um, crowded. Overwhleming. In some ways underwhelming. The hotel is okay. I don’t love the decor in the hotel room, but oh well. Nice TVs though. (They charge $12.95 a day for internet access. <eye roll>)

I’ve accused Jay of not proposing to me, so in honor of our ten years together, he surprised me with a ring — a cool pink plastic ring! He wanted to buy me something special, but he knew I wouldn’t wear real jewelry. I’ll wear this though. For a few days anyway. Or a few minutes. We’ll see. I appreciate the thought (and his wisdom in not wasting money on a real ring).

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