Tag Archives: travel

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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Day 16 — Driving to Las Vegas

Snow SUCKS. I despise it. Evil. Devil spawn. No redeeming qualities. Notice to all who travel with me — In good weather, I’m an angel. When it snows, I lose my pleasing personality FAST and become a raving bitch.

Have I mentioned that I HATE SNOW?

We had a great morning. Breakfast at Jay’s parents’ house, and then a visit from his cousins Clint and Jenny and their two children. A few family pictures…

Jay’s aunt, Barbara

Jay’s cousin, Clint

Clint’s wife, Jenny

Joyce and Robby

Clint and Jenny’s son, Zach. I didn’t get a picture of Seth, sorry!

We hit the road around noon, planning to drive to Albuquerque. Before we hit the Texas panhandle, though, we hit SNOW. Evil snow. Visibility went to nothing, and the road was covered. It lasted about 50 miles, and then we broke out of it. Snow was on the ground the rest of the day, but we were mostly out of precipitation at that point. Eventually the road got dry again, and my pleasing personality was back. It hadn’t affected our time tooo much, so we still planned to go to Albuquerque.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Right when it started getting dark, we hit more snow. It wasn’t bad, but the road was getting wet and the temps were dropping. I rolled a car on black ice many years ago — I don’t do ice. So we decided to stop in Tucumcari. It’s supposed to snow tonight, and I’m going to be driving through snow ALL ACROSS NEW MEXICO tomorrow.

This is the desert. And there’s supposed to be a drought. WHY THE HELL IS IT SNOWING ON ME??? I am not amused.

One good thing today though. We stopped at a McDonald’s and the car next to us had a curly coated retriever (like Pax) in it. His name is Cobalt, and he recently got his first three-point major (and he does agility and obedience). Lovely boy, and I got lots of kisses from him and his chocolate Lab buddy. I missed dog kisses!

Tomorrow more snow hell. Grrrrrr.

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Day 15 — Thanksgiving in Oklahoma

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Got dressed in my turtleneck <cough>, and we headed over to Jay’s parents’ house (Starbucks in hand) around 8:45. Kay fixed a wonderful breakfast, and then Jay and I zipped out to the airport to pick up his brother, Robby, and his wife, Joyce. So nice to see them! This was actually the first time I’ve met Joyce, since I’m lame and don’t get down here very often. She’s a sweetie!

The whole family gathered in the kitchen, of course. Those who weren’t cooking sat at the island and chatted and picked at the food as it came out of the oven. Finally it was all ready, and after the blessing, we sat down for a feast. Everything was fabulous, but I must say Kay’s cranberry Waldorf salad was divine.

After lunch we lazed around. I got a foot massage from my darling husband, and then I napped while the rest of the family shuffled off for their second trip to Starbucks. When everybody got back, I dragged my butt off the couch, and we had dessert. Pumpkin, cherry, and pecan pies. Pecan is my favorite, so guess what I chose. 🙂

I married into a game playing family, so after dessert they pulled out a card game called Rummy Royale. We dug out all our change and tossed it in the pot, and then we had several hours of fun. I did well, which means I blew all my good luck today and will have none in Vegas this weekend. Sigh.

Not many pictures today, but I did snap a shot while we were playing rummy:

When the game was over, we sat down and hit the leftovers for dinner, and then we headed back to the hotel. We’ll be back here tomorrow morning, and then we’re off on the first leg toward Vegas.

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Day 14 — Drive to Oklahoma

My streak of good weather ended today. I woke up to lots and lots of rain. Ick. I got on the road early, early this morning. Before I hit the highway though, I had to run by Starbucks and upload yesterday’s blog, and I had to run by the gas station and grab a bag of ice. Then I braved the rain and Memphis traffic and hit the highway.

The weather in Memphis and West Memphis was AWFUL. Hard rain, thunder and lightning — impossible to see the road. Add a ton of traffic, most especially fast-moving 18-wheelers, and the early part of the drive was nightmarish. After West Memphis, though, the rain lessened, and by the time I hit Little Rock, the sun was out.

There wasn’t much rain for the rest of the drive, but there was wind. My hands and wrists were killing me by the time I got to Oklahoma City because I had to physically hold the car on the road for so much of the drive. On the plus side, there wasn’t nearly as much traffic as I had expected.

I got to Oklahoma City around three and went straight to my in-laws’ house where my husband awaited. We spent a quiet afternoon at the house (which is newly remodeled and gorgeous), and then we had Memphis barbeque for dinner. It was an early dinner, and I’m glad, because I’m absolutely wiped!

Pictures tomorrow!

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