Friends, rocks and water

Tuesday 20th March

Gill and Vics Diary.

After an 8 hour delay at Gatwick as our plane was broken and we had to wait for another, we arrived in Vegas, 11.30 at night instead of 2.30 in the afternoon, tired and wanting a bed, but hey, this is Vegas the town that never sleeps, so after a swift Margarita, Betsy and Malcolm took us off to see the delights of their own doorstep Casino. This was the first of a few late nights, remember we were jetlagged! Vic and I didn’t get over it until Fri. Its amazing how quickly 2am comes around!. We did have fun though. It’s so easy to loose a few dollars but it’s fun whilst you do it. Vegas has other attractions as well; lots of free shows day and night, lots of food day and night!! But also natures attractions all within a few miles of the strip. Malcolm will tell you more of the delights but anyone coming out to Vegas should visit the Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, and the Valley of Fire state park.

 

 

Friday 23rd March

 

Today we left Vegas, Gill & Vic have been with us for the last 3 days and between us we have found out that Vegas is not the place to gamble – it’s the food lovers paradise in best value eats J.

We did the casino all you can eat buffets proud! In between eating (steak dinners are pretty popular too) we managed to see not only the free shows – Rio’s parade in the sky is well worth going “off strip” for – but we also got to pay for one too (I know you might find that hard to believe). Well at least half price, check out the tix4tonight booths if you come out here, they are just that. We got to see the Cirque du Soleil production of: Zumanity: http://www.zumanity.com/en/voyeur/voyeur.asp All I can say is it’s vastly different to the Cirque shows we have come to love and expect – we all loved it – go on spice up your life – see it.

Daytime visiting included “Red Rock Canyon” Just 20 miles west of the strip; we were all wowed by the show that nature can do compared to the man made fantasy that is Vegas. Red Rock is just as it sounds – Red, rocky and a canyon – the pictures tell the story but only eyewitness can portray the majesty – go and see it – leave the slots alone! We happened to witness an international climbing festival – Spiderman came to mind! All along our route we have found people to be very friendly, often our number plate or hearing our accent is enough a spark a conversation, today was no exception. Whilst gazing into the distance at Las Vegas stretched out beyond, a couple in the car park began to chat to Vic. They were visiting from Montana, ranchers taking a break, eager to recommend places to visit – this time- Denver.

Eventually we turned Toad towards the bright lights of Vegas and headed back to that city that never sleeps. We called in at the Rio hotel, drawn by yet another free show, here it is a “parade” that takes place in the roof of the Casino, together with a floorshow. It was certainly very different; we also sampled the buffet, so much wonderful food, so little space in the tum!! Vegas is spectacular in a neon sort of way, but there is much more to the area than flashy lights, cheap food and 24hr gambling.

Vegas was hot: temperature, shows, food and pure fantasy, you have to explore everything it has to offer, yet again I have the feeling we just managed to scratch the surface.

As you know by now, the name of our game is to move on… It was going to be the Canyon, Grand, next but we have learnt this trip that weather makes all the difference, so when enquiring about camping in Williams and being told a “bit of a front is moving in” we took heed and decided to do Lake Mead first for a few days. Off to show G&V the delights of “dry camping” we got a great site as close to the lakeside as possible (7 years of falling water levels mean the lake is something like 100’ below its “full” level). A nice tree lined site on Boulder Beach State Park campground. Three nights gave us chance to visit the Hoover Dam (a bit of a reconnaissance for when we drive over in Bree) and explore the sights around the lake on the Nevada side of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area http://www.nps.gov/lame/

Yet again the USA has provided us with a man made wonder that solved a problem of the time (taming the waters of the Colorado river) and created so much more – Hydro electricity, irrigation, recreation and more – The Hoover Dam tour shows you what a huge feat of engineering and the tenacity of man is capable of. It actually spans Black Rock Canyon and was built under budget and in less time than estimated. Many trips out of Vegas include a flight over the dam then on to the Grand Canyon. Don’t do it – take the day to explore the workings of the dam itself. The visitors centre gives you the mind boggling facts and figures, the tour tells the human story as well as taking you into the bowels to show you the huge turbines producing so much power that Vegas and all its lights only take up 1%. We walked across the dam marvelling at its huge depth as we crossed from Nevada to Arizona. I think it’s just picture time again…Malc even managed to find a fellow engineer (Where were you Jenks?) to discuss the various exhibits with!

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