Although I’m still on the road, my official vacation is over. It has been a ton of fun, but also completely exhausting as today I checked into my fifth hotel in ten days. Yikes! It’s been a pretty diverse trip, too, covering a dressy party in Vegas, horse ranch in Bandero, TX and even a haunted hotel (I’ll get to that later…) Here are the highlights and some pictures…!
Day 1: I left Portland with my friends Susan, Kevin & Doreen – destination Las Vegas! Upon arriving at the condo complex where we stayed, we immediately located the bar/casino where I turned $5 into $8. That was one of the only times I won money during our trip. Here is the first of over 200 pictures I took in the last ten days:
Shortly after this picture was taken, we went down to Fremont Street to see some of the old casinos including the Golden Nugget. Very different atmosphere than you find with the swanky places on the strip.
Day 2: We all went to the Barrett-Jackson car auction at Mandalay Bay where I did not buy this car (even though I really, really wanted to…)
We had lunch at the House of Blues, then went back to the condo to get all gussied up for the main event of the trip – Doreen’s birthday dinner at Maggiano’s italian restaurant followed by closing down a piano bar at the Palazzo casino. I’ve been friends with these two for 10 years and have to say that we clean up pretty good:
Day 3: We spent the day visiting some of the famous Casinos on the strip: the Bellagio, Bally’s, etc… After spending most of the day together, Susan and I peeled off to go to a wonderful dinner at one of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants and see a performance of the Lion King at Mandalay Bay while Doreen and Kevin celebrated their anniversary at the same hotel where they stayed during their honeymoon six years ago. We met up later in the evening at New York, New York where we were overwhelmed by the number of “kids” that were very, very loud and very, very drunk. When did I get so old? Again, we all clean up pretty good:
Day 4: Susan and I were the official media team for Doreen and Kevin who went to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to participate in the Richard Petty Driving Experience. They drove actual Nascar cars around the track and each went well over 130 miles per hour. Driving. Themselves. In the car alone. No instructors. Yikes! We took a number of pictures of the happy couple before the event as we weren’t sure we’d have the chance to take them after…
After the event, we all went to the Wynn for a drink at their gorgeous bar overlooking a man-made waterfall and I tried my hand at roulette where I actually made a tidy little sum. (You’ll notice that I’m not sharing the times I gambled and didn’t make a tidy little sum…) Then, not to be outdone by the adreneline-rush couple, we all went to the Stratosphere where Susan and I went on a ride where they basically throw you off the side of the building, dangle you there for a bit and reel you back in. It was awesome! I’ll take it over riding 130 miles per hour any day. In the picture below, you’ll see a diagonal red line to the left of the red tower. That’s where they tossed us from:
Day 5: Our last day in Vegas (sniff, sniff). The four of us went through the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor which was just amazing. They have an actual large portion of the hull of the ship as well as many recovered objects and reproductions of the cabins and the great staircase. We then tried to hit all of the sights we hadn’t yet had a chance to see. We walked through Caesar’s Palace where Cher is performing. I considered picking up this little number to wear to dinner, but decided it might be a little chilly:
Then we all went to the Venetian where we had another fantastic Italian meal. I had a bolognese sauce that would make grown Italian men weep for their mamas.
Our last stop on our last night was to the Bellagio for one of the amazing fountain shows. It ended the first leg of our vacation on just the right note!
Stay tuned tomorrow night for Phases 2, 3 and 4 of my vacation which include San Antonio, Austin and the all-important, incredibly amazing trip to a horse ranch. (I refuse to call it a dude ranch anymore since Cowboy Justin said Susan and I were official cowgirls. Cowgirls do not go to dude ranches…)