From Gracie: Following our introduction to the Tempting Fate Rock Climbing Association in Yosemite, we decided it was time to visit another American treasure, this one of a different sort. Las Vegas. We arrived to Sin City after meandering for a couple days and a couple hundred miles through Fresno, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, and the Mojave Desert. Andrew had been to Vegas a couple times before with his best bud Ben, but this was to be my inaugural visit.
Andrew warned me that Las Vegas would be unlike anything I’d ever seen. Mhmm, okay. I’ve seen huge hotels and the desert, I thought. What’s so different about Vegas? Cruising onto the Strip off the desolate I-15 though, I realized my dear husband was indeed right and I had been oh so wrong about this oasis in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It is unlike anything I had ever witnessed.
Las Vegas welcomes the young and old, the have and have-nots, the wannabe glamorous and the wannabe in sweatpants. It showcases mega-watt signage, mega-margaritas, and mega-mysteries. One of my personal mega-mysteries is the Venetian’s Grand Canal. Here visitors spend upwards of $100 to take an indoor gondola ride throughout a shopping center under a painted sky.
The only thing it has in common with Venice, Italy is the number of Japanese tourists. I’m slightly concerned the islands of Japan are currently empty.
Vegas holds one common theme for everyone though: that alluring, fabled notion called winning. It’s a rare occurrence yet we all think it’s a definite possibility, so why not toss a few chips at a friendly Blackjack dealer? Regardless if it’s your first visit or you’re a member of Bellagio’s high roller club, we all believe for a fleeting moment that our luck could change if we just pull the lever of the slot machine one more time.
Well, I’m here to tell you that we lost more than we won (how shocking!) although I did win $9 by playing my grandmother’s “lucky” Keno numbers. She was probably looking down upon us, annoyed that I had only bet $5 up until that point, so she threw some luck my way and I wound up a winner. Thanks, Nana. I promise to bet bigger next time.
I may have been the most awkwardly overdressed woman in town–meaning I literally had on more clothing than anyone else since I was wearing jeans, a cardigan, and scarf–but I honestly had a great time! We gambled, saw a Cirque de Soleil show, enjoyed drinks and dinner with Ben’s uncle Michael, ate our combined weight in all-day breakfast buffets, and then burned off the calories by hiking Red Rock Canyon and walking for miles attempting to find an exit within Caesar’s Palace.
Another crucial component of our Vegas stay was that we sprung for a last-minute Hotwire deal for a four star hotel on the Strip. It was only $75/night but we wouldn’t know the hotel until after we booked the deal. Another shocking surprise, we got Trump Tower. My liberal, Michelle Obama-loving self cringed but I have to admit, the hotel was freaking amazing. Who doesn’t love a suite on the 34th floor with a king-sized bed overlooking a drought-stricken desert? I promptly filled up the massive jacuzzi tub and enjoyed a long soak thanks to the now barely trickling Colorado River.
And after TWO WHOLE DAYS, I was ready to return to nature, Fordy, and the simple beauty of the Southwest.