Friday, June 21, 2013

Cross-country Roadtrip Part 5

As we waved goodbye to the beauty in Arizona we were off to our last stretch and destination on our two week cross-country roadtrip: Las Vegas!!! Although I knew from the start that coming to Vegas would mean the end of our trip but at the same time I was equally intrigued to see what all the fuss was about this "sin city." Need I tell all that going to Vegas was none other than a destination that was conveniantly matched with our roadtrip route. During our planning sessions months prior to the trip we thought going to Vegas would be fun and since neither one of us had been we might as well check it out. Besides we've both been to Los Angeles and didn't care for it so this was the next best thing.

Heading into the high heat entrenched desert lands of Nevada we sighted dust tornados - tons of them - along Route 66. We stopped in Seligman, the so-called birth-place of Route 66 but it was sad to see how depressed most of the towns were along the route including Selgiman. However, each town has their own gemic so Selgiman advertised their status by decorating the roofs and doorways with colorful plastic models made to look like funk-da-fied people from another era in time. I guess thats what they thought would be a eye-catching point for us tourists.

All I'll say is that if you don't have gas in your car driving on that route you are screwed. There's hardly any towns let alone gas stations out in the middle of no-where. We did get lucky about 20 outside of Kingman (which is 75 miles from Seligman) to find a small working gas station where a kind gentleman "Chuck," "Joe,"...he said he has a lot of names since he'll take on any name someone chooses to call him. What was even more interesting - besides the friendly gas attendant giving full gas service like in NJ - was when a lady in Seligman mentioned before we left that she has to drive to Kingman for groceries. That's 75 miles west and another to go home!!! I cannot imagine what that is like other than feeling so remorse.

Nothing but miles of desert and road....

Almost 1 1/2 hours later we made it to the Hoover Dam with the outside temperature estimating 112 degrees. Yep it was the hottest I have ever experienced in my life other than that one day on the beach in Rhodes, Greece. The difference with Rhodes was the presence of wind. Here there was just heat and sunlight beaming from above. But it was all well and good once we went inside for the tour especially walking in the underground tunnels near the Colorado River. We did have enough energy to walk a bit to get a better look of the dam (see pictures below).

 Our friendly and enthusiastic tour guide from TN

Exhausted from walked not nearly enough to really complain - I blame the heat - we drove to the other side of the dam to see Lake Mead and get a bite to eat at the marina. It was amazing to think we created all of this in the last century. Lake Mead was calm and scerne like no other body of water I've seen because really, what place has that kind of asectics surrounding it? It was especially unique. Satisfying lunch and we were once again on the road again this time for the shortest amount of time (ever) it has taken us to get from one place to another. We could see Vegas in the distance after clearing some mountains near Lake Mead. Casino in the middle of the desert, yeah no kidding!

From here on out it was Viva Las Vegas baby! We arrived at Trump International Hotel in such a state that I was not prepared for the vallet to take our car and be hence waiting on hand and foot as soon as we hit the pavement. They did make us feel like royalty especially the gentleman who took us up to the room and told us how everything worked. The problem we had was forgetting to have enough cash on us to give tips. So later that night once settled into one of the nicest hotel suites we've ever been in (five-stars is really sweet - thanks Uncle Jack) we headed out to a Bank of America ATM to get quick cash to tips and then we went out on the town. We had a great dinner at El Segundo, a Mexican/American restaurant, where we ate awesome burgers and....a 42 oz margarita!!! Wish I kept the glass as evidence and a souvenir of our feat!

The suite!!

 "Wasted away again in Margaritaville"

Later we hit the casinos - because Trump didn't have one of his own and we wanted to be creatures of the night. Slots at the Bellagio, Caesars and MGM. It was so interesting to see my Mom's reaction to how outrageously dressed people were, namely the women, on and off the strip. I wasn't too 'caught off-guard' since I had experience than both during my gap year traveling and being at college for the last four years. Girls dress for attention in all the wrong places but what I find is really startling is how nearly naked they have become to do so. But what I didn't like was the obsenity of public drunkenness on the strip. It was embarassing for me to watch and for them to think acting like that is ok since "I'm on va-cay!' or 'I'm in Vegas, wooot!" NO its really not okay people. That is really stupid and in most cases life-threatening. Ever heard of alcohol poisoning?!?!? Well its not a myth its a sad reality and I'm sure it happens way too often in a place like Vegas.
Inside Caesars
 Outside Caesars
 Inside Bellagio
 Mom won $55!
 Walking the strip our first night in town

The next day we chilled out in the hotel. I had a little bit of a breakdown (what great timing) but as a result we ordered room service and went to the spa which was sooooo beautiful and relaxing. We got reflexologies - feet massages that pinpoint your nerve endings that send relaxing vibes throughout your body namely your head. That night we went to Mandalay Bay at the south end of the strip for dinner at House of Blues and to see the Michael Jackson's ONE Cirque du Soleil show (which was AMAZING - recommend highly). We were even fortunate enough to see and heard some of Grace Potter & The Nocturnal's set outside near the pool before ONE. They were amazing and so was ONE. The energy of the performers and the sentimental feelings shared among everyone in the audience throughout the show was unforgettable. All I know is that despite having some fun playing slots and looking at the casinos interior/exterior and going to Cirque du Soleil Vegas is not a place I could spend a long period of time doing anything. Its a nice getaway place but for a limited engagement. Two days and three nights was enough for me.
Our room service came on a cart that turned into a table! 
PS we spurged on champagne in honor of the occassion
 The spa :)

 Steamer, Sunna & Personal showers with complimentary towels, robes, slippers 
and accessories (razors, shaving cream, hair ties, etc)
 Face and body lotions and creams
 This was so cool!!!

Two flights back to the east coast and a drive back to central Jersey I was exhausted. I called out of my first day of work Monday to have a little time to myself before I got back into the "real-world." And since my Mom is out of work it didn't matter. Despite a little car trouble the Tuesday when we were planning to move the rest of my stuff into my apartment in New Brunswick I was feeling pretty good about my experiences since graduation. Now I have the opportunity to live my life free from institutional obligations and start fresh somewhere new.

I should have expected. Casino slots in the airport.

New post about my first two weeks at Environment NJ, my new apartment and colleagues and where I see myself in the coming months....all coming soon :)

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