Archive for August 2015

Nevada – Day Eight: Travel Day

Today was check out day.  We got up, did our twice check to make sure we were taking everything with us that we brought.  Did express check out and headed out.

Note about the casino, after Sunday it wasn’t bad.  The wait for an elevator was non existent and it wasn’t so crowded.  So for anyone traveling to Vegas may I suggest not to arrive or leave in Sunday.

Since we are accustomed to waiting in an airport for hours(our delay on the way out) and since Vegas’s is like s shopping mall (unlike STL), we opted to just go to the airport and get things settled.  The car rental rerturn was a breeze, and security here was easier than STL.

The traffic in and around Las Vegas was MUCH easier and better than DC; and it was no worse (maybe even better than) STL.  I’ve conquered another city!!

Tips for western travel:

1) buy a annual pass for the state parks, you will save $$$

2) bring an atlas or a state map for where you will be; Google maps is great but you will not always have cell service

3)  bring your favorite CD and your not so favorite; radio reception is sketchy

4) Make sure to keep your gas tanked filled and go to the bathroom when you have the chance.  Facilities for both are few and far between.

5) buy a small cooler to keep drinks and snacks in…at the first Wal-Mart you see, it will save $$ and you will have stuff available.  Or purchase a thermal bag that will hold ice and pack it for when arrive.

6) DO NOT fly Frontier…they are the worst airline I have ever flown — including the one that almost wrecked in China. Now that’s bad!! ?

7) don’t waste money on a casino stay, regardless of how cool it looks, because if you don’t use the amenities it offers then a regular motel will suffice (though it was nice being close to everything)

It was a great trip, I loved getting to see all the different parks and viewing God’s handy work.  Next year I’m heading North or foreign…we’ll see where my gypsie blood takes me…LOVE TO TRAVEL!!!

We were blessed with traveling mercies, beautiful weather, and a great adventure.

Until next time…ERM

Nevada – Day Seven: Las Vegas & Gordon Ramsay’s

Today was a basic day, we both slept in and enjoyed a lazy morning.  Took a tour of Las Vegas to get pictures of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Enjoyed some scenery from the Strip.  We took in a lot of the same corner by the Excaliber Casino because they have no street parking, it’s all casino parking.  Luckily one didn’t have their check point guy and we were able to get to the top deck to snag some pictures.  We finally succeeded in our quest for pictures and called it a day.

We went back to the Motel to kick back and relax, awaiting our reservation at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, being funded by Grandma & Grandpa (Dalton/Deborah) for a surprise birthday present for KJ.  I was lucky enough to be the driver. :-)

Made it to our point of interest, much easier than our trip earlier today.  Was taken to our seat and was treated to one of the best meals I’ve had in awhile.  Everything was in pottery style dishes.  We started with a cheese plate – English blue, Spanish Gouda, and Vermont Cheddar.  It came with olives and a raspberry jam.  I opted for the fish and chips; the tarter sauce was so good, I wanted to lick the bowl it was in.  Kirsten went with the Shepard’s Pie, she claimed it was the best she has ever had.  For dessert I had Gordon’s signature dish of Sticky Toffee Pudding and KJ did the Snickerdoodle Madeliene.  I had a root beer that was smooth and better than any I’ve had before, hopefully I can find it in my world.  The meal and atmosphere were so neat…and I’m excited that I had the opportunity to experience it.  My foodie heart was finally satisfied on this trip. ?

Back to the motel to get my stuff organized and packed for the trip home.  It’s been a great week…but I’m ready to sleep in my own bed and see my cat.

Until later…ERM

Arizona – Day Six : Hoover Dam, Driving

Woke up this morning in Williams, AZ, a unique little town that has a train station which performs the Grand Canyon tours.  We did breakfast at Cafe 326, a little bistro type cafe with their own roasted coffee.  Sat down to my breakfast sandwich and tuned into morning service with  West Point Ustream, watching the awesome move of God and rejoicing with my church family.  After a quick stop by the train station we headed out to Hoover Dam.

It was another LONG drive today.  It’s only six hours across the state, going out we broke it up into four days, so it wasn’t bad, coming back it was two days… With a three hour drive to get to a destination.  But KJ had a book today so she stayed occupied.  I got to look at the scenery and keep scanning for a radio station.  It was better than previous days, for the most part we kept radio and cell service. YAY!!  There is so much traffic here…in Utah we would see maybe two or three cars.  We don’t know what to do with so many people.

Our first stop was Hoover Dam.  It was beautiful!!!  We did the tour and went down to where the turbines were.  It was a 70 second elevator ride, down 520 feet into the pit of the earth to see the workings of the power plant.  How they made it was beyond their time, they used a cooling mechanism to cool the cement that it would cure faster.  It blew my mind how it was built in 1930’s….but it supplied a lot of jobs during the depression.

Side Note:  I think I have an invisible sign on my head that states “My dad freely talks to strangers, please converse with me”.  Had some random guy that apparently was on his third trip to the Dam, he said he had been there when you could walk on the main floor by the turbines, then after 9-11 and you couldn’t go down to the equipment  area at all.  Interesting, but I have a bad habit of not being comfortable with random strangers.

We left there and headed into Las Vegas.  Found our motel and went to settle in.  Oh my lanta!!!  KJ and I are not that much on crowds, did I ever make a mistake in booking a room at the Circus Circus.  People everywhere!!!  The line to check in was like being at the airport.   Then to find our room…two different sets of elevators and a crowded “store area”.  When reading online they made it seem family friendly and low-key.  Not the case at all.  Needless to say we found our room and burrowed in for the night.  CRAZY!!!

Until Later…if I survive and KJ doesn’t put me out of my misery from my unwise decision…ERM

Utah/Arizona – Day 5: 4 Corners, Grand Canyon

What a day!!!  Left the clean but Psycho inspired motel this morning and headed out on what turned into a very long rainy ride.  We ran into a wall of rain about 20 minutes into our journey and had it on/off all day long.  Our goals today were the Four Corners and the Grand Canyon.

As we traveled along with our sketchy phone service, I was trying to use google maps, when we were about 20 minutes out from our first destination it was telling me it was closed on Saturday and Sunday’s.  So I found a spot that my phone showed two bars and pulled over.  Placed a call to the center and they said it was open 7 days a week from 8-8.  With no concrete evidence we turned around and headed to our second destination.  Came to the turnoff for the Grand Canyon and if we went east we went to the Four Corners, west got us to the Grand Canyon.   We decided to go ahead and see if the Four Corners was really open and add another ‘did this’ to our travel list.

What an experience!!  We were in Navajo Indian Reservation territory.   I was the minority at the places of business I stopped at to purchase gas and then a second stop to use the restroom…sometimes you cannot do both in one place.  The bathroom experience was a shocker…as I finished up and was getting my clothes adjusted; I was partially completed in the process when the the door burst open.  A wide eyed girl stood there saying “I’m sorry” as she kept the door wide open with her hand blocking me from closing it.  I quickly stepped behind the door and gave it a firm push (the door didn’t have a lock — next time I’ll wait for the one that does).    The poor girl is probably scarred for life…I am the color of Casper, she probably thought a ghost was in there hence the reason she didn’t quickly shut the door.

We finally made it to the Four Corners (each site has different info), paid $5 each to get in…to walk into a flea market type atmosphere around a metal disk in middle of a circle.  There was a lined formed to the left all awaiting thier turn on the disk.  Around the perimeter were booths selling “stuff”…ranging from pottery to every necklace imaginable.  Part of me thought there would be more of a reverence at the site, something like in Washington DC where people site and observe and soak it in…not hawking wares and trying to make money off of it.  KJ laughed at the whole thing, and got enjoyment out of the Brits in front of us and the family behind us that kept saying they were leaving and going to a different state, as they stepped over the line.

All in all, it was a let down, but I can say “I’ve been to the Four Corners”.  Luckily since I’ve done it I won’t have to again.  As with every thing we’ve went to, it’s a 60 mile round trip, so we hoped in the car and headed west.

After a 3 hour ride…yes folks, a trip to St Louis, we finally reached stop number two, the Grand Canyon National Park.  BEAUTIFUL!!!  It was amazing!!  We were able to stop at a few of the viewpoints before the rain caught up with us…but it was very neat to stand on the rim of something so vast…makes one consider their smallness.

With the rain causing us to seek shelter, we hoped in the car and headed to our motel…but first we had to stop at Wal-Mart.  YES…a Wal-Mart FINALLY!!!  There where no Wal-marts in Utah…that we could find.  We made a jaunt to Flagstaff, AZ, and walked into civilization.  They had Wal-Mart, radio stations that were not static, and cell service that actually registered LTE — not just 3G, 4G or what we’ve become accustomed to…’no service’.  KJ was excited to get a book, I picked up some water and a charging cable for my phone.  We saw a man screaming obscenities at the voices in his head, telling them they needed to repent to the Lord or he was going to get mad (cuss word used here), and he didn’t know why they just wouldn’t shut up.  He was being followed by a sea of blue vest.

It was a very long day on the road, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be stuck in the shape of my car seat.  I miss my RAV4 very much, and am thankful more so for it.  Tomorrow we head out to Hoover Dam, another long ride…then to Vegas.  Soon I will be back on Missouri soil.

Until later…ERM.