Our three week stay in Las Vegas came after our Death Valley 49’er Encampment experience. We needed a city RV Park to hook up to utilities to vacuum and clean the rig after our sandy, gritty, dry-camp experience. We also needed shops to refill the pantry with food and supplies and a place to have our mail forwarded as well as a few maintenance items like a wi-fi booster from Amazon, haircuts and grooming for all three of us (Pj’s session at the groomer is far more expensive than our’s) and four new tires for the Dully axle on the truck.
We met our RV Park neighbors on their first time out in their cute, new, but retro trailer. Check out those “white walls” tires!
Once our chores were completed, we could play. Now, I will say right up front that we are not educated gamblers so we shy away from gambling. However, we gained at least 3 new casino membership cards which allow discounts on food, movies and other activities in said casinos. The food was really pretty good and quite reasonably priced, thanks to those who do gamble and give the house a profit.
We found plenty to do in Las Vegas, without breaking our budget:
- Hoover Dam
- Lake Mead
- Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area
- The Strip, with various attractions, shows, displays and activities at no admission charge.
- Shopping Malls
- The National Atomic Testing Museum associated with the Smithsonian.
- Dinner and a Vegas Show. (Broken Budget)
We found Hoover Dam to be an engineering marvel. Neither of us knew of the new Hoover Dam Bridge and highway that was built in 2010 as a tribute to Mike O’Callaghan and Pat Tillman. We walked the bridge which spans the state line of Arizona and Nevada, relieving the old traffic bottleneck over Hoover Dam.
We toured the areas that were available to us. It was very different what we can see now than what I remember from a visit when I was a child with my family on vacation. It is exhilarating peaking over the bridge at the Colorado River over 600 feet below. The workmanship is still amazing!
We drove past Lake Mead and noticed that the water levels reminded us that Nevada did not escape the drought of the last few years.
We took a Sunday drive through Red Rock Canyon and were in awe of the rugged natural beauty of the canyon and the rock formations that jutted toward the sky. There were plenty of trails to hike if we had allowed ourselves the time. It was a lovely drive.
Our walk on the Vegas strip outside was a reminder that not all of Las Vegas is easy rolling for the residents and visitors. There were street musicians, performers and photo opportunities with all sorts of characters from the shows, Mickey, Minions, Princesses and Show Girls. All sorts of ticket sales to take advantage of “if one would attend a no obligation presentation” on this or that financial investment in amusement.
We enjoyed the indoor and outdoor gardens, the water features and fountain shows, the aquariums and many more animated presentations in the beautiful Casino/Hotels with fine shops and restaurants.
We did a little clothes and Christmas shopping during the Black Friday Sales.
We missed being with family on Thanksgiving. We called and visited with as many as we could reach. We chose to stay in and I cooked a mini-feast for the two of us. We are grateful for many blessings; our families, our friends, our health and the ability to see this wonderful country in which we live.
We were reminded of the Cold War of our childhoods when we visited the National Atomic Testing Museum. We remember safety drills in grade school where we crawled under our school desks with our hands covering our heads to protect us against the unspeakable A-Bomb. The subject and technical presentations were presented realistically and educationally. However, it was sobering to try to come to grips with the potentially massive power that could be used for peace or war, depending on who has control.
We felt that we just couldn’t come to Las Vegas and not see a Vegas Show. It was hard to decide which show, there are so many from which to choose. We had actually seen a few of the headliners on tour when we lived in Tulsa and I really wanted something with a Vegas Flair. We chose the dinner and VIP combo at Planet Hollywood called simply “Vegas the Show”.
It presented the history of how the early Las Vegas came about, variety acts, show girls, and of course “Rat Pack” type singers and dancers. Planet Hollywood offered free, off-street parking that served our larger truck. The restaurant was not far from the theater with fine food, and of course we strolled the shopping mall which would stay open until midnight.
We have enjoyed most of our time in Las Vegas. We really didn’t like the city’s traffic plan and there are severe pedestrian issues that I hope will get resolved soon.
We look forward to some less busy time in our next stop near warmer Palm Springs, California.