National Parks Tour: Viva Las Vegas

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

What to do on your first night in Vegas? So many choices – A. Gamble, B. See a Show, C. Walk the Strip, D. Hit the Buffet, or E. Conk out at 7:00 because you’re exhausted and your back hurts. If you picked (E), then you are old. Take some Tylenol PM and go to bed.

To be fair, our bodies still thought it was 10:00 and our backs did hurt. But the problem with going to bed at 7:00 is that you wake up at 4:30 and can’t go back to sleep. And you suddenly realize there is no coffee maker in your room. Ugh. The coffee shop does not open until 7:00. Double Ugh.

Did give me some time to think about our other 3 trips here. The first trip was definitely my favorite – Chuck and I were married here. We stayed at the Riviera which was, sadly, torn down in 2016. Back in the day, it was very fancy. We got married at the Little White Chapel. They sent a limo for us. It has a drive-thru option, but I had a new dress, so we went inside. We just had to wait for the couple in the taxi to get married and then it was our turn. The limo then drove us around the Strip with a just married sign on it. Fun.

We spent a couple of more days here for the honeymoon. We treated ourselves to a Siegfried and Roy show which we had heard raves about. Unfortunately, our tickets, which I thought were expensive, had us in seats in the nosebleed section so we could see the machines coming up out of the stage. Definitely not the “magical” experience it had been touted. We saw several other free shows that were better, but we were down front for those shows. Did enjoy seeing the white tigers up close in their enclosure.

Once it was 7:00, we made our way to the coffee shop with our breakfast coupons. They had a limited menu for the coupons but we both enjoyed our selections – Denver omelet, hashbrowns, and wheat toast for me and two eggs, ham steak, hashbrowns, and wheat toast for Chuck. And coffee – don’t forget the coffee. Again, the portions were so big, but the food was excellent.

We thought a stroll down the Strip would be a good way to walk off the calories of one piece of toast. It was overcast and only 79 degrees and very few people were out walking. We saw the statue of Siegfried and Roy and I had to get a picture of Chuck with his “favorite” entertainers.

We came back and played some more slots. Had just as much luck as we did last night. None.

Sun had come out, so it was time to go to the pool. You had to show your room key to access the pool and they checked your bag to be sure you weren’t bringing in food or drinks. He didn’t say anything about our water bottles. Really nice pool and hot tub. Lots of padded loungers. We found two in the partial shade. I was surprised to see that they had 3 lifeguards. The water was only 4 ft deep. They also had cabanas to rent but I didn’t see anyone in those today. We swam for a while and then enjoyed an adult beverage while we soaked up some sun.

We took another short stroll along the Strip, but it was much hotter and more crowded, so we didn’t stay long. Chuck decided to try his luck at the tables, and I went upstairs to get ready for our health screening with the Tour Director. He followed not long after I had finished up. At least he broke even.

Once we were both ready to go, we hit Triple-Double SNAFU #5. I could not find my driver’s license. Go directly to PANIC, do not pass Go. I had carried it in my bag to the pool, I had given it to the lady at the Players Club to get a Players Card. If it is not in my wallet, I carry it in my front pocket of my jeans. I could have sworn I had it when I came to the room. I tore the room up. Emptied garbage cans. Looked through my backpack, purse, jeans, etc., etc. How in the world was I going to be able to get on the plane to come home?

I had moved on from PANIC to HYSTERICAL. I just turned my purse upside down on the bed and was emptying all the pockets – so many pockets of the purse. When I unzipped the one that held our Vaccine cards – there was my driver’s license with them. What? When did I put it in there? What had I been thinking?

I’m always telling Chuck when he loses something, you’ve got to be in the moment and think about what you are doing to help you remember. I obviously did not follow my own advice. Without thinking about what I was doing, I dropped my license in with the cards. I was so relieved I was giddy and nearly in tears. Though I have no intention of losing it again, I took a picture of my license. It was a very long 20 minutes.

After that fiasco, the rest of the evening went smoothly. We checked in with our Tour Director – Al from Colorado. He checked our cards and took our temperature. We passed. He gave us our luggage tags and the overall itinerary.

We then went to play some more slots and still had no luck. The TI has not been good to us. Guess we’ll stay with Mississippi gambling.

Ate dinner again at Gilley’s. We got smart this time and split a sandwich and fries. The beef brisket sandwich was melt-in-your-mouth tender. Made another quick trip to CVS.

Then it was time to go to the Welcome Meeting. There are 39 people on this tour. Al went over some information for tomorrow – mostly about the early morning bag pick-up and all the COVID precautions we will take during the trip. I have KN95 masks for us for the bus. We also met Wade our bus driver. Everyone seemed excited. I know I am. I just hope everyone is punctual and considerate of one another. Tomorrow on to Arizona and the Grand Canyon.

Travel Trivia

Las Vegas, Nevada

The famous Las Vegas Strip is not located within the city limits of Las Vegas. The strip is under the jurisdiction of Clark County.

More than 41 million people visit Las Vegas each year. The average visitor stays for 3.5 nights.

With its millions of lights, Las Vegas is considered the brightest spot on Earth.

There are an average of 315 weddings per day in Las Vegas (including ours).

The first casino in Las Vegas was licensed in 1931.

The bronze lion outside of the MGM Grand Hotel weighs 90,000 pounds.

The Bellagio chocolate fountain is certified by Guinness World Records as the largest chocolate fountain in the world, at over 27 feet tall.

Arizona – The Grand Canyon State

In the beginning Arizona was home to many ancient Native American civilizations. Hohokam, Mogollon, and Ancestral Puebloan cultures were among those that flourished throughout the state. In 1539, Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, became the first European to contact Native Americans. The expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540–1542.

The Federal government declared the U.S. Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of earlier New Mexico Territory on February 24, 1863.

Arizona achieved statehood on February 14, 1912, making it the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union.

More than 50% of the state lies at an elevation of more than 4,000 feet above sea level.

The state has 13 species of rattlesnakes which is more than any other state.

Arizona is also home to the best-preserved crater on Earth – the Barringer Crater. It has a diameter of about 3900 feet and a depth of 5500 feet. It is estimated that the crater is 50 thousand years old.

The state is home to the two largest man-made lakes in the United States – Lake Mead (largest) and Lake Powell (second largest).

The amount of copper in the state Capitol Building is equivalent to 4.8 million pennies.

The Mojave Desert or the High Desert occupies the northwestern part of Arizona. It is named after the Mohave tribe and is the driest desert in the northern hemisphere

Cutting down a cactus in Arizona is a punishable offense and the maximum term in jail for the act could be 25 years.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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