September 10, 2009

...yes, I think we WERE crazy- Part 1

maybe it was the non-stop trip last month from Arizona to Illinois that warped us... after driving 30 hours at once, 6 hours is nothing, right?? ...last weekend, we drove to Las Vegas for a whirlwind weekend trip. We dropped the dogs off at the sitter's house at 6 am on Saturday, then headed out of town. I'd never been to Vegas before, and Tom hadn't for quite a few years-- it was a beautiful drive through the northwest part of Arizona and over the Hoover Dam into Nevada (pics of that tomorrow). This photo was taken north of Wickenburg, through an area called the Joshua Tree Parkway. There are Joshua tree "forests" (I guess that's what you'd call them) everywhere out there. I still like Saguaro cactus better, but Joshua trees are so alien looking, they're kind of fascinating- they look like something Dr. Seuss came up with, not a plant that's native to the southwest! Once we got over the Hoover Dam and into Vegas (sloooow driving- I'll show some pics of the Dam in a separate post), we hit a scrapbook store (of course!) then headed to the Las Vegas Strip. The first place we stopped was a pawn shop...
The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, to be exact- we recently started watching a reality series on the History Channel called Pawn Stars, which is filmed there- a bit like Antiques Roadshow with a twist, and some really interesting characters! You never know what people will try and pawn or sell- a handmade glass sword (!) and a cannon from the 1850s were two of the odder items from recent shows, Two of the stars were in the shop when we stopped in, and they were nice enough to pose with Tom. From left to right: Tom, Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison (the grandson of the shop owner), and "Chumlee," Corey's childhood friend.
After we got settled into our hotel just off the main drag, we headed for the Las Vegas strip, and started walking- there's sooo much to see, it was sensory overload! (the strip is a looooot longer than it looks, too- I still have blisters!) This photo was taken just as the lights started coming on- the left part of the photo is New York, New York, with replicas of the Brooklyn Bridge, Chrysler Building, and Empire State building, to name a few. You can also see a new hotel complex being built right behind the Statue of Liberty, and the spire off in the distance is a replica of the Eiffel Tower. Along the strip there's also a small canal outside the Venetian hotel where you can take gondola rides; a pirate ship battle happens outside the Treasure Island hotel, and a volcano erupts outside the Mirage hotel. (I gotta admit, it was pretty weird, the "artificial-ness" of the whole place.)
This pic was taken using the Night mode on the camera, so the shutter stayed open a little longer than usual, which gives the blury effect- I think it gives a good sense of just how crowded it was- it never stopped, either, since everything is open 24 hours! We finally pooped out and headed back to our hotel room just after midnight. (we never made it all the way to the end of the strip; my feet just couldn't handle it- leave it to me to wear a pair of tennis shoes I hadn't worn in a while to a place requiring lots of walking!)
And of course, the obligatory photo with the Michael Jackson and Elvis impersonators! The whole thing was just so surreal, I couldn't stop laughing!! Sunday morning the whirlwind trip continued- a wonderfully relaxing breakfast buffet (thank goodness I got to rest my feet!), a little more sightseeing, then we headed back to Arizona with a stop at the Hoover Dam. (I just realized, I never posted part 2 of the trip we took to the Midwest... I'll have to fix that soon, too.)

No comments: