It was cooler and more comfortable this morning, but the wind was up and they were broadcasting fire warnings. We loaded the truck for our expedition to Las Vegas and, after Sherm pulled the truck out of the yard (yes, we were going in the Toyota), I locked the gate. While doing this, I turned and hit my arm on the pointy ended leaf of a unknown species of tall cactus growing in the yard. It only drew a drop of blood but I believe this plant could be lethal if one was traveling at any kind of speed.
Before leaving town, we stopped on Old 66 at the Roadrunner Cafe. Sherm said this was one of Chunk's favourite places and the girl who served us, an old style diner waitress who had been there for nine years, remembered him. We had an excellent breakfast and found our timing to be impeccable as the tables filled up with locals while we were eating.
Appetite dealt with, we headed out on US 93 North for our first visit to Sin City. On the way, we took a side trip to visit the little town of Chloride, Arizona. An old mining village, someone has built an old west town in the centre of it as a tourist attraction but it is only officially open on Friday and Saturday between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Sherm says they stage gunfights in the street and sometimes the gunfighters are ladies. The show is supposed to be quite entertaining. But with no one in town but us, we checked the place out and were soon on our way.
As we neared Nevada, the landscape turned rugged, resembling the mountains of the moon. We caught a glimpse of the ever present Colorado River down in a canyon before crossing the new Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the river into the Silver State. Because it has high sidewalls, presumably to reduce crosswind buffeting and prevent rubbernecking, you can't see the Hoover Dam from the bridge. We drove down to the dam on the winding old highway but they wanted $7.00 to park so we went back up to a lot where you can climb up stairs to the new bridge. It was over 100F so we passed on that exercise, too.
Returning to US 93, we drove the rest of the way to Las Vegas and managed to find the Excalibur Hotel and a parking space. After navigating the casino, we made it to registration desk and checked in. Our room was in Tower I on the 18th floor which meant, since 18 was the dividing point, that we could use either the upper or lower bank of elevators. Our door was also one of closest to the elevator. Unfortunately, the hotel didn't supply WiFi. Instead, it had a dedicated DSL cable in each room. This is a premium feature but doesn't help much when the guests have three computers.
After settling in, we went for a walk on the Strip to get some food. Under the burning hot sun at over 100F, we first noticed that traffic was crazy. There were many pedestrian overpasses with escalaators and a few without. At other spots, you can cross at street level but be sure to observe the lights. We went past New York New York with its replica of the Brooklyn Bridge and the roller coaster no one else wanted to ride and crossed over to the Hard Rock Cafe. Not liking either the prices or the music, we moved on to the Harley Davidson Cafe and had supper. Then we walked through Paris, with its replica of the Eiffel Tower and continued down the street until we were across from Caesar's Palace.
All down the Strip, you couldn't move ten feet without someone offering to have a girl (or girls) in your room within twenty minutes. They tried to hand you cards or flyers and it got old very quickly. Rolling billboards on the back of trucks or mounted on trailers passed by on the street advertising the same. I guess some people come here looking for that sort of thing.
We crossed Las Vegas Boulevard to Caesar's Palace and went inside. Sherm wanted to show us the Forum Casino and the Forum Shops. The ceiling in the casino was painted with beautiful Roman designs while the shops featured all the big names like Jimmy Choo, Hugo Boss and Rolex. Window shopping only for us. We did visit the Peter Lik gallery. I wasn't familiar with this Australian's landscape photos but they were amazing. The salesman took us into a side room and showed how the treated photographic surface reacted to changes in light levels. I asked the price sand he told me the numbered, limited edition copies went for $2,500 to $250,000. Yikes.
We exited the Palace through a back door and had to navigate the valet parking lot and a tunnel with no sidewalk to get back to the street. It was dark enough that the lights were coming on and the Strip was coming alive. Heading south, we stopped to watch the waters in front of the Bellagio dance in time to a symphony. We worked our way back towards our hotel through hordes of people and this is where we found some crossovers that didn't have elevators. All three of us were getting pretty tired. Finally, the coloured spires of the Excalibur came into view and, as a welcome touch, there was a moving walkway to take us to the casino.
Sandy and I had to go back out to the truck to get her toothbrush and, while closing the latch on the truck cap, something popped in my bad finger. It has been a nuisance until now but is now a lot worse. We returned to the room and, party animals that we are, were asleep before 11:00 PM.
The Bellagio at sunset