Archive for May, 2009

Day 2 in the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada

May 30, 2009 11:59 pm

Mark and I woke up around 3.  Everyone else had already left and was out to see the strip and see some shows.  Ethan and Larissa went to see Cirque de Sole, and Whit and Danielle went to see Blue Man Group.  We went online and realized we’d read the dates wrong and that UFC wasn’t for 2 more weeks.  While we were asleep, Scott, from my old job, texted me his sports picks (which I probably requested about 20 times last night).  He gave me 5 picks, 2 were over, and one was about to start, and we weren’t making it to a sports book in time to get the bet in.  We threw on some clothes then headed out to the monorail and got day passes.  We were across the street from Sahara, so it wasn’t too far a walk.

We headed to the Hilton since they have the largest sports book and got to the table to put our bets in.  We put in Scott’s 2 remaining picks, for the Magic over the Cavs in game 7, and Detroit over Pittsburgh in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  I suggested we do a 3 game parlay, and we picked the Mariners over the Angels because we met Mark from Seattle that morning.  We each bet $50 (20-20-10), and figured that would keep us entertained for a while.  We hung out in the sports book for a bit and got a free drink, and watched some of the games.  Mark had spotted me some cash for the bet, so I needed to find a Bank of America ATM.  Mark knew they had some in the Forum at Caesars, so we headed there.  After a ton of searching and looking at Peter Lick’s Gallery (it turned out he was coming into the store that day, but we were way underdressed) and they explained his photographs to us and what makes them special, we found an ATM that was in service, and decided to watch the games somewhere.  We had been checking the scores on our phones every 15 seconds, thank you ESPN game track with auto-refresh!  We walked about 10 feet into Caesars, and I remembered it was unlucky for me, so we ran out in a full sprint and went over to Harrah’s.  We watched the rest of the games there, and our first 2 games, and first 2 bets hit there.  So we were both now up money in Vegas on our bets.  Ethan called us and wanted to get dinner after Cirque de Sole, and it was about that time; the Mariners were being outplayed all game, and were down 3-0 in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, and 2 strikes.  We figured we would be ready to go in a minute, so I told him we’d meet him at the Sahara and get rewards cards for the cheap buffet.  With that all set up, Lopez hits a 3 run homerun to tie the game.  It goes to extra innings, and in a fluke on an error, the Mariners win the game.  We hit all of our bets, but even more impressive, Scott was 5 for 5 on the day; Mark and I whined about not waking up early enough and trying a 5 game parlay, even though I probably wouldn’t have done it…

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Hiking the Grand Canyon and the first night in Las Vegas

12:00 pm

We woke up around 9 and moved the RV to a parking lot.  We couldn’t stay in the spot, and we didn’t know how long it would take for us to hike, so a parking lot was the only choice we had.  (And it was in front of the General Store, so we could stock up on over priced supplies if we wanted.)  I wore gym shorts, my fly fishing hat, my hiking boots, and my backpack with lunch in it, my camera and knife attached, and a Nalgene bottle hanging from it.  I had already made my first mistake.  Mark and I drank a bit the night before, and were probably already dehydrated, and had not drunk any water before heading out on a hike in the desert.  I also didn’t take any ibuprofen which would later lead to my knees killing me on the stairs all the way up.)

We walked the trail of time around part of the rim, which gave us some good views.  We found a trail that was much less popular and further out than the Bright Angel Trail, and it went to a dripping spring (it was named the Dripping Spring Trail).  It was only about 3.75 miles each way, so we figured it was a good day hike.  There was a snack bar at the top, so we grabbed something to eat before heading out, I think I grabbed a breakfast Danish (sadly, it was not nearly as good as those in Copenhagen).

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Travel to, and a night at the Grand Canyon

May 28, 2009 11:35 pm

We left as soon as we woke up, and headed for the Grand Canyon.  Along the way we passed through many Indian/Native American (Depending on who you are talking to) Reservations.  We stopped at a sign that said it was The Largest Navajo Reservation, and looked around a bit.  We got a few cigars because they are untaxed and are REALLY cheap.  (Go to TPtobacco.com to buy online at the same prices we paid!)  They advertised Buffalo Jerky everywhere, but nobody had any in stock.  Every store recommended another, so we bounced around for a little bit before we settled for normal Beef Jerky, but it was also good, and cheap!  The rest of the way there, there were tons of reservations, seemingly one every few miles, they looked really depressing just driving through, I think they really got the short end of the stick.

We drove to see the Petrified Forest, with the top down in the Jeep, and it was OK.  The Painted Desert was cooler than the petrified wood.  There was not a lot of petrified wood there, and the rangers were really worried about us stealing the wood.  We didn’t.  After leaving, we got back on the highway and saw a sign that said the Crater Natural Park was coming up.  We headed off the highway and over there to check it out.  When we got there, we found out what a ‘Natural’ park is, it’s designed to look like the word ‘National’, but way more expensive.  Just to look at it, cost 15 dollars a person.  We quickly fired up Google Maps on our phones, checked it out from above and decided against heading in.  The rest of the trip to the park was uneventful; we just drove, drove, drove, and eventually arrived.  And when I say ‘we drove’, I mean ‘Ethan drove.’

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Albuquerque, New Mexico

May 27, 2009 11:31 pm

We woke up and headed for New Mexico, but we made sure to pick up some spray paint and visit the famous Cadillac Ranch. It is a bunch of old Cadillac’s half buried in the ground. They have been spray painted on by almost everyone that’s visited and that gives it almost an inch thick layer of protection. We left our marks on the cars, and headed out. We stopped by a few little shops along the way, but didn’t see anything too cool. There were some interesting billboards, my favorite was one that said “Pornography Victimizes women and children and is not welcome in our community.” This was not more than 100 feet from the Adult Video store, which was advertising the Fleshlight.

In New Mexico, we saw the sign for Roswell, but decided against going. We did stop at a shop advertising Indian Crafts, but everything they had was really cheesy. They had throwing knives, so Whitson picked them up, because, hey, you never know when you could use them. (They were cheap, and not of the best quality.)

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Dallas, Texas

May 26, 2009 11:29 pm

We woke up and headed in to Dallas.  Our RV park, is called the Plantation, and is in Sunnyvale.  It is a really nice place and is just outside of Dallas.  We went into the city and went to see the School Book Depository, where John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  We saw the building and the spot where he was shot was marked with an X in the road.  There was a museum there, but it was very expensive, and we didn’t think it was worth the money, we’d all seen the History Channel.  We stopped by the Visitors Information Bureau, and they actually told us there isn’t much to do in Dallas.  They gave us information on the Texas Rangers game, because we’d been thinking about going to that.  They also told us about some stuff in Fort Worth, and we decided to go there ASAP.

We got to Forth Worth at about 3:50pm and there was a Cattle Drive at 4.  We parked and they had the weirdest parking meter system ever, but we paid and saw the drive.  It was unimpressive and was just a stupid tourist gimmick thing, but was free.  They had the Texas High School Rodeo finals coming up, but not until the weekend, so we saw the rodeo facility, and went to a saloon.  It turned out to be the bar they used in the show Walker Texas Ranger, it was called CDs in the show, and they had pictures of them filming Chuck Norris in there, and it had won a ton of awards for western bars.  For being in the touristy area of Fort Worth, it was full of locals; we were the only tourists.  We got a few beers and they were cheap; 2 or 3 dollar pints.  We went into a knife store and it was ok, but the 1 employee in there was unhelpful and had no sense of humor so we left.  We got recommendations for a steak house from some guys on the street having a beer, and they recommended H3 or Cowtown; but said to check out both places before we made a decision.  H3 was way cooler and cheaper so we went there.  The seats at the bar were saddles.  It was probably the best steak id ever eaten, I got a few ribs too, and they were spectacular.  The sauce was great.  The steak I got was a 32 ounce porterhouse that Mark and I split.  I got a salad too with homemade blue cheese dressing.  Whitson said it made him like salad again.  We had a few beers there; Bulls Butt was good, and was bottled and brewed in Fort Worth.  We also hade Shiner beer, which is a local Texas beer, and we’d gotten a pitcher of it in Nashville, so I knew it tasted familiar.  After dinner we went to a pawn shop, which was terrible.  They were selling stuff at retail prices, and didn’t have anything cool; we thought Texas pawnshops would be magical, turns out otherwise, so far at least.

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