Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vacation! (Long post)

Well yes, I did go on vacation.  I don't normally share much about the non-horse aspects of life but I had a really great vacation and want to share.  Minus, of course, the ebodeathswineflu that had me coughing for a solid 1.5 weeks before I can finally now call myself healthy again.  Sheesh.  And the chaos that happened when we came home.  Cause things aren't easy.  So here is the quick vacation recap!
On Thursday, Christmas day because we always end up at the cinema since neither of us has real family here, we flew down to Vegas.  Want  to avoid crowds and heavy lines at security?  Fly out at noon on Christmas day.  Easy peasy!!!  It too us MAYBE 5 mins to get through security??  The flight was long but had free "wifi" which allowed us to watch pre-selected TV episodes which entertained us on the way down and back.  Plus the old coughing guy who gave me the eboldeathswineflu who sat next to me for over 4 hours.

We got in around 5p local time but we were on Eastern time and were super tired and hungry.  Almost no restaurants were open so we ate at the Rio hotel, where we stayed, and paid close to $20 for a super crappy hamburger.  Each.  Never again.

Friday morning we awoke bright and early and made the over 4 hour trip to the Grand Canyon.  It was really pretty.  We had several hundred dollars in miscellaneous gift card/prepaid debit cards so we splurged big time and went on a 4 hour guided sunset canyon tour.  Did we go anywhere anyone else can't go?  No.  It was all pavement and pubic access areas of the park however we got a lot of background information and our guide knew exactly where to place us to get the best pictures at these access areas.  And he did not let us dilly dally!
He took as many pictures of everyone as we asked for, talked about the spots we stopped at, talked about the canyon and then got us back in the Jeep to move us to a new spot because he wanted us to see as much as possible.  We spent maybe 10 minutes at each stop except for the last 2.  The next to last stop was the Watchtower which was really cool.  You can go all the way up (very steep, narrow stairs) and there are fantastic views.  The higher you go, the less people there are and it made for a really awesome experience.  We finished at Moran Point for the sunset which was truly spectacular.  Then there was the 4 hour drive back to Vegas :)
One of the cool things about Vegas is the hotels on the strip.  They are just awesome.  As someone that doesn't gamble (lost all $21 we brought lol), I LOVED seeing the casinos.  On Saturday we got up early and walked up and down the entire strip (except for the Luxor/Mandalay Bay).  From Bally's to Circus Circus to Luxor and back.  That is 5 mile walk people!  What did I see, I saw as much as I could!  I saw the gondola rides at the Venetian, I tried to go on them but there was apparently a very long wait of at least a couple of hours and I didn't have that kind of time.
It was cool to look at anyway.  We saw a circus act at Circus Circus.  We saw the Showgirls statue at the Riviera.  The butts are VERY polished with all of the handling while the rest of the statue is pretty unpolished haha!
We saw the ship at Treasure Island.  We saw the Eiffel Tower at Paris.
No idea why Blogger won't stop putting this pic on it's side :(
We saw the Statue of Liberty at New York, New York.
Or this one.  Very annoying b/c they are actually vertical
We saw the Bellagio.
But they didn't have their fountains on :(
To finish the night, we went and saw the Penn and Teller show at the Rio.  Really cool show.  Really, really cool show.  Absolutely no idea how the tricks are done, it is mindblowing.  I know they have a full team to pull everything off but it is amazing.  Penn is as vocal about rights and doing the right thing as he sounds like in interviews.  We had a private meet and greet afterwards which was awesome!!  They even practiced a card trick on/for us that they were doing on the Late Late Show on CBS on 1/9.  I watched the trick in front of me.  I watched the trick on tv.  NO IDEA, MIND BLOWN.  Teller is really fun to chat with (yes, he does talk) and Penn is very engaging.

Sunday we went to California and visited Death Valley.  Really cool place.
The white stuff is actually salt, all of the ground is extremely hard
and crunchy from all of the salt!
We visited Badwater Basin which is 287 below seat level and then Dante's Peak which almost 5500 feet above sea leavel.
It was during this time that I suspected I was sick and started chugging Robitussin. :(   Monday I was awoken to being having my butt kicked by being sick but I absolutely refused to stop.  SO tried to get me to go to urgent care (I really should have went) but I refused.  We finished up the strip tour and saw the Luxor pyramid (COOL!)

We visited the shark reef at Mandalay Bay.

Touching the rays and horseshoe crabs
Another on it's side :(  SHARK!
We tried to see the flamingos at the Flamingo but they weren't on exhibit.  We also tried to see the worlds largest golden nugget at Golden Nugget but we couldn't find free parking and it was a mess with construction so we gave  up and saw a little of Fremont Street.  We took a ride on the High Roller, the world's tallest observation wheel.  You stand in a pod and you can't really even feel it move as it stops/starts and rotates.
550 feet in the air!
Awesome views in the High Roller.  Definitely go during
the day though to avoid crowds, it is also cheaper.
We didn't get to do everything I wanted but that was my fault, I was running at about 40% and was not doing well.  We drove well off of the strip and toured 2 local casinos and ate at one of them.  The atmosphere was TOTALLY different.  Totally different kind of people, totally different kind of atmosphere, total lack of crowds.  It was actually really cool.

Tuesday we came back to problem after problem.  While we were gone, the woodstove started belching smoke and the stovepipe was smoking.  Turns out there was some sort of something that had collected on the cage of the chimney cap blocking air from flowing through.  That took 2.5 hours to fix.  The horses had drug our snow blade from the corner of the arena into the front third of the arena.  Somehow.  It is over 300 pounds and there wasn't a single scratch on anyone and the blade wasn't tipped over.  The horses had broken a tie ring that I use to tie hay nets.  Somehow.  There were no broken nets, no broken clips, no stretched halters, no idea how it was broken.   The horses had decided to drink almost 100 gallons in 3 days despite going through that much in 6 days the rest of the year so the house sitter and to wrestle with filling the tank when there is no spigot close to the tank.  The chickens got out.  Twice.  What a mess.  It took all of Wednesday to get things back and order and back to fairly normal.

We had such a nice vacation though, except being sick, and really hope that we can do it again sometime.  Vacations rock!  There isn't anything we wouldn't do again and things we would definitely do again if we went back.  Stay at a local casino instead of a strip casino.  The old casinos have the amazing food deals you hear about, NOT the new casinos $$$$, anything on the strip is pricey except Denny's.  Definitely plan on spending 2-3 days for the Grand Canyon and Death Valley, each.  It is worth it to go to a show, do NOT buy tickets before you go unless it may be sold out.  You can very easily get tickets at half off or more anywhere, including at the box office.  Be ready to just blow people off, people will walk up to you with a sales pitch every few feet, stop worrying about being polite.  We were going to go to another show Monday night but I just couldn't make myself go.  A lot of the touristy things are quite pricey, our hotel included a free ticket on the High Roller with a coupon for a 2nd ticket so it ended up being $10 a person.  Definitely not worth the $25 a person (during the day!) they actually charge.  I would definitely go back.  Has anyone been to Vegas?  Thoughts?


  1. I've been to Vegas 3 times now (annual work conference that I extended to do extra things in Vegas). I really want to get to the Grand Canyon, but I think that'll be its own trip. I did Hoover Dam last time and that was very cool. Penn and Teller was a great show.
    I've had the same problem with blogger and the flipped images. You need to open the images in a photo editor (Picasa is free) and rotate them and then save. Some smart photo viewers auto-rotate images so you think they're fine viewing them there, but not when you upload.

  2. I've been to Vegas once in 2007 for the World Cup. The food was insanely expensive!!!!! I think when our whole group ate at a restaurant the bill was over three hundred dollars and the tip almost broke us. After that we didn't eat with the group again haha.

    OMG I didn't even think of going to the Grand Canyon when I went to Vegas! I don't think we would have had time even if I'd thought of it. I'm glad you went and I hope I can go someday. Your pictures are amazing. Wow!

    Awww I wish you could have gone on the Gondola. My hubby and I went and it was so cool, although a little weird being watched by everyone. :)

    LOL the showgirls statue is hilarious!!

    Awww did you not go to the Bellagio at night? The fountains at night are amazing! It was one of my favorite things we saw.

    It looks like we didn't do any of the same things while in Vegas haha! I'm glad you shared all of this. I didn't get to see any of the shows. The Penn and Teller sounds so cool. I'm also jealous you went to Death Valley, the Basin and Dante's Peak. So cool! It sounds like you had a really awesome vacation (except for getting sick... I would have had a panic attack sitting next to that guy on the plane!).

    Did you get to see the Stratosphere? It had some rides like the one you went on but I was too chicken and didn't go on it lol. The tower itself had glass down into the floor so you could look straight down though. Talk about dizzy making!!!!!!

    I don't know if I'd want to go back to Vegas even though I didn't get to do even half of what I wanted to (big cities just aren't my thing and it's so expensive), but I definitely do want to go to the Grand Canyon!!! Do they not do the mule rides down into the canyon anymore? I've wanted to do that since I was a kid and I'm gonna be really sad if they don't do it anymore.

    Sorry things were so crazy when you got back. I'm glad you got it all sorted out and I hope things have been going well since then. I always have to recover from vacations hehe. :) They are great though!

    1. They do offer mule rides into the canyon, unfortunately SO exceeds the weight limit to ride one. On top of that, we really didn't have time to do it, it is an all day excursion and we didn't have enough time planned in our short vacation.

      I did see the Stratosphere but didn't go up in it. They charge to go up in it and since we went on the High Roller, I figured that view was good enough lol.

      I definitely would like to go back sometime and take more time. We easily could have spent the 4 days at each location instead of 1 day at each. One day!

    2. It is so hard to fit everything in!! I hadn't even heard of the High Roller before lol. I'm just glad you got to see the city from up high. It was so cool! Thank you for confirming they still have the mule rides. That's still on my bucket list hehe. :D