Holiday to the Pacific West Coast in Aug 2006: Day 19 – Grand Canyon to Las Vegas
Woke at 7am and left the hotel at the Grand Canyon by 7:30am heading back towards Kingman. We stopped off at the Starbucks in Williams (about 50 miles from GC) at the junction with the main I40 for the normal coffees and breakfast.
Made good progress down the I40 passing Kingman by 10:30am and headed north towards the Hoover Dam.
It was starting to get hot and the sight of the dam was a pleasant change from the monotonous straight highways.
We noted that one such straight road was over 12 miles long – you could just about see the end of the straight from the start of it (which was on a slight hill) – amazing!
We were both a little surprised with the Hoover Dam – it doesn’t look that big when you first approach it.
They are also building a bypass flyover which will take most of the traffic away from the dam itself, which is probably a good idea since the place was almost gridlocked not long after we had parked on the north side of the dam.
It will give a great view of the dam front on. By the time we got there it was unbelievably windy.
We went on the tour which was really interesting, and then we grabbed lunch at the Hoover Dam cafe place. It was a bit of an odd ordering process, but the cheeseburger was really good – slightly toasted bun, nicely melted cheese – hmm!
After leaving the Hoover Dam we quickly arrived in Las Vegas (only about 30 miles up the road), and was it busy? We managed to find our way to the hotel (eventually) after making a couple of mistakes. The hotel was absolutely beautiful; a typical resort, and the room was really spacious with a really good jaccuzi bath. (And a 24-hour Starbucks downstairs).
After settling in and testing out the bath, we decided to head downtown to see what all the fuss was about. To be fair we were both completely lost with the general buzz and commotion of the place – not really sure where to start or how best to approach Las Vegas. We drove in and parked at Four Seasons/Mandalay Bay. We walked through what we thought was Mandalay Bay, but had the strange feeling we were intruding, and then we realised we were in the VERY posh Four Seasons hotel which is not like any others in Vegas, i.e. it’s not full of attractions and casinos. Eventually we found Mandalay Bay which was much more what we were expecting.
So we did the crazy Vegas thing and blew some money in the casinos. We really showed those Americans how it’s done. We stuck a dollar bill into a slot machine, pressed a button labelled ‘bet max’ and nothing seemed to happen. So we put another dollar in, pressed a different button, the dials went round and we won precisely nothing. We felt we should quit before needing to join Gamblers Anonomous, so at the end of our Vegas gambling career we had blown $2.
The hotels in Vegas are out of this world. Each one has acres of gambling tables and slot machines, at least a dozen restaurants/cafes, and a handful of visitor attractions, some of which are free. So you can while away many hours in each one. Whoever said that Vegas was like an adult Disneyworld got it right. It’s a real experience. By this time we were hungry so had dinner at an excellent noodle place in the Mandalay Bay.
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