Category Archives: Route 66

Luck be a lady 🎼🎹🎤

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It felt a ‘Vegas sort of a day’ as we set off under the hot sun and clear blue sky to explore a little.  In Vegas you have to accept the exploration of hotels involves lots of walking, i.e. the buildings themselves are enormous and, therefore, it is sensible to decide a mode of transportation from one point of interest to another. Granted you miss some of the sights along the way, and there are plenty of those (!), but you can cover greater distances. The cab was our choice – fairly inexpensive and a door to door service.

We started with breakfast along the way as we were walking to The Venetian (we hadn’t seen the light, or rather felt the pain at that point). This is probably my favourite hotel here and it seems to have improved even since my last visit. I just love the shops and restaurants underneath the artificial sky with the gondoliers singing to their passengers. OK, so it is fake and Carolyn and I worked out that the gondolas were electronically operated by foot pedals. Still a shot of expensive Las Vegas fun.  Maybe next time I will find the sort of excellent deal we got at The Bellagio.

The cab ride to our next port of call was very necessary as it was a very long walk to The Luxor. I had been in previously but had forgotten that it was a bit on the gloomy side. There are some Egyptian replicas around but the most fun you get is riding the elevators up the inside of the pyramid and feeling them go upwards and sideways at the same time.

As we were off to the theatre this evening, I had planned some relaxation for the afternoon in the form of swimming and a poolside snooze. I hadn’t reckoned that the strong winds would close the pool in this heat. But, sure enough, we could see the loungers blowing into the various pools and the elevators just would not go to that floor. Shame, but there are lots of nice things to see and do in the hotel which don’t involve losing your shirt (or your house) on the gaming tables.

Summoning more energy it was off to the theatre, all dressed up, to see ‘Rock of Ages’.  Great music, full blooded noise, enthusiastic cast and even more enthusiastic audience. Many knew the songs (every single vocal and some of the tune!!) and stood to mimic the dance routines. We had fabulous seats and Carolyn had found prices cheaper than the bucket shops. The drinks were a bit average (coolers rather than cocktails) but a great night.

This was the first day we not only failed to encounter our beloved Route 66 but we did no driving at all – the first time since leaving Chicago. Back on the road again tomorrow to find Barstow.

Carolyn’s Curios

A day in Las Vegas. Two kids from Preston… ‘hanging out’ on the Strip. We didn’t consider that even as a possibility those years ago. Well, we’re here and tomorrow, we leave on the last but one leg of our road trip on Route 66. Today has been unusual as this is the first day we haven’t been on Route 66 (we managed 600 yds before our long detour to Vegas yesterday). In fact, as Kath said, we haven’t driven at all. We walked and taxied to cover our travels which involved Paris (across the road), Rome (Caesars Palace), Venice (Venetian), Egypt (Luxor), Mexico (Margaritaville), Brazil (Rio), New York, New York etc.

Tonight’s treat was a showing of Rock of Ages. Perhaps it was that the music was from the 80s, but I didn’t engage with it as I have with “We will rock you’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Let it be’, ‘Sunny afternoon’ and others. However, a raucous, fun-filled show which was well worth the discounted tickets. We followed it with snacks in the Rio casino. I took a copy of the quote on the back wall of the theatre which said, “The dreams you come in with may not be the dreams you leave with… but hey, they still rock!” Enough said?!

It is astonishing how big these hotels are and how fixated they are on gambling. Yesterday, we walked 12200 steps, 4 floors and 8.7km despite only arriving at 3.00. Today we walked 11500 steps, 13 floors and 7.8 km despite using three taxis!

The Bellagio isn’t the biggest hotel in the world nor even the biggest in Vegas but it is has a bigger population, albeit temporary, than Kirkham!

Impressions of Vegas? Big, bold, brash with pretentions of class. Most people here come to gamble but the sights are worth the trip. Despite the relative ‘luxury’ of the accommodation, I’ve found more places on the journey where I would prefer to return first.

So, tomorrow we drive to Victorville via Barstow. Barstow is the penultimate named town in the Bobby Troup song which has focussed our journey. Only San Bernadino to go before we arrive at our current journey’s end at Santa Monica pier. Needless to say, we’re hoping to echo Sheryl Crow and “… have some fun until the sun comes up on the Santa Monica Boulevard”.

Viva Las Vegas! 🎼🎹🎤

Today has been a day of extremes as we started in Kingman, a small, albeit very comfortable, Route 66 motel and have ended the day in 5 diamond luxury at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. Of course, I have to mention the visit to the Hoover Dam along the way.

Let’s start with our journey to the Dam through more of the Mohave Desert, but with rocks and mountains of granite rather than the sandstone we loved in Monument Valley.  There was an openness to the vista and wide sweeping valley floors, miles wide, before the land rose to another mountain range. Deep into the mountains at the edge of the state, we also knew that we would have to cross a magnificent bridge from Arizona into Nevada before turning back on ourselves to wind down a steep road back into Arizona to access the Visitors’ Centre and the huge dam across the Colorado River.

Any fans of thriller films will have seen heroes diving or abseiling from such structures but my heart was in my mouth at the mere idea as I tried to photograph the wall of the dam from top to bottom.

 

The engineering involved and the electricity generated, to say nothing of the spectacle created, are just jaw-dropping in terms of statistics and sheer beauty

We spent quite a bit of time walking across the top of the dam and around the terraces of the Visitors’ Centre before taking the odd comic photo and travelling the remaining 20 odd miles further into Nevada. A slight difference in scenery.

As Carolyn has never been to Las Vegas before, as I got an exceptional hotel deal, and as I hadn’t stayed here before…I thought I could justify a bit of luxury at this stage of our trip.  Just as an aside, if anyone thinks luxury comes with total ease and comfort, think again. I am shattered. Just walking through the hotel to get to the elevators, only to walk miles of corridor to find your room, is a workout in itself.  But the view!  The Bellagio fountains are dancing, the Hotel Paris and its Eiffel Tower are opposite and the neon lights of The Strip are burning vast wattage. It’s Blackpool on speed!!

After cocktails and a wander, a visit to Caesar’s Palace, which has grown beyond all recognition from the place I once knew – they even have a Gordon Ramsay pub and grill! – it’s time to retreat and enjoy the luxury.  So, with a cold beer in hand, that’s it for tonight.

Carolyn’s Curios

So, we’re in Las Vegas. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it is impressive. ‘Blackpool on speed’ is one description but it is bigger and grander by far. However, despite its best efforts, it still has an air of trying too hard at pretence, somehow.

Every hotel, it seems, has a Casino. Games of Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker… and myriads of different ‘Slots’ – the latter, predominantly populated by women – are everywhere. I almost laughed out loud when I walked into ‘our’ Casino and heard the first track of music being played… The Police’s “Can’t stand losing…”!!! Seemed appropriate.

As Kath mentioned, the journey over incorporated visiting the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. It wasn’t on our original schedule but we wanted to build it in. Well worth the slight detour and the time spent there. Getting there brought us into disrepute with our Sat. Nav…. again. The website said we couldn’t cross the dam from Arizona. Ok, so, as we were coming from Arizona and wanted to drive over the dam, we intended to drive from Arizona to Nevada over the new bridge. Then we would drive over the dam from Nevada to Arizona. Hmm. But,… we found, once there, we could drive back over the bridge from… Arizona to Nevada! As Hannibal Smith used to say in the ‘A’ Team, “It’s good when a plan comes together.

The dam is impressive! Very impressive! Needless to say, security is important and we had airport type scanner scrutiny. Guns and knives were banned!

As today was a detour, we only spent about 600 yards on our beloved Route 66. Tomorrow will be the first (and last!) day of the trip without us being on any part of the Mother Road. America’s Highway will have to wait until the next day. Tomorrow is Las Vegas and the Strip with Rock of Ages in the evening.