Photography

USA road trip, day 11, Viva Las Vegas!

USA road trip, day 11, Viva Las Vegas!

Was up early today. Had a slight hangover but that didn’t stop me from venturing out just before light, up to the overlook by Hopi House at El Tovar to see the sun rise up over the Grand Canyon. It was cold. It was windy. It was bloody freezing and with my hazy head I’d walked for what felt like 10 minutes to the overlook before I realised I’d forgotten the tripod. No time to go back. Proper pain. I got a timelapse but in all honesty it wasn’t great. So glad I got up for nothing but brass monkey’s. After being frozen to the core, breakfast beckoned at the Blue Angel Lodge restaurant and then so did the road. We were off to Vegas today, with a few detours on the way. The first one was back to Mather Point for one last look at the Canyon before we left. Took a decent chunk out of our morning but I think we were all glad to go to one of the few points we hadn’t seen the day before on the south rim. I personally think it was the best overlook of the ones we’d seen so I was well pleased we stopped by. Next destination was Seligman, which is apparently the birthplace of Route 66. The whole of the south west US has a prehistoric feel to it but I wasn’t prepared when we came across the setting of one of my favourite childhood cartoons, Bedrock City, home of The Flintstones. Had to stop and take a couple of snaps, natch. Sadly, I don’t think Fred or Barnie had been home for a while but I still felt yabba dabba do! Onward to Seligman. The original Route 66 has long since been (mostly) replaced by Interstates, with the odd section still in place to drive on. If it wasn’t for the fact that Route 66 was, and still is, considered the Main Street of America, the Mother Road, and as such is totally ingrained in the American psyche and pop culture, Seligman would have died many years ago. Today it’s sustained by tourists, us included, taking in the sights, buying the key rings, milkshake ‘n’ fries from the drive-in. In the planning stage of our trip one of the first ideas was to fly into New York, drive to Chicago and pick up Route 66 and take as much of it as possible down into Santa Monica. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for it so that’s something else added to the bucket list. Next stop was lunch at Rosie’s Den Cafe where we saw a sight that made us laugh but also made us feel a little sorry for the unfortunate chap driving a huge Winnebago. After the most delicious lunch washed down with a couple of cold Buds we proceeded to the car park where we watched the poor fella pull into the service station in his RV with trailer attached. He overshoots his pump, but instead of using the room of the massive parking area to easily turn around in he stops and backs up. He’s obviously forgotten that he has a trailer attached until it jack knifed. Instead of stopping he continues to keep pushing the trailer until he’s done some hefty damage to his beautiful RV and punctured the tyres on his trailer. Watching in bemusement, he then gets all hot and flustered, sticks his RV in drive and moves forward as quickly as he could, now dragging the trailer with no tyres and not bothering to stop for fuel. A little smile to ourselves at what we’d witnessed and a shake of the head in disbelief. I felt for him. Off again, this time to a man made wonder, the Hoover Dam and another time zone. The Hoover Dam sits on the Arizona/Nevada state line and also the Central/Pacific time zone. It’s a marvel of engineering considering the era in which it was built, the beautiful Art Deco period which gives it some nice features, and the Great Depression, a difficult time to get anything done. California was, and still is, suffering from drought so the water level there is very low. The resevoir behind the dam looks like somebody has pulled the plug and it’s left a huge tide mark around the rocky edges. A big drain on that water resource is Las Vegas, and that’s where we’re heading next. Not much of a site from afar but when you hit the strip it’s quite surreal. We stopped at the Las Vegas sign to capture the cover photo used here. There was a bit of a queue so I just took a quick snap and jumped back in the car to cruise the strip. The sun was going down and the lights were on, what a crazy place. Up to the north end of the strip then a 180 back to the Bellagio where we’d booked for two nights. Forgot my passport to check-in so had a trip down into the bowels of the hotel to retrieve my luggage. The operation is akin to baggage handling at Heathrow and check-in was the same, monster hotel. I had a date with the Rat Pack whilst Greg and Phil amused themselves, I didn’t ask. The crooners were superb and I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the bar with a steady stream of booze, tapping my toes. The Tuscany Hotel is a little off the strip and was further than I thought it would be when going there. Coming back was fun. Turns out cabs aren’t allowed to pick up off of the strip when hailed. Found that out after nearly getting mown down by about 10 looney cabbies not obeying what was clearly a ‘stop’ gesture with my hand in the middle of the road. Met up with the boys to go play some Blackjack and Roulette. Phil was standing on my shoulder, betting, and in his excitement and impatience at picking up his winnings from the table he kept knocking over my beer, much to the amusement of the croupier who had also told him not to touch his winnings until all bets had been settled by her and the button removed. He did this not once, not twice, must have been five or six times at least. I think we’d outstayed our welcome. Was a shame as the free beer you’re given whilst playing was going down a treat, you can easily get yourself into a mess in more ways than one with that. On that note it was time for bed. I wanted to make as much use of the room as I could. It overlooked the Bellagio fountains and I had it all to myself. Thanks boys 🙂

Comments are closed.

Show/Hide Menu