Thursday, February 18, 2016

Las Vegas - Most entertaining destination in the U.S.?

Yes, Vegas is famous for the strip and its casinos, but it's so much more than that, as I once again discovered on my recent trip there. My first few days there were quite quiet, as it was just Mom and I. We did, though, thoroughly enjoy our resort, The Tahiti Village Resort, on south Las Vegas Boulevard, 1 1/2 miles south of the strip.
The resort's "Lazy River" was lots of fun to float around

Mom in front of one of the water features along the Lazy River," (or "Crazy River" as she called it)

I enjoyed the strip, for the people, the architecture, and, at night, for the lights. People are out to make a buck, some in creative ways. 

Others in more traditional ways:

Some others were more honest about their intentions: 

But what's the strip without girls?

Of course, the strip is about the casinos, too, but not just the gambling, but the fantastic architecture, lights,  and accompanying attractions as well. 
The "Strip" at night from south Vegas.
The strip from the 10th floor of our resort.

The volcano erupting at the "Mirage."

The iconic "Caesar's Palace."

The Eiffel Tower at "Paris."

The Bellagio fountains with Paris in the background. 

The fountains at Bellagio put on their show frequently.

Of course, Vegas is about gambling, too, and here's Mom with her "poker face:"

Fremont Street is another popular entertainment area on the north strip:

If you look up at the top of the photo, you can see the "zip-liners" up at the ceiling.


But Vegas is also known for its nearby outdoor attractions, of which we only visited a few. I rented a car for the second week we were there, when my sister Doreen and my wife Susann joined us. We travelled to Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas Overlook, Mt. Charleston, The Canyon of Fire, and Mom and I went to Death Valley. Other day trips from Vegas could include Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. 

The Red Rock Canyon from nearby Las Vegas Overlook.
Susann and my sister Doreen on our hike at Red Rock Canyon.

Susann and Doreen at Mt. Charleston. Yes, that's snow! Mt. Charleston is over 10,000' high, and there's actually a ski resort there, higher up than this.

Susann rock climbing at the Valley of Fire. 

Great rock formations!
Mom enjoyed the valley, too.
Yes, that's a mountain goat!

When Mom mentioned to me that she'd like to go to Death Valley, I wan't initially too interested. After all, it's just a desert isn't it? But I was surprised at how varied it is. Mountains, hills, salt flats, and, of course, the desert.

The view from Zabriskie Pt.

It was 33 degrees when we left Vegas at 7:30. This was Feb. 8th,
Mom's 91st birthday, and I wished the temperature had matched her age.

The view from the Golden Canyon, which I hiked up.

The "Red Cathedral" at the top of the Golden Canyon. 

The loop around the "Artist's Palette."

Death Valley at "Badwater," the lowest point in the U.S. at 282' below sea level. It was 89 degrees here. Too hot for us!

Death Valley from Dante's View.
The desert at dusk on the way back to Vegas. Perfect ending to a perfect day!