This is the second part of our adventure, beginning at Las Vegas, a wonderful town in the middle of nowhere.
We drove to Vegas from Zion National Park in Utah, so that meant our drive was all through the desert. It was a hot, quiet drive with barely any cell phone service. Then the city began to grow closer, and I could start seeing just how big it was. Fighter jets, at least five, zoomed above the billboards advertising casinos, clubs, women and accident lawyers.
Our first stop was In ‘N Out, a west coast burger chain specializing in burgers, fries and shakes.
They handcut the fries in the kitchen. The beef isn’t frozen. The shakes are made with real milk. Needless to say, it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. What also makes their food stand out it the sauce on the burgers: they put a Thousand Island-like “spread” on every burger. I got mine “Animal Style”, a secret menu staple, which meant extra spread and grilled onions on my burger.
We ate there three times. The first and second day in Vegas, and stopped in Dallas, Texas on our way back home.
We stayed at Treasure Island with a view of the Strip. The most surprising thing I discovered about Vegas was that you can smoke in the casinos there. It smelled awful. I don’t know if you can smoke in every building, but I hope that’s not the case.
That night, we ate at the Eiffel Tower restaraunt. I think it was the most expensive restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. It was also one of the best.
We ate a fresh salmon appetizer, with brioche, some type of cream, onions and capers.
For the main entree, I ate veal medallions over snow peas and carrots. It was my first time having veal. I thought it tasted like a lighter version of beef.
This was the view from our table. We were opposite the Bellagio. It was a wonderful dinner.
Next up, we bought tickets to go see Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo. It was a very funny and entertaining show. They used two people from the audience, had several funny skits, and the music was wonderful. Toward the end we got to bounce some balls around, too.
The next day we tried to find the old strip. We didn’t have time to walk around it, but I’m glad we got to see a part of it.
We also accidentally found the pawn shop featured in the show Pawn Stars! We went in and looked at all of their wares, but none of the original guys were there.
On our drive out of Vegas, we stopped at the Hoover Dam. It was it’s own exit off the highway. There was a security checkpoint where an officer asked you to roll down your window, and he would peek in your car and ask how you’re doing. Our car was packed full of camping stuff, so he asked for me to roll down the back window.
“Did y’all (he probably didn’t say y’all, but oh well) pack this up yourselves?”
I think that is the most useless security question to ask. The recipient of that question obviously knows to answer that with a Yes.
Anyway, the dam was pretty cool.
And we continued on through the desert to: The Grand Canyon!!
We got there around 7:30 local time (9:30 GA time…our bedtimes were so messed up), which meant sunset was minutes away. I was so excited, I begged my boyfriend to drive us to the lookout at the Visitor’s Center. I didn’t want to sleep there our first night without seeing it!
We finally figured out where the center was, so I jumped out of the car and ran closer to the outlook, with everyone else giving me some slightly odd looks.
I decided that I didn’t want to catch a glimpse of if before seeing it full on, so I asked Sean to lead me with my eyes closed to the edge. I was so excited.
He led me, and when I opened my eyes my brain took a few seconds to comprehend exactly how big the canyon was.
It was dark, so I couldn’t see all of the details further in the canyon, but what I could see was amazing. The Canyon is so wide and deep. I could see so many rock layers, each with their own color.
It was (is) beautiful.
When I finally saw it during the day, it was even more beautiful!
Next up: our grueling hikes in the Grand Canyon, and Carlsbad Caverns!