Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Cruising Nevada


{EAV:f5b0199590437af2} Sunday was our car day. We used Hertz reward points to get a free one day rental. We picked up the car at the Cosmopolitan. First stop was Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Ben loves the show, and we were right here. It’s not much to look at, in the old downtown area.


Next we were off to Red Rock Canyon. We got a little lost and were half way to Death Valley, but we got it straight and made it there. There is a 13 mile circular drive, and the rocks really are red.


Ellen had seen signs for In-N-Out burger. She had never been, so we made going there for lunch a priority. She enjoyed it immensely.


Last stop of the day was a 70 mile drive to the Valley of Fire. It didn’t take that long to get there, as the speed limit on I-15 was 75. It is near the top of Lake Mead, and has amazing rocks and ancient petroglyphs.

We took a scenic route home along Lake Mead. We made a quick stop at Ethel M Chocolates. . We had stopped there last year on the way back from Hoover Dam and wanted to get some more chocolate.

Our last dinner was at Spago. We had a great dinner, Ellen started with a mushroom salad and had veal. I had beef short ribs. The food and a couple glasses of champagne and we were doing well. For dessert, I had a lemon-blueberry baked Alaska. Unique!

We gambled a little at Caesers, then headed back to the hotel.

Ellen got up early for her flight home. I change hotels today to Caesers, then get to work for the HIMSS conference that sparked this trip.

Last year was my first trip to Las Vegas, and I was disappointed that it didn’t live up to the Hollywood hype. Now that I accept Vegas for what it is, I kinda like Vegas. It is tacky and fake and done to excess. It suffers from sensory overload. But it is unique and can be fun—in small doses.

Old Vegas. Old Garth.


We started the day by taking a taxi to the old downtown Vegas. First stop was the brand new Mob Museum which just opened on Valentine’s Day. It is 3 floors of the old Federal Building, and an interesting storytelling of the history of the mob, including the Vegas connection.

Nearby is Fremont Street, the old downtown of Vegas. We walked around, gambled at the old Golden Nugget, and them took a bus back to the strip.

After a short rest, we ventured out again. First stop was our hotel of last year’s visit, The Venetian. We had to visit Thomas Sabo so Ellen could pick up a few new charms. We then found a small Italian place for an early dinner.

We then walked across the street to the Wynn. The focal point of this trip was the Garth Brooks concert. Having become country music fans in the late nineties, we missed the chance to see Garth in concert before he retired. Having seen just about everyone else, it was a concert missing from our repertoire.

We had last row mezzanine tickets for the Encore Theater, which holds around 1500 people. It was still a great venue to see Garth and his guitar. He structured the show as a history of his music influences, starting in his birth year of 1962 (he and I were born 2 months apart). His history and mine had a lot in common on the rock side, from Simon & Garfinkel to James Taylor to Elton John to Bob Seeger. He performed others’ songs from the 60’s to 70’s before coming to his own music in the late 80’s.

He told stories, he sang, he was very funny and entertaining. And as I speculated, he was joined for a few songs by his wife, Trisha Yearwood.

He played a solid 2 hours, and entertained the entire time. He ended of course with Friends in Low Places, with the crowd on our feet singing along. Not many artists I’d pay $250 to see, but it was a concert of a lifetime and worth every penny.

We cabbed it back to the hotel, and will venture outside of Vegas tomorrow.

Baby let’s go to Vegas!

Our trip is off to a good start. An 8am flight on Southwest from BWI got us to Vegas around 10:30.

We’re staying at the Mandarin Oriental. It is a beautiful hotel without a casino, so not smokey and loud.

We started walking the strip as soon as we got here. We went to the Earl of Sandwich for lunch, and had great sandwiches. Dessert was from Red Mango. Yum!

We continued south to Caesers. We looked into tickets for Elton Jonh tonight, but chose not to spend a ton or just $55 for obstructed view. We walked through the Forum Shops, seeing Pete Rose and Dick Butkus signing autographs.

Back to the hotel, we napped so as to shake off the time change and rest up for dinner.

Our dinner reservations were at Sensi, an Asian restaurant in the Bellagio. Ellen had chicken, I had a tuna steak, it was delicious and nicely presented.

We gambled a little on the Bellagio. We won a little, playing blackjack and slots.

We walked back up the strip, visiting the World of Coca Cola and a CVS before calling it a night.

Since we got up at 5am Eastern Tine, making it to 10pm on the West Coast was a feat.

Tomorrow will be activities in Vegas, then the highlight of the trip, Garth Brooks at the Wynn. Sunday we are renting a car and doing some nearby destinations.