Continued from the last post.....
We finished the long hike, refilled out water bottles, refueled at a Sinclair Gas Station with 85 octane rated gas, and re-iced the cooler and we were on our way back to Vegas via the entire route from Bryce, to Zion, through Utah, AZ, and then to the Excaliber in Vegas. It was a semi uneventful drive and as we drove through some little towns in Utah, Tomoko and I pondered what life must be like in little towns like this. I actually think she was pondering the idea....I have always thought in the event we move to a little town we simply open up a teriaki bowl to make ends meet. Think about it-rice is cheap, teriaki at Costco is Cheap, the variable being the price of beef and chicken and the serving size. Still it was a nice drive and there were several old farms and homes that had old cars and trucks in the front yard that I found fascinating for some reason, same with the old abandoned homes-I cant always but wonder what stories these walls must hold. I always think about the young family back in the day who maybe started off with this being their dream home and maybe somewhere there is an old man whose idyllic childhood memories reside there. On the opposite note one could also speculate this home maybe was the spot for Ed Gein type acts of barbarism and hedonism.
Back in Vegas we checked in and made our way past the litany of Time Share Reps working out of the Excalibur. I learned to simply ignore them. We checked in and it felt good to be in the AC confines and after Bryce, the psuedo civilation of Excalibur felt good. We made it to our room and changed into out swim wear just in time to make the final 30 minutes of pool time as that night saw the pool closing early so they could host one of the popular pool parties vegas has these day. I wont mention who this pool party was catering to, lets just say I am glad we didnt have to go into the pool on monday.
We ate at the Baja Fresh in the Casino and Tomoko and I split a 24 oz Tecate that were sold at the gift shop for 4 bucks a pop. The Baja Fresh in Vegas wasnt too far removed from our local Baja Fresh thought slightly more expensive. We finished our grub and decided to take a walk down the strip.
Once we were out in the night air, it didnt feel good-as a matter of fact it was hotter then heck even though it was 9pm and probably the driest I have ever felt Vegas, I mean it was dry even by Vegas standards. The back of my throat was in "perma-dry' mode where no matter how much water I drank I was still parched. I wondered when people move to Vegas how long does it take for the body to adjust to the Uber dryness.
Meandering up the strip I noticed a couple of games of 3 card monty as well as the adult oriented business cards being handed out by the clackers. Fortunately none of the clackers tried to force a card into my hand while pushing the stroller for it would have been a huge temptation to punch one of these people in the face.
We made the walk down the strip halfway before Paris before deciding enough was enough and retiring for the evening. Upon recollection-between Buffalo Bills and Excalibur we probably gambled less then 20 bucks. Vegas is great; provided you have money, time, & no kids in tow.
The Heavily Sedated Lions at MGM.
We woke the next day ready for home but did have a handful of items we needed to finish. First we went to the Rio for the legendary buffet. I had never been there to the best of my knowledge and I was impressed. Great selection of food and the quality was a notch above the "For Industrial Use Only" quality I tend to expect. The Highlight came in front of the Gelato stand when Dustin puked. Good times and no-I wont post a picture.
From Rio we trekked to the same Costco we visited on the start of trip. I was still happy with 2.77 cents per gallon gas and having no CRV or Sales Tax for food we did a bit of shopping. We picked up 2 cases of water, a case of Hansens Natural Soda, A huge Container of Chef Paul Poultry Magic(for 5 bucks no less), and a case of CapriSun for 21 bucks give or take. Heck the Chef Paul small 6 oz container goes for 4-6 bucks at local Supermarkets so given the size of the container and BBQ season right around the corner made it bargain.
Our last stop was M&M World. We had promised Alex we would visit and after hearing him ask about it every 5 minutes since he woke up we were happy to oblige. We parked at the MGM and saw the lions and other MGM offerings. Being the last day I really longed for sitting at one of the bars and having a couple of drinks and watching sports and really doing Vegas like one should do Vegas. As luck would have it....
We were still in the MGM and passed a group of 5 twenty something guys being a bit rowdy. One of them looked at me and apologized to which I said "You have nothing to apologize for- you are young in Vegas with money and no children" to which a couple of the rest of the group help up their drinks and gave me a toast. One of them was drinking a blue liquid from a large plastic football-brought back memories of another ill fated vegas incident from years past that I will write about at a later date. For a while Vegas was marketing itself as somewhat family entertainment but with the economy the way it is they probably figured no one has more disposable income the singles so why not market to them and go from "family fun for all" to "Party Time."
We bought a soda and some knickknacks and hit the van for the drive home only stopping one more time in Barstow at Del Taco-something tells me this will be a new tradition anytime we drive through Vegas. A fitting way to end a great family vacation and let me focus on getting back to work-which would see that happen in a brief couple of days. It was a great experience as to which I can thank Tomoko for doing all of the planning. The city of Springdale was fantastic. Though the hotel we stayed at was marvelous- I am pretty sure any place in the city you stay would be fine as their are great views to be had no matter where you are at and the Free City Shuttle makes getting around as easy as possible. Bryce was more touristy then I expected but once again I would love to camp at Bryce or Zion as both would be fantastic camping with trails and hikes aplenty. Bryce even made me want to do some real hardcore backpacking with me and a pack with everything setting out for a couple of days of real hiking/camping. Not the "Which marinade best goes with my red wine" style of camping I am accustomed to. When I can get back to making solid money I will do an elongated backpacking trip and hopefully blog about it-only question here is does Bryce Canyons 35000 plus acres have WiFi access?
One day I will finally make the drive down this road....Just not this time after driving 1000 miles in 5 days with 2 kids.