Leaving Las Vegas

Sideways - St
1) Santa Innes Church,
Solvang
 
So long Sovlang; so
long Sideways. It was up early and hi-ho, hi-ho back to Las Vegas G and Brent
must go.
 
It’s a loooooong drive
from Buellton to Las Vegas and we opted to take a back route to try and save
time. Heading up into the mountains outside Santa Barbara we hit dense, deep,
dark fog. Nasty bit of driving lemme tell you. Coming back down out of the fog,
we found ourselves north of Santa Barbara, then lost trying to find a connector
road … meaning, we ended up heading back down to the intercoastal 101 anyway.
So much for time
savings!
 
At Santa Clarita we headed east into the Mojave Desert.
I’ve always been fond of the desert; it’s starkness is haunting and beautiful.
It forces contemplation and a focusing inward. Heading to Victorville, our CAA
map indicated a wee road that cut right across the desert that would shave a
good 30-40 miles off our drive. On this wee road, No. 8 I think, we stopped to
take photos of the beautiful Joshua trees.

 Sideways - Joshua Tree 1Sideways - desertSideways - Brent as a Joshua tree
2 & 3) Joshua trees in the dessert; 4) me trying to be a joshua tree


Back on the road, we keep seeing signs warning of
“Flooding”. Flooding? In the desert? When it’s near 100 degrees? Nawh. And then
over a small rise we encountered
this:

Sideways - desert flooding
5) the road completely flooded with 6 inches of water
in the middle of
nowhere
 
So, yes Virginia, just like there is a Santa Claus,
there is flooding in the desert! Weird eh?! It was at this point that our map
and the reality on the ground ended as the road ended. Well, it T-ed actually.
Lesson here: don’t always necessarily trust your CAA map!
 
At any rate, we caught up with the main highway between
LA and Vegas eventually and after stops to shop in Barstow and Primm, found
ourselves back in Vegas and a suite at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. 

Vegas THEhotel - sign from roomVegas THEhotel - Luxor at nightVegas THEhotel - sitting room 2
6) THEhotel hotel sign from our room up on the 38th
floor;  7) the view of Luxor;  8) our living
room

Vegas THEhotel - room barVegas THEhotel - bedroom Vegas THEhotel - bathroom
9) our bar; 10) our bedroom;  11) our
bathroom

Vegas THEhotel - guest bathroomVegas THEhotel - Brent in suite
12) our guest bathroom (yes we even had a guest
bathroom!);  13) me relaxing in front of the massive flat screen
tv
 
THEhotel at Mandalay Bay (all ratings are 0-5 where 0
is ‘horrible-avoid’; 3 ‘good’; 5
‘exceptional’):

Check-in: 3 – wee bit of line but moved quickly enough,
efficient and fast though not particularly
friendly. I was a little ticked they wanted to upgrade us for a fee!
View: 3 – nice view of the Las Vegas Airport and Luxor
and Excalibur
Value: 5 – normally, this suite would be $US400/night on a weekend
… we got it for less than half that thanks to
expedia.
Uniqueness: 5 – huge, stunningly gorgeous suite (though
too dark) with THREE tv’s (including one in the bathroom); gorgeously funky hotel
with young, hip crowd; dazzling array of excellent restaurants; lovely, bright,
coconut-smelling casino area; amazing pool/beach area with lazy river, real sand
beach and wave pool;
Overall: 5 (best hotel in Vegas! Would return in an
instant)
 
That afternoon we wandered through New York, Excalibur
and Luxor and went to see Da Vinci Code. We also had a great lunch at the very
funky rumjungle. Aureole doesn’t open for lunch, sadly. Aureole has one of the
most funky wine cellars in the world. A vertical tower of wine (see below) where
the sommelier is actually hooked up to a pulley and rope system (alla Tom Cruise
in Mission Impossible) and hoisted up to get the wine. Whacky and weird, I know,
but we are talking Vegas afterall. We also stopped by to look at Joel Robuchon at the
Mansion (probably THE restaurant in Vegas where a 17 (yes, seventeen!) course
tasting menu would set you back $US350/pp (without wine!). OMG, how I wish.
Below is the menu, click on it to see it
bigger.

 Vegas THEhotel - New York 2Vegas THEhotel - rumjungle bar
14) New York;  15) rumjunle bar


Vegas THEhotel - rumjungle restaurantVegas THEhotel - Aurelole wine rack
16) rumjungle decor and
waterfalls;  17) the wine cellar at
Aureole

Vegas THEhotel - Joei's menu
18) the menu at At the
Mansion (click for larger view)
 
Before heading to the airport for the red eye back, we
found Chinatown Las Vegas (all two buildings of it!
If you blink, you’ll miss it) and had a mini-banquet to
end our vacation.  Wah wah
wah.  However, it was a great vacation and it was capped off with a great hotel and chinese food, my favourite comfort food.  G and I are in post-holiday afterglow and look forward to our next adventure. And eprops to WestJet Sue for getting us there and back! Yay Sue!

Vegas THEhotel - airport viewVegas THEhotel - Westjet 1
19) Mandalay Bay and Luxor from the Airport;  20) dawn
somewhere over Wisconsin


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10 Responses to Leaving Las Vegas

  1. Anonymous says:

    ryc – I doubt it, I mean he wasn’t just reaching for a chicken leg, fries or ribs. It was a wet stir fried bok choy and he held on to it as he talked. On the other one, what I left out is that the guy who was munching away was obese. I think you and G could fit into his pants. *shudder*

  2. Fatcat723 says:

    RYC: Interesting take. I can see fear being a motivating force. I had to think about faith for while but after seeing all the “Christians” condemnnig the gay community, I decided it can divide.

  3. This blog should be renamed “The Fabulous Life of Apps Scraps and G”!..  gosh, is that a bottle of Dom Perignon I see in the hotel room bar!!!???  wow, thats really fabulous. 
    17 courses for $350… man, i am soooo hoping for my big lottery win!  hahaha  … sigh, someday I will dine at Aureole!

  4. Len_Q says:

    RYC-Sorry about the spoilers, shoulda put in a warning. =þGlad to see you’re enjoying sunny California! (and Nevada)

  5. bennykan says:

    17 courses for freaking $350? How could anyone finish them all? Gosh… Glad you enjoyed your vacation! Now I am waiting for mine! HAHAHHAHAA :D~~~~

  6. YNOTswim says:

    so, what kind of sin did you commite over LV?

  7. meoni says:

    wow, you guys are on a long trip! and look at ALL those beautiful pictures! tks for sharing.i went through the last few entries of yours and those places are so attractive.and i realise you guys always pick nice hotels — especially the vegas one! very movie-star like treatment! (i’m envious!)what a trip! welcome back
    ryc: yeah, always love that cartoon. saw the movie the other day. not bad. quite raw and stark compared to the last two.perhaps it’s a different director that’s why.

  8. m3galomaniac says:

    wow so beautiful..if only I’m in a big country, it’ll be fun driving..haha..nice hotel stay.
    *green* w/ envy..

  9. Anonymous says:

    What a trip! I hate those red eye flights.

  10. Fatcat723 says:

    Sounds like a good trip. I did experience flooding in the desert when in Arizona.
    RYC: I enjoy jazz too. Easy listening. Love to play it n the piano too.

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