Las Vegas (again) & Grand Canyon

Bellagio Fountains

Another vacation in the books.  I’ve come to the conclusion that a week vacation is just not enough, a vacation should be at least 2 weeks long.  Actually, I came to that conclusion many years ago, but since vacations seem to be fewer and far between the past few years, I forgot.  There seemed to be a lot going on during this vacation, things kept coming at a quick pace, and there was limited relaxation outside of when I was sleeping.

The vacation started with an early morning wake up on Sunday to drive to Las Vegas where we were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. For those of you that don’t know, the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas is known for Rehab, a beach/pool party every Sunday during the summer. Leaving shortly before 5 AM, we arrived just after 9 AM and preregistered at the hotel which allowed us to get into Rehab for “free.” Since we were relatively early we were able to find a couple of lounge chairs right next to the pool. Turns out there’s a cost for that though, requiring us to spend a minimum of $150 per chair. Since we were on vacation and expecting to make a day out of it, a 110+ degree day, we decided to go for it. It turned out drinking $150 worth of alcohol in such extreme heat is quite difficult, but we managed. Not sure of the exact time, but it was around 5 that the heat and alcohol finally took it’s toll, resulting in 5-6 hours of sleep back in the room. After waking up at 11 PM we decided to meet up with my brother at the Voodoo Lounge, a rooftop nightclub at the Rio. Many hours and plenty of drinks later, we headed back to the Hard Rock where I lost $100 in the blink of an eye. It brought back memories of the last time I stayed at the Hard Rock. I wrote after the last trip “It was ridiculous how fast I lost my money.” I don’t recommend people play black jack there, it’s the only place I lose money that quickly. I expect to lose money, just not in less than 10 minutes. Anyway, at this point it was time for another nap.

The next day resulted in more pool time during the early hours and a casino tour during the later hours. There may have been a nap in between, but I forget. We made our way to the Bellagio, Paris, Caesers, and Harrah’s on the casino tour. We picked up a fancy Eiffel Tower mixed drink at Paris, which we carried around with us for the latter part of the casino tour. We also did some gambling at Harrah’s, where I lost about $50 over the course of over 2 hours. Add a few free drinks into the mix and it was an enjoyable few hours at the black jack table. That may have been the most fun I’ve had at a black jack table since the first time I went to Las Vegas when I stayed at Stratosphere.

The following day, Tuesday, was spent driving to the second part of the trip, the Grand Canyon. It took 5 hours to get there. The Jeep was being pushed around by high winds almost the whole trip. For some reason I thought we were going to be close to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, but it turns out it was over 2 hours from where we were staying on the south rim of the canyon. After we arrived we made plans to go on a helicopter ride the following morning. Those plans fell through the next morning when we realized the location of the helipad was in Sedona. The person on the phone didn’t do a good job explaining that to us when we were making reservations, so we ended up canceling the ride. We started at the Grand Canyon Visitors Center and walked west along the South Rim trail. I say trail, but it was paved, making for easy walking. We walked and took pictures for about 4 hours. At one point we thought about going down into the canyon a little bit, but decided not to as my knee was acting up. Still is, actually. It seemed no matter where we were the view looked the same. It was also quite hazy, which I wasn’t expecting. After relaxing for a little bit we went back to Grand Canyon Village for a nice dinner at El Tovar. I think that was the only real meal we had the whole trip.

Thursday was spent driving back to Venice, which took about 9 hours. It was an enjoyable vacation, but I’m hoping the next one will be a little more relaxing.

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