Jeff, Ashley and Tristan left Wednesday to head back to cold Tennessee. Dan and I rented a car a took a ride out to Hoover Dam. In 2010 they opened the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It was constructed to bypass the winding road across the dam. You can still drive across the dam but the road is closed off at a certain point. Wikipedia says, “The bridge was the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States, and incorporates the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. At 890 feet (270 m) above the Colorado River, it is the second highest bridge in the United States after the Royal Gorge Bridge, and is the world’s highest concrete arch bridge.
There is a short hike up to the bridge from the parking lot where there is a pedestrian walkway. I must admit looking down I was a little shaky.
We walked back down and drove across the dam. It is quite spectacular. Neither of us wanted to take the dam tour however. Signs posted warn against it if you are pregnant or claustrophobic, or just get freaked out in a dam! Below is view from the dam as we drove across.
We came back to Vegas and took a long nap. We had reservations at Hugo’s for dinner. It is a fine dining experience with old school Vegas class! Thank you Tommy McEwen for the recommendation. They greet you with a long stem red rose, then seat you in a quiet charming atmosphere, where they bring a vase to keep your rose while you eat. The waiters are dressed in tuxedos. It’s in the basement of the Four Queens Casino in old downtown, and I felt like we jumped back in time to the Vegas old days I remember. Dan had a melt in your mouth New York Strip and I had Fire Roasted Chicken. The salads are made at your table with your choice of toppings from artichoke hearts to anchovies. I mentioned Dan had turned 67 on Sunday so they brought him a molten lava cake and Oh my chocolate heaven! They finish off with a plate of dipped strawberries, figs, apricots and fresh whipped cream. Decadent is the word. Oh yes and a hot towel to wipe your hands when finished. This is Las Vegas baby. I almost forgot to mention the little cone of lemon sorbet to cleanse your palate.
Tuesday was more exploring. You could spend weeks going in to the different hotels and looking at the variety of themes and the design and decor. They are all little magical cities! We rode the monorail over to the Paris where Jeff and Ashley went to the framing show while we just looked. They have their very own Eiffel Tower complete with a restaurant on one of the floors. Bonjour!
Next stop, the Venetian. It was beautiful inside. The ceiling is a beautiful blue sky. It’s complete with water and gondolas that you can ride while they sing to you in Italian. Quite romantic.
Jeff and Tristan went to play in a Star Wars virtual reality experience where they were storm troopers. They said it was incredible, although it took a minute to adjust and not throw up!
You see the statue to the right in the photo above? They are living statues. I’ve seen them in Florence and Rome, Italy. I dropped a dollar in his pot and he very slowly reached out to Ashley and motioned for a photo. They are a little creepy. A group of girls came up behind us, we heard them scream. These guys are known for surprising passers by. My question is, why do they do it?
Back to MGM for a rest. Tristan and I ventured across the street after dark. Crossing the street is not easy. You must find a crosswalk above the street and that involves some tracking skills. Do not try to use Siri! Yesterday’s step count 20,490! Yay I can eat more!
Oh yes Brad and Brigid wanted a selfie at the Venetian.
Below: New York New York. You can see part of a giant roller coaster. Tristan, my thrill seeker rode it while I waited. She loved it.
One of the crosswalks.
We had to cross street, go to Tropicana, over to Excalibur, above, to get back across street to New York New York!
We went back to MGM. Tristan went up to room. Jeff and Dan went to Hooters to play blackjack. Supposedly they have $5 hands, hmmm. Ashley and I played some slots for a bit then headed up to bed. They are flying home today. Dan and I are getting a car and heading out to Hoover Dam. We still have four more days!
Lobby of MGM, our home for the week. I forgot how crazy and over the top this town is. It’s almost sensory overload, but it’s an absolutely magical place to be! Jeff and Ashley had the framing expo so Dan, Tristan and I met them for lunch at Wahlburgers. It’s the burger place owned by the actor Mark Wahlburg and his brothers. The burgers were big and juicy and we were fueled for the afternoon.
We rode the monorail to the end of the line and to the Mob Museum. It was fascinating. So much history. Some of the exhibits were very graphic, but unfortunately that is part of history.
The monorail runs through most of the strip and it’s the easiest way to get around.
This is the actual wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. When the building was torn down, each brick was labeled and stored. The museum purchased it from the family. I didn’t realize that the opposing mobsters dressed as policemen and acted like they were going to make an arrest. They had no resistance and they lined them up against the wall and shot them with machine guns! The red paint on the wall marks the bullet holes.
Below are some of the bullets and a tommy gun on display.
The museum is located in the old post office/courthouse where the trials led by Estes Kefauver, the senator from Tennessee were held. He was responsible for leading the fight against the mob.
Last on the stop is a speakeasy, and of course some liquid refreshment!
We ended the day in old downtown Vegas. That is where the original casinos were. A few of them are still there. It is an absolute feast for the senses. The lights are mesmerizing. There is a zip line that runs above the street. There’s a crazy light show in the ceiling! People dressed in bizarre costumes and there is any kind of street performer you can imagine, and some that you wouldn’t dare to imagine. We had a great meal at the Chicago Brewery, then hit the slots before heading back to MGM.
The Chicago Brewing Company is inside Four Queens Casino. It’s known for its wood fired pizza and beer. Yummy. I almost forgot to take a pic of the pizza!
We left Nashville Sunday morning with Jeff, Ashley and Tristan, headed for Las Vegas. I haven’t been there since the mid 1980’s when my dad, The Greek, ran junkets from Nashville to the fabulous Dunes Hotel. The Dunes is gone now and so are most of the old hotels. I was a bag of mixed emotions. I was looking forward to seeing the new Vegas, but the little girl in me was missing my daddy and remembering the fun we had bringing a plane full of gamblers to the town that never sleeps. There are still a couple of the old places, the Flamingo and Caesar’s Palace are still kicking. I was not disappointed but I do miss the good old days when Elvis was singing and the Rat Pack was still around.
If you remember, Brad and Brigid, our traveling mascots, were so upset they didn’t get to go to Mexico that they made sure to stow away for Vegas.
It’s Dan’s birthday so he and Jeff ventured out to the strip while us girls did a little shopping.
The M & M store was incredible. They had every flavor except my favorite, white chocolate peppermint. The white chocolate cheesecake however was a fair substitute.
Later we went to the MGM buffet. You must go to a buffet in Vegas. It’s like everything else here, really over the top. But, I think you can eat and drink all you want because at the end of the day my Fitbit registered 17,738 steps! Pretty good!
After dinner we strolled down to the Bellagio to watch the water show and just soak in the crazy atmosphere that is Las Vegas. While walking dan came across some lonely UT cheerleaders and since he was wearing his big orange shirt, well, he had to stop and say hello. Afterwards back to MGM for a nightcap and rest up for another adventure tomorrow!
Below is the view from our room. That’s New York New York across from us.
More beautiful skies in Isla. Dan and I took a drive over to Madeira, art and food for lunch. The burgers are rated best on the island. They did not lie! The smashed baked potato with a secret sauce was the perfect side. I shopped a little and we walked across to catch another glimpse of the Caribbean Sea. Look closely at the rocks below and you can see our shadows!
Can we grow aloe this big at home?
We walked next door to Sunset Grill for dinner. Everyone had the Greek Island fish and I had grilled chicken. We shared a key lime pie. Perfect finish to the day with a nightcap at Skull’s and off to bed.
Thank you Phil Martin! It was an awesome trip and an unforgettable 35th anniversary!