Vegas in Four Parts: Part 4

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
— Lao Tzu

I’m such an un-prolific blogger that it’s taken me nearly a month to write a 4-part series on our trip to Las Vegas.  I suck.  In any event, Tuesday was my favorite day there, I think, so this is the best part.

It was, of course, Inauguration Day, the reason we fled the D.C.-area to begin with, but we didn’t want to miss the big event.  Unfortunately, the captions on the TV in our room didn’t work (and we’ll let it slide how that’s a violation of the law), but we needed breakfast anyway, so we headed down to the cafe in the hotel, where they were showing the Inauguration on three screens, one of which was captioned.  We watched, and I teared up when President Obama took the oath.  I remember saying out loud to David, “I can’t believe it really happened.”  What a day.

Then we headed to Red Rock Canyon, about 20 miles outside Vegas.  We were lucky enough to have another gorgeous day, and I couldn’t stop marveling at the beauty of it all.  This is what we saw on our approach:

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We stopped at the Visitor’s Center for a look around, but then we drove up to the first stop on the 13-mile road through the park.  We got out of the car to take some pictures, and I thought we’d move along to the next stop, but instead, we started walking – hiking, really – and before we knew it, we’d gone far enough toward the next stop on the road that we just kept going til we got there, and then we walked the road back to the car.  Here’s some of what we saw on our hike:

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I don’t know that the pictures really do justice to the scale or the intensity of the color of the mountains.  It was truly amazing.  I loved being there.  We’d be hiking, and all of sudden I’d just have to stop to just take in the moment, to really focus on the beauty of this place I was in, to simply be present.  It was such a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one.  At one point, I looked at David and said, “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in with you.”  And it’s true.  And wherever we travel together in the future, it’s going to be hard pressed to live up to this day.

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Speaking of David, I did promise you another Pouty Picture:

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And, yes, he is kind of smiling here, as he is in the one from the last post, but I call them Pouty Pictures because he only grudgingly posed for them – the pouting came before the shutter snap.

There are so many good pictures from our day here that I want to share, but the Gallery feature on WP is what messed up the last post, so I’m just going to share this Photobucket slideshow I made (I’m sure I’m doing something wrong, which is why it won’t embed, but just click on “view all images”):

We spent more time than we intended to out there, which is why we ended up missing our last chance to see the dolphins, as I mentioned in Part 1, but it was definitely worth it.  We headed back to town to shower and change; I had promised David dinner at House of Blues, and I had to deliver on our last night.

But first, we headed to the Bellagio, for the fountain show.  This is a 5-minute or so water show choreographed to music and lights, and it is amazing.  I should have taken video of it, but I was too busy taking pictures:

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When it was over, I said to David, “It’s like water fireworks.”  He said, “That’s exactly what it’s like.”  I bet you could find a video of the whole show on YouTube, if you’re interested.

We headed to dinner, and managed to get a table and our appetizer before the band started and made it too loud for any meaningful conversation.  The band was pretty good; the food was only average, so we were a little disappointed.  Afterwards, we walked the strip a little more and ducked into a few casinos – David was on the hunt for a $5 Let It Ride table.  We finally ended up at Excalibur, a medieval-themed casino, where I saw this funny sign:

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Totally authentic.  David found a table and joined in, and his poor-to-average luck continued for several hands.  Then, with one lucky full house, he won $310.  And he cashed out shortly after that, wisely I think.  So he was a happy camper, and we headed back to the Palms for our last (very short) night in a really, really great bed.

The End.

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