Las Vegas is an endlessly glittering adult playground. It’s hard not to get sucked into the frenetic fun, not that I try very hard! I like it – for a while. Staying in an RV resort, rather than a hotel on the strip, makes for a very different Vegas experience. We can retreat to our motorhome quiet, and break the Vegas experience into smaller doses. We had a guest (Jeff’s brother) for the first few days, increasing the fun.
I won’t detail our visit to the Strip and environs, others have ad nauseum. We certainly spent time wandering and gawking at the enormous casinos and brightly blasting video screens. Since our stay was longer than past visits, we had the opportunity to attend several shows. The first was “Love”, Cirque du Soleil’s take on Beatles music. It was spellbinding and exciting at the same time. I liken Cirque shows to watching fireworks – eyes wide to try to catch all of the action, ooo-ing and aahhh-ing every other moment. Just fantastic! The second show was seeing Jewel in concert. Jeff and I are longtime fans and it was serendipity that she was playing in town during our visit. Her uniquely expressive voice still soars and her lyrics touch the soul. Another fantastic show experience. The third show was “V – the Ultimate Variety Show”. We got the tickets at one of the “Tickets 4 Tonight” half price booths, where you can get discounted same-day tickets. It wasn’t in the same league as the other shows, but the gymnasts, comics, aerialists and illusionists were talented and entertaining. Just all good fun. I miss my season tickets to the Broadway musical series at the Broward Performing Arts Center and Vegas has helped to scratch that live performance itch.
I also have been able to play some blackjack! Real blackjack tables, not that “blackjack pays 6-5” crap. I mean $5 minimum tables with 3:2 payouts, decent player rules and attentive cocktail waitresses. You’re not going to find that on the main Strip, but just a block OFF strip is a great little casino called Ellis Island. Good tables, nice dealers, and an off-menu $9.99 sirloin steak special. Other good tables can be found downtown on and near Fremont Street or at one of the locals casinos, such as the Station casinos. Gawk at the Strip, but gamble elsewhere!
Other highlights include:
- Valley of Fire State Park: About 90 minutes drive away, it has spectacular red and multicolor sandstone formations, slot canyons, and ancient petroglyphs. Most of the formations are easily accessed by short hikes.
- Shelby American Factory tour: Carroll Shelby was a fascinating man of many careers – race car driver, racing team manager, and car manufacturer. His company developed such groundbreaking sports cars as the cobra and super snake. We attended the free factory tour which informed of the man’s storied history, viewed historic cars and even toured his shop which still converts vehicles into his signature models. It wasn’t really my thing, but Jeff’s mechanic brother was in car enthusiast heaven.
- Pinball Museum: I was with boys, so we did boy things! The “Pinball Museum” is really an arcade loaded with antique machines. Admission is free, but you can pay to play any of the machines ($0.25 and up per play). Cards posted on most machines described their history, but that was the extent of the “museum” aspect. Jeff was delighted to find his favorite 1970’s era pinball machine – Top Car. He inserted a quarter and promptly racked up 7 free games. He’s still got it!
We still have a few more days here, enough time for more Vegas-y fun!