Las Vegas    June 2007

As always, if you can't have a good time in Vegas you have something wrong with you. If you don't like to gamble there are rides, exhibitions, and free shows galore. And if all of that is not enough for you there are some incredible Natural Parks and Conservation Areas.

We stayed for 3 nights and managed to pack each day from morning to night. We stayed with the folks at the Club de Soleil timeshare. It's a nice place but as with all of the properties off the strip it takes some coordinating to pick up the free shuttles to the Vegas strip proper. On the plus side they offered a free tour to Red Rock Canyon one day that was a blast, and they were close to the Orleans Casino that we had never been to before.

The quick trip lessons?

1: Flying out Friday night, definitely. You gain 3 hours on the trip out so even if you leave at 8pm you still can be in your hotel in Vegas by 1am. Makes all the difference in the world being able to wake up the next morning and not have to travel. 2: While you can stay off the strip, it's worth the extra cost to be where the action is. The bus service up and down the strip is exceptional and you never know when you may want to stay out late. 3: Yes, try and do one non gambling activity each day. There is so much to see and do you should have no problem finding something for every taste.

The Stratosphere

I had to get some "non Tim" pictures to fill out my sets from this trip. Someone must have taken this second shot from a helicopter since there is nothing in Vegas any taller than this hotel. The ride in the third and forth pictures is called the X-Scream. Think of a giant see-saw with a roller coaster car attached. You sit in the roller coaster car, the ride tilts, and you plummet downward.

The other ride is the Big-Shot. In picture one, notice the tall tower at the top of the hotel, yep that's not a radio tower but a ride. You take an elevator to the top of the tower on the 109th floor, then you climb the stairs outside to the very top. Then you sit in a chair with your back to the tower and off you go.

The Vegas Strip by Day

Picture one is from the top of the Stratosphere and picture two is from the southern strip area.

The Volcano at the Mirage

The Volcano goes off for 5 minutes ever hour after dark. Who says you can't get anything for free?

Bodies the Exhibition

Ok, if you haven't heard about this yet, Wikipedia has a great article here. This is actually the Knock off company and not the original "Body Works" but it was interesting neverless. In short, think of an anatomy course with real bodies. The bodies have been partially dissected and preserved using a process that replaces the water in the body with plastic, giving unbelievably realistic results. Definitely not for everyone. Of particular interest was the section from picture two. Here, instead of showing the muscles and nerves, they replaced the blood with plastic and removed all of the other tissue. What you are left with is a 3D model of the circulatory system.

The Strip at Night

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

I try and avoid having two pictures of the same area in a set, but the first two are my favorites from this trip and I really couldn't decide which to keep. The second is from a location down the road and includes an area that was burned by a fire caused by lightning about 5 years ago.

The next three pictures are of the Calico Hills Area where the rock is almost an unnatural red color. What is most amazing is the total lack of scale. The second picuture in this set is actually a zoom picture of the left hand side of the first showing a rock climber. When we go to Vegas next we are definately going to set aside some time to go hiking here.

The last three are from other sections of the park, with the very last being a "Find Waldo" shot of Louise to once again let you try and get a sense of scale.

Some Misc shots

They just don't make hotels like this anywhere else.

Something new, I'm still trying to figure out how they painted the sides of these hotels into billboards.

And no, I don't think you would get away with that particular picture on a billboard here in Raleigh.

Louise and Dad at the Bellagio.