Saturday, July 24, 2021

Southwest Parks 2021 - Day 6 (7/14/2021) - To Vegas

This was a morning of redemption for Fran, as missing out on summiting Angels Landing the day before did not sit well with her at all. She woke up early, and was prepped and out the door by 5:30am. She walked to the park, took the shuttle to the trail, and then hiked all the way up to the peak and back down in barely over 2 hours, a very impressive accomplishment. Meanwhile I had barely gotten out of bed. She texted me to let me know when she was done and heading back to the visitor center via shuttle, and I left the B&B (a little before 9am) by car to pick her up there.

After Fran cleaned up and we packed up, we checked out of the B&B then made the short walk to their partner cafe (Oscar's Cafe) to get some complementary breakfast. After that we hit the road for Las Vegas. This was the first time in a few days that we would drive on an interstate highway (I-15), which made for smoother sailing than the state roads; though descending a few thousand feet on a road is never boring, even on a highway. We did hit an annoying highway closure on I-15 about 10 miles outside of Vegas, which set us back about 30 minutes, but the drive was otherwise fine.

We arrived at the Paris Hotel on the Strip, parked the car, and checked in. Fran was eager to see what Las Vegas was all about, so we headed back down to the casino floor for a walkabout. We wandered out of the Paris across to the Bellagio, where we just happened to catch the 3pm fountain show - something Fran was keen to see. We wandered around the Bellagio then over to Caesar's Palace, with a stop at a Starbucks (with a long line) for a snack. We then headed south in the direction of MGM Grand, but we were getting short on time given our later plans, so we turned back for the Paris. Fran seemed to have a bit of sensory overload from trying to take everything in, at one point nearly being bowled over by a large man because she wasn't watching where she was walking. In the end, though, she (unsurprisingly) concluded that one day in Vegas was enough for a lifetime. Another thing to mention about the casinos - face coverings were not required for vaccinated people (as Fran and myself were), and the vast majority of people were un-masked; in the current environment it would be quite irresponsible to go there without being vaccinated.

Fran had previously booked us 8:15pm tickets for the Neon Museum, a boneyard for displaying historical signs from Vegas' past (some in better shape than others). When we got back to the room I got into a bit of a mood when we had trouble finding a decent restaurant to go have dinner at beforehand, and then became skeptical about the museum (which required a 20 minute drive) being interesting. After failed attempts to find alternate plans, we decided to stick to the original plan of going to the museum; and I'm glad we did. We headed back down and eventually settled on the Cafe Americano within the Paris for dinner - it wasn't spectacular, but it was probably better than the backup of crepes or pizza. We then headed out to the parking garage and drove north through the Strip toward the museum. As I alluded, the guided tour of the boneyard was fairly interesting, as the guide weaved in some history of the city as she explained the background of each featured sign; I would recommend it for people who would appreciate something besides gambling and spending money in Vegas. YOU RIGHT, FRAN!

After the museum we drove back to the hotel (with a detour so Fran could see the south end of the Strip) and then called it a night. Fran had initially wanted to go gamble $20 away at a blackjack table, but by then she was tired as the early wake-up for the hike was catching up to her. One random thing we were impressed/amused by (but might be common knowledge for many people)... The parking garage at the Paris has signs that indicate how many spots are available at each level and section - this is driven by sensors located above each parking spot; the sensors also show red and green lights that are helpful to tell where spots are available further down the row. Of course we had to play with the sensors to see if we could use our bodies to trigger them going red and green.

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Full pictures for the trip here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/FQpbDfmdGRksjimi9

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