Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fremont Street experience..............

The neon lights are bright on Dave & Brenda.......
Beyond the boulevard, north of the Las Vegas strip, old downtown Vegas has it’s own action going on each night on Fremont Street. Here you will see more neon in one block than you could ever imagine. While it’s still an open-air street, it has become a screened in pedestrian walkway and curiosity that comes to life each night with overhead laser light shows musically choreographed. It’s an attraction in itself, cameras flashing in every direction. Minus Binion's and the Golden Nugget, Donald believes Essex Street, downtown Salem, could benefit from this type of action. Unfortunately, only in his dreams…………….

The End......... (to our Las Vegas trip)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Red Rock Canyon

Brenda and David found the only tree for miles.......

About 20 miles west of Vegas is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. A 13-mile scenic drive of beautiful desert mountain vistas and overlooks, wild horses, burros, reptiles (Gila Monster), and access to hundreds of miles of backcountry hiking trails. Bighorn Sheep is Nevada’s state animal and they are suppose to be in this park, and while we were lucky to see one yesterday, they say sightings are rare. (Thanks to hawkeye Dave for spotting a mature male, horns and all. Just like this one)

After our scenic drive, it’s time for lunch, so we’re off to Bonnie Springs……………….

The Wild West is still as wild as ever in Old Nevada, and a replica of an 1880's mining town built on the 115-acre Bonnie Springs Ranch still wows visitors looking for the old west experience; John Wayne country for sure.
Boarded sidewalks that creak pleasantly under your feet, saloons, tumbleweeds, stagecoaches, and even a Boot Hill Cemetery, Bonnie Springs Old Nevada is a great place for the entire family and there are lots of attractions for the kids, including a petting zoo, cowboys and cowgirls, and on weekends and holidays, a miniature train ride, and a "posse" show where the kids can even help track down the 'bad guy". This little old mining town offers plenty of rousing, rough-and-tumble action, simulated gunfights in the streets, an 1830's melodrama complete with mustached villains in an authentically recreated Saloon, and even a public hanging, with an obliging Stuntman swaying in the wind. In addition to gunfights and cowboys, there's a wax museum with figures from the frontier history, and they serve great homemade meals in the restaurant too. I had the ribs. Last time we were here I had the buffalo burger, unfortunately, no longer on the menu. On the way in, the burros were on the side of the road. Of course, we have to get their picture, so stopping the car and opening the van slider door, we take as many pictures as we can before these guys climb into the car. I'm sure they are just looking for food but I'm not sure they know the difference between me and an apple. Close the door quick!

Hoover Dam

If you go to Vegas and you don’t take a side trip to Hoover Dam, you are really missing one of the most spectacular engineering accomplishments ever attempted in the USA. We have driven over this dam more times than we can count since 1995 when we first drove from Arizona to Nevada, and it never fails to make us weak in the knees. Pictures can never do it justice. You have to be here to truly feel the thrill of driving the snake curved roads that lead up and over the mountains into the dam area from the East. Cars crawl at 5 mph as everyone is taking pictures from their cars or from the many pull off’s provided for those just passing through. It’s a Kodak moment everywhere you look and visitors are in awe of its scale and always looking for the “leak”. When you take the inside tour, they are quick to tell you the dripping is from condensation and nothing more. (Leak, a word never uttered but certainly in everyone’s mind, especially when you are 70 stories below in the dam.) We, of course, knew Brenda and David would be excited to see and explore this for sure, so we planned to bring them back here for one of our day trips from Las Vegas. Where else can you have one foot in Arizona (MTN Time) and one foot in Nevada (Pacific Time) and be standing in the middle of a dam?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A day on the glitzy Las Vegas strip..............

Brenda & Dave at the Venetian.

(Vegas knows how to take you for a ride.)

We're back from Vegas and yes, we still have our shirts. I think we all had a great time, and we certainly had wonderful weather all week. 65 degrees and sunny every day, no wind, just perfect walking around temperatures, even at night. The slide show to right is just a smidgen of the photos taken of just one day on the strip. We played at all these places, taking winnings from some casinos and leaving them in others. Donald and Dave played the tables once. Roulette I think. They really only swapped each other’s money. After 20 minutes, we had one winning smile and one grimacing frown. Brenda and Ada just played the slots, although Ada got brave at Treasure Island and put $20 in the dollar machine. She bet the maximum, $5, and won $126 on the first spin. She cashed out immediately. This didn’t happen too often, just enough to keep her on the positive side and smiling……. She hates to lose!

More to come, if you can stand it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Off to Vegas………….

We’re off to Las Vegas to meet some friends, Brenda and David, who are flying in from Florida. It’s about an 8hr drive and a one-hour time change for us, and we will be traveling some of the most desolate roads you can imagine. So much of the topography in the farthest northwest corner of Arizona looks like you are on the moon. Fortunately, lunch on the way will be in civilized Wickenburg, one of Arizona’s best cowboy towns and a favorite place of Ada’s. After that, the road trip will be pretty lonely and isolated and we will be glad for sure that we had the car serviced before we left. They say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, but my lips will not be sealed. I will tell you all about it when we return, or maybe before if wireless access is available. We expect to take our friends, their first visit, to many adventures off the strip like Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley. Gambling will probably happen, especially if Ada gets near the sports betting area. She has all this pent up Fantasy Football knowledge and can’t wait to put her $5 on the Giants.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Just hanging around………..

What dumb builder put that thermostat in the middle of my decorating space.......
The last few days we have done little outside of the house, but every year at New Year’s, Ada’s resolution is to get any project brought into the house the previous year, done! And that usually means hanging some posters or finishing odd jobs. Putting a dangling carrot like planning to have company, helps to give her that extra push. This year, we have three posters to hang and a laundry room to paint. The frames were bought right away as Aarons has their 1-cent sale every January. (Buy one frame at regular price; get the second frame for a penny.) Usually buying the frame is easy, attaching the hardware is the part Ada doesn’t like, so engineer Donald graciously does all that. The big deal is where they should go. Ada feels she is the decorator so she gets to pick, based on wall availability and color. Of course, Donald with the hammer and nail is 6ft tall and Ada is 5’2”, so eye level is the only obstacle we really face. Up, no down a little, this tug of war continues until Donald gives up and Ada gets her way. Perfect!
Painting the laundry room is another story. Ada has picked out two colors she likes. Donald has an opinion, but says. “What ever makes you happy makes me happy.” He has painted every square inch in the house, so he is off the hook for this last job. And besides, Ada remembers Anita is coming from England in a few weeks and she has a great eye for color and loves projects. Consider this, “in the can”! New Years resolution complete………

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A little hill work

Mountain Man heading back.......Our first hike of the New Year.

After enjoying restful (lazy) days since New Year’s Day at home, it was time to get some exercise beyond our backyard. With LLBean canteens strapped to our jeans, we were off to the end of Magee Road, about a mile from Trader Joe's, where the hot top meets a dirt road and the Pima Canyon Trail. Not your flat walk. From the start you are climbing up and it’s not long before we have spectacular views of all the mountain ranges that surround Tucson, and the Saguaro cactus are everywhere you look along the rocky terrain. This is a popular trail as we meet and greet passer's by coming back from a longer journey than we will take. There’s no mistaking the grateful look of someone who has made it back to civilization once again. Recognizing that we are a little out of shape today, we will take it easy and time our hike to an hour and then start back. After all, it’s late in the day for starting a hike, 3pm, and we would not want to be up here in the dark, especially at feeding time. (For the wildlife, not us.) It was sunny and in the 70’s today, making it a refreshing first jaunt in 2009.