What are we doing in Las Vegas?

Lots of people take trips that are characterized by spontaneity – a flying by the seat of the pants approach. Other people take trips that are well planned out – everything booked in advance – somewhat of a regimented experience. We try for a bit of both. To be totally honest, what we are doing right now is not only spontaneous – it is totally out of character for us. We are staying in Las Vegas for a night at the Mirage Hotel.

Let’s step back in time for a moment, to a small motel room in Death Valley – no phone and sketchy internet. We had thoroughly enjoyed two beautiful days in the desert – we didn’t eat a hot meal once – picnics out of our cooler for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No problem – we loved it. But we were faced with a dilemma – where to go next? I fell asleep before the travel plans had been finalized. The last I saw of Bruce he was buried in maps.

This morning, before the first rays of dawn, our car was packed and ready to go. We had planned to see the sun come up over the mountains on one side of the valley and wash the other side with light. Bruce stopped at the motel office to ask about the route he had chosen. The guy at the desk said he’d never driven the road we were considering. He mentioned that we were less than two hours from Las Vegas and if we drove in that direction we could hook-up with a great section of Route 66 back into California and down towards Joshua Tree National Park – our next destination.

We loved the idea of driving a piece of Route 66 – our plan was to set the GPS for the Vegas Strip and drive down it – why not? You only live once – right?

The GPS worked great – led us right to the strip. We decided to park the car. It was entirely my fault. I wanted to see a wonderful replica statue of the Nike of Samothrace which is located by the fountains outside of Caesar’s Palace.  As we walked along the strip, we thought – why not check into seeing a show? I can’t say which one of us had that idea. The next thing we knew we had two tickets to see The Beatles – Love – Cirque du Soleil and a room reserved for the night at the Mirage. As we ate steaks at an Outback restaurant on the strip we both concluded that the madness came about because we were scared to drive the car out of the parkade and back into the non-stop party all around us.

So – here we are in our 21st floor room getting ready to go downstairs to relax poolside. Then we will see the show and wander around and take pictures and people watch – earlier I saw Spiderman go by – who knew Spiderman was in Vegas? Apparently the Mirage hotel has a volcano that erupts after sunset – every hour on the hour.

Later – the show was wonderful – a fantasy trip into some great Beatles tunes – wonderful costumes and high-flying antics. The volcano eruption was really something – both Bruce and I gasped when we saw it burst into flames.

What can I say about Las Vegas? I think a young woman from England we met before we left Death Valley said it best – “You have to take Vegas for what it is.” I agree – a sensory overload adult amusement park. Don’t expect it to be anything else.

A writer always welcomes the chance to have a unique experience. If I ever create a character that passes through Las Vegas, I’ll have a real experience to draw on when I sit down to describe the scene. That’s invaluable. But I seriously doubt I’ll ever go back. The picture of the Nike sure turned out well though.

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