Wednesday, October 12, 2011

day 7 - grand canyon to vegas

We woke up really early on Thursday to try and see a Grand Canyon sunrise, especially since the weather had been so poor on Wednesday. We made oatmeal with hot water from the in-room coffee pot, packed up the car, and headed for Yavapai Point. When we got there, it was pitch black, and there was only one other car. Allie said "let's get out and see what we can see!" Having watched one too many episodes of Criminal Minds, I wasn't too enthusiastic about that plan, but also didn't want to stay alone in the car. Unfortunately it was still pretty cloudy, but we did get to see glimmers of a sunrise. It looked like it was shaping up to be a beautiful day in the Canyon, but it was approximately 33 degrees, super windy, and a bit snowy, and we hadn't brought enough clothes to endure those conditions. So we set off for Vegas. 

I think I was most surprised at how amazing the scenery was between the Canyon and the Hoover Dam. Sadly we weren't able to see the Hoover Dam itself, because after September 11, they built a bypass bridge (you can no longer drive over the original). The bypass bridge has a huge concrete barrier blocking ANY view of the dam. If we weren't so excited to get to Vegas (and get OUT of the car), we probably wouldn't taken a detour to see it in person. 

Since we knew my family was waiting in Vegas, we headed in that direction, returning the car at the airport and jumping in my aunt and uncle's rental to be ferried back to the hotel. From then on, it was a whirlwind of amazing meals, gambling lessons from my aunt, and the best people watching I have ever experienced. 

Mom, Dad, Allie and I had never been to Vegas before, but my aunt and uncle live much closer, and go often enough that they were able to serve as great tour guides. Each day, they planned out a little route for us so we could see the inside/outside of many of the casinos on the strip. For someone as noise-sensitive as me, Vegas is an overwhelming place, but I'm still glad we ended the trip there. After I got over my initial aversion to gambling (and stopped wondering out loud "how do real people live in this town??"), I had a good time. We saw and met all sorts of characters, and some of us even had unusual luck on the casino floor. Unfortunately the weather wasn't quite warm enough to take advantage of the many pools at Mandalay Bay, but we managed to entertain ourselves nonetheless. The best part, though, was definitely celebrating my parents' 30th anniversary with an amazing Italian meal at Sirio, followed by the requisite Cirque du Soliel show. Congrats, parents...we loved celebrating with you!

day 7, 8, &9:
-stayed at: Mandalay Bay
-ate at: all sorts of incredible places

She won $500 on a slot machine!

view from our room at night

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