Seven days in Las Vegas – Hoover Dam, Route 66, and Grand Canyon
There’s something beautiful about travel – to see the dazzle of the Milky Way as it flashes like a spark across the sky. To be lost in a city where no one speaks your language, yet you’re filled with anticipation and excitement at the unknown. To sit on the edge of a mountain with sweeping panoramas and all those trivial problems of the world below begin to fade away. To appreciate the little things you have on return home. And to understand what it means to have nothing, and then what it means to have it all. Travel is a wonderful thing – when done right.
Terry and I visited Las Vegas – the city that never sleeps with 24 hour casinos, shopping, restaurants, and is constantly changing in a blink of an eye. LED signs shadow the Strip, trucks and cars roll along as advertisements, there’s Alan lookalikes from The Hangover (2009) carrying baby dolls strapped to their hairy chests, showgirls barely dressed, and maybe a leathery looking Elvis gently strumming a guitar.
We stayed at the Luxor hotel – an Egyptian pyramid that shoots a beam of light into the sky at night and can be seen from space.
We paused with the crowds gathered at the Bellagio to watch a soaring water show dance in rhythm to a Beetles song, but long before this hotel was built the most awe-inspiring view in Vegas was something more provocative: mushroom clouds.
Just outside of Las Vegas the destructive atomic bomb was tested. It’s a different world out there from the Strip – a barren, death of a landscape. Terry and I hired a convertible Mustang – the all American muscle car – to ride out into Nevada’s Mojave Desert and explore Red Rock Canyon, which is about 15 miles outside from the Las Vegas Strip.
After exploring the mountainous terrain, the following day we booked a tour with Grand-Adventures. Terry and I were collected outside our hotel, the Luxor, in a mini-van with a total of eight people (us included). Our small group tour felt like we were hanging out with friends rather than a crowd of strangers, like most other tour companies in the area. And our guide, Alfonso was very insightful while explaining all the points of interest, reasons behind place names, importance of certain areas, history, geological significance etc.
Our small group also stopped off at various places – the Hoover Dam, the iconic Route 66, and Seligman, which was one of the last mining camps to become established in the White Pine Mining District in 1886 – before we reached the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
It was meant to rain all day, according to the local news, but we were lucky to have fantastic sunshine up until we arrived at the canyon. We had a couple of minutes enjoying the most incredible views of the ridges, seeing elk and other wildlife before a freak snow storm created a total whiteout. Alfonso then took us to the Museum that overlooks the canyon to try and wait the storm out, but no such luck. We then left the canyon and returned to the city – to the endless shows that blow your mind, themed restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels that resemble villages. A place that never stops, only to pause – for a moment to breathe – then back to the rush.