Thursday, January 18, 2018

Holiday Pix - part 3

If you're not bored, here's my last grouping of phone pix from Las Vegas. The next set will be outside the city. This is the view about mid-morning on Christmas Day from the walking bridge over Las Vegas Blvd.


The MGM lion.




Window displays at an art gallery next to our hotel.


The "Eiffel Tower" outside the Paris hotel.


The fountains of Bellagio. In the evening they were set to O Holy Night. It was powerful!


Biker Santa on a little shopping mall outside Bally's.


The Greek mythology show inside Caesar's Palace. It's the same one we saw 12 years ago. You'd think they would upgrade the animatronics by now, but it's still fun to see. The Cheesecake Factory is in the background. We discovered it here all those years ago. We had no idea what it was, but soon found out it was ah-mazing! We were so excited when they finally built one here, and now we hardly ever go (kinda expensive).


A night view of Rio from our hotel window.


An upshot of the tram. There are 2 different free trams. One runs between Bellagio & Aria. Another runs between Excalibur & Mandalay Bay. There's also a monorail on the other side of the street. It has a fee & I'm not sure of the route. But here's a hint: by the time you trek all thru the hotels to get on the tram, you could've just walked to your destination.


The Hershey's store. Lotsa chocolate here :)


It's not Drogon (GoT) but I had to take a pic.



Fun seeing The Blue Man Group!



Above & below - inside the Luxor where we caught Criss Angel's show. They have a mannequin of him depicting his levitation trick over Luxor.


This sounds gross, but I caught one of the paper wads Criss was spit/blowing out to the audience. If it had a special mark on it, you would get to assist in one of the illusions. If you've ever seen a certain episode of the Big Bang Theory, you would get why I saved this. But never mind... there was another great moment where he disappeared onstage & appeared on the chair in front of me. Such a fun night!


A wide shot of New York New York. Roller Coaster in the foreground. The coaster starts inside NYNY and circles all around. It was cold, but people were still riding it!


The next three are from a park between hotels. So pretty!




The next two stores are pretty evident.




A view of MGM's casino.


This was just half of the Strip. We didn't have time (and honestly, I didn't have the energy) to explore the other half. We'll just save that for the next time we visit family (and catch Lady Gaga's new show!)

Pretty Excalibur at night. The funny thing LV is, everything looks close and you think "oh, we can just walk over there." Not so. What looks like one block is really several miles. Remember you're in the desert. It's all a mirage.


And finally, resting our tired feet at a good, old fashioned movie. We took the family to see Star Wars one evening.


Certainly not your typical Christmas vacation, but we aren't your typical family :):)
Next up -- Red Rock Canyon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Holiday Pix - part 2


As I said, I didn't want to carry my camera as we walked "The Strip" and visited the beautiful hotels. Vegas was shoulder to shoulder people over the holidays. They estimated 325,000 over Christmas and even more over New Year's!! Trust me, that's a lot of people trying to share a sidewalk.


One place I really wish I had taken the Canon was Bellagio's Atrium. It was GORGEOUS! These don't even come close to doing it justice but I'll post anyway.


On second thought, the camera would've been a waste. So. Many. People. Honestly, I don't know how paparazzi deal with it. Everyone jostling to snap a picture. I think 90% of the crowd was from another country (NOT exaggerating!) and they all had cell phones & selfie sticks. It got annoying after awhile.




Most of the decorations & figures at the Atrium are made from flowers.









I just did some googling. Here's a link with some nice video & statistics. Check it out here!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Holiday Road Trip!

We were blessed to visit family in Nevada for Christmas. Instead of flying, we chose to drive. I want to post a selection from each area we visited (America truly is "The Beautiful"). So here we go with Day 1 & 2.

Even though I have a great camera & lens, I found it easier to use the cell phone for quick snaps through the windows, so bear in mind - the following are not from the Canon.


I thought this would be a boring drive, knowing we were going thru the s/w section of Oklahoma & the Texas Panhandle. But there was beauty to be found, if you just looked for it.


Of course, I love seeing the wind farms and was excited when the first one came into view. Some we passed went on for miles.


We saw a LOT of trains! The neat thing was you could see them forever because of the flat landscape.


I got some video of two trains passing each other in opposite directions. It was almost hypnotizing, really a unique sight.



New Mexico was very scenic with its mesas or plateaus - not sure of the difference.






So many cool photo ops off the highway. I-40 runs alongside Route 66. We saw many things that were probably must-see tourist stops in the 50s-60s but are dead like roadkill today. Even so, they would make great urban-decay kind of photographs.


That would be a different plan for a road trip, though. You would need to be intentional about figuring in time to pull off the highway, backtrack & then get back on the highway. Or just plan a Route 66 trip.




Arizona was gorgeous! I thought it was just totally desert, but I'm told the southern route thru Phoenix is more like that. I-40 was hilly with pine trees & snow on the ground. I went looking for pictures, but it looks like I only shot a couple cell phone videos there. (videos take too long to upload here).


By the time we hit our northern trek towards Las Vegas, the sun was going down.


I remember we were listing to NPR during this time and all we could think of was an old SNL skit with Alec Baldwin, "Schweddy Balls." The radio hosts really do talk like that, all whispering monotone.


Getting closer! First casino in sight was at Boulder, NV. Our route didn't take us past or over Hoover Dam this time, which was disappointing. I saw it once before at night and it's magnificent.


Next up: Las Vegas!