Dinner on the Miracle Mile

The show we reserved for this evening, “Las Vegas the Show” didn’t start until 9:30 so we had time to find a place for dinner.

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The show was inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.  The first thing you notice is the sky or roof or…well, it’s a beautifully painted ceiling that looks like blue sky. It’s easy to forget that you are inside.

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The first thing I spotted were glittery lighted columns.

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They bordered the escalator which was topped by a huge disco ball that changed colors. Pretty impressive.

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As we entered the Miracle Mile Shops it was like entering Disney. Do you notice a trend here? I think I said that before but really, the sky, the buildings, right out of a Disney set.

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We had a free dinner at one of 3 restaurants. I picked the Italian restaurant. We were seated “outside”  but since it was play-off season flat screen TV’s were conveniently located so everyone could watch the game. Go Pats!

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We had Pats fans sitting next to us but we were mindful of the “Atmosphere” and kept our cheers and fist pumps to a conservative level.

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Back to the free dinner, the meal was free if you chose from a limited menu. I had the chicken Marsala and Joe had fettuccine Alfredo. (I forgot to take a picture before we ate…oops)  It was very good. But we’re sitting in a lovely restaurant in Las Vegas so of course we had a drink   and since we didn’t have to pay for dinner we could indulge in desert, well bottom line our dinner bill was bigger than if we’d paid for dinner and skipped the drinks and desert. But it was worth it.

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Then it was time to wander back to wait for the show.

 

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Sunday in Vegas

Sunday morning rolled around. We decided to try the Hash House a Go Go for breakfast. It was right there in the hotel so easy to get to. The menu was well rounded. You could add a huge pancake to one of their breakfasts so we had to try. I made mine cinnamon apple.

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It was huge all right. No way was I going to be able to make much of a dent and between you and me, my apple pancakes are better anyway. Then it was back to the room to await my call for the sales presentation.

You may wonder why I bother with it but there were some really good perks to make it worthwhile. After a little back and forth the cab ride was arranged. The presentation was for a Vacation Club which was a little bit different from the time share and less expensive annually. It was very intriguing. I hadn’t heard of them before so I said no to the offer even though they offered me a $6000 credit for my time share. I wanted to do some checking.  The club is “World Wide Vacation” and the comments online were a mixed bag. Any of you had any experience with them?

Anyway I left with a handful of vouchers for dinners and shows and the promise of a week long vacation at an RCI resort of my choice. (that voucher to be emailed separately).

Back at the room I hooked up with JR and we looked over the promotions.

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We picked Vegas the Show for tonight and Divas for Monday night.

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We’d be gone on Tuesday. There were so many shows in town (as always). Elton John was playing, Olivia Newton John, Donny and Marie to name just a few. They weren’t part of the promotion (of course) There were several Beatles themed offerings. We needed more time and more money! :)

Once that big decision was made it was off to the monorail.

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We decided to ride it to the end and then explore stop by stop back up the line. At the SLS station we walked past a huge souvenir shop, the kind that sells tacky T-shirts 3 for $10.00. We didn’t stop as I was finding that the walking/ standing was still difficult from my never going away shingles. Instead we made our way to the Stratosphere. 

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The Stratosphere reminded me of the Space Needle in Seattle.

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One big difference was that you could bungee jump or take a thrill ride here in Vegas but not in Seattle.

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While I’m thinking of similar structures we can’t forget that even Gatlinburg, TN has a space needle.

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We spent a lot more time here than either of us expected. The views were awesome.

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By the time we were finished with all the sights it was time for lunch.

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We had a coupon for a slice of Pizza and a beer at the Stratosphere so that was our lunch.

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We had wanted to get to the Freemont Street experience which was a bus ride away from this stop on the mono rail but time was passing and we needed to get back to the hotel to change for the show. Joe did eventually find his was to Freemont Street which is the old Las Vegas. He said he wanted to see Feathers!

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It was near the bus station so he got to go there on Tuesday after I left for the airport.

 

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Saturday Night in Vegas

When you think about it, JR and I  did an amazing job of coordinating our arrival  and finding each other amid the lights, bells , whistles and people in the hotel and casino.  As you can imagine after spending 3 days and nights on a greyhound bus, JR’s first priority was a shower and change of clothes. I was in better shape as I’d had a shower and fresh clothes before I left San Diego.

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The Hotel we are staying in is the LINQ, a part of the Caesar’s Palace empire. The Hotel was billed as one of the newest jewels in the Caesar Crown and I fell for it. I paid the upgrade because I wanted JR to have a great time as it was his birthday gift. It was a rip off. The hotel room was very basic. It didn’t even have a dresser or a coffee pot. The closet door was a curtain. The bathroom door was a sliding “pocket door” and it was shower only, no tub. Our cruise ship cabin was almost as big!

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About all I can say for it is that it was clean. The room was on the 18th floor but no balcony and security was tight. We had to show our room keys to a security guard whenever we went up in the elevator. At least that made me feel safe.

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View From Our Window , 18th floor of the LINQ

We decided not to lug the cameras the first night and just roam around until dinner time. Anything interesting could be captured on the cell phone cameras and there was a lot of interest. One of my favorite things were the characters. It was almost like being in Disney.

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There was Olaf, Mickey and Minnie but there was also Elvis and Darth Vader, Marilyn Monroe and on and on.

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We enjoyed a very loud dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and wandered over to the Bellagio for the fountain show. Along the way we passed the Eiffel Tower and Paris and The Flamingo Hotel. For neon lovers, Vegas at night does not disappoint!

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On our return we stopped at the Linq Promenade for more colorful fountains and our first look at the High Roller, the biggest Ferris Wheel in the World! The pods make me think of Star Wars!

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LINQ Promenade and High Roller

Back in the hotel it didn’t take long to hit the hay.  I was  asleep before JR turned off the TV. Tomorrow I have the  obligatory presentation ( a 60 minute sales pitch) and then we’ll check out the mono rail and decide what we want to spend the day exploring.

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Las Vegas Baby

Then Saturday 1/17 rolled around. Another conference behind me. Prior to the conference work had been pretty slow. Of course when you make plans anything that can go wrong will and sure enough, the Monday before we left for San Diego work went nuts. I went from zero to 60 in less than 30 seconds. It was like we were in the height of our busy season.

This meant that some things trickled into the conference time. There was no way to avoid it but it caused me no little amount of stress. One side said ignore the work and the other demanded it get done. It was like having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other but it wasn’t my conscience, it was two different factions of co-workers.  I was glad to leave San Diego and work behind for a short break in Las Vegas.

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Other than changing planes in Vegas on the way to someplace else, I hadn’t been there in years! Boy has Vegas changed! But I’m jumping ahead.

I took a short hop on Southwest ( about 1 hour) to get from San Diego to Las Vegas. Once I had phone service again Joe (JR) and I began texting back and forth. He was on his way to meet me from Florida on a greyhound bus. It was neck and neck as to who would get there first. It probably would have been a tie except my shuttle went right by my stop and let me off at another hotel/casino nearby.

Lugging my 2 bags and winter coat I started trudging my way back to the LINQ. Being the klutz that I am I was due for a fall and sure enough it came on the escalator at Harrad’s Casino as I rushed to get to my hotel.

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I dropped the handle of my roller bag. I thought it was on the escalator with me but it was hung up at the top. When I realized what had happened I tried to scramble back up the down escalator (In case you didn’t know, that’s a big No No). Anyway, I tripped and fell on the moving escalator. Two other patrons helped me up and a nice lady with a camera brought my bag down to me. As the saying goes …Boy was my face red!

The 2 gentlemen that had helped me up took my bags and escorted me to the registration desk at my hotel. (I think they were afraid to leave me on my own) They were so nice. They refused a tip and they insisted it hadn’t been out of their way. I’ve seldom, if ever, been on the receiving side of such kindness.  Whoever you are, Thank you!

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Needless to say, Joe got there first. :)

 

 

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Sunrise Sunset

I may not have had any more time for sight seeing in San Diego but I did have a great room in the Sheraton Hotel Tower. I was on the 10th floor with a small balcony. I didn’t even take out the tripod for the sunrise and sunset pictures. I just balanced the camera on the railing.

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San Diego

I’m Back! I didn’t expect to be gone quite so long.

Last week was our annual company meeting. I was in San Diego at the company’s expense from Wednesday 1/14- Saturday 1/17. Actually Wednesday was a travel day. I deliberately took an early morning flight because I wanted a chance to see a little of San Diego.

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Last year we had the meeting in San Diego too but a winter storm on the east coast delayed my flight so much that it was quite late when I got there. Once the meetings start there’s no time for sight seeing. You are busy from 9 am to midnight.

This year the weather was cold but clear and I had a 5 am flight. I was arriving in San Diego at 11:30 am and would have the afternoon to do some sight-seeing…or so I hoped.

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The best laid plans of mice and men can go astray and seems like that applies to my plans too. I guess I should be glad I’m not an army general.

My flights were pleasant and uneventful. I was flying Southwest Airlines and I used their early bird check in so I didn’t have to worry about checking in to get the best seating. It’s $12.95 but it was money well spent. I got  great seating. I was also wearing a warm sweater because it was very cold , about 9 degrees, when I left to go to the airport. Sometimes the cabins are a bit cold when you hit 30,000 ft.

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We made good time and landed in Chicago ahead of schedule. I had time to grab some breakfast before the 2nd leg of my journey. Chicago to San Diego was smooth too and once again we landed early. Unfortunately we landed without my luggage. :(

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San Diego was sunny and warm with a sea breeze. A sweater was definitely out of place and by the time I caught the shuttle to the hotel I was in full melt down mode. I checked into my room and settled down to wait for news of my wayward bags. Southwest assured me they weren’t lost just delayed. The best I could do was hang out around the hotel and wait. I needed a change of clothes before I could go exploring.

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The call finally came at 4 pm. My bags had made it to the airport and would be delivered to me no later than 8 pm. So much for any sight-seeing. I guess  San Diego will have to wait for another year.

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Vacation Planning

Ever wonder how I come up with my ideas for vacation? A former co-worker said she couldn’t imagine the things I’ve done and plan to do! Poor thing must not have much of an imagination because if anything, I have too many things I want to see and do.

I thought of this because my most recent issue of “Vacations” just arrived.  What’s the Headline title? 83  Great Escapes for 2015! 83! Imagine that. If I were even interested in half it would take more than 1 year!

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So lets see if there’s anything interesting on the list.

How about a tour of Costa Rica where you can visit a cloud forest, a volcano or a coral sea reef?

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Back on the Big Island of Hawaii we could snorkel with the Manta Rays on the Kona side of the Island.

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Or a river cruise up the Amazon.

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Train ride…The Rocky Mountaineer crosses the Canadian Rockies with 5 routes to choose from. A Globus (that’s a tour company) offers  a nine day trip from Denver to New Mexico and Colorado. Along the way you ride vintage railroads including the Durango & Silverton and the Pike’s Peak Cog Railroad!

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Galapagos made their list and it’s on mine too. Some day I’ll get there!

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For photographers…face off with a Bengal tiger or catch colorful clouds of butterflies. Natural Habitat Adventures helps capture these moments.

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I don’t know who I was talking to recently but they said they had been to Alaska and to Yellowstone and they saw more bear  at Yellowstone than they did in Alaska.

Another place I get ideas is from the news. This morning NECN (our local news station) ran a short story about an ice castle in New Hampshire. The castle is an acre in size and features tunnels, archways, an ice slide, glacial waterfalls and colored lights.

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I want to see this! It’s a hike up to Lincoln NH. I vacationed there once and to appreciate the lights I’m guessing you go at night. More research is needed. I will keep you posted!

So I get vacation ideas everywhere, from a chance conversation to a 60 second news bite. A magazine cover might catch my eye or a story in AAA Horizons. The ideas are endless!

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