Las Vegas, Nevada
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October 2, 2011
Matt met me at the airport and we got checked into Bally's. I had a very nice room. He and I did some initial exploring of the casino and then headed off to the restaurant Pho Kim Long to get a bite to eat. This is an Asian restaurant in a very Asian part of Vegas. We had a beef soup into which we put bean sprouts. Quite good and not overwhelming. Overwhelming came later
October 3, 2011
We started with breakfast at the I-Hop by his house. We then went to his house and I caught up with Bonita. We had much to discuss. B, Matt and I headed to the Red Rock National Conservation Area and we hiked the Calico Tank Trail. This is an intermediate trail, about 1.2 miles long with an elevation change of about 400 feet. Near the end is a large rock bowl, about three-quarters of an acre, that normally holds water. It is important to the local animals. It had rained, and it drizzled on us some. There were many tiny toads, about half the size of your little finger nail. At the far end of the trail is an overlook that looks down on Las Vegas. Pretty cool. We took a drive to the Lovell Canyon area. The amount of hiking available is amazing.
We came back, cleaned up, took a short nap. We headed off to The Social Club for an amazing steak dinner and then went to see "The Rat Pack Returns". It is a tribute show to the original Rat Pack, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop. A great show.
We went to The Sugar Shack for dessert. That was decadent, to say the least. We walked a number of casinos.
Here's red rock.
Notice B. She's looking at the tiny cave by Matt's hand. She tried to jump into it but failed (badly). She wasn't hurt.
Here we are hiking back down. Look at the rain cloud in the distance.
This is an example of a tree that appears to be sprouting from the old, gnarled remains of another. The new growth looks like it has no bark. The wood is very smooth. It appears to be a "Manzanita".
These are the little toads, about half the size of the nail on your small finger:
October 4, 2011
I-Hop started our day, again. Fuel for the walk. We went for a long drive in the Mount Charleston area and did a hike up to Mary Jane Falls. Afterward stopped at Matt's house, dropped off B and returned to my hotel room for a nap.
On our way up to the falls, we chanced upon a Stellar's Jay. This bird is kind of like a blue jay, but with a lot more attitude. It was not happy at all that we were walking about a tree under which it was eating. This isn't a great shot of the bird. Here is a short movie.
At the falls Matt and B walked up the last bit of slippery rock: video here
Looking up at the falls
A break and a kiss under the falls
By the second part of the falls
Looking out from the bottom of the falls.
Note the patches of snow above Matthew. It is October. Those have been there all summer.
On our way back, some lichen with lichen flowers
Three signs: REDUCE SPEED AHEAD, 45 MPH and 35 MPH in a few hundred feet
We went out and found the Fukuburger truck. This is a truck that wanders the area selling popular though decadent hamburgers. It was a top shelf meal eaten sitting on the back bumper of our rental car. We then returned to the strip and took a walk through another four or five casinos. We took a drive downtown and looked at the old Vegas casinos. Pretty cool.
My favorite casino is the Bellagio. The Venetian is next. Bills is interesting just because it appeared to have a suburban, homey kind of clientele who had no interest in impressing those around them. They were just there to have fun. The Bellagio and Venetian clientele were clearly there to strut their stuff. Image was important to those gamblers. They seemed to lose more, too.
Our hike up to Mary Jane Falls involved two parts. The first part can be walked in a few minutes. The second part was a series of some ten, or was it twenty switch-backs with a change in elevation of about a thousand feet in about a mile. Not difficult, it was strenuous for a flat lander like me.
October 5, 2011
Matthew's water heater failed. We decided we'd fix it. Thought the problem was a bad thermocouple as the pilot would not stay lit. We replaced it but the heater wouldn't work. Sad. We took a nice walk with B around Matt's neighborhood. It is a really nice place.
We drove back downtown and did the buffet at the Cosmopolitan. We both approached it with a great deal of thought. We left a great deal distended. As I write this on the airplane some eighteen hours later, I'm still distended. Whew! We blew $20 on penny slots. The Cosmopolitan was a pretty neat place. Rumor has it that the upper suites have a great view of the Red Rock Conservation Area. That might be my next destination.
I blew another $20.00 playing video poker. It was hard to believe. I know the algorithms. I know exactly how to program the game. I know there is no real chance of winning. I still put the money into the slot. Now I can say I did it.
October 6, 2011
On the way home. Sad. Don't like leaving. Had a nice flight. The weather was good and I had good seats.
October 8, 2011
This is the first time I've eaten since getting home. About thirty hours. Be careful if you do the Cosmopolitan buffet.