One random day this summer Ryan called me to ask if I wanted to go to Vegas. His ridiculous amount of travel over the past two years launched him quickly into a mega amount Hilton Honors points so they offered him a trip to Vegas if we listened to one of their spiels on timeshares. So we said yes and the day finally arrived and we were headed for VEGAS BABY!!!
(And, because I am only honest on here, we almost missed our flight from Houston to Vegas. We left at 5am from CS for an 8:45am flight - you'd think that would be PLENTY OF TIME. But y'all...HOUSTON IS AWFUL. Bless you all that live there.)
But we made it and arrived in Vegas by 10am! We dropped our bags, freshened up and headed to the strip.
We took the big camera but only used our phones for 95% of the trip. This was our first trip sans kids since we hit up Chicago and I forgot how simple it can be to just walk down a street. HAHA!!
We had dinner with one of my former students (and I can't believe that I didn't snap a pic) and her family. Her husband is in the Air Force and they moved from a 3 year stay in Italy (why we didn't visit them there is beyond me) to Vegas! Loved catching up, squeezing her neck and meeting her sweet babies.
Those casino floors were calling and we, sadly, did not walk away big winners.
I mean... unless you count these as big. We got $100 gambling voucher for listening to the time share spiel as well, so we had to cash out each time we won to be able to collect our winnings. We ended up walking away with $35 from that - so whoop for free money.
We stopped by the Westgate which was the original Hilton and HOME OF ELVIS. You can actually buy his original 3 bedroom apartment as a time share - for the low low low price of $250K.
I mean, chump change.
All original furnishings - so so fun!
After saying no to some time shares, getting our "thanks for listening to us talk" gifts and taking a quick nap - we got gussied up for a night on the town. I tried this romper on kind of as a joke, and just like I did with my senior prom dress, walked away LOVING it. (Thanks, Momma!) It was the perfect thing for a brisk night and fit the Vegas vibe without showing off all the goodies.
We had tickets to a show at 8pm at Planet Hollywood, so we grabbed dinner at an adjacent Italian restaurant. Neither of us was that hungry so we decided to share - big mistake because this was maybe the best pasta I had ever tasted in my life. (Besides my mommas, clearly). Angel hair pasta with fresh crab in a pink sauce - Ryan liked it so much he wanted to eat there the next day, too.
We got tickets "Vegas, The Show" and it did not disappoint. We snagged amazing seats and enjoyed every second of the show. Amazing singers, dancers and live orchestra combined for a fun, entertaining look at Vegas through the years. Complete with the glitz and glamour of days of past leading up to the Vegas entertainment of today. They played homage to The Rat Pack, Tina Turner, Elton John, Siegfried and Roy and Elvis. The dancing was amazing, I sang along to every word and we both left with smiles.
Also. When I was little, my dream job was to be a "solid gold dancer" - so I feel like I almost achieved that here. And the lady next to me was potentially not impressed with my singing.
We ended our evening with a stroll through the Bellagio, some "free drinks" at the penny slots and a slice of pizza at a secret pizza place inside one of the hotels. (I honestly can't remember which one). And then headed back to the hotel for a much needed night of rest for day 3...
Also known as THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We took a day trip to the Hoover Dam and Ryan surprised me by renting a convertible Mustang GT. (We could have paid the premium for this shiny red Corvette but free sounded much better than $300)
And the view wasn't so bad either.
Our original plan was to hike some trails to the dam and then take a tour. The hikes take you through old railroad tunnels that were used in building the dam, but sadly, they were all closed for restoration. I think God knew what he was doing though - we were both pretty exhausted and I managed to get a blister from some shoes that I wear all the dang time so my feet were killing me. The slower pace and sweet views were all we really needed.
We took a tour of the power plant inside the dam and literally got to walk through history. This structure is an amazing testimony to the ingenuity and innovation of America.
I can't even begin to explain how incredible this monument is. It would take me days to put it into words how small you feel inside this structure.
Here's a quick 5 minute video on how the dam was built.
We took tunnels, elevators and made lots of twists and turns to get to the center of the dam. I loved that they wanted to create a beautiful masterpiece as well as monumental structure of purpose.
We are 150 feet above ground here, walking through this tiny tunnel to one of the vents.
And this is the view on the other side.
As we made our way through, our dam guide, Tom, pointed to the stairs we'd have to take if the elevator quit working. We all voted that we'd just wait in the tunnel until they fixed the problem before we tried to walk up stairs that seemingly went straight up.
The dam was built to withstand an earthquake that measures 8.4 on the Richter scale.
The end of the tour takes you to an elevator that leads you straight up to the middle of the dam - perfect for another photo op.
The only thing that disappointed me?
THERE IS NO LINE ON THE DAM SPLITTING NEVADA AND ARIZONA.
Yeah. So this...
ALL A LIE.
But at some point along that beautiful walk, we were technically in two places at one time so that's fun.
The beauty was captivating, breathtaking, amazing, unimaginable, and so inspiring that nothing could keep you from witnessing how majestic this part of the country truly is.
Well, except for a Pokemon gym.
Bless the sweet teenage boy that couldn't figure out how to work our camera.
And bless these sisters - Cindy, I've ordered some for the messes. ;)
We hopped back into the car to drive to the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge for one final view of the dam.
And stopped to document our official welcome to Nevada.
This is the point in the trip where Ryan tries to figure out how much it would cost to live here and decides that we should move immediately. Happens every time.
No matter where we travel.
Every. single. time.
But you can see his point.
We were starving at this point, so we stopped in Boulder for another flight of beer and shared meal before heading to the hotel for naps and a shower.
I need to note that Vegas air = amazing hair. This was taken after an afternoon in a convertible, walking roughly 5 miles and a brush not touching my hair since the night before.
At least 3 people recommended the same restaurant when we were looking for places to eat in Vegas, so we made Battista's our last stop. Every meal comes with soup or salad, bread, cappuccino and wine. Lots of wine.
(This is Ryan's "wow that's a lot of "free" wine" face).
We left with full tummies and grateful hearts.
We ended the trip at Freemont Street - perhaps my favorite part of Vegas. The lights and sights and sounds made the whole experience so much fun. The light show was the favorite video we sent to the kids - they have watched it at least a dozen times. (WARNING: I am singing in the background - ignore it).
It was also the luckiest we had been on the slots. Wheel of Fortune came in clutch and helped us break even on the trip. Although I was one teeny tiny tick away from $2K.
We had an EARLY flight home because we wanted to make it home to pick up the kiddos from school.
A whirlwind 4 days away with my love. So grateful to get this time with him and so thankful for my momma to give us that precious time away with clear hearts knowing the kiddos were well cared for.