Las Vegas (October 2013)

This is the third leg of our four week holiday in the United States and Canada.

October 1

Las Vegas

We reluctantly left downtown Vancouver for Vancouver Airport and flew with Air Canada direct to Las Vegas, arriving at 2.00pm.

We decided to arrive in style and took a limo to our accommodation at The Mirage. The cost was equal to having to hire two taxis. The rear wall of the reception counter is a massive aquarium.

Government Shutdown

Whilst we had heard there was the potential for a US government shutdown, speculation was that the issue would be resolved before money ran out. Unfortunately that was not the case and for the rest of our holiday we had to forego visiting many of the locations we had planned to visit.

Some of the places we couldn’t visit included Red Rock Canyon, Grand Canyon South Rim and the Pearl Harbour memorial.

Refer to our post on the Government Shutdown for the grief this gave us.

The Mirage

Whether our expectations were too high or not, but our accommodation wasn’t what we expected. Our room was almost at the end of one of three wings of rooms, some considerable distance from the lifts. From the lifts there was a lengthy walk through the casino to the entry foyer, and then another lengthy walk to actually get on “the strip”.

The Big Red Bus

This evening we took the Las Vegas Night Tour operated by the Big Bus Tour Company.

The tour lasted about three hours and we went up and down the strip with a stopover at Fremont Street.

Fremont Street Experience

The Fremont Street Experience was one of the highlights of Las Vegas.

The overhead video screen was amazing, especially the way the video synced to the music being played. The video being played was of Bon Jovi singing “Livin’ on a Prayer“. Apparently this was to promote a concert that Bon Jovi were due to play in Las Vegas.

October 2

Camaro Convertible

As a treat we hired a Camaro convertible for 24 hours. The top went up and down at least a dozen times due to the novelty of never having driven a convertible before.

Almost Red Rock Canyon

We took the Camaro for a drive out towards Red Rock Canyon, hoping we might be able to “sneak in”. Whilst there was no money available to keep the canyon open, there was money to pay someone to stop anyone from entering. One of those “only in America” moments.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

As were unable to enter Red Rock Canyon, we kept driving and eventually drove down a side road to Bonnie Springs Ranch and visited the ranch for a few hours. Our recommendation would be not to bother – the “Wild West” wasn’t that realistic and the zoo wasn’t clean. Give it a big miss.

Pawn Stars

We visited a number of the locations at which the TV shows filmed in Las Vegas. These shows air on the A&E Network. Whilst we were unable to enter the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop as they were filming, we did see the Old Man, Rick, Big Hoss and Chumlee.

Ricks Restorations

Once again, there was filming being conducted at Rick’s Restorations, luckily we did see Rick and the rest of the cast whilst we enjoyed a tour of the workshop.

Counting Cars

There was no filming at Counting Cars so we didn’t mange to see the Count, but we did see a lot of modified cars.

David Copperfield Show

Another highlight was being able to attend a David Copperfield show.

How he did what he does had us stumped. It was all so believable.

October 3

The Yukon

Today we returned the Camaro convertible and picked up a GMC Yukon which we would drive for the rest of our stay on the mainland.

Premium Outlet Stores

Most of the day we shopped, primarily at the Premium Outlet Stores. This is where we purchased our replacement luggage.

October 4

Hoover Dam / Lake Mead

This morning we were away early to take in Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. The visitor interpretative centre was a font of information and the Dam Tour was well presented. This really is a feat of engineering.

Grand Canyon (West Rim)

Due to the government close down, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park remained closed. We decided to visit the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. This is where the traditional Indian owners of the land built the Skywalk attraction on the rim of the canyon.  Interestingly, they could build the Skywalk, but couldn’t build decent roads to get to the Skywalk.

We would have much preferred to see the rim without it having been spoiled by the Skywalk. Hopefully there will be a next time and we can visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon as we had originally wanted to do.

Viva Las Vegas

After a long day visiting Hoover Dam and the West Rim we returned to our accommodation and our time in Las Vegas drew to an end.