The excitement was palpable in our house. We left with plenty of time to get to the airport. Check in was a breeze, if a little busy. This was out first time going through security with me having my insulin pump and continuous glucose (CGM). My diabetic nurse sent me a letter in the post to explain my devices. It was even a notarized legal letter with no expiry date on it. I was able to get a pat down with my devices in my hands, rather than risk having them go through the scanning machines. The security were really good about it.
The boys were also very patient. We had a snack type early lunch at the Stockcar cafe at Charlotte airport. It was just what we needed.
The plane ride was rather uneventful. We had chosen our seats so we had a row of three, with two behind. I sat in the 3 with Oliver one side, and Seb the other. The boys played their kindles most of the time, though Oliver did do some school work (we have pulled him out of school for this vacation, as his spring break was 4 weeks ago. Darn private school).
Flying over America is awesome. Fields and snow capped mountains everywhere. As you get further west, the terrain becomes more desert like, and we started to notice some gaping holes in the ground.
Sorting car hire was a bit of a pain. We booked this trip back in December. We did not factor in spring break and March Madness (basketball tournament) taking place in Las Vegas the week we flew in. We had booked a full size SUV, like a Chevrolet Tahoe. But the car rental had very little cars left. We ended up with a mid size people carrier, a Mazda 5. The rental company deducted the price, which made it a little bit more reasonable.
We made it to the hotel a little early, and our room was not ready, so we headed to the pool for some drinks and food.
We were in Vegas, baby!
We have never stayed at a Marriot Grand Vacation hotel before, but I think we will again. Our room was a 2 bed suite and was very spacious. It did not look out over the strip, but we could see the mountains and some of the other hotels. The kids were still on eastern time (3 hours ahead) so we went out for an early dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. It wasn't great, felt like a processing place. Out hotel was just off the strip, so we were able to escape the craziness. Thank goodness, cos Vegas is crazy.....
Having kids on eastern time meant for a very early wake up the next day. But we decided to make the most of it. We headed down to the lobby, and drove out of the city to Red Rock Canyon State Park. Here we were able to see the sun rise. It was beautiful
Even if the kids were stupid tired and grumpy, it was well worth seeing.
We stopped at an IHOP on the outskirts of the desert for some breakfast. Probably one of the nicest IHOPs we have been to!
We drove back in to Vegas, and decided to dump the car back at the hotels and go for a walk up the strip. We had driven in from the south the previous day, so walking north made perfect sense.
Given it was only about 11am, the city was just starting to wake up. We were able to walk a good part of the strip, past Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, the Paros Casino and Ballys casino.
Walking around Vegas is fairly easy, they have Sky bridges over most of the intersections. We didn't deive much more after our morning outing. Traffic is terrible (this will be a running theme over the next few blogs). Everyone was pretty tired after our little excursions, so we decided to spend a couple of hours by the pool to refresh. And have the most expensive cocktails known to man.......
For our last evening in Vegas (I say evening, we had kids with jet lag so it was really 4 in the afternoon), we all wanted to visit M&M's World. 4 floors of blatant chocolate consumerism. Thanks. We started at the top. That's where the M&M's Racing Team was, and where we were able to get a photo with the the 18 NASCAR.
We had a delightfully relaxed dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, just near our hotel, then headed down to the Bellagio to watch the fountains. This was well worth the little walk through the crowds. Very entertaining, free show. Even the kids enjoyed it. We returned through the large crowds back to the hotel. We had found a cut through earlier, through a shopping centre, which avoided the crazy streets. A good thing in the early evening, as the crazies were starting to come out! Plus we were able to pick up some souvenirs. We returned to the hotel, and the kids were all in bed and asleep by 8pm. We enjoyed a couple of beers before falling in to bed our selves.
All in, Las Vegas is crazy. Especially with kids. The kids had jet lag, which to be honest was a bit of a blessing. We were able to be up and about before most people woke up. This enabled us to see a sunrise, and see some of the sights of Vegas without having to go through crowds of drunk partying people. Homelessness is a problem, but we saw a fair amount of it this trip. The kids are young enough to not see the seedy, partying side. Thank goodness. I can completely see why people go to Las Vegas. Not sure if we will go back again.
On to the next stop: the Grand Canyon