Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mini vacation and an Expo

Pictures for Mom!

 Hello, from Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada.  We were on our way home from Las Vegas last Thursday, January 23, and decided to take a little detour through this place.  It's been on MY bucket list for a while.  I've driven by the freeway off ramp leading to it countless times, so this was the time for us to stop and see just what was there.  Red Rocks!
 Lots and Lots and Lots of red rocks.  Just like in MY neighborhood in Southern Utah. Just like our Red Hill in Cedar City and up the canyon a ways.  But I happen to really adore Red Rocks.
 And Red Rocks shaped like elephants. Sort of.  I mean, they are SORT OF shaped like an elephant.
 There is a LOT of erosion in these old rocks.  Lots of holes and pits and crevasses.  Nice formations.  But the pictures get ahead of me!

We went to Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon of Jan 19.  We went to church with Mike's Mom that morning since her ward meets at 9 a.m.  Ours it at 1 p.m. now and we just wanted an earlier start to our little vacation. We left for Las Vegas around 2 p.m. or so.

We got settled into our Grand Desert Resort room.  It's nice. Photos follow.  We watched a little TV, ate dinner, relaxed, explored the area just a bit.  It's kind of a hike to our room!

Monday morning, we were "invited" to attend a little presentation and have an update on our timeshare points.  Or something like that.  They are sales people and they talk so fast that I really didn't know what exactly they were saying.  I heard "Free Breakfast" and "$100 gaming or dining" and we had nothing else planned for Monday, so why not?  They promised to be no longer than 45 minutes, breakfast included.  This time, they were not far off!  After a fairly nice hot breakfast, we had a fairly short meeting with a very talented sales lady, then we waited a bit longer, then we collected $100 worth of meal vouchers that expired in 1 week (so gotta use them this trip!) and went back to our room.  I cut Mike's hair (he'd been needing a haircut for quite some time), we went to soak in a hot tub for a while.  I think we took a nap, and we fixed dinner for when Kim and Terri came over to eat with us at 6:30 that evening.  We had such a fun visit with them, played Push The Dummy after, and just relaxed.  We just don't get to see good friends nearly often enough!  And I did not think to take a picture of us all.  Oh well.

Tuesday morning, Mike needed to be at the World of Concrete expo for his classes that day and to check out the exhibits, etc.  I dropped him off there, then dropped myself off at the Las Vegas temple and did a session there.  It had been closed for some weeks, so it was kind of crowded that particular day--the first day opened since being closed. But I had expected that and didn't mind that a session was split as I had nowhere else to be.  After I got back, I ate lunch, and took a nap afterwards. I went over to the outlet mall and walked through many of those shops.  I was looking for a swim suit.  Not a smart thing to do when one is 50 pounds heavier than one should be.  Nobody had any swim suits that interested or suited me.  I only found bikinis.  Ugh. THAT paints an ugly picture, doesn't it?!  Mike called me to come and pick him up when he was done with his classes and walking through exhibits. It (the convention center) is only about 5 minutes away if you hit all green lights.

That evening, we decided to use our food voucher for a nice dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House.  We knew it was going to be pricey.  We've never eaten there before, but had heard of it.  We just didn't know HOW pricey it would be! Yikes. We had steak each and a (yes, one) baked potato and a serving of sauteed mushrooms, drank only water, and we exceeded our $100 !!  Un real.  The meat was good.  But $50 good?  The jury's still out.  No, it's not ...  it is definitely overpriced.    That's done.  No need to go there again unless it's on someone else's dime. Oh, and they took a LOVELY photo of the two of us at our table. It was a nice photo--much nicer than the one  below--but $35 seemed a bit much for that, as well.
 Now we are up to Wednesday.  We had (leftover) steak and scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Mike had more classes at the WOC expo and he had his friend, Don, come with him.  Mike drove out to Henderson to get Don, they came back and I went with them to drop them off. If they had to park a car there, that would have been way too much walking in from the remote parking lot for Mike's knees. It was closer to drop them off at the door.  Plus, that gave me the car to do some shopping with.  Only the mall didn't open until 10 pm.  I ended up driving through the mall parking lot, headed back to the Grand Desert Resort, but took a wrong turn--onto a one way street!  Yikes!! THAT was a first for me.  6 lanes of traffic, and they were ALL going in the opposite direction.  I was so lucky that the farthest 2 lanes, the ones I turned into, were empty and as soon as a realized my mistake, I flipped around to face the correct way and started over.  Whew.  That could have been so awful.  I felt so stupid.  But I did get home to the room safely.  Then I walked over to the MGM to see what they had there, saw a lovely art gallery of some super photos, walked back, took the car to the mall and did some shopping.  Still found nothing I wanted or needed.  Except a Cinnabon for either dessert that night or breakfast the next morning!  And I wonder why the weight just won't go away....

I made a nice pasta dinner for me and Mike and Don and Don's wife, Keala, who joined us at the Grand Desert Resort after she got done with work.  Traffic was awful and we didn't eat until close to 7 pm.  It was fun to visit and catch up with the Cupp's.  We've known them since we lived in Hawaii and have kids the same ages.  Don worked with Mike in Hawaii for a while and have remained close buddies.

 Here's a view from the living room into the bedroom area. We had a nice, roomy, one-bedroom unit.
 We had a jetted tub in the room that we never even used... the outdoor hot tubs and pools were really nice.
 The shower was nice and huge.  We had a bathroom with toilet, shower, sink, and the other one with sink and jetted tub.
 A bigger-than-king-size bed.  It's about 6 inches wider AND longer than our King sized bed at home.  I measured.
 Comfy living room. The sofa has a bed in it, so there was room for more bodies than just us.
 And, we had a nice dining area. We even brought a bag of games with us, but only played one with Kim and Terri on Monday night.
 I spent a good deal of time in the well-furnished kitchen, preparing our meals.  I brought a LOT of food with us.  We brought a lot of it back home with us, too.  But we ate healthy food and not nearly as much as we might have if eating out all the time.  Like the steak--it lasted us for two meals, after all.

On our way home through the Valley of Fire, the first area you go through has all these drab, dull rocky hills.  But they are pocked with holes/caves.  They really fascinated Mike.  Eh, they looked like holes in the rock.
 It did end up being the coolest of the days we were gone--only in the 60's but still very pleasant.  Soon we can see the red rocks coming.  And it was so clear!  We could see for miles and miles and miles.

 Some of the area looks a lot like the formations in the Leeds and Red Cliffs area of Southern Utah. I'm pretty sure it is the same strata of rocks that run the length of the mountains/ridges in our area. But I really don't know much about geology.  You sure can SEE a lot of it, though!!

 There was a nice visitors/interpretation center here that we took a few moments to walk through and read about (some of ) the exhibits.

 Past the visitor's center, straight ahead, you can see a little poking-up rock?
This is what it looks like when zoomed in with my camera. I was just testing the zoom.  I really wanted to figure out how the panorama setting worked, but with the battery running low on my camera, it didn't happen.  There were also a couple of bighorn sheep down below this rock--a momma and her baby (teen-ager type baby).  That was kind of fun to see.  

We drove through the little towns of Overton and Logandale, then back to the freeway, on to Mesquite where we stopped for our FINAL buffet--I swear we are on the way to eating more healthily!! Honest, we ARE!!!  And then home.  Unpack.  Get to bed at a decent hour.  And we have to face the world of work on Friday. But it felt like a Monday to me!  Mike had good coverage of his classes while we were gone, and things were just dandy at my work place, too.  I just had a lot of catching up of reports to run and all was well.  I'm ready for the weekend. ha. My absolute most favorite days of the week are the ones where I don't have to get up to an alarm clock.  

Oh, and to finish up the "Vacation," we rented "Captain Phillips" from Redbox and watched it on Saturday night at home.


Donna said...

Looks and sounds like a lot of fun!

Tandy said...

Braeden has decided he doesn't understand looking at big clumps of rock. I think he's just jealous. :)
So nice to see familiar scenery!