Steve and I rolled out of Salt Lake, headed down into Nevada toward that land of sex and sin, that place where no one talks about what happened there, the place where morals are tested and darkest desires become real.

But home had to wait, so that was later. We still we had to go through Las Vegas.

Driving through the rest of Utah was, like much of the trip, long roads with beautiful scenery. The snow topped mountains in the distance, the cool-looking aquarium along the interstate, and the small town of Beaver, where we stopped to pick up supplies and a “I [heart] Beaver” T-shirt. Because… it was a nice town

And from Utah, down into Nevada heading toward Vegas.

Originally, as we were planning our trip we weren’t 100% sure of our timing. Most of the journey had been very flexible. We had a few places we had to be to at certain times, mostly because of special accommodations (remember the Tipis at the beginning?) And we had to be in Atlanta at a certain time for my work. But for the most part, we wanted to keep it rather loose. However, as we started our journey back from the east coast, we realized we had to figure out how to make it back before I had to start work again. We even considered the possibility that we’d get to Vegas the day before and I was going to be working from the hotel room before rushing back to California the next day. However, with a few small alterations in our plans, we ended up hitting Vegas early enough to enjoy the bright lights and casinos.

Now when we rolled into Vegas, I was almost out of my Hilton points.  We’d used quite a bit of them along the way (great plan, by the way!) so we figured we’d just grab what we could. However… for those of you who follow us on Facebook, you may remember that at the beginning of 2021 we took a brief trip to Las Vegas where we won a substantial jackpot (no not millions! But enough to require us to declare it on our taxes) and as part of that – well, we had a Caesar’s points card in the machine at the time, which rocketed us up to a tiered status with them.  

Just out of curiosity, Steve remembered those Caesar’s points and logged into the app to see if they would do us any good. Well, darn! We qualified for two free nights on the strip at the Bally’s resort. We’ve stayed at quite a few hotels at this point, so neither of us was expecting anything in particular, and we walked into this….

A suite. I mean, it was palatial. Bigger than some of my college apartments… definitely one of the best hotel rooms on the trip. A huge party shower (so named because of the size and, well, Vegas) as well as a large jacuzzi. With all the lights and music beckoning us back to the Las Vegas Strip, it was hard to leave the room.

But we did. Time lost its meaning as we wandered from casino to casino, just enjoying ourselves. One of the things that Steve and I have discovered, about Vegas in particular, but true other places as well, we’re happy to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, then get a few hours of sleep and roll out of bed and do it again.

But, Vegas, baby. So much to do.  We checked out what was available and made two quick choices. I’d never seen a Cirque du Soliel show and there were several in town. That was going to happen. And I’d also always wanted to see Blue Man Group, they were appearing as well.  Which one to see?

Or, why just one? So, yeah, we booked both of them for the same day. And at opposite ends of the Strip. We had some walkin’ to do.   

First the Cirque du Soleil show: Mystere!

The crowds were still limited due to the pandemic, so we were given better seats than we paid for, and it was phenomenal. Each Cirque show is its own story and you watch as it all unfolds, with music and incredible performances by people who seem to defy the laws of physics in their routines.  I understand what all the hype is about now, and I definitely want to see more of them! As a side note, our friend, comedian Brad Williams is, right now, performing in Cirque’s ‘Mad Apple show’ in Vegas, so maybe we’ll get out there to see him

(NOTE: the LA Times is a limited view webpage. Some people won’t be able to see it)

We were not allowed to take photos during the show – so here’s the pre-show stage 🙂

The second show: Blue Man Group, was also a lot of fun. After the huge stage of Cirque, the Blue Man Group’s theater was much more intimate. I think we were maybe three rows from the stage. If you don’t know who they are, do a search for videos on them. Three guys, completely done in blue (seemingly with blue skin as well) and playing mostly percussion instruments. Fluorescent colors and paints fly as they bolt around the stage, like three innocent children fascinated with their own music and with the people who came to see them. We were told we could take non-flash photos but no videos. Of course, when they started Steve took some photos, trying to hold his phone so no one would be distracted by the light. And, of course, one of the ushers told him to stop videoing! Though he wasn’t videoing, he put his phone away and we only got a few pictures.

They put on a fun show that was somehow not at all what I was expecting, and yet still entertaining. And the folks that showed up late were literally called out from the stage, so make sure you’re in your seats early!

After the shows we wandered the strip taking in the sights – and if you’ve ever been to Vegas you know – there are definitely some sights! One of the things we came across was the Conservatory and Botanical gardens at the Bellagio – absolutely stunning displays, lots of good photo opportunities, and it’s changed out seasonally, so there’s always a reason to go back!

So much to do. And so much that we did. But the next day, we had to start heading back home. As another side note, we started this trip with our new Wrangler Hybrid. Since it was such a new vehicle, we didn’t see another one on the road during the entire trip… until Vegas. As we came out of one of the casinos, there was the first one we had seen in the wild. Yeah, we had to take a photo. It’s a Jeep thing.

It’s a Jeep thing.

But, alas, our big drive across the country was finally coming to an end. A few hours more, and we’d be back home. And with that, we will do one more post to complete the trip. An assessment of our adventure. Stay tuned…

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