Viva Las Vegas

We only live about seven hours from Vegas, which means for veteran dog sport competitors used to driving several hundred miles with a herd of dogs this was a quick and easy trip.  No seriously.  So early Saturday morning, we left our canine charges in the capable hands of a teammate and struck out for a little weekend getaway.

105 in the shade, baby!

The drive was rather uneventful but not boring.  We cruised through micro-towns with little dilapidated shops boasting items such as rocks, bait and firearms.  We learned that Fallon is now a one Starbucks town.  This is down from two but they are still better off than Hawthorne which has none.  Hawthorne, however, was experiencing an onslaught of blue dragon flies.  They were so dense in their numbers, sunning themselves on the side walk that I had to tip toe through an opalescent blue ocean to get into the McDonald’s to use the restroom. 

We stopped for lunch in Tonapah.  Dining options are significantly limited in the middle of nowhere.  There is a McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and the local casino coffee shop which we know from previous experience is a bust.  I treated myself to the rare fast food veggie burger and deliciously evil onion rings from Burger King.  I felt relatively guilt free in the choice.  After all, I indulge in fast food so rarely and try as I might, I just could not bring myself to eat the graying brown veggies at Subway.  It is tough getting reasonable produce in very rural and isolated locations, though the tomatoes at Burger King were freaking amazing.  After a quick lunch for us and a fill up for Waldo (my car), it was back on the road.

Jello shots and roller coasters...

We rolled into Vegas around 2 PM and checked in with the lovely VIP staff at New York New York.  By 2:30 PM we were lounging pool side, cocktails and jello shots in hand.  I have apparently entered a new phase of my life when I can actually just lounge poolside for hours on end without getting bored.  I soaked in the pool a bit, soaked up the sun a bit; enjoy a few delicious drinks and three times as many jello shots – all without managing to get sunburned.  It was so incredibly relaxing that I could barely peel myself off the chase lounge to go get ready for dinner.

And what a dinner…  First, I highly recommend Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York.  It is the Vegas spin on an Irish Pub.  I indulged in an incredible hazelnut crusted goat cheese salad with a bit of chili infused baked brie.  Delicious would be putting it lightly.  Salad was prepared exactly as I had hoped:  heavy on the greens with a light yet flavorful dressing.  The flavor of the goat cheese was unparalleled and oh so creamy.  Every bite was heaven.  I enjoyed every bite without guilt.  And the brie…oh, the brie… AMAZING.  I had a few bites of a delicious dessert, a sort of Irish styled tiramisu.  No regrets, no worries.  I came to play and that is exactly what I did!

OMG! Me in a skirt like a real girl!

Then it was off to see Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil.  It was hysterical and exactly our sort of humor.  Of course, the hotel had seen fit to give us lovely seats in what we affectionately refer to as the danger zone.  For those who have never been to Cirque, be warned about sitting in the first two or three rows.  Shows tend to have a bit of audience participation worked in, especially with the clowns before the show.  With Zumanity this is doubly true and thus my rather well endowed chest was displayed by a fat chick dressed only in fishnets from head to toe with all the grace of Vanna White.  It was hysterical.  And we laughed even harder later that night at a lounge when two couples in their fifties immediately remembered me from the show.  More specifically, they remembered the rack.  All kidding aside, the show was fantastic.  The acts were not as spectacular as other Cirque shows (see Mystere first if you have never seen Cirque) but the comedy was outstanding.

After the show, we headed out to Caesar’s to check out the high end shops.  I found the most lovely bag at Louis Vuitton for a paltry $1,800.  Uh yeah…  I also found a bag I adored at Coach for a far more reasonable $285.  Tragically, neither made their way home with me but I enjoyed trying them on regardless.  We picked up some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, though we could not bring ourselves to actually eat it that night.  And then it was back to New York New York to enjoy a few cocktails and listen to a great DJ spin some great music.

All in all it was a great time.  I woke up bright and early the next morning (as usual) feeling quite refreshed.  I immediately rebuked myself for not bringing my running shoes as I had plenty of time to run and plenty of motivation to do so.  Ugh.  Instead, I found a non-fat latte and cruised through the hotel a few times and then we both headed out to check out some of the new properties on the strip.

Think Rose Parade… this 5′ long bird was covered in all natural decoration.

Sunflowers in the Bellagio

Aria and Crystals were beautiful but nothing extraordinary so we moved along to one of our favorites, the Bellagio.  I love the conservatory and make it a point to visit every trip to see what has been done this time.  We then headed across the street to Paris to take some humorous photos of the Eiffel Tower.  You know, for comparison photos for when we visit the actual Eiffel Tower in France in a couple weeks?  We even practiced getting the all important photo of the two of us, taken at arm’s length (as is tradition). 

Next we wandered into Planet Hollywood to look for a particular shop we enjoy.  Tragically, the shop is now gone and worse, something in the casino triggered intense vertigo for me (which immediately ceased as soon as we stepped out the door). 

We made our way back to New York New York without incident and found a place to have a late and light brunch.  It was, of course, delicious as all things are in Vegas (except for anything from Wolfgang Puck but that is another story).  I had a handmade veggie burger with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and a walnut pesto.  I added a little brie for good measure along with delicious cranberry mustard.  It was light yet filling, perfect after the indulgence the night before. 

Practicing for Paris, FRANCE

As all good things do, our getaway came to an end and by noon we were on the road back to Reno.  The drive home was even less eventful.  I burned through a book and four magazines.  We got pulled over Dukes of Hazard style by an over eager small town Sheriff who was every so disappointed to discover we were indeed registered, insured and that I was properly licensed.  It was a rather amusing incident as he literally deflated when I handed him my documentation, including my passport as proof of photo id along with my paper temporary license since my new license (renewed a month early this past Wednesday) will not arrive until sometime this week.  To his credit, he was polite despite the obvious disappointment and the show he put on making a U turn on a busy section of highway was actually entertaining.

Without much fanfare, we arrived home around 7 pm to a herd of happy and exhausted dogs that had obviously enjoyed their own mini vacation.  Some had gone to flyball practice, some to dock jumping practice and others played relentlessly with our teammates.  They did not miss us at all…well maybe just a little, but they were too tired and happy to show it. 

All in all it was a very fun getaway.  I enjoyed some great food and while the scale has not been particularly forgiving, I am okay with that.  That is more than half the battle.