Skiing in Las Vegas!

When we planned this trip, we knew it was going to be a full week in Vegas. And honestly most people don't want to stay in Vegas for more than a few nights. I think it's either because they don't want to lose too much money, or you may just get sick of the gambling and non-stop party.

Because we were there for an entire week, we had to do other things with our time there, and what better to do than find a place to Ski! We've gotten so many comments that people didn't think it snowed at the Grand Canyon, and I have a feeling most people will be even more surprised that there is a Las Vegas Ski Resort! Yes, Vegas is in the desert, but where there are valleys there are also peaks and you are surrounded by them in Vegas!

Kara was the one the initially research and found the Las Vegas Ski Resort! She had never been skiing and thought, "why not experience it in Vegas!" It was just Kara, Kevin, Paul and myself for this trip... we got up, dressed and ready and were headed out to do a half day on the slopes. It was only about 45 minutes or so outside the main strip of Vegas, so it was a pretty easy ride. I was amazed as we were driving through the desert how the elevation started to change. We went from dry and warmer climates to cold and snowy in no time!

When we arrived, the place was pretty packed... there were a lot of snowboarders too! Kara, Kevin and I signed up for a lesson, and had stayed on the bunny slope for most of our time there. Paul got all of us started prior to our class, but once our class started he was off to the crazy fun slopes!

The class was good, Kara and I had taken a couple falls, but nothing awful. I definitely think we learned a lot in our lesson (although it was longer than any of us expected). Kevin decided before they stopped the lifts that he wanted to try one of the more challenging slopes, and said it was a lot harder up there! He said that neither Kara or I would have been happy... haha.

It was a fun day! Check out some of the pics... who would have thought you could ski in Vegas!?

After hours of Skiing and no real lunch, we were ready for some beer! The lodge was open for an hour or so after the slopes shut down and we had a blast filling up on beer and talking with some of the instructors and locals.

What a fun day!

An Evening True to Vegas

We got back to Vegas in the afternoon, after a very long night on I-40. When we got back, we decided to stop at a discount tickets place to buy tickets to a show. While we all would have loved to have gone to a Circ show, the ones we would have been willing to splurge on were sold out. So, the consensus was to get tickets to X Burlesque at the Flamingo. It seemed like a "Vegas" thing to do!

From there we headed back to the room to regroup before our night out! The plan was to get the classic pics in front of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign"...

...hit up the BEST buffet at the Bellagio of course! We got some more awesome pictures in the garden, but didn't think anyone would be interested in pictures of us pigging out!

Roll out of the Bellagio dinner buffet uncomfortably stuffed, stop for a glimpse of the famous Bellagio fountain before we head over to the Flamingo to check out the REAL flamingos in their garden and see an awesome Vegas show!

Unfortunately for you, there are no pics from the show (not allowed!), but you can check out the website and maybe just go next time you're in Vegas! For a burlesque show, it was pretty good! The guys enjoyed it, that's for sure!

We were absolutely beat after the show, and with a big day ahead of us and a long evening and day prior, we all decided it would be best to head back to the room! But we couldn't go back before we watched a full show of the Bellagio Fountain!

It was absolutely mesmerizing! I kind of wanted to save this video for the end of my Vegas series because of the song that played to the fountain, but decided to keep it real!

I hope you enjoy our video as much as we enjoyed it in person! Like Kara said before and during the trip, "I could watch that fountain every day of the trip!"


If I had only seen it earlier in our trip... I would have been there every evening! So AWESOME!

I-40 West Arizona, Snow Storm: Snugglin Up in the Mini Van

We were on cloud nine after being able to experience the Grand Canyon in it's cool blue mood! Leaving the park, the snow seemed to have lightened up and we were ready to coast back to Vegas. We stopped at the first gas station outside the park (that was still open) to fill up with gas, and I couldn't resist checking out some of the beautiful indian jewelry being sold inside. We browsed for a bit and then hit the road.

Paul took the second leg of the drive since Kevin drove on the way out, and ironically as we were leaving, the snow started to fall again! It actually started to come down so hard it was kind of like Star Trek's Warp Drive, moving in warp speed the way the snow was flying at us. The snow was sticking and the ground was getting soft and slippery.

We drove about a 100 miles through the snow and it was coming down hard when we started to come up on traffic. It wasn't too bad, we had completed about a third of the trip back, but no one wants to hit traffic! After rolling on and off for a little while, traffic came to a DEAD STOP! We had limited cell coverage, but of the six of us in our Dodge Caravan, the two iPhones had the best signal! ;) hehehe

We called 511 without much luck on what all was going on, and actually stepped out a couple times to talk to some of the truck drivers (cause they have the CV radios), to see if they had any information.

So apparently there was a wreck with multiple tracker trailers (one including explosives) that were blocking us from getting through. It was around 8pm by this time, and we had a long drive ahead of us. We were checking news sites online, and calling the department of transportation to see when we might be able to move. It was at least another hour or so before they told us the road was closed without any definitive open time.

We had a feeling it was going to be a LONG night! It was time to snuggle up! We were stopped in the middle of the road, engine off waiting. Paul, Kevin and I played Monopoly on my phone until the battery started to die, it seemed to be a good way to pass the time (monopoly is the never ended game, and we ironically didn't finish it before we got back to Vegas!). We had no information about when we might move, but felt it was necessary to stay up just in case a miracle happened! Paul and I were in the front, so we took turns starting and stopping the engine to heat everyone in the car every so often. With no indication that we would be getting back to Vegas any time soon, we all gave in and slept on and off through the night.

Night fell and morning came with a snowy mountain-scape and wall of trucks! We were all getting hungry although we had packed plenty of water, snacks (chips) as well as alcoholic beverages that helped pass the time! The on-board ac-dc converter would not power the blender, but snow worked well for my skinny girl margaritas! Elaine and John wanted more to eat, so they traded a pack of cigarettes with a truck driver for some fajitas, rice, and some beef and gravy! MMMMM YUM! haha People were wandering around to just get out of their cars and trucks after being cooped up all night, some were even making snow men! You gotta make the most out of such a crappy situation right??

After a while, the police drove by checking to make sure everyone had enough water, but ironically did not have any news about when we would be able to start moving. Another hour or two had passed that morning, and finally we heard over the speaker of a police car that movement would begin and we were all to return to our vehicles! We were finally moving!

We could not believe that this had happened, getting stuck on I-40 for over 16 hours!!! What are the odds... you'd think we would have a better chance of winning in Vegas than that happening right?? Obviously not! It was a once in a lifetime experience that I hope will only happen once in my lifetime!

The Beautiful Grand Canyon in Blue

On day four of our trip, it was time to make the 3.5 to 4 hour drive from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where you can view the canyon from the overlooks in the national park. We got up early in an effort to be sure we got there in enough time to catch the awesome views before sunset. Kara prepared and packed up snacks, we had bottled water , and some additional beverages just in case! ;)

Kevin was sweet enough to drive on the way out, so the rest of us were able to nap, take pictures and play on the computer. It was definitely a long ride, and I don't think it helped that we stopped a lot, but it's worth it to see the canyon in person!

As we arrived to the entrance of the park, snow started falling. The forecast had a 30% chance of precipitation, so we weren't surprised. We found our way to the new visitor center (another amenity that wasn't there the last time Kara had been), and were able to watch a video about the Canyon and how it came to be. It's really an amazing thing to watch and learn about. Following the video, we walked the path to the overlook, and with all the snow, it was ironically very difficult to see the canyon in it's entirety. We got a lot of pictures and although there wasn't full visibility, it was still and amazing sight!

We hadn't eaten for a while and the snow was still coming down, so we decided to check out one of the lodges in the park. Looking at the map and driving around, I was so surprised at how many people live and work there and what all they actually have accessible within the park! There is a grocery store, various restaurants and eateries, a bank and a post office. There is also a school and lots of housing for employees. It was kind of like visiting a small town in the middle of nowhere. Our friends Elaine and John talked to one of the staff members, and he said there isn't really anything within less than an hour and a half to two-hour of the park as far as activities and entertainment go. Seems crazy coming from suburbia and the city!

We went to Maswik Lodge where they had a food court with various food options. You could even buy beer there, nice huh?! The Lodge had a gift shop and there was also a front desk reservation area if you are a guest. Lunch was tasty... better than fast food, but no fine dining. They have some restaurants that are more fine dining, but we were keeping it  simple.

The snow seemed to be coming down even harder after we ate! We were kind of hoping it would slow down, but as we were checking out the gift shop, we noticed it getting worse! Our initial instinct was to get in the car and hit the road, but it started to slow down and we had driven so far to get there, we decided to get out another overlook. We stopped by where they have canyon side cabins (they were so cool) with an awesome view of the canyon. Kara said she had looked into them just in case we wanted to stay in the park for a night, but they were all booked! But as we were walking along the path, we were able to catch some blue sky and were actually able to see the fog lift out of the canyon. Seeing all the way down and across the canyon was absolutely amazing and it seemed like it was fate cause we weren't going to stop, but we were absolutely glad we did!

Paul actually convinced us that we should stop back by the original overlook (by the visitor center) because as the fog started to lift, he was sure he could get some breathtaking shots of the canyon. It was getting dark, but he had his tripod and we walked back out through the trail to the original spot, he set up and you would not believe what he got! Check these beautiful photos out!

I couldn't be happier with the outcome because not only did I get to see the Grand Canyon, I got to see it in a way that many people don't! In BLUE.... When we had first gotten there, Kara and Kevin actually overheard another couple talking and one of them had said he had been to the canyon many times and it was the first time he had ever seen it in these colors. Now see them in HDR!

I know one day Paul and I will go back there... we may even go back with Kara and Kevin who were talking about doing a two-week camping/rafting adventure through the canyon, but I have a feeling that I will never again see it in that light! Absolutely amazing...

Photography by Paul Perdue

Valentine's was Quite a Ride!

Our Valentine's Day only began with the visit to the Neon Museum, and the rest of the day was super fun! I honestly can't believe how much we actually fit into the day.

When we left the sign museum we decided to head out toward Red Rock Canyon Resort where we had heard about an awesome Mexican restaurant that had some great happy hour specials. Unfortunately with it being Valentine's Day, Happy Hour wasn't what we had hoped and we changed plans and went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse. I was actually surprised by the extensive menu and had trouble deciding what I wanted, they had everything from sandwiches, to pasta and pizza. They had some very nice beer options, and even had gluten-free meal, beer, and desert options!

After leaving BJ's we thought it would be nice to check out Red Rock Canyon. Unfortunately the park area was closed, but Paul was able to get a pretty nice shot from the road! That's definitely another spot I'd like to check out in more depth if and when we got back again.

Now it was back to Vegas we go! This was probably the most fun evening of our entire trip! We headed to the MGM Grand first, and found ourselves a Fat Tuesday's on the way into the Casino! We wanted to see the MGM Lion Habitat, but were disappointed to find that they had closed it a couple weeks prior. The Lions have been retired to a ranch outside of Vegas. Oh well, now onto New York New York! We took Molly's recommendation and rode the roller coaster in New York New York! It was pretty awesome!

After we left New York New York, we headed over to Ex Calibur where we met John and Elaine. Apparently they were pretty successful on the New York New York slots, so they were feeling good! And decided to get a pic with Sponge Bob... I bet Matthew will love to see that one!

We then decided to stop over at the Tropicana, and I was amazed by how nice this hotel was! It was very bright and clean, and I liked that. Of course, it did seem to attract the "Senior" crowd so we didn't stay long, but did get some cool pics on their bamboo wall! Look at these beautiful ladies!

By this time, it felt like we were just getting started, and it became a night of rides cause we headed over to the Stratosphere to hop on some rides there! I was surprised how nice the Stratosphere is considering it is an older hotel!

We all went to the top observation and John, Kara and I were all going to just hang out while Elaine, Kevin and Paul rode some rides. We got some cool videos of the experience. After it was said and done, I gave in and decided to ride the Big Shot Ride, and it was AWESOME! I can only somewhat compare it to Archophobia at Six Flags, but even crazier cause you are on top of a very tall building to start and then go up even higher! And it's crazy cause once you start to go up higher, you no longer see the building around you but just the city skyline around you! Insane!

That was me playing with a BIG slot machine! Too funny...

The night was starting to wind down a little, but was still not over cause after all those Fat Tuesday drinks and the excitement of the rides, we were ready for some food!!! We headed back to the mini van, had an exciting ride through the parking garage, and then headed to Peppermill for some huge meals! Luckily it's a 24 hour diner cause I think we hit it up around 2am and got some big breakfast meals and hearty sandwiches... I think every one of us had a doggy bag, and were ready to head back to the room to sleep off all that food!

Valentine's Date at the Neon Museum, Las Vegas

I'm doing double duty posting as many as I can about our trip to Vegas! I've got another handful of posts, and want to get caught up soon!

So on Valentine's Day we had a date at the Neon Museum or "Bone Yard." It was a very cool experience to say the least! The museum is in development and has not been around for very long, but in an effort to preserve the true art of the Vegas signs, they have begun a collection, and built a park and are in the process of developing a visitor center.

Right now you have to make advance reservations on their website to get a tour. The tour is with a guide and they are very informative and take much care in making sure everyone is safe (around the broken glass and rusted metal) and following the rules of the museum. We learned a lot about the various designers, font types used over the years and what the different shapes and colors signify. They even offer private photo shoot reservations for special events like wedding shoots and they even had a music video by the Killers filmed on site!

It is quite a sight, check out some of our pictures (Paul did HDR's of most of these), and in all honestly while the pics are amazing, it's is so awesome to see in person! You should check it out next time you're in Vegas and support the preservation of all of this awesome work from the past! It's well worth the donation!

Hope you enjoyed and stay tuned as there is a lot more to come from our trip!!!

The Amazing Hoover Dam and Surrounding Landscape

On our second full day in Vegas we were pretty ambitious planning to take a trip to both Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Ironically our timing wasn't quite right and with the hour lost going into Arizona, we quickly realized this day would be a Hoover Dam day...

But in either case, it was a pretty awesome sight! The Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge provides a great view of the dam. As you walk up the walkway on your way to the bridge, there is all kind of information about the dam and the bridge. It was pretty cool. We of course stopped and got a picture of the state line.

The bridge we were on spanned 1900 feet and was made of 30,000 cubic yards of concrete and 16,000,000 pounds of steel! Kara had been to the dam years ago and they were just starting to build it and it was just finished a couple of years ago. It was awesome to see it from this perspective. Standing on the bridge, we were 880 feet above the river.

Leaving the bridge we took the scenic route on our way to the Grand Canyon and got a better glympse of the workings of the dam as well as Lake Mead.

On our way to the Grand Canyon, we stopped at this gas station and were convinced by the locals that it wasn't the best idea to head that direction. So it wasn't long before we turned around to head back to Vegas. I was a little disappointed, but we were going to make it to the Grand Canyon this trip, so it was all good!

As we were headed back, we saw an overlook that is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and had to stop to get a look at the amazing views.

After our little climbing adventure we hopped back in our SEXY Dodge Caravan and hit the road! Hoover Dam... "check!"

Fremont Experience Las Vegas: Supporting a Local Artist

We are back from Vegas now and have tons of pictures and videos to share, I guess that is the name of the game! You go on vacation and when you get back you are playing catch-up with everything from work to personal. So bear with me as I do plan to share everything we did!
I guess we were a bit ambitious thinking we could post stuff daily as we had something going on EVERY day of the trip, and when we got back to the room we crashed only to wake up bright and early to start our next little adventure.
While we were experiencing Fremont Street (in old Vegas), we encountered some awesome artists, from musicians to contortionists to impersonators, but we were most impressed with the work of Mike Fletcher with Visual Art Images.
Mike is a spray paint artist and after talking with him a bit, he let us know his specialty is landscapes. We were so impressed with work that we couldn't leave without capturing him at work as well as purchasing an awesome landscape view of Vegas including the Bellagio and fountain, Luxor, Stratosphere and more! It was amazing how he created this piece of art with spray paint, the occasional stencil, and a putty knife! Absolutely amazing! And as part of the job, all art has to be completed within ten minutes!
Check out these pics and videos! It was awesome!
The above video we caught mid-painting, but as he started we had no idea what the final result would be and it was totally awesome!
He did a Bob Marley one for our friends... Caught that full show.
And then an underwater scene which was also pretty incredible!

We of course purchased the Vegas Landscape as I was just so impressed with that one!

Our Fremont Street Experience!

After a lot of gambling we decided it was time to experience Old Vegas and the" Fremont Street Experience." It was definitely a different side of town, but still full of lights and fun! They say this is where more of the locals go for gambling, and it definitely had that local feel in the casinos.

It was pretty awesome walking through the street covered in lights with the HUGE LCD (the largest LCD screen in the US)! There was plenty to see from the unique casino signs to the street performers. We were most entertained or in awww of the spray painter that we even bought a picture.

Stay tuned for a later post about the street artist as he was AWESOME!

Vegas Miracle Mile and Bellagio Fun!

Our first full day on the town, we checked out the Miracle Mile shops and the Bellagio. We started with lunch at Cabo Wabo, where Kara and I got ourselves some nice 32 oz. cups full of Pina Colada and Margaritas! It was super tasty!

We toured around the shops, had a few drinks here and there. Found a great option for drink refills that was less than half the price of most places, and Kevin got himself a beer  at Sin City Brewing Company.

The coolest thing at Miracle Mile was the Rain storm! It literally rains in the middle of the mall every 30 minutes or so, starting with some thunder crashing and then some lightening and then the rain comes! It was pretty cool to see... essentially a glorified sprinkler system, but none the less it was pretty awesome!

From there we headed over to the Bellagio to check out the Garden, and awesome lobby with the Chihuly ceiling.

The gardens were amazing with the colorful dragons, and beautiful floral designs throughout. It was an extraordinary sight! And of course the Chihuly ceiling, and iconic horse were a site to see, and true to form of what you always see in the movies! So gorgeous!

We moved on to gambling and clearly fell into the syndrome of the casino, as we were there for a good five hours straight and totally did not feel the time pass one bit!