Vegas Again

I kind of left you guys hanging on my last post many months ago, trekking through the Rocky Mountains, camper in tow, from Nebraska to Colorado. What can I say? Life gets out of hand sometimes. It’s too overwhelming to go back now & finish that trip off, then tell you about our trip to Vegas on Memorial Day weekend, and another trip back to Beatrice, Nebraska for Jay’s job interview. So I’ll just say … we went! Without incident … or at least without any incidents so traumatic that I haven’t yet recovered from them.

Jay did not get the job in Nebraska, so we stayed on with the company in Grand Junction. It’s been a bit insane. They’re a start-up, growing too quickly, expanding into new regions & new industries … in short, they’re the most unorganized bunch of people I’ve ever seen! For months Jay’s been working in a factory type shop building a new prototype piece of equipment for the oil fields and waiting for the “better” opportunities they’ve promised him from the beginning. He interviewed for and got a supervisor position for their North Dakota operations. And then they started telling us we’d be going in two weeks … always two weeks, no matter when you asked about it or how many two weeks you’d already waited to go. Talk about living your life in limbo! It’s been frustrating, never knowing where we stand or what’s going on.

But this morning I write to you from Dickinson, North Dakota. We drove up on Sunday and Jay started work Monday. He’s not here in his supervisor position, because they don’t have enough work for two supervisors yet and there’s already one here, so he’s “roughnecking” … yeah, I don’t really know what that means either. But he’s going to the fields and studying what’s going on and learning about oil. We are still in limbo, still not really knowing where we stand, but I’m hopeful once Jay gets to sit down with the owner of the company who just arrived late last night from West Virginia that we’ll get some solid answers once and for all.

Anyway, let’s go back a week or so right now … This time last week I was waking up in a hotel room in Las Vegas and getting ready to drive back to Grand Junction. We had gone to Vegas on Monday because Jay’s birthday was coming right up and we needed to register the truck. We decided to change everything over to his permanent address in Vegas to make it easier, have everything in the same state. So we drove down to Vegas last Monday and checked into Sam’s Town for a couple of days, planning to leave on Wednesday. I had looked into staying on the strip again, (we did that Memorial Day weekend) but really I’d been there, done that, and it’s not the most relaxing place to be. Plus there were no rooms available on Monday night for some reason, so I asked Jay to suggest other places and after looking at a few of their websites, we booked into Sam’s Town. I absolutely loved it! Staying off the strip was our best decision ever! If I could stay in places like this resort all the time, then I might actually like Vegas. It grew on me a lot this trip, and we never even so much as drove on the strip to get from point A to point B.

We got on the road a little later than usual Monday morning. Jay had been working all kinds of crazy hours & shifts, odd mixtures of days, afternoons and nights, and we were both played out from it, so we slept in Monday morning. It’s only a 7-8 hour drive from Grand Junction to Vegas anyway, so other than having a bunch of business we needed to complete during regular working hours, there really was no need to leave at 4 in the morning or anything too extreme. We were on the road by 10:30 and I figured that was fine. The drive through Utah is freaking long and boring after the first few times you do it. I didn’t snap any photos at all. It was such a relief to finally get to the Arizona strip & then on into Nevada. We decided to stay in a hotel the whole time this trip because Jay’s dad has been having some pretty major medical issues and we didn’t want to add the stress of having house guests to their already stressed out lives.

We got into our room around 4pm & Jay immediately started calling local insurance companies to see about switching over the truck insurance from Georgia to Nevada. Unfortunately there are only a couple of Nationwide brokers in Vegas and they were all way the hell on the other side of town, a 45 minute drive during good traffic, so all he could accomplish was finding one & getting their hours for the next day. We also couldn’t go see the folks then either because it was their dinner time and then they go to bed very early. So we had the whole evening to ourselves to just relax, which I desperately needed.

Click on any of the pictures to make them larger.

Jay in the window of our room at Sam's Town.

I absolutely loved our room! We were on the top floor, so we had the high ceilings, and we managed to upgrade to a premium suite for the same price as a regular room, which meant we overlooked the garden & waterfalls in the center of the hotel and had a coffee maker and fridge, which in the world of Vegas are not standard room features.

Our room was right over the falls.
Overlooking the garden bar & park.
Our room from the bar, it's the top bay window.
Jay sitting at the bar by the falls.
The bear turning his head to look at me sitting at the bar.
6pm waterfall show beginning, view from my seat at the bar
& again
A wolf emerges from the cave at the top of the rocks, howling during the performance, but he didn't come out this time. They actually had a sign saying the show was down for maintenance until August 2nd, so this was a trial test. We were glad they got it fixed early.
The show is co-ordinated with music they blast over the loudspeakers.
The animals (you can see an owl & eagle in this pic) are all mechanical so they move around & their feathers ruffle etc.
I didn't know if the lasers would show up in the daytime, they do, but much nicer after dark.
Mystic Falls has won a lot of awards as being a must see show in Vegas ... which is kinda hard to get from these pics 🙂
The whole thing lasts about 10 minutes.
After dark the lasers shoot all through the trees, which is kinda cool.

So we sat at the bar and had a beer for a little bit, got to catch the first Mystic Falls show. When the show’s not going on it is literally like an oasis in the desert. There are some real birds in there, flying around, chirping, but they also pipe in forest sounds and of course there is the sound of the waterfall. It’s just very relaxing and peaceful, especially considering where you are. I loved it! Immediately chilled me out … and I was in desperate need of a little chillaxing. After the show ended & we finished our drinks, we walked through the casino & Jay got his players card, then we decided to do the buffet for supper. As buffets go, this one was pretty good with soup & salad, American, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, carving & dessert stations plus a cash bar (which you don’t always get at the buffets). As you get further into the week and weekend, they feature something extra every night, like prime rib or southern BBQ. I think it cost $20 for both of us for dinner, $11 for breakfast, so the price was definitely right. We ate all our meals there except the last night when we went to the Mexican restaurant. I seriously gained 10lbs just from eating buffet! Thank goodness we didn’t stay longer or I’d have quickly outgrown all my clothes! 🙂

We were exhausted and stuffed to the gills so we went back to the room pretty early and caught the 10pm Mystic Falls show from our window.

This time the wolf emerged from his cave. You can see him in the green lights.
The show starts with him howling & then coming out, he overlooks the whole thing, then exits at the end.
Kinda hard to get good pics through the window, I wished they had of opened.
The music is muffled too in the room, so you can't really tell what song they're playing.
It is a lot prettier with the lights in the dark though.
The fountains go really high, but I found them hard to catch with the camera.
I ran out of shots before it ended, but I guess these give you an idea about it anyway.

Tuesday morning we got up around 7, enjoyed coffee in our room, watched a couple of episodes of Supernatural (kind of got addicted to that show while we stayed here, lol, as there weren’t that many channels to pick from, everything good cost a lot extra), went to the breakfast buffet and then Jay called the insurance broker and got our paperwork started while we drove out there.

Way out to hell and back to get to the insurance broker.

The guy had a lot of computer problems so the insurance thing took a lot longer than it had to & then we were off to the DMV. The broker had given us directions to one that was even further out, but probably less busy than the one we went to in Henderson the last time we were in Vegas to change over the camper. We knew we needed an inspection and they do them right at the DMV. A clerk in Henderson the last time though had told us we wouldn’t need a smog test because the truck was too light. Unfortunately she didn’t know what she was talking about. So we got to inspection and the guy told us where to go to get a diesel smog test as there are only a half dozen places that do them. We expected inspection to be a bigger deal than it was, thought they’d check the horn, lights, emergency brake, etc. but all they wanted to check was the VIN to make sure it wasn’t stolen. We found out which garage was closest to the DMV and went over there to get our smog testing. Then back to the DMV to change the truck over to Nevada plates and get Jay a Nevada drivers’ license. It was 4pm before everything was done and then we had to drive all the way back over to the other side of town in rush hour traffic. So again, we didn’t get to hook up with the folks. That’s when we decided we needed to stay another night so we could spend some time with them on Wednesday.

Luckily our room wasn’t already booked, although the price for it did go up for the last night. Still, $125 for 3 nites is pretty amazing. If you’re ever going to Vegas, plan to go during the week rather than the weekend, because all the rooms are dirt cheap then, especially on Monday & Tuesday night. Well, not ALL the rooms, lol, Caesar’s Palace is still pretty expensive 🙂

The day absolutely exhausted me, I was ready for bed by 8pm. I’m sure I was fast asleep by 8:30 with a full belly from the buffet.

Wednesday we went over to the folks house. Jay’s dad met us at the door in his robe & slippers with all kinds of tubes running out of him everywhere. I was shocked by how much he had failed since Memorial Day weekend. Linda said he lost 22 pounds in 8 days in hospital. She was extremely worried he wasn’t going to make it, which of course nobody really let on to us while it was going on. If Stan had his way, he’d just up and die without bothering anyone.

We hung around the house for a couple of hours until Stan got tired & needed to nap. He gets tired a lot now, naps a lot of the time. But when he got up I was surprised that he wanted to go out gambling. So he got dressed and then we went to a casino close to where they live. He lasted a lot longer there than I thought he would, over two hours. Jay didn’t win, but Stan cashed out $150 and gave us half. He always gives us half his winnings when we go gambling with him. And he always seems to win 🙂 though I have no idea how much he invested in order to win. It was a good visit, though brief, and Linda promised that she’ll keep us in the know about Stan’s health. We hugged goodbye in the casino parking garage and then headed back to Sam’s Town for our last night in Vegas.

Again, I was exhausted. After eating dinner at the Mexican restaurant, I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed, but Jay wanted to go gambling, so I told him to go without me while I did just that! I don’t know why I was so tired all the time. Maybe it was the 120 degree temperature, which despite what you’ve heard about the desert, now comes complete with humidity in Vegas on account of having too many lawns being watered and swimming pools everywhere. At times it felt like being back in Toronto again, in the middle of an oppressive heatwave. Maybe I was just mentally & emotionally drained from all that had been going on in Grand Junction with Jay’s work etc. and I desperately needed a break just to rest. I don’t know. I do wish I had more energy though, because for the first time ever I actually wanted to go gambling! lol Earlier we had stumbled upon a bank of machines that were old school Vegas … I’m talking quarters and change cups! I thought they were so cool, I would have loved to try them, but they were all occupied when we went by. Oh well, next time, right? Now I know where they are.

So Jay went down to the casino without me and came back about an hour later, no big win unfortunately, but he had fun. While he was gone someone pulled the fire alarm, which I didn’t even realize until he got back. I mean I heard the siren and noticed all the lights flashing in the waterfall park, but … I dunno, I guess I was just too zonked to realize what was going on or something. Luckily, it wasn’t a real fire, just some drunk dumbass.

Thursday morning we got up, had coffee, & checked out. I tweeted with Stacy to look for us on the Mystic Falls webcam in the next 15-20 minutes, but somehow she didn’t get to see us (which would’ve been cool) so now we’re thinking that “live” webcam may not be so live after all. On the drive home we met up with Jay’s step-brother Allan in the parking lot of the Virgin River casino right on the Nevada/ Arizona border for a few minutes, as he was also travelling that day and we passing each other on the highway. So that was nice for Jay, as he hasn’t seen him since his step-dad’s funeral a couple of years ago.

We arrived back in Grand Junction around 5:30 and stopped at the shop first so Jay could see what was going on as far as work was concerned, got home in the camper around 6:30, grabbed some dinner from QDoba, and turned in early. Friday morning Jay went in to work for 6am. He called me around 4pm to tell me we were moving to North Dakota in the morning. I was like, holy crap! We just got home! So he made some other calls, did some negotiating, and managed to get us an extra day in order to get ready to leave. He was supposed to have Saturday off so we could get our stuff in order, but ended up getting called in to work for four hours that afternoon. I was up until 1am Saturday night getting stuff ready, slept for two hours, then up at 3am Sunday morning in an effort to get on the road early. We got off just before 5am. It’s about a 14 hour drive. And I’ll tell you all about it soon, I promise. But for now, I’ll leave you with some more shots from our latest Vegas excursion.

View from a large balcony on the 3rd floor, overlooking the Mystic Falls park.
x3 though looking almost straight down, i am apparently not as scared of heights as i used to be 🙂
Though I did get a little vertigo looking up at the elevators from the balcony.
Deer in the park.
The eagle up close.
Close up of the big bear for Stacy.
Mountain lion.
Standing on the bridge in front of the waterfalls looking back at the Ram's bar & elevators.
Jay in front of the falls.
The rams on the bar roof.
Owl roosting on a tree stump by the bar.
The beaver was my favourite, constantly busy building his dam.
Took a few shots in Utah on the drive home because I thought the sky was just so amazing.
Somewhere in Utah.
Almost home.
Still Utah, but mountains in distance mean almost Colorado.

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