Sunday found us at a Starbucks early (or so I thought) where we sat outside and had my latté, apple fritter, and the Sunday NY Times. I found a great-sounding dog park so that was our next stop, before going down to “The Strip.” Temperature was in the low 70s – altogether too pleasant for these two rain-hardened travelers!! Just kidding. We LOVED it.
I was really surprised when we got to Sunset Park – it was HUGE, a splendid oasis in the desert that is Vegas (meaning the Strip and all the glitz and glam, in addition to the physical desert outside the city bounds). A park like any other nice city park, with lots of grass and trees, several ball fields, a swimming pool, kids’ playground, and lots of walking paths. I was having trouble finding the fenced dog park, so stopped and asked a couple walking their two golden retrievers. They gave me directions, and also told me about a new park not far away that they had heard was really good.
We headed for the new park, and found it to be clean, well maintained, and filled with friendly dogs of all shapes and sizes. I even let Max out of the car off-leash in the parking area because I knew the only place he’d run to was the gate IN. This was one of the nicest parks we’ve encountered, with a fine gravel base, some grass, cool boulders to climb on, and some concrete “tunnels” to go through. Biggest plus? NO MUD!
There was a sweet 3-month-old brindle boxer who had a crush on Max. She kept following him around, sniffing at his face while he sat waiting for the ball to be thrown. Max? He was totally oblivious to his little fan… It’s all about the ball for him!
Oh yeah, there’s also shaded picnic tables and benches, and lots of water. Max was pretty worn out after an hour of running with the dogs, chasing tennis balls, and generally letting off steam. So, when I enticed him to the water bowl for one last slurp and slipped on his leash, he was quite willing to be led out of the park to our car.
So, off to The Strip we went, arriving to about the same amount of traffic we encountered the night before.
This time, the sun was shining and the lights were not. We drove one way looking for parking, then the other. Finally figured out that you “self-park” in any of the big hotel garages, and meander around.
We went into the Mirage to check out any special packages they might have of a room and show, but alas it was NO DOGS ALLOWED… This information was dispensed at the check-in desk AFTER we had walked through the shopping, restaurant area, and the slots to get to the lobby – with not one challenge to his right to be there!
I met a woman Saturday at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley who said she was admiring my dog and my car! She told me about the Mirage, saying she walked in off the street and got a deal on a room and the Cirque de Soleil LOVE show (Beatles). Unfortunately, I tried and failed…
Vegas in the daytime is like any other tourist trap. Lots of people walking the streets, lots of slow-moving traffic, many ways to waste your money and time. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t drop a single quarter in a slot machine – or anywhere else for that matter – while in Vegas. Max wasn’t welcome in the casinos, and I wasn’t about to leave him in the car so I could blow some dough.
So, we walked around the strip a little – I think he might have been the only dog on the street in Vegas on Saturday! He got lots of smiles, compliments, and pats, all the while being his usual regal self. I found that we could sit at the outdoor patio at Caesar’s La Salsa and have lunch, which we did.
We were seated right next to their version of the Trevi Fountain (I had a better, unobstructed view of it than I did in ROME three years ago!) Max had a good time hoping that the mallards in the fountain would come his way, while I enjoyed a Margarita and excellent fresh guacamole and chips.
Did you know that in Vegas you can buy an alcoholic drink and walk around the street with it? My waitress offered that it was two for one Margaritas and I could “take it with you,” so I did – and put it in the cooler to have last night with dinner!
We were on the road for Kingman, Arizona by around 3 PM – and I was happy to say Adios to Vegas. It’s really a nighttime kind of place, and we didn’t go out and walk the strip the night we arrived. I wasn’t willing to pay the price for another night just so I could walk around the circus of it all.
Kingman should have been a two-hour drive, but traffic was horrendously backed up on Highway 93 towards the Hoover Dam. We spent over 45 minutes traveling just eleven miles, before things improved. Then, being the smartass that I am, I ignored the Exit 2 sign for Hoover Dam, thinking it was for the Visitor Center. Next thing I knew, we were driving over a huge, high bridge ABOVE the dam (which couldn’t be seen because of the high concrete sides of the bridge). And then, we were in Arizona…
Imagine the cursing under the breath (me, not Max). Imagine even more cursing after turning around at the first Arizona exit and backtracking two miles – once again in heavy, inching-along traffic.
By the time we actually got to Hoover Dam, we could have been almost to Kingman! But. Who in their right mind, after traveling over 10,000 miles around the US, would bypass that iconic symbol of American engineering?? Not this chauffeur and her dog.
Highway 93 no longer makes its way across Hoover Dam into Arizona. That Exit 2 sign was where I should have turned to get to the dam. The big new bridge spans the river below the dam, taking 93 across and into Arizona. The Dam was built between 1931 and 1935, and is a beautiful piece of architecture in addition to holding back the waters of Lake Mead.
It seems to be more of a tourist destination now than maybe when it was the direct route across the Colorado River. There’s a museum, gift shop and restaurant, and lots of parking for cars and busses. And on Sunday, it felt like everybody and their brother had decided to go out to the Dam!
By 5:30, we were back on the road to Kingman, arriving at our Motel 6 around 7:30 local time. Max and I were (un)lucky enough to decide to head into Mountain Time the day after springing ahead one hour in California. So, in two days, we lost two hours!