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:: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 ::

Day Five:


My was still not feeling great the next morning, and once again Dean and I had breakfast at Calico’s next door, this time scrambled eggs with corned beef hash and home fries.

We were in relaxed mode, and didn’t kick out of town until 10:30 or so, and headed out Route 66 for Oatman, an old one horse town that usually has a herd of burros that come down the street every day looking for carrot handouts.

On the way we stopped at a roadside gift shop looking at jewelry and gifts…I had my eye on a turquoise ring, but it was a little bit large so I opted to wait. The woman running the shop had been there 30 years and was originally from Rhode Island.

At Oatman we searched again for jewelry, looked at t-shirts and leather belts, and Dean bought a very good quality straw cowboy hat with a Montana peak (low in front, high in back). I was also searching for coffee. After we found that they had been waiting for over an hour for the burros, and none had arrived yet, I bought my coffee, and missed my chance to go into the old hotel that Clark Gable hid out with his girlfriend at, due to no food or drink being allowed inside. It’s funny, because that was my first assumption with stores, but up until that point in Arizona it had never been a problem…but because the hotel was also a restaurant, I guess that would be understandable.

We later got some tacos and corona’s at the local eatery, and the girls got ice creams as we headed back to our car, and back the way we came on Route 66, (I guess I truly did get my kicks!) past the gift shop without stopping, and back to Kingman, where we took another route that would meander back to Payson and home. We got to see some great back country, with cattle and horses loose here and there. At about nightfall we came into Prescott, an old mining town, with history dating back to 1580, and an old main street that had buildings from the late 1800’s. We stopped into a bar called “ “ that was there since 1877 with the original bar and tin ceiling, and I slammed my way through the double doors as we made our way to our seats. We got a kick out of the place, strewn with memorabilia, and I ordered a local home brew red ale and a whiskey that was the same kind Jesse James drank (apparently). Both were very good. I ordered a rib eye, that was completely underwhelming, and My and Charla’s Ceasar salad had completely the wrong dressing. Dean’s fried catfish was pretty good, but the food left a lot to be desired and we left grumbly. We did, however, avail ourselves of the bathrooms and check out the rest of the rooms architecture, memorabilia, and multitude of old photos.

We continued down the street to walk through an old hotel, and see into many nice looking shops, all unfortunately closed, which seemed ill planned for tourist season on a Saturday night at 7:30 pm.

We walked around the large town square and stopped in front of the town hall which had statues, and a time line that was impressed into the pavement.

We were soon heading out of town, back to Payson, stomachs grumbling, for the two-plus hour return trip.

Day four Pics

:: David 3/21/2007 04:20:00 PM [+] ::
Day Four: Vegas!


Friday morning we got a slow start as Mylisa wasn’t feeling well. Dean and I got breakfast next door at Calico’s, and then My and he went to the local Health Food Store for some yogurt and other health items. We got a late start for Las Vegas at around 10:15.

We saw many terrain changes as we headed west, until we finally reached the Hoover Dam. We had to run through a checkpoint that was manned by at least 5 state troopers, a few miles before it. It is undergoing major construction to create a new road that will bypass driving over the dam…a concern since 9-11. It was quite a site to see even though the water level was low. We approached from on high down a winding road, and left it the same way. We stopped at a few scenic overlooks for viewing purposes.

Before long we could see a sprawling megalopolis in the valley below us…Sin City. We struggled over directions, but soon found Las Vegas Boulevard….”The Strip” and drove up past the opulescent casinos and theme restaurants to almost the top of the strip at Treasure Island. There we parked in their garage (most are free) and walked into the casino to avail ourselves of the restrooms, and Starbucks coffee. As we rounded the next corner into the casino proper, I had to visit the 25 cent slot machines. I think I dropped $2 and walked away with a ticket for $2.25. It wasn’t long before that was gone, however.

We continued through the casino outside past the bridge over a small water area with pirate ships for the show we wanted to see in the evening (if we, and especially Mylisa could make it that long). It was now noon, and we headed down the street, taking pictures, and wandering in and out of a few casinos. We went into the Bellagio, which had an amazing blown glass flower ceiling in the lobby, and a room filled with flowers and oriental items to include a huge statue of a warrior and a pagoda about 25 feet tall. It was for the year of the Dragon.

At some point we split up after I was doing a bit more slot machines at Paris Paris, where I finally got my free scotch, and played $7 for about 45 minutes. The inside was very interesting with a painted ceiling to look like the sky, and buildings that were like those in France that reached to the top. My and I went on through town, past the shops, into Harrah’s and saw a theme band playing disco, dressed much like Motor Booty Affair in Maine.

We continued looking for CSI hats for Jill, and communicated on the phone with Charla, to check prices and locations of the “original” CSI shop. They wound up being right there and got the hats for us, so we continued on to Madame Toussauds, which we decided not to do at $24 each. So we plowed through the shops at the Venetian and waited for Charla and Dean to catch up with us so we could peruse dining options.

We started out by checking the menu on an Asian restaurant right there in the Venetian on the second floor called TAO. They had a very interesting, and only moderately expensive menu. We continued down through the casino, checking prices, and opted to cross the street back to Treasure Island where we were parked and wanted to see the nighttime pirate ship show.

We checked the restaurants there on the first level, ending with Kahunavillage, which was touted as a “fun” restaurant, but as we were looking at the menu a booming voice came over their loudspeaker, trying to entice everyone into shouting and chiming in. We all found that to be way too annoying to be enjoyable, so we returned to the first restaurant we had checked out there…a Mexican-style eatery called “Isla” which won the 2006 Epicurian Magazine award for best Mexican restaurant.

I started with a martini drink that consisted of Absolut Citron, and cucumber (liquer?) with a few floating cucumber bits and a chili pepper. A very nice drink…the cucumber had more flavor than I thought and it was lightly sweet without being overpowering. The waitress brought out chips and dips on a multi-tiered holder, three dips on the top were fresh with cilantro, chipotle salsa, and a fresh green salsa. All very good. I ordered the Prawns Maya which had a spicy sauce, maybe peanut? With a dark paste underneath, perhaps pumpkin seed sauce, and a fried cheese pancake in the center, surrounded by five or six medium-large grilled prawns. The taste was exquisite. Dean had 3 tacos, and Charla a fish tostada, and My the chicken mole with fried bananas. All the meals were delicious.

After dinner Dean decided to go back to the garage and check on the dog, while we did some last minute slots, and then went to check on the show. The outside exit was roped off, and when we asked the doorman, he asked us if we were with the hotel, as the show had already started. My explained how we were from out of town and only there for another hour, and he whined “you guys drive a hard bargain” and gave My a ticket, and let the three of us out onto the bridge which was cordoned off into sections, and the show had already begun. They hustled us into the VIP section, and I quickly whipped out the video camera.

The all girl pirates were on our closest side, singing and dancing about not being shot at and taken over by the men pirates who were on our other side. A feud soon ensued, with the men taking first shots from their canons, and we watched water spray up and explosions going off on the girls boat. The girls fired back and knocked over the mens cukoos nest, and when the men shot back the girls boat was hit with a multitude of hot fire explosions that would’ve threatened to singe my hair (if I had any, that is). Anyway, more singing and dancing continued, the guys swam over to the girls boat and did a little ‘all wet’ dance, etc. etc….but it was very fun to watch.

We did a little shopping in the Treasure Island themed store after the show after catching up with Dean in the casino having missed the entire show, and headed to the car and out of town, taking in one last glimpse of the strip’s light show.

We stopped our car at the Hoover Dam again on the way back to Kingman to see it under the lights.

Pics from Vegas

:: David 3/21/2007 04:17:00 PM [+] ::
Day Three:


The next day started fairly early, and began with a shower and a quick breakfast of coffee and turkey sausage, and I had my leftover biscuit. We packed up for our next trip, and loaded our clothes into one suitcase that Dean tied to the roof rack. A little behind the 8 ball, we finally started off at around 9:15 for the Grand Canyon.

We made a stop at mile marker 299 as we were headed higher into the mountains to walk the dog on a little road through the woods. There was a bit of snow on the road so we tried to walk on the side by the trees where it was pine needles and pine cones and rocks. Oh yeah, and Elk poop. We started looking at rocks for pretty rocks and then after Dean’s mention looking for fossils. That piqued my interest, so I started looking at every rock I could find. We found a few interesting looking rocks, and…..what do you know, I found a fossil of a shell in a grey rock! And later on the way back another, teenie one.

We continued up the road, and stopped in Flagstaff at a Sushi Bar. I, once again, opted for the combination platter…sushi combination, with tuna, albacore, salmon, whitefish, red snapper and egg cake, with a little dessert egg over rice dish. I started with miso soup, and a Saporro beer, and tasted one of Dean’s Cactus (which was jalapeno, spiced tuna, and tobiko) and a piece of the Rainbow Roll, which had eel and avocado, as well as some of My’s seaweed salad. The food was melt-in-your-mouth-to-die-for good. The couple next to me even offered up one of their muscles which was baked with a brown sauce and some kind of egg topping.

After lunch we hobbled over to the Safeway to search out some shaving cream for me and some Starbucks capuccino.

The trek continued on towards the big hole in the ground, and we eventually had to take a break at a gift shop in Valle.

We continued on to the Grand Canyon, with stops at the Tovar Hotel and the Kolb Studio.

We stopped to see the burros that trek into the canyon on the way out, and ended our day by tracking on Route 66 to Seligman, and the RoadKill Cafe.

Pics from Day Three

:: David 3/21/2007 04:16:00 PM [+] ::

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