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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 14: Las Vegas, NV(Leg: 0, Trip: 1,292.3)

See if you can guess where this was taken - it is the site for a current TV show - answer at end of this blog post.

Last night we "cruised the strip" which took quite a bit of time. As you can imagine, on a Saturday evening, the strip comes alive. There were hordes of people out on the sidewalks. I suspect many were just taking in the experience or coming out after dark to avoid the heat during the day. Carol took many pictures out her window and through the sun roof of the car, so you can see them all on her blog.

On our way back into the RV park, the guard noticed that we had a headlight burned out. I located the nearest auto parts store on the Internet (did I say earlier how great it is to have good WiFi???). First thing this morning after breakfast, I went up and got the bulb for about $7. They had the more expensive halogen types ($20 on up) and of course, tried to sell me on those. Even tried to say that since one burned out, the other was about to go too. Didn't fall for that line and bought the direct replacement. Came back to the RV site and in about 15 minutes had it all installed and ready to go.

Then we decided to go to the strip before lunch and before it got too hot and check out a few of the hotels. We found good parking at the Mandalay Bay and as it was Sunday morning, it wasn't very crowded yet. Maybe the gamblers were all in church atoning for their sins of the night before. (Not!)

The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

This hotel is very confusing from both the outside and inside. They really don't cater to walk-up traffic and the internal layout is very confusing. Signage isn't the greatest and their posted maps really are hard to decipher. We never did find our way back to the actual resort activities. There is a Four Seasons hotel, apparently adjacent to the Mandalay Bay and it was confusing which way to go.

Large waterfall outside the Mandalay Bay - one of several

There are waterfalls on both sides of the walkways and they really pump a lot of water through them. I would not want their electric bill for the pumps. (Then again, maybe last night's big losers are allowed to go into the basement and man the pedal pumps to keep it going!)

Another water feature outside the Mandalay Bay
The next hotel we visited was the Luxor with an Egyptian theme. They do cater to walkups and have a nice path direct to the street sidewalk for us "tourists" who are too cheap to take a cab. (and need the exercise anyway!)
Outside the Luxor with tram track in foreground
As you walk along the large pyramid which is the signature for this hotel, the grounds in front are exceptionally well maintained with pretty flowers. Unfortunately, we could not take pictures inside to show the inside of the pyramid. But all the way up the slanting walls inside there are the hotel rooms, and the interior then is hollow and leaves a large room for the casino.

Flowers along the front of the Luxor Pyramid

One thing we did notice inside the Luxor is that there were about 120 people (I did a quick estimate based on groups of 10) all waiting in line to get help from the registration desk. This is a great example of very poor customer service. You would think a hotel this large would never allow a line to form like this. I cannot recommend anyone go here just for that reason.

Next up along the walk was the Excalibur with a medieval castle theme. We didn't go in this hotel, but the outside was made to look like a castle, albeit one with a 40 story hotel included.

The Excalibur with it's medieval castle motif

Our last hotel for this trek was the New York, New York. It is made to resemble the skyline of the city from the outside. The skyline is complete with a model of the Statue of Liberty sitting in a reflecting pool. And no, you can't go up in this statue like you can in the real on in NY. Even the inside is made to look and feel like the Big Apple with sidewalk vendors, street decorations, etc.

The Statue of Liberty

The skyline of New York

After visiting these hotels, it really was getting hot outside and we were wearing out, so we took the free tram back to the Mandalay Bay and our car. This is not really a monorail, even though it looks like one. There actually is a monorail further north in town. But this tram is cable driven. The one we boarded really had some problems. Apparently one of the doors was acting up as it kept opening and closing the doors to the cars, each time announcing that the doors were closing and then that the car would be accelerating and to hang on. Well, it took about 10 minutes of these repetitions and finally it decided to work.

Next we went to visit The Gold and Silver Pawn shop further up on Las Vegas Blvd. This store is the scene for the hit show "Pawn Stars" on the History Channel. I really wanted to see this place. And yes, that is where the picture at the beginning of this post was taken.

The actual shop is not very big. You are allowed to take pictures of everything but the actual pawn counter. You are not allowed to take any video inside the store. It was fairly crowded with customers and gawkers (we were in the later category). I think one of the stars of the show was working behind the pawn counter but could not get close enough to hear his voice and confirm that.

The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop

Inside the store, there are many displays of items. There are many jewelry counters filled with tons of gold and silver items. There is an area for the motorcycles to be displayed, one for bicycles, and other small themed areas.

Motorcycles galore!

One of the tastefully done miscellaneous display areas

Jewelry counters in the pawn shop

We didn't stay here too long as it was crowded. But I was glad to see it and get a feel for just how big the place is.

On the way home we had lunch and then came back to the RV to cool off. A couple of the intersections have these massive traffic signal poles like the one below. They span the instersection diagonally from corner to corner and have 16 signals on them. The actual pipe going across the street is slightly larger than 3 feet in diameter and the bolts holding the risers to the ground are larger than your palm. These are some serious traffic signals!

Large 3 foot diameter traffic poles.


Kiersten said...

Did you see Chumlee? Did you try to sell Rick something? I honestly don't know which of you would win a bargaining war :) That's so awesome that you got to see it!

Raider Dave said...

Kiersten: I think Chumlee was the guy we saw working behind the counter. Carol thinks the old man was there too wearing a suit.