Archive for May, 2012

Vegas 2012 – Day 7 – Donuts & Geocaching

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

We had a fairly early start over to Ronald’s Donuts to get some breakfast. I had been hunting the internet for a local Krispy Kreme which still baked their own donuts and came across a number of people claiming these the best donuts in Vegas, so we had to try them!

It’s a little shop which you’d never stop at without knowing about it. They have an impressively large counter filled with amazing looking donuts! We came away with 6 ‘donuts’ for less than $8 and they were fab!


We took them with us to Bellagio to eat whilst we played. I had a ‘normal’ ring donut with a coconut glaze, followed by an apple fritter roll thingy. We both had an enormous cinnamon roll covered in maple icing and nuts which was crazy huge! Quite some sugar rush! They saw us through 3 hours of video poker no problem ;)

We decided it was about time we did some more geocaching and headed out of town and a little way into the desert to follow a trail down a dirt track. It was a little scary at times… The two people who started shouting at us from a distance, the tumble down house with a fairly new looking backpack balanced in the window frame, oh and the dessert animal we couldn’t identify but look kinda dog/fox like! But it was a fun game of driving a few hundred feet, jumping out the car and looking for the obvious hiding place (some not so obvious).


We returned a little dusty! Time for some silly slots and a silly drink :)


Then when my card stopped working, we went off to Sweet Tomatos for a very healthy salad based dinner :) Just what we needed after the donuts!


Then a little more video poker until I couldn’t concentrate. A bit of arguing with my card and two trips to the players club so I could finish playing my freeplay in more silly slots. And then time for bed :) Last night in a pyramid :(

Vegas 2012 – Day 6 – Shoes & Le Pamplemousse

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Bit of a slow start today as it was cold outside and we’d had a late night. We spent the morning eating pop tarts and finishing blog posts and the like. Eventually we headed off to Bellagio for some video poker.

We stopped for a trip to Pink’s Hotdogs for lunch and each tried a special. They required a knife and fork to eat and were most tasty :)


We played some more video poker and then went off in search of shoes! There’s a big Sketchers outlet here where my last pair of trainers came from. We’d both basically worn out last years purchased from excessive wear so we went back to find more. I seem to have four new pairs of shoes! Oops ;)

Then we headed back to get showered and changed before our dinner reservation. We were off to Le Pamplemousse which is a little French restaurant a bit out of the way. We had a voucher which had got us there, but actually decided to have the fixed price menu which that didn’t cover but was still a good saving :) The food was all scrumptious and the service good too. A very lovely intimate little place which I’m sure we’ll return to :) Read my review on Trip Advisor.

Here are some very dark photos of food!





Vegas 2012 – Day 5 – Incubus

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Another fairly early start, but with no hot air balloon ride to inspire us to jump out of bed we were a little slow. We eventually decided to head over to Palms for breakfast as Chris has lots of comp to use there, first buffet of the holiday :)

Then we headed over to the Bellagio to play some video poker. It took a while to find the correct machine (for those who don’t know, some machines have better pay tables than others, so you need to find the right one to get a much lower expected loss). We played for about 2 hours, clocking up tier credit points (lovely as my Pearl M Life card is, we want to get up to Gold, so we can enjoy priority parking and get more free room offers!) :)

There was a crazy vending machine…

We thought this was an awesomely huge LED sign when we walked past the first time… the second time it was displaying a Windows error message which spoilt the illusion :(

We wandered through the conservatory at the Bellagio to take some photos :)

Bellagio - Bees!

Bellagio - Balloons

Bellagio - Dwarf Sunflowers

Chris at Bellagio

Bellagio Conservatory

Plus, of course, the obligatory photo of the Bellagio ceiling:

Then back to the room to catch up on some work and blogging… at least, that was the plan, but as soon as we got there we realised it was 1pm and we were hungry for some lunch! After a little research we decided to go down to Tacos & Tequilas for some half price appetisers during their happy hour. We shared 4 starters rather than having any entrees, and they were very nice :) Then came time for confusion! The bill eventually arrived and everything was full price! We questioned it and the server vanished for a while. He returned and explained that we didn’t have the Happy Hour starters, which are smaller and have less garnish, but he had fixed the bill for us and removed one starter completely to apologise for the confusion as he’d never asked if we wanted happy hour appetisers. So wait, the half price starters aren’t really half price… they’re just cheaper alternatives! Very odd! We used some of my free comp to pay and left, having eaten well and for a very reasonable price ;)

After that we did actually return to the room to do some work, for a little while ;) Then it was off to Hard Rock for Incubus concert :) Neither of us were overly familiar with their songs, Chris knew a couple from Rock Band and I think I knew an earlier album, but regardless they were very good :) There were barriers to lean on which was convenient as we both had very sore feet!

Bought a tshirt on the way out (obviously!) and then off to find some food. On the way back to the car we noticed something odd about the new towers at the Hard Rock Hotel… you can see in the windows!

They look like the blackout windows on all the other hotels… the ones you can see out but not in… but these ones you could most certainly see in! I had to wait till there was no one obviously standing in a window so I could take that one. Must remember not to get changed in front of the window when we’re staying there later in the holiday!

What do you eat at almost midnight? Burgers delivered on skates, yay! :)

Then it was time to collapse in bed, after a little soak in the bath :)

Vegas 2012 – Day 4 – More Travelling

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

We woke up early (5am) and decided to make the most of it and headed straight back to the Grand Canyon. We wanted to try going on the red route shuttle buses to see the canyon from a different view. It’s an 80 minute round trip of you don’t get off the bus but it has a number of view points to stop at and take photos, with another bus in 15 minutes to hop back on :)

Even waiting for the first bus there was a pretty view :)

Grand Canyon

The first stop gives a lovely view of the Bright Angel trail which we had attempted yesterday. Now we could see where we got to and where the rest stop was… Glad we didn’t keep going, it was a long way still!

Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail

We walked to the next 3 stops as it wasn’t far, taking photos along the way :)

Little Tree!

Grand Canyon

Little Tree Again!

Grand Canyon


Hopi Point

At Hopi Point we hopped on the next bus and then off again at The Abyss cos it had a cool name. Chris made me sit on a rock for a photo!


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


At this point we decided we had best stay on the bus as time was ticking by faster than expected and we really wanted to get to the end.

Hermit's Rest

View at Hermit's Rest

At the ‘end’ there’s a gift shop which has some tshirts you can only get there, saying things like “I hiked to Hermits Rest” – having used the bus for most of it we didn’t feel we’d earnt one of those! We did buy a cinnamon roll each from the snack shop to stop our grumbling tummies though as we’d skipped breakfast!

We then hopped on the next bus and back to our car, via Kolb Studio so I could adopt a lion :)

We bought some more souvenirs at the hotel gift shop and then back to the room to pack up and head off. The drive was rather dull, no exciting scenery at all! The best we had was “Ooo, there’s a wind farm” but it was too far away to photograph. We did get to laugh at occasional silly road signs:

Once my phone signal improved I started researching lunch options. The only town on the way is Kingman so I asked Trip Advisor where to eat and the number one place was Redneck’s Southern Pit BBQ which was fab! You can read my review over on TA – Lunch Review

The next stretch was equally boring. There was one scenic view point:

Scenic View


Then we drove straight past the Hoover Dam without even seeing it! Apparently the new bridge doesn’t give you any view at all!

The view got more exciting once we got near Vegas and started playing spot the hotel through the haze :) Eventually we arrived at Luxor! Yay! :)

We were pleasantly surprised to discover that even at Pearl we could use the express check in line, rather than the ever growing normal line. Just one person in front of us before I did my first ever check in (everything is usually in Chris’ name!) It was very quick and easy and suddenly we were in this awesome pyramid suite for free! :) We have 3 free nights and then $112 for the last night, which is awesome since we were expecting to pay over $900 for the room!

After we’d taken some photos of the room and finished marvelling at the awesome view, we headed of to Walmart for supplies of the snackable and drinkable kinds :) This was followed by enjoying a bath with a view back in our room :)

Bath with a View

Then it was time for food. We had reservations at 9:30 but after walking across town too quickly (we were there before 9) and then realising the food we’d been eyeing up on their menu when we’d booked was basically what we had for lunch, we abandoned that plan. We walked a little slower back and stopped at Man Chu Wok for dinner in Monte Carlo. It’s fast food Chinese which was a quick easy dinner :)

Alas, when we returned to our room we called to check the hot air balloon flight time for the morning to find it was cancelled :( Time to collapse into bed and find a new way to spend tomorrow.

Vegas 2012 – Day 3 – Grand Canyon

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Today started early, but once time was lost to getting yesterday’s blog post finished, it was already about half 8 when we left the hotel. We headed to Wendy’s for some breakfast which I forgot to photograph as I was too hungry! I had the sausage biscuit (scone for the English!) which had egg and cheese in it too :) It came with an oatmeal cookie which was scrumptious :D

Then, after a quick stop at the garage for fuel and snacks, we headed over to the Grand Canyon :) We handed over $25 for a 7 day pass (there’s no 1 day option!) and then followed the car in front to some parking ;) We started at the visitor centre and had a bit of a read of the information boards. Mostly they wanted to tell us to keep drinking water and don’t do anything stupid! ;) Apparently people think they can walk from rim to river and back in one day! Madness!

We decided to start off easy with a walk along the paved path around the rim and then if we were feeling up to it, a little wander down into the canyon. So off to the rim we headed :)

First view of the canyon. It was rather a hazy day, but still awesome :)

First View of the Grand Canyon

Here’s a bunch of photos :) Tap through for larger versions on Flickr with titles and descriptions, there’s also more photos on there which I haven’t included here :)


Grumpy Man Rock

Chris at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Panorama 2

Panorama 3

Panorama 4

Grand Canyon

We stopped at the Arizona Room for lunch (after deciding El Torva looked too posh!) We had some tasty foods and enjoyed watching the people walking along the rim outside. Some people had clearly just jumped out their car to take a photo and had only a camera with them, others had big backpacks of supplies and walking poles. I was amused by the couple who walked past looking all serious, then I noticed the guy had a teddy bear peeking out the top of his backpack! :)

Lunch With A View

After lunch had settled we decided to venture down into the canyon for a bit. The first rest stop is 1.5 miles, which we thought sounded doable. Alas, there was no indication of distance on the path once you started walking, and no further information signs. After about 35 minutes we stopped in some shade and considered. The signs all said you needed to allow twice as long to get up as it took to get down, and since we were almost a third of the way through our water supplies, we figured it best to turn around as we had no idea how far we’d come!

Grand Canyon

Panorama 5


Grand Canyon

Panorama 6

Grand Canyon

The walk back up was exhausting! They weren’t kidding! It was slow going, but eventually we made it, and rewarded ourselves with tasty ice cream :) Then we hopped on the free shuttle bus to go wander round the shopping area to buy random souvenirs (more awesome socks, some stickers and a pretty vase) :) Then back on the bus to find our car :)

All in all, a fun but exhausting day :) Lots of pretty photos, but very sore feet! Hopefully tomorrow won’t involve quite so much walking ;)

We finished the day with a trip to the imaginatively named “We Cook Pizza and Pasta”. Despite the name, we didn’t want either, we wanted their “World Famous Hot Wings”…


“It’s like a volcano in my mouth” was Chris’ description! Certainly the hottest wings I’ve ever had! It was something of an endurance challenge getting through the dozen wings, but apparently through the fire-y burning they were very tasty and we couldn’t stop! :)

Vegas 2012 – Days 1 & 2 – Travelling

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Welcome to another series of holiday posts, likely filled with photos of food :) This year we’re doing rather more travelling than last, and staying for almost 3 weeks! Step 1, as always, involved getting here. Monday morning, bright and early, we get up after only a few hours sleep to head up to Manchester airport. A short flight (so short that we had to guzzle our drinks at hyper speed as the captain declared it time to land before they’d even given everyone their snack!) and we were in Heathrow :) Here there was a larger lounge with tasty salad to keep our tummies from grumbling :)


Then onto our plane after a slightly mad dash across the airport (we started moving when it said boarding, we were the penultimate couple on the plane!) First up was the new muppets movie (awesome!) whilst we were fed some tasty foods. We’d managed to get our favourite seats by the partition so we could setup the projector to watch some Eddie Izzard for the rest of the flight.

We flew into Phoenix, where there were helpful people in purple jackets :) We picked up our rental car and went on a hunt for our bed for the night. We’d chosen the Travelodge in the hopes of something a little nicer than the scary motels… Alas the name didn’t mean much!

(This photo was taken the next morning, it wasn’t this light when we got there!)

Obviously despite being fed twice on the plane, we were hungry, so off we went to Carl’s for a burger :)


Then it was time for some sleep after a long day of travelling.

Our first proper day was also spent travelling :) Our mission for the day was to get to our hotel by the Grand Canyon, with multiple distractions along the way. Although first, we needed some breakfast!


The first distraction was Sunset Point rest area, where we found not only a pretty view but also our first geocache of the trip :)

Flowering Tree

Sunset Point Panorama

Being a rest stop, there were a number of vending machines… and it was hot… so we had ice cream! :o)

Next up was Montezuma Castle, which is neither a castle nor anything to do with Montezuma!

Montezuma Castle

It’s like an ancient block of flats! They built walls to block in a natural cave and then split it into rooms. Alas, we’re not allowed to explore anymore, just view from a distance.

Montezuma Castle

Then a bit more driving, heading to Sedona, but stopping for pretty views along the way:


Sedona Rocks Panorama

Where we found some awesome socks! :)

Sedona itself was like a seaside tourist town, except with big red rocks instead of the sea. Also, it had roundabouts! Roundabouts! That was a shock. We drove straight through as it was oddly busy, deciding we’d find lunch in Flagstaff instead.

Our scenic detour included a crazy squiggly road, which went up, up, up a mountain!

Once at the top there was a viewpoint, where we stopped so I could take the following photo to show just how far we’d climbed :)

High up!

Look How High We Are!

This wasn’t our highest point of the day! Maximum I’ve seen on a sign so far is 7335! It’s high up here!

Once in Flagstaff we found some lunch at Coco’s Bakery :) It was a random choice because we turned down a dead end and were using their car park to turn around. The food was very good though, hoping we find another!



The next stop was Flintstone Bedrock City :) A rather sadly dilapidated ‘theme park’. Still great, but I bet it was awesome once upon a time. There wasn’t another person there, other than the staff, who never ventured out where we were. It was a little eerie.

Still, lots of good photo opportunities!

Fancy a drive?


I like driving in my car!

Barney's Front Room


Finally, we arrived at The Grand Hotel. Much nicer than last night’s motel ;) After a little rest and a little work we went down to the restaurant in the hotel and ate tasty foods whilst a man played his banjo :) Mmmm, first ribs of the holiday!