Our morning in the Grand Canyon started with a surprise. The torrential downpour we had driven through the night before turned into snow. When I peeked out the window to see what the weather looked like, I was very surprised to see snow.
So after a quick breakfast we bundled up and headed up to the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center. It was a beautiful drive full of pines and snow. I kept hoping we’d see some wildlife and the mountain lion signs got my hopes up (just a little).
The visitor center was busy as there is a lot of parking and an easy walk to an overlook. So we talked with one of the rangers to ask whether it would be worth driving out the Hermit’s Road. It’s closed to vehicular traffic in the summer but is open this time of year. She recommended driving out to Desert View to climb the watch tower instead. So we walked out to Mather Point to have our first look at the canyon.
There were a lot of people at the Point taking in the view. I couldn’t believe how many men were walking around in dress shoes. We watched a guy almost knock his girlfriend off a rock when he jumped up to have his picture with her. Thankfully, they were far from the edge. One benefit to being at a crowded location is that wee had a couple nice people offer to take our photos while we were there.
We decided to leave the crowds behind and head up to Desert View. It is a 30 minute round trip so we wanted to get going before the day got much later. The Watch Tower at Desert View is a recreation of a historical style of watch tower. The architect was a woman which I found to be pretty neat. She did a great job making it look ancient.
We walked to the top of the 70 foot tower. Unfortunately, the windows were all frozen over. So Ryan found a vent in the top, opened it and stuck his camera out for some photos.
We didn’t stay long as there were too many people here as well. So we drove down a bit and found a pull off where we had lunch. We made sandwiches and enjoyed them while looking at this view:
We decided to head out after that as we still had a bit of a drive to Vegas and Ryan wanted to get there about dusk. Due to some unexpected detours we made it to Las Vegas right at sunset. After battling traffic, we made it to our hotel, the Platinum.
We got organized and then headed out so Ryan could show me the town. We started by heading North on the Strip to Cesar’s Palace. We looked at the mall with the crazy expensive stores. I enjoyed the aquarium they had that contained some cownose rays, triggerfish, and pufferfish. There were a lot of bored people sitting around the aquarium just waiting. We continued from there up to the Venetian so I could see their style. It was quite fancy.
From there we went to the Bellagio for dinner. We got in line for the buffet but were at the very back of the line. This ended up working out for the best as a staff member came up and asked us if we were ok sitting at the bar. We said sure and he let us skip the line. I loved that everyone looked at us wondering why we were so special. We set our stuff down at the bar and hit the buffet. It was quite the spectacle. They had everything from prime rib, to crab legs, to pastas, and a whole dessert buffet.
I really enjoyed being able to test out several desserts. The nutella cup was my favorite (bottom one). They even had a gluten free chocolate cake and a sugar free cheesecake for Ryan.
From there we went to watch the Bellagio fountain do its work. It was set to We Need A Little Christmas By Johnny Mathis. It was certainly something. I’ll share the video later, it’s too big right now.
We left the fountain to see about doing some gambling at the Paris.
It’s a very interesting casino inside with the sky painted on the ceiling and the “legs” from the tower coming down through the gambling floor. However, none of the machines called out to us so we decided to head to Mandalay Bay. I wanted to see their shark tank/slide. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find it. So we lost some money on the slot machines before taking a cab back to our hotel. It was a great first trip to Vegas but I agree with Ryan that one night is plenty. Have you been to Las Vegas? What is your favorite casino?