Friday, May 24, 2013

Road Trip and Third Anniversary: Part 1

Traditional Third Anniversary Present is leather, but Steven and I said, "Forget that! Let's buy a whole car!"

Happy Anniversary honey!

Ok, just kidding, I totally made that up because it was a catchy beginning. Except the leather part. That is actually true.

The reason we now own a second car is because my oldest sister Jennifer just had a third baby (wow, rule of threes in this post! Oh someone will die. 8-S) and she and her husband bought a van to accommodate their gianormous family. ;) haha.
So they had an extra car.
And since OUR car has been a constant source of stress (see post), they offered to sell us their old car for the amazingly generous and kind price of just 500 dollars.

Deal or No Deal?


All we had to do was get ourselves down to San Diego to pick it up.

The planning and logistics of this trip were a bit of a nightmare. From the beginning I had planned to do it as a girls get-away with my friend Katie, and so spend a couple days with my old roommate Lauren in LA on our way down. But, long story short, Katie couldn't get out of work and we had to modify the trip in the last week. Up-side to this was that the trip was going to fall on the weekend before me and Steven's anniversary anyway, so we decided to make it an anniversary/visit-family trip.


To summarize what would be a really long post, I'll mostly just post our pictures with descriptions. This will be relatively boring to those of you who already saw them on Facebook. My apologies.

Every road trip we've taken so far as a couple begins with a rental car.
As a little endorsement, we always rent from Hertz. They have the best base price, they offer a discount through Marriott and their office is located on our street so we can walk to it to pick up the car.

We LOVE driving rental cars. We feel so spoiled. Yeah it's expensive, but it's worth it for the feeling of safety, the ease of ignition and the working A/C. Especially on a drive across the Nevada desert.

Hot, dry and boring. 
To ease the long journey we always stock up on our favorite "Car-trip-snacks". Jerky, wheat thins,  fruit snacks, granola bars and/or trail mix and Gatorade. 

We also passed the time on this trip by reading Hunger Games to each other. :) Steven has been converted! We are both REALLY excited for Catching Fire!

Finally made it to the hotel! Just about 3pm Vegas time. 
In order to split up the drive, celebrate our anniversary and just enjoy the trip more, we stayed the night in Vegas on both the way down and the way back. Because of my AwESomE job, we got a suite at the Las Vegas Residence Inn South for just $40.00. J'yeah. My job. Is. Awesome.
We got to Vegas early enough that we had most of the day and evening to be there. :) We both agreed that all road trips should be like this: Leave Early, drive in the daytime. Driving at night SUCKS on a roadtrip. It makes it seem so much longer, and there is nothing to see. Every family road-trip that I remember growing up where we would drive through Vegas it was always night time. We never saw anything. In fact, besides my nanny-gig last summer in Vegas, I'd never really been to Vegas at all. Neither had Steven! We were excited to check it out together! 

After checking in and getting settled we decided to order pizza for lunch. It was very reminiscent of our Honeymoon when we got stranded in Chicago, spent the night at a Marriott and ordered pizza for dinner. :) 

Beautiful room!
Yum Pizza! 

After lunch we were ready to hit the town! I'd comprised a long list of all the free and/or cheap things that you can do in Vegas. Ps. There are a LOT!! Vegas is much more than just strippers and gambling! There are all kinds of shows, museums, shopping and animal exhibits! The official website even has recommendations to family-friendly things. (I still don't recommend taking kids to Vegas, but whatever.) 

Our hotel offered a free shuttle to Mandalay Bay every 30 minutes, and New York New York every hour. 
Perfect! Our first stop was Mandalay Bay to see the shark reef aquarium! 

On the free shuttle! 
On the way we saw this EXCELLENT advertisement. I didn't ever really consider getting a hooker before, but after I saw this, I was sorely tempted! 

"1000's of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones"
Isn't that fantastic! Welcome to Vegas!!

The Shark Reef Aquarium isn't free, but as far as Vegas prices go it is very reasonable. I think it was just $18.00 a ticket. Compared to the cheapest show we found, which was 64.95 a ticket, we thought that was a great price and worth spending money on! 

The aquarium was awesome! 
Also, maybe because it was a Thursday, or because it was only like 5pm, there was hardly anyone around! We had Vegas to ourselves! We had plenty of time to meander through the aquarium and take picture and check out the cool fish, animals and sharks! 

Amazing giant octopus! 
Giant Sea turtle swimming over our heads! 
There was this one awesome room that was built to look like you were in an underwater ship-wreck! The glass aquarium was all around you, including the ceiling and panels in the floor. It was amazing! Like real life Finding Nemo. XD haha. 

After we'd wandered our way through the aquarium and torn ourselves away from all the cute turtle toys in the gift shop, we found our way back to the strip. 

Again, I don't know how we got so lucky, but there was no one around this evening! We pretty much had Vegas to ourselves. The next thing on our list that we for sure wanted to get to was THE ROLLER COASTER at New York New York. We made our way down there being sure to wander through and take pictures of everything on the way. 

Each of the themed hotels has elaborate entrances! Someday when I don't work for Marriott (or we are insanely rich) I'd definitely love to stay a night in one of these suckers. 

Mandalay Bay! 

We made it to the New York New York hotel and casino just as it was turning dusk! Amazing time to ride a roller coaster! 
The line was so short that we had to wait for enough people to run the ride. haha. 
Again, this isn't free, it's actually kinda ridiculously expensive ($14.00 a person), but we thought it would be a great one-time thing to do while we're still young and can handle it. haha. 

They don't let you take ANYTHING on the ride with you. Not cameras, phones, purses...anything. You have to pay for a little coin-locker to keep your stuff in. I guess it's because it goes upside-down. 

So...we couldn't get any pictures on the ride, so here are some from the WWW. ;) 

It's a surprisingly intense roller-coaster!
It starts up kinda behind the mini-empire state building,
crawls you up to the skyscrapers, and then drops you down through this mess! 
It was crazy ya'll! 
Also, I guess because it's really old, the whole ride kinda gives you the feeling like you're going to die at any second. Instead of having a big U-shaped harness to go over your body to hold you in, they just have these little shoulder pad things! What good is that going to do?? And then this little square thing comes up between your legs, but it's really thick, so you don't have anything good to grab onto. 

It's quite the experience! 
We enjoyed it. :D haha. 
Second rides are just $7.00, but there was more that we wanted to see, so we moved on. 

Fake Brooklyn bridge! Yay!!
yeah, we've walked on the real one. So...take that Vegas!
The only other thing on our "Definitely want to see" list for the night was the Treasure Island show. Treasure Island is the opposite side of the strip from Mandalay Bay, so it's about an hour or more walk away. We made it our goal to get there in time for their last show of the night-at 10pm. 

On the way we stopped at Pinkberry for the best frozen custard of life!! Man I wish they had these in Utah. 
We felt like a lot of fruit after that pizza. Lol! 
We were kinda clipping along at this point, so we didn't stop in and take as many pictures of places as before, which ended up being fine, because my camera died anyway. 

Bad news was that I think we saw Zach Galifianakis and we couldn't get a picture. 
It was either him or a look-alike hobo. We'll never know. 
 Here are the last couple pictures before my camera battery died. 

The Bellagio fountains did a dance to the Titanic Theme song.
Not very exciting. :S 

We still had some time to kill before the Pirates show, so we popped in to see what the Ceasar's palace forum shopping was like. 
We didn't know going into it that there is this massive and weird Atlantis animatronic puppet show inside. haha! So creepy! So we saw that...

I tried to find some good pictures of it on the internet, but they were all blurry and camera-phone-ish. Apparently Ceasar's palace doesn't advertise this weird thing either. 

Anyway, in a total otherwise normal looking part of the shops (I think it's even a food court or something!) there is this really gorgeous Greek-type fountain and columns display. But when this "show" starts, these huge life-sized animatronic puppets rise out of the columns and put on a weird little show. 

Like Disneyland, if Disneyland were creepy as hell. 

So anyway....that was interesting. Glad we saw that. .... ..... ....

Finally we made it to Treasure Island, and the thrills of the night continued with the show that is now called, "Sirens of TI". Yes. Yes, you read that right. Treasure Island has now been abbreviated to "TI". Because saying "Treasure Island" was too much of a mouthful? 

And instead of a cool pirates battling thing, it's now this. 

If you drop out of college, someday this could be you too!

Sexy?? ....????

Wait, wasn't this supposed to be about pirates?

All I can say about this is Thank Goodness it was free. :S 

I mean...WHAAAAAT???!?????

So...if you want a good laugh, head over to TI and watch this ridiculous display of women dancing in their underwear on a ship. 

Welcome to Vegas? 

Umm...this is a weird place to end this post, but it's getting really long so I just made the spontaneous decision to split this trip-story into separate posts. :) 

So this is the end of part one. 


"When did spazzing out qualify as a dance?"
Stay in school kids. 

STAY TUNED! PART 2 WILL COME....whenever I get around to it. ;) 


  1. hahahaha
    "Like Disneyland, if Disneyland were creepy as hell."
    "If you drop out of college, someday this could be you too!"

  2. Oh and I was going to say, that's sad about the pirate show. I saw it when I was 12ish and I remember it being really adventurous and piratey. Sigh. :(
    with love, your blog stalker/over-commenter

  3. If you ever want to stay at a nice hotel I would skip the luxor. The room we had was nice, but a carboard box on cement would have been more comfortable than that bed. Booo!! But I was glad to see this post. Tiler and I are going to Vegas in August and we're looking for some fun things to do.

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