"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rob & Ashlee's Travel and Tour Company Opens For Business

We sort of took a Memorial Day Weekend trip to Las Vegas last weekend, but it was also a good amount of work for us as we both played tour guide, chaffeur and trip organizer for Ashlee's mom, Evelyn; Ashlee's sister, Paige; her husband, Andy; their 3-year-old daughter, Ella; and Paige's 18-year-old son, Matt. When we asked Evelyn and Matt where they wanted to go for their respective birthdays in March and April, they picked somewhere they had both been before, Las Vegas, and since Paige and Andy had never been before, it seemed like the perfect destination for a family vacation...and was it ever! Everyone had an great time with delicious food, great shows and all the other types of fun that Vegas can offer.
We found a great cheap fare out of Nashville on American Airlines, but kind of paid the price for it with a long layover in Dallas on the way, but after a long day of travel on Saturday, May 23, we finally got to Vegas and our hotel on The Strip, Treasure Island, around midnight Vegas-time. We also got excellent hotel rates (thanks sagging economy). Matt was the only one with enough energy to accompany us for a quick stroll on The Strip after checking in and you certainly could not tell their was much of a slump in the economy as the sidewalks were jammed with people in town for the holiday weekend.
Sleeping in was a priority for everyone on Sunday morning to combat the long day of travel on Saturday, the late arrival to the hotel and a bit of jet lag. Luckily, the champagne brunch buffet at the incredible Bellagio Hotel and Casino a few blocks down Las Vegas Blvd. goes until 4 PM and fit into our plans perfectly. This was everyone's first experience with the Bellagio Buffet and we couldn't have been more impressed. The food was delicious and incredibly varied, and the $6 unlimited champagne upgrade was well worth it. After our feast, we walked around (very slowly since we were stuffed) the magificent lobby and atrium of the Bellagio which includes the amazing ceiling of blown glass designed by Dale Chiluly (photo above). We headed back to our own hotel, the pretty-darn-nice-as-well Treasure Island for a look around the casino and hotel. As afternoon came to a close we started getting ready for our first official "night on the town" in Vegas. Ashlee, Evelyn and Paige had tickets to see Cher perform a couple doors down at Caesar's Palace, while Matt and Rob had tickets to see comedian, Dane Cook, at the Palms Casino and Hotel a short cab ride away on Tropicana Blvd. Andy and little Ella decided to spend the evening walking around a bit, getting some ice cream and hanging out in the room watching a movie. Both shows received good reviews from our group. Ashlee got comments on her "stripper shoes" that seemed to blend right into the Vegas nightlife.
Monday, Memorial Day, saw the troops splitting up again for respective activities. Ashlee, Evelyn and Ella rented a lovely cabana pool-side at the hotel for a relaxing day in and out of the desert sun, while Rob, Paige, Andy and Matt headed south toward Boulder City and the awe-inspiring Hoover Dam. Rob and Matt had toured the dam a few years back on another trip and dropped Paige and Andy off for a tour while they explored the surrounding desert including a short hike in Bootleg Canyon near Boulder City where they discovered a very cool hill-to-hill zip-line set up coming out of the canyon (we definitely have to give this a go on our next trip out when we have more time). After Paige and Andy were picked up from the Hoover Dam, a quick stop was made at Lake Mead and then the Boulder Dam Brewing Brewpub in Boulder City per Rob's request (see Rob's beer blog for more details on this).
The entire group got together again that late afternoon at the TI pool and then later that evening for dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Caesar's Palace. Yum-o-licious and the price-fix 3-course menu was a good bargain. A little gambling was done by the ladies after dinner back at Treasure Island with a little money won as well including Ashlee scoring a $100-plus win on the dollar slots. She cashed out all in ones just so her "gangster roll" would look more impressive. The big dinner and desert heat took a toll on almost everyone as they got back to the rooms. Being the GREAT uncle that he is, Rob, per a promise he made to Matt, took him out to his first strip club as a young 18-year-old man. They had a fun time, but wouldn't give much detail other than "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."
Tuesday was a our last full day in Vegas and everyone in the group had their missions: the ladies wanted to do a bit of shopping and look around the incredible Venetian Hotel and Casino across the street, Rob wanted to get in at least one poker tournament, and Andy and Matt wanted to ride a rollercoaster. All these were accomplished is good measure and time before the entire group met up again late that afternoon at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino to attend a show entitled Gregory Popovich's Comedy Pet Theatre. While this event was chosen specifically for little Ella, everyone in the group wound up enjoying the lively show of acrobatics along with amazingly trained cats and dogs. Later that evening, with Evelyn and Ella turning in a little early for bed, the rest of the group attended a hilarious 3-comedian set at the Harrah's Improv Comedy Club.
Before heading to the airport for a mid-afternoon flight home on Wednesday, the entire group stopped by the beautiful new Town Centre Mall for a bit of browsing and to have lunch at Rob's favorite new restaurant (that happens to have a 100 beers on tap - see his beer blog for more details on that) called Yard House. The food was excellent (as promised by Rob) and it capped off a great visit to Sin City for everyone involved. Even Ashlee - a very open critic of Las Vegas - had to admit she had a pretty darn good time, and saw Vegas in a different light this time, since it is such a diverse place that was able to entertain a group as large as ours was in so many different ways. Thanks again, Vegas, we will definitely see you again!

No comments: