Sunday, October 25, 2009
Kat's planning and our agreeing to drop Joshua Tree got us ahead of schedule, so had to tread water in Vegas for a couple of days as our reservations in Yosemite were a few days later.
Our campsite had to be changed. The first one was chosen in near total darkness and was at such a grade as to make sleep difficult. I got a picture of it, then quickly retracted the landing gear and prepared to move. With the morning light we were able to pick out a better site just across the road that hadn't already been reserved. It was already Thursday so we were headed into a weekend and the campground could quickly fill. After some discussion we claimed the new site for the next two nights. If we were to choose to leave early we could and if not we had a place to stay.
After the move I got a few more pics of Elise and some flowers while Kat settled in and prepped for the day. I pushed for returning to Vegas and walking along the strip. Katrina was a little uneasy about spending the day in a big city after having grown comfortable with rural America. OK, lets simplify; she didn't want to take her babies into Sin City. Vegas it was...
As it turned out the day was something of a mild bust. Some pre-flight instruction in the ways to best immerse one's self in the joys of Vegas (snark) would have been helpful. The traffic was worse than the night before and the parking seemed worse than that. Most of the casinos had valet parking: something I am utterly unfamiliar with and leery of attempting. Eventually we found an entrance to the Tropicana that was labeled "self park ". Once inside, though, we were threatened with the heavy club of towing. We took the chance.
So...we were walking the strip, riding up and down escalators outside in the full view of the sun, and at one point found ourselves on the Brooklyn Bridge. It was warm, but not hot even though noon was nearing. I had begun to sense lunch though my ears first....when my children see a McDonald's and today was no different. I was sure there were better vittles to be had in Vegas, but the kids love McDonald's and couldn't have been happier.
I enjoyed the people watching in the McDonald's. From a couple of women with freaky big casino champagne glasses, to a cross-dresser, possible transvestite, to Germans, there was a plethora of personality. One nice fellow cleared a table with a partially emptied coffee and headed for the trashcan with it. He opened the flap and made like he was tossing the coffee only to leave with it at his lips. I know it wasn't his. I saw the original purchaser leave without clearing her table: a Mickey D's sin. I saw no poverty in his demeanor .
We ate quickly and hurried back in the direction of the Tropicana. Unfortunately the whole walk had been tarnished by the fear of loosing our van to some unknown parking authority. We were happy, though, to find our van waiting for us and decided to catch our breath back at the campground.
It was around mid afternoon by the time we got back to the campground and it was already filling with the pressures of an approaching weekend. In the site we had given up earlier that morning was a huge camper with a few tents pitched nearby. The party took up two sites and they weren't the only ones who did so. Just below them there was a popup that had also taken two sites. We learned much of this after chatting off and on with our new neighbors in the hours before nightfall.
It turned out the folks in our old site were locals. Manuel (Mannie) who was a Las Vegas cop and his wife who raised their children. They both knew Vegas well and after today's misadventure their knowledge was welcome. Mannie's wife told us that the casinos provide parking in the rear and do not tow so as to draw in customers. She also informed us that there were a number of good free shows and Mannie knew which casino had an antique car museum we were interested in. The last bit of info she passed on was in reference to the Hoover Dam. Go early.
The people in the popup were interesting primarily because the boyfriend was the spitting image in appearance (and mannerism) of the sham-wow/"slap-chop" guy. "He's wired." Mannie commented later while throwing a skeptical eye toward the wired guy's site. I think wired was polite euphemism for high. Also there was his girlfriend's wonderfully sweet daughter Emily. She and Elise instantly befriended one another and played like old friends until bedtime.
Posted by polifrog at 10/25/2009 07:54:00 PM