Las Vegas – Our Last Stop

Las Vegas was the last stop on our journey before embarking on the 20+ hour drive back to Okotoks.  A little bit hazy coming into Vegas, or is it the windscreen??
Our main reason for the Las Vegas stop off was to catch up with Linda (Jan’s sister) and Andrew (her now husband) – who were in Vegas for their wedding.  It was a fairly casual affair at the Graceland Wedding Chapel.  Elvis was there of course – he was VERY entertaining and the wedding was a great success and was followed by a fabulous lunch at the Venetian Hotel!
Here’s Linda and Andrew and Elvis…I know they are hard to tell apart but Andrew is on the right and Elvis is on the left!
After a stroll around the Venetian and a Gondola ride for the bride and groom (and Andrew’s daughters, Sarah and Katie), it was back out for ribs at Tony Romas followed by the Fremont Street Experience!
After all the festivities of these few days in Vegas, saying goodbye came around all too quickly again.  Sarah and Katie had to fly back to the UK and Linda and Andrew set off for their Honeymoon in Palm Springs and along the Californian Coast.  We were left alone in Vegas 🙁
But, with true British grit and determined to make the best of it, we headed off to the Hoover Dam.  As you drive towards the dam, you get a lovely view of Lake Mead.
Once you get to the dam, one of the first things you come across are  30-foot tall bronze angels.  It is considered lucky to rub their toes, hence their feet are very shiny and smooth!
This sculpture is of one of the high scalers who hung hundreds of feet in the air, on the side of the canyon, knocking away loose rock and setting dynamite charges with a jackhammer!
We started with a walk across the dam, taking in the views.
As you walk across, you also cross the border from Nevada into Arizona.  The clocks show the time in each state.
The last time we were here. in 2007, they were just in the planning stages for this bridge and the surrounding roads, designed to to take traffic away from the dam.  We hoped then that, one day, we would be back to see it!  Now complete, it is now known as the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge or the Hoover Dam bypass.
Not only did we see it, but we decided to brave it!  It is 1500 feet above the Colorado River and the people on the bridge looked tiny.  We drove about half way up to the car park and walked the  rest of the way!
It was well worth it for the views!
About half way along the bridge, you get to cross the state border again.  Here we stand with one foot in Nevada and one in Arizona!
We drove back to Vegas for dinner at the MGM Grand, just taking time to stop off to see the Lions.
We spotted this car on the way back to the hotel, pretty cool!
Seeing as the snow was so bad on the drive down, we were pleased to see some of the countryside on the drive back.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We touched on six states during our trip: Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California and Nevada.  Scenery varied from rocky, to lush, to desert and lots more in-between.  Just under 5,000 miles done all in all.  Did we have a great time and would we do it all again? – Hell Yeah!

J&E

Palm Springs Living Desert

Leaving San Diego, we were, for the first time, heading back towards Okotoks but we weren’t finished yet!  Next stop, Palm Springs, or Palm Desert actually, which is just down the road from Palm Springs.  We started the day with breakfast at Starbucks.  While we were sat outside enjoying our coffee, a Roadrunner whizzed by…
After breakfast, and wanting to make the most of the warm weather, we had to find stuff to do outside! So we decided on the the Living Desert.
This is a really nice place where you can stroll along in the sunshine.
 
We got to see our second Roadrunner of the day!

And a type of Heron.
We spotted this humming bird having a drink from the hole in the soaker pipe!
 There were humming birds flying around us all day.  Not easy to catch on camera, but we got a few!
 
 I know we keep saying it, but it was so lovely to see things out in bloom.

 There is plenty of wildlife to see at the Living Desert… 

  This Bob Cat was quite fascinating to watch and very cute (from a distance!)
  

 

 Cheetah

A really wide faced cat!
A Swift Fox, who was very aptly named – this was the one moment it was still!
A small furry thing in a bowl!

A badger.
 

Big Horn Sheep – we know we see loads of these in Canada, but hey!

 This one seemed to be enjoying the rays too!

Gazelle type things.
African painted dogs

 
 
 
  As the sun was starting to go down over Palm Desert, we reached the Giraffes

  Who became beautifully silhouetted against the sky line.

Ahhh, the end to a wonderful day!
J&E