Saturday, May 12, 2007

Vegas, Baby! Day 3

Friday, Day 3, Morning. We're off to the town of Pahrump. I am not making this name up. This is a real town about 60 miles from Las Vegas with a population of about 33,000. What makes it so desirable is its rural, small-town feel, but still a relatively short drive from the big city. Also, real estate, and specifically new construction, is booming, thus the reason for our visit today.

Recently my parents-in-law have been tossing around the idea of retiring somewhere warmer & if it's a little cheaper, even better! So one of the things they wanted to do on this trip, besides visiting Beth, was to visit some model homes, and gather more information, you know, see the sites for themselves.

Most of these housing developments are still in the "dirt" stages, but a couple had models that were open to walk through. They seemed very nice, but because they (the developers) know the area is growing like crazy, they also unfortunately came with very "nice" price tags.

After looking at several areas, and eating a nice picnic lunch at a local park, we headed back towards Las Vegas, with a short detour through Red Rock Canyon. If you're ever in the Vegas area, I highly recommend giving your lungs a break from the smoky casinos, and go take a hike in the fresh, desert air. The views are spectacular, and the experience unparalleled.

If you're not the hiking type, but still enjoy great scenery, there's a nice 13-mile scenic drive, with plenty of stops along the way for photo opportunities. Below are some of the pictures from our visit:

If you look closely, there's a guy in the middle of the picture.
Gives you an idea of how large these rock fields are.

Extremely windy~~who knew a sweatshirt would be needed?

Back in Vegas, Grandpa agreed to hang out at the condo while Kyra took her much needed afternoon nap. Meanwhile, Beth, David's mom, Marie & I hit the "Strip" once more, this time with shopping at Planet Hollywood in mind.

Beth & Marie

This Casino & Hotel was formerly the Aladdin, so a lot of the inside still retains a Desert Passage/North African/Sultan vibe. And amazingly enough, every 1/2 hour, they have a thunderstorm inside, where it actually rains, and bright lights flash, and thunder booms. We sat and watched it from a safe & dry distance, while enjoying Ben & Jerry's ice cream--Not a bad deal :-)

We also got in a little gambling, and this time I won! (The previous day I played $5, and lost it all pretty quickly on a Slots game I didn't understand). I figured out the key was to play something very simple (1-line slots), and then quit while I was ahead. So although I lost the day before, I was a winner this day. Below is me spending Kyra's college fund ;-)

Then it was time for dinner, where we met some of Beth's friends, Russ & Flo, at a great restaurant called Big Dog's Draft House Barn & Casino. In June 1988, brothers Tom and George Wiesner made their start in the restaurant business when they opened the Draft House; a place famous for its genuine warm Wisconsin hospitality. Located in the Northwest area of Las Vegas, menu favorites include bratwurst, walleye, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads and soups. In August 1992, the restaurant expanded to the Draft House Barn & Casino, giving Las Vegas its first dining barn and Packer Fan Club. Apparently, whenever there's a Green Bay Packers' game on, the place is "packed", no pun intended. Sounds like our kind of place! (see previous post on our love of the Packers)

Tomorrow, one last chance to see the amazing hotels & casinos before we head to the airport for our 9:40pm flight. The "worldwide" tour~~the Paris & the Eiffel Tower, New York/New York, the Luxor (Egypt) and the incomparable Bellagio & its famous fountains.

Blessings, K~