Monday, April 7, 2014

desert(ed) roads & old las vegas

Why does the Grand Canyon have to be so far from the Strip?

I mean, you technically could do it in a day but you'd have to do everything in a rush and have to drive back late at night... and risk hitting a deer (no joke, that was a valid point that was brought up on TripAdvisor).

I still wanted to visit a state park of some sort with canyon or rock-like structures, so I perused the search results of "Places to Visit in Las Vegas" until I reached the Valley of Fire State Park.

Bingo! Rocks, desert, and most importantly, a short ride.

Being just 1.5 hours away from the Strip, we rented a car and made the drive to the park.

But first...

Yup. We had to stop at In-N-Out!

This was my first time trying it, but oh my goossh. People were not lying when they said this place was amazing!

I normally don't like onions but the Animal Style sauce was amaazing. And don't even get me started on their milkshakes. Drooling as I type this.

In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon

All filled up on burgers, fries, and shakes, we piled back into the car and headed to the Welcome To Las Vegas sign. We had to do as much as we could while we had a car!

Yay for being a tourist!

We then finally made our way to the Valley of Fire.

Sort of.

We stopped to take photos in the middle of the road, as any normal people would do.

How gorgeous does this look?

And how crazy is it that the sky looks different colours when shot from different sides of the road?

I've always wanted to go on a road trip across the Southern states and just stop in the middle of nowhere and lie on the road to watch the stars. Of course by doing that you're also inviting the serial killers and mutant people (think of the Hills Have Eyes...) to come attack you so...


We finally made it to the park.

There were around 12 different stops in the park. Each had a different set of rocks for you to read about and explore.

We explored the park until it was dark. My dad didn't want to get lost so we made our way back into the city.

But first, we stopped at Chinatown for some dinner... I was sad that we were wasting a meal (I had a list of restaurants I needed to go to, remember?), but it was definitely interesting to be surrounded by Asians again, even if only for a few hours.

We made sure to find a restaurant with free wifi because we needed to get directions to our next stop, Freemont Street! It is so weird to think that this was where all the Vegas excitement used to be.

There were so many street performers. We saw Mr. T, Spock, Spiderman, two Chippendales... you name it, they got it.

We did stop to watch an amazing street magician though. He did the trick where he took someone's $100 bill, got them to write their name on it, put it into his bag and then later cut open an orange, with the $100 curled up inside. Too cool.

It was getting late so we headed back to the Strip.

It's so pretty when driving at night!

You'd think after such a long, exhausting day, we'd call it a night and go to bed right? Nope. We proceeded to stay at the Casino in our hotel until 2am gambling.

I also got ID-ed 4 times in that 2 hour period, aka every single time my dad switched tables. I got pretty good at handing the dealer my ID even before they asked for it. Cool.

Speaking of casinos, here's a little tip I heard about and also noticed myself: gamblers get free drinks.

Even if you're playing the slots, make sure to stay in one area where the cocktail waitresses will notice you. If they realize that you've been sitting there for a while, they will come by and offer you a drink. All you have to do is tip them a buck or two when they come back with your drink and BAM, free/cheap drinks!

Try it, you'll thank me!

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