There was just a 5 hour road trip that stood in our way between us and VEGAS baby!! We had agreed that Louise would help share the driving this time because i was shattered with all the driving; hopefully it will be straight foreword since we were out of the city. All this time we had the car we never once had a Sat Nav, mainly because it was $10 a day extra and were a tight so we just stuck to good old fashioned map reading. Every trip we made we would organise in advance the route to and from with Google maps and saved it to the laptop! Yeah...... sometimes we got lost and yeah sometimes 'discussions' got pretty heated haha but we always found our way...........eventually.
I was 3 hours into the driving when i pulled over for a bite to eat and a change in drivers.....Uh OH!! I went through everything with Lou, mirrors, automatic gears, which pedal was the brake and the accelerator. Lou positioned her seat and got comfortable and to move the gear stick from 'park' to 'drive' you had to hold the brake down. As she attempted it, all i heard was...........VRUMMMMM RUM RUM RUM RUM RUM RUM RUM RUM as the rev counter was about to explode!!!! We just looked at each other in silence........ 'ARE YOU KIDDING ME' haha Lou sheepishly replies "ohh, that wasn't the brake, was it"............... "no Louise it wasn't, let's try again" After 10 minutes on the road, Lou soon got the hang of the left hand drive. The hardest part was trying to get the car to stay in the centre of the lane.
We were about 10 minutes from Vegas when i saw something astonishing.......... a tumble weed!! An actual tumble weed, i thought they were only in the movies. It just blew right over the motor way probably came from Fiji and that disaster of a quiz dance off haha
We arrived at sienna suites, it was nowhere near the strip but we were only here 1 night until our families arrived the next day. It was super cheap and we had a kitchen, living room, two queen beds and two TV's. Lou spent the night watching Mob Wives and i was in the other room watching Top Shot. Its like American idol but with guns haha.
Next morning we got up and it felt a little bit like Christmas morning, we dropped the car off at the airport and just waited 3 hours until our families arrived. We both started getting surges of excitement but soon had to control it before it got out of hand and knocked us sick. So we ended up playing the whole thing down just so we didn't get to worked up......."our families are coming out, haven't seen them in 7 month"........whatever......no biggy!! Ha we waited at arrivals and every time the door opened we peeked through...........i was either looking for my dad or my uncle AL since he was on standby if my dad didn't make the flight. Lou was dying for the loo at such a crucial part in the unveiling. We spotted them before they seen us and I'm glad to say everyone was there including my dad, even though i would of loved to see uncle Al as well . We hid behind the board but they recognised us by our feet. As soon as we exchanged hugs and what not and welcomed Alan with a happy birthday, it was weird; it felt as if we only left them yesterday. The plan was to get a shuttle bus to Mandalay bay but the way it worked out we ended up in a stretch limo, why not its vegas.......start as you mean to go on!!! We all sang happy birthday to Alan on his longest birthday ever!!!!(due to the time difference.)
I think everyone was taken aback by the sheer size and glitz of the hotel even i was and i've been before. The rooms were massive; two queen beds, 40inch plasma, marble bathroom with shower, floor to ceiling window overlooking the pool and a phone in the toilet for good measure. It didn't take long before Alan 'familiar face' Feenan was soon taken for mistaken identity in the lift. Everyone was feeling shattered so we decided on a chill out by the pool and i had forgotten how big the wave machine was; hours upon hours of fun!! I think me and Katie have the scars to prove it as it picks you up and crashes you down and pulls you over the surface of the pool floor. This is also where Alan made his first friend and his familiar face popped up again but this time we were told in a TV commercial as the "the most interesting man..........in the world" That night, due to the time difference everybody was feeling a bit tired to say the least so we just stayed in the hotel and ate at a nearby Mexican restaurant; awesome!!!
The next 6 days which we spent in Vegas was truly amazing and the best holiday we have ever had, for all of our family to come out and meet us during this travelling adventure makes it even more memorable. I will hopefully list all the highlights but i am about to miss the odd one because there was just so many. One thing I did notice once my parents came out was, that after seven months of independent living, planning and organising i still had the urge or a habit to throw it to oneside and just let my mam look after me while she was here; i see it more as a gift to her! Haha I'm sure Lou felt the same way!
Here we go!!!! The weather could not have been better in Vegas, if anything it was too hot it even breached the 100 degrees at one point. The first full day was spent just browsing the strip and all its glory. Our parents opted for a $17 breakfast buffet at the MGM Grand hotel and watched the lions. While the backpackers me, Lou and Katie went for $4 pizza slices and burritos. We managed to sort tickets to the LOVE show at the mirage that night at 7.30. Even though every day we would be out and about looking at all the unbelievable hotels, we always ended back at the pool and the lazy river. The show that night was brilliant!! Although not as much stunts as other Cirque Du Soliel shows it didn't matter; the Beatles soundtrack just made it and give you that feel good factor!!! We all emptied out of the show on a high and just in time to watch the Volcano erupt at The Mirage hotel........once that happened i think everyone knew they were in Vegas...........only in Vegas could you see such things!! We finished the night off perfectly with a meal at the outback steakhouse, the food there is so good!!
The next couple of days we spent by the pool and browsing the strip in and out of the hotels. We saw the Bellagio fountains and the glass flower ceiling inside, we practically spent a full day inside the Venetian that place is amazing............the ceiling is painted with a replica of the Cistine chapal and its set out like the streets of Rome, loads of fountains, statues and canals everywhere. As you walk through the streets you feel like your outside due to the realistic sky and clouds painted on the ceiling..............well it fooled Steph, that's for sure! Haha Then you would enter a big court yard where everybody would be 'outside' eating and having drinks watching the gondolas row up and down the canal as if in Venice, you even get your own personal guide who does the rowing, as he or she serenades you with romantic songs. Incredible!
Another day we decided to head to Fremont Street, which had been highly recommended to us by a few different people. That night we got a bus to downtown Vegas and my dad seemed on edge the whole way as we passed the seedy and derelict parts of Vegas which seem a million miles away when you're engulfed with the atmosphere on the strip. This soon passed and as we arrived at Fremont Street, none of us really knew what to expect but i can gladly say that every one of us was presently surprised. We were there mainly for some light show that we had heard about. The only way i would describe Fremont street would be, its just like a smaller concentrated strip, the atmosphere was excellent, it was more hustle and bustle with live bands playing and any amounts of look a likes and it's a lot cheaper than the strip!! To top it off the light show that we had all come for exceeded all expectations, this mini strip with casinos lining either side was covered by a half dome canopy of L.E.D lights that ran the full length of the street; maybe 100-200 meters. On the hour, everything went silent, all the casino's turned off their lights everybody stopped in their tracks and craned their necks up at the show that was about to begin...............DUM, DUM , CHHH.............DUM, DUM, CHHH........ .WE WILL, WE WILL, ROCK YOU!!!!................. WE WILL, WE WILL, ROCK YOU!!!
This song was perfect, as it blares out the speakers and everyone starts clapping........ DUM, DUM, CHHH, there is a massive video production getting displayed on this 100 meter L.E.D ceiling of Freddy Mercury and Queen signing, half way through the song changes to......we are the champions!!! Amazing experience and to top things off as this is going on there are people zip lining down the full length of the street up in the air......its all going on!!! After the show Me, Lou and Katie all headed into the casino and did some gambling......Me and Lou used the money from my nana Elsie to play roulette and ended up winning $60 Woo Woo!! And I'm glad to say Katie won as well on the slot machines..............$3.62 to be precise!!! Everyone's a winner! The only down side to this place was it was only accessible by bus but apart from that i would recommend it as one of the best things to do in Vegas!! We didn't opt for a big meal that night but a nice hassle free McDonalds instead. Well..........so we thought.........Steph must of got the most docile worker in the whole of McDonalds, she asked for a hot chocolate; 'HOT' being the key word and got a reply of "would you like that hot or cold" this conversation went back and forth for a good 2 minutes, to the point where Steph couldn't take anymore and snapped! Poor boy didn't know what hit him. What a great night haha
The next night we went to the Mix bar at the Mandalay bay, this bar was on the 64th floor of the hotel and a clear lift took us up on the outside of the building giving us an excellent view of the strip as we ascended. The drinks were mega expensive, not that we paid for them but i bet it was a hole in the parents pocket, 'they' were paying for the view and location really. Lou and Katie managed to find the best toilets on the hole of the strip, floor to ceiling windows in each cubicle overlooking the strip 64 floors high; impressive!! Next thing we knew the whole family were in there and let's just say the pictures that i got back on my camera from the women's escapades were pretty wild! It doesn't take much for Lou and Katie to get into mischief never mind adding the 2 ginger mums to the equation! Haha
We left the fancy bar behind in search for a cheap alternative and somehow we ended up in coyote ugly bar! You know the one, where the girls dance on the bar. The place was quite dark and dingy but there was a whole lot going on. The ceiling was draped in women's bra's and knickers and there was a game going on where it was boys against girls which evidently resulted in girls losing so they had to take off their bra's, it was the rules; can't argue with the rules. I look back to see if our parents are enjoying it only to find my dad chanting.........OFF, OFF, OFF!! This one girl in particular must of had size 38 HH she was pleading to keep her bra because it cost her over $100, probably custom made haha After a few drinks in everyone was having fun and it didn't take long before the bar girls were on stage giving out free shots, she picked out Alan in the crowd to come up on stage for a free shot , the crowd got behind him and cheered but he refused the offer, but my dad doesn't need asking twice he took Alan's place like a true hero and took one for the team, his head clamped in between the girls thighs as she pours vodka straight from the bottle into his mouth...that's my dad !! haha My mum not to be out done was straight up afterwards for the same punishment! The night was so good we had forgotten to eat so we ended the night with a meal and on the way back to the Mandalay we stumble across....you'll never believe this....a competition the following night for a lookalike contect for the....MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD!! Haha shame Alan didn't have his tux with him.
The next morning was the morning we had to move out of the Mandalay bay because the big boxing match was on and to extend our stay at that hotel would set us back $600 for one night.......ridiculous!! We moved further up the strip towards the Wynn and it was called the royal resort! Much cheaper and not as nice but still an excellent place with a lovely pool! Just before we left we decided on an all you can eat buffet breakfast. Wrong choice for me since I'm not a morning person and i could only manage some cheerio's and some pineapple before surrendering. However i think both mums made up for my lack of appetite haha
We only had a few nights left in Vegas before we would split from Katie and we would depart for San Francisco so we decided to visit the Grand Canyon. None of us had been before so it was destined to be exciting; visiting one of the 7 wonders of the world. We opted for a coach tour but the 'Rockefeller' Feenan's also did a helicopter tour once we were there. The 3 hour coach trip went over fast with Dwayne our bus driver, who had the laugh of Mutley from wacky races and did not want any fugggglllyy people on his bus! Well when he saw Paul he was like 'i thought i said no ugly people on my bus, how did you slip by?' then he saw Alan and comes out with 'dammmn jesus you ugllyyy' haha. We stopped by Hoover dam on the way and once we arrived at the Grand Canyon it was just awe inspiring, the sheer size of it was so impressive and believe it or not there's no fence to stop you falling, if it was in England it would have 12ft fences or only be viewed behind glass windows . We also did the skywalk which is a steel structure that juts out over the canyon with a glass walkway underneath you, my advice don't do it, you don't get the same feeling you get when your near the edge and you're not even allowed to take your own camera, it's a swizz!
The Feenan's on the other hand did the Helicopter trip, Lou sat next to the pilot and as the helicopter took off it kept rather low to the ground as it approached the canyon and all of a sudden the floor disappeared and all they could see was a 4000ft drop into the canyon. It descended all the way to the canyon floor where they went on a boat trip along the Colorado River, then got the helicopter back to the top, this time it ascended right at the face of the canyon and the views were incredible. That night we got back late and ended the night watching the pirate show at Treasure Island and then the fountains at the Bellagio again because they were brilliant!
The last day I decided to take my dad to the gun range to fire a real gun, we decided on a handgun and a M16 assault rifle. We walked into the shop and there were just guns upon guns just stacked against the wall and you just pick the one you like; simple! When we went into the shooting range the sound of the guns were just louder than you can imagine my dad couldn't get used to it; jumped at every gun shot haha however it was an excellent experience.
That day we had to leave Katie behind as we boarded our flight to San Fransisco and we all wish she could of came with us. I know Lou loved having her over as did we all but when we look back on this time in vegas, we were so lucky to have our families with us and it made the experience so much better and this was truly a once in a lifetime family holiday!!
A massive thanks to our parents and Katie, we know it was a lot of money to come out and meet us and we have literally had the best time, and really appreciate it!! And i don't think we need any birthday or Christmas presents this year since you've spoilt us that much haha i might take that back once Christmas nears.
Love Adam and Louise xxx