Friday, April 23, 2010

Back to Las Vegas!

And so we're heading back to Las Vegas for a few days before heading home again.

The scenery is beautiful!

Ah yes...must stop at the Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel. When it was completed in 1936, it was the world's largest concrete structure.

There appears to be some kind of traffic jam...the cars are lined up in both directions.

The new Colorado River Bridge. It's supposed to be completed this year after five years of construction, and will be 2000 feet long.

It's really hard to get the whole dam into a picture. It's huge!

From the dam towards the new bridge...the bridge is 900 feet above the ground.

We parked the car and went to check out the visitor centre. Jim couldn't get through security because of his Swiss army pocketknife, so guess what won out...the dam or the pocketknife? So I toured the visitor centre on my own...

So interesting! Yuma played a part in the construction of the dam. In 1905, torrential spring rains caused the Colorado River to flood breaking through canal headworks near Yuma. The Imperial Valley was flooded for two years and the push for a dam to control the river intensified.

Farmers, miners, businessmen, politicians...everyone had an opinion on what should be done.

Construction began in 1931 and over 5000 workers were employed. Initially they lived with their families in temporary camps, but eventually Boulder City was built for them. Within one year, the barren desert landscape turned into a city of 5000 people. Drinking and gambling were not permitted in Boulder City during construction and, to this day, it is one of only two places in Nevada where gambling is prohibited.

The model shows how the dam was constructed section by section...

Working 24 hours a day and 363 days of the year, the dam was completed more than two years ahead of schedule!

It's a long way down...

The visitors centre...

The winged statues guard the flag pole in the centre.

Like the Timothy Eaton statue at the Eaton Centre in Toronto, rubbing the statue's foot supposedly brings good luck. So I headed over and gave it a rub...the toes are gleaming from being rubbed repeatedly.

All part of the visitors's huge!

The statue represents the "high climbers," the men who risked and lost their lives to build the Hoover Dam. This was during the depression and the job paid three times the highest salary of any job in the country.

And with that quickie stop, we arrived back in Las Vegas. you see everything. This guy walking down the street looking like something from an alien movie hardly got a second look.

The Fashion Show Mall near the Encore Hotel. We decided to stay off the strip this time so everywhere warrants a taxi ride. But the price of the Hampton Inn which includes free breakfast, free internet and free gym, more than makes up for it.

Sign for Garth...seems like it was ages ago that we saw him. It was so good...

The gondola rides at the Venetian. It was a beautiful day for it.

Harrah's...we stopped in to pick up tickets for the Legends show we were seeing.

And had lunch at Toby Keith's Bar & Grill...

Looks like the post margarita glow!

Food was good...margaritas were better!

This was a really good show. The Cher look-alike looked just like her, but couldn't sing. Jay Leno was really good. He had his mannerisms down pat. Aretha Franklin was excellent. Elvis was just plain good looking and Michael Jackson was scary real. This guy must have had plastic surgery to look that much like him. It was a fun evening!

Lots of lights and lots of people...

We headed over to watch the "volcano" at the Mirage. It was good, free entertainment.

Having done it once, I wouldn't feel the need to do it again, but it was fun.

The strip is so pretty at night...

The next night we went to old Las Vegas to check out the Fremont Street Experience. Fremont Street was the first paved street in Las Vegas in 1925. The Experience is a pedestrian mall and attraction which was built to bring people back downtown. It's a canopy 90 feet high and 1500 feet long. More than 12 million LED lights illuminate the canopy with a light show every hour. There are also two stages where free concerts are held.

The canopy encompasses all the old casinos...

One of the light shows...

I think it would be a totally different experience on the weekend. We heard it's extremely crowded so I wasn't sorry to miss that part.

The old Golden Nugget hotel and casino has spent $30 million on this pool called The Tank. It has a waterslide that you can see through as you zoom down the slide looking out at the sharks. I think it would have been fun just to relax in one of these loungers.

We heard the casinos downtown are "looser" but we still managed to lose some money!

We headed back outside to watch the Kiss show and then it was time to head home!

It was a wonderful trip! We learned alot about what we would and would not like to do in the winter...would love to head back next year...

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