Roadtrip part 3: Las Vegas to Pasadena

The adventures of grandmother, mother and daughter on a 9-day roadtrip from Pasadena to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

CONTINUED FROM PART 1 and PART 2.

Day 7 – Dixie National Forest, Las Vegas, NV.

After a night of thunderstorms in Tropic, UT, we woke to more rain.  We packed up and drove back to the 89 and headed south. Soon we turned west onto the 14 and into Dixie National Forest.  Again we saw lava fields and miles of yellow and orange aspen poking out through the pine trees.  We passed Duck Creek and stopped for the view near Navajo Lake.  The drive down Cedar Canyon to Cedar City, UT, was steep and narrow.

After a brief stop in the not-much-going-on Cedar City we drove along the 15 to St George, UT, through another amazing canyon. Once replete with lunch we made the last trek out of beautiful scenery into Las Vegas.

It was a complete nightmare to navigate the 15 to our hotel, the Excalibur.  Once we’d checked in, changed rooms because of the noise, gone for a quick swim, and been to the food court for dinner, we went for a brief walk along The Strip.  The contrast to the past week was immediate.  We retreated to our room before it all became too much.

Total miles: 262.

Day 8 – Las Vegas, NV.

Where to even start?  We were so overwhelmed by the noise and the chaos of the casinos that we had to make a plan.  We’d been given some advice about things to see in various hotels so we decided to do it all.

We started off walking through New York New York, which was similar to the Excalibur inside, the stopped for morning coffee outside the Monte Carlo. This hotel was definitely a step up.

From the Monte Carlo we took the tram, past the Aria, to the Bellagio.  Here we found the chocolate fountain and an indoor garden with an autumn theme.  We walked outside just in time to see the water fountains turn off.  We then headed through the outdoor gardens at Caesars Palace before crossing the road and passing through a revoltingly noisy part of the street until we reached The Venetian.

After experiencing the strangely undulating escalator over the “Bridge of Sighs” and admiring the gondolas in the indoor canal we found ourselves in “St Mark’s Square”.  We had Italian cocktails and lunch at Otto’s.

Suitably fortified we continued along the strip to the Wynn (very nice, another indoor garden), before turning back to head into Treasure Island.  Naturally the tram station here was closed so we walked back into the Forum Shops next to Caesars Palace.  Turning at the Fountain of the Gods (or whatever they called it) we came into the casino before crossing back to the Bellagio, walking miles to the tram to the Monte Carlo and completing the final trek back to to the Excalibur.

We were exhausted, but after a few hours of being horizontal we decided we did have enough strength to walk back up to the Bellagio to see the fountains at night. They were impressive and not that crowded.

Total miles: 0. (on foot: easily 7 miles).

Day 9 – Pahrump, Barstow, Pasadena, CA.

We shopped for souvenirs before we checked out, and had a go on the slot machines, to not much avail. Having decided against a straight blast back to Pasadena we turned onto the 160 just south of Las Vegas and headed towards the amusingly named Pahrump.  The main industries in this town appeared to be gambling, guns and fireworks.

After a coffee stop we drove onto the 372->178->127 through a fabulous desert area.  The temperature climbed and it was dry and dusty. We were even fooled by a mirage at one point, and we hardly saw another vehicle. Eventually we rejoined the 15 and stopped at Barstow bus station for lunch.

The drive on the 15/210 back to Pasadena was terrifying, with roadworks and no-one paying any attention to the speed signs, plus everyone doing the usual LA-lane-switching moves. We hit Pasadena at close to evening rush hour but got home in one piece.

Total miles: 299.

Total trip miles: 1901.

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