December 3, 2010

Trip Highlights

Here are some hightlights from our vacation:

At the Hat before we hit the road

The drive only took about 3.5 hours with some stops for gas

Our room at the Planet Hollywood Towers Hotel in Las Vegas
 At the Planet Hollywood Casino, they had pole dancers behind the pit games. I can see why parents would not want their kids walking through the casino to get the hotel! I waved at one and she blew a kiss at me. Mani was more interested in Blackjack than dancing girls. Not sure if that was for real, or if he was trying hard not to look, either way, he's a good egg!
View from our room on the 53rd floor-- not too shabby!

We had breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was pretty good, but a little over-priced like all of Vegas. We decided that for a normal dinner, you take what you would usually pay and add $10-15. This strategy worked well for budgeting.
At the MnM Store
New York, New York
At the Excalibur during our night out on the town

The third day, we hit up the Hooter's Casino for some $3 blackjack and ended up winning back most of what we had spent in Vegas, so that was cool. We left about 2 and spent most of the day driving, stopping in Green River, Utah for the night.
....entering Utah
Utah was not my favorite place. It's pretty, but there's not much going on and the people there were not very nice to us. I don't know if it's because we are a bi-racial couple or just outsiders or if that's just the way they normally are, but after Vegas, where everyone is super-friendly, Utah was a bit of a shock.
Pretty mountains in Utah

After breakfast, we left Green River and high-tailed it to Colorado Springs, Colorado! Whoo hoo!
Beautiful Green River, Utah
Breakfast here was pretty good, but they had books by the same person on all the tables and our table had a phone. Weird.
Colorado trees! So pretty!
I love Colorado! Such a fresh, clean atmosphere and beauty everywhere. If I could live anywhere, this would be it...
We arrived in the evening and just kind of settled in. We stayed at the Travelodge on Ore Mills Road and I would highly recommend it to anyone staying in the area. The room was clean and good-sized and the staff was terrific! After settling in a little, we went to the Mason Jar for dinner. So good! I wish we could've gotten back there before we left. One of the things I love about the Springs is all of the family-owned and small businesses. In California, rent, taxes, and other expenses make small places that almost extinct--at least in the LA/Orange County area. Another reason to move there...


Today was the rehearsal lunch for Chris and Susan's wedding.
Shove Chapel is so beautiful!
Here we all are rehearsing...
After the rehearsal, we went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch. Mani was the only actual Mexican there from what I could tell, but the food was still pretty good! Both dads gave cute blubbery speeches. It was great. :-)
After the lunch, Mani went back to the hotel to rest and I went for coffee with my best friend Stacia! We went to Agia Sophia, my favorite coffee shop in town. It was great just to be able to talk in person for so long. For dinner, we re-joined Mani and went to Pei Wei. Yum.


The Johnson-Saylor Wedding! The wedding was in the evening, but preparations took most of the day. We took pictures before the ceremony, which mostly involved trapsing up and down large hills in high-heeled shoes. I was glad when that part was over. The wedding itself was beautiful, with one of the best wedding sermons I've ever heard, given by Glen Pakium. The message encouraged the couple to look to the Lord for help in loving each other, and to love each other as an act of worship. This, he exhorted, would make for a lasting marriage. I have found this to be true in my own life and thought his words were very wise.
There really were quite a few people there--it's just a really big chapel!
Pastor Glen and the happy couple taking communion
Receiving line
The reception was great! Our table was a mini-APU reunion, with Stacia, my friends from college Joel, Mike, and Alexander, as well as some friends from Colorado. It was really a major highlight of the trip.
Stacia and Stephanie-- Best Friends Forever... forever!
Two happy couples!
Mani and Joel

So we decided that rather than split the trip back between three days, we would try and make it from Colorado Springs to Vegas in one day, having two more days to spend in Sin City. We liked the Hooter's Casino the first time, so we decided to try the hotel. Got an awesome deal ($25/night!), so we headed out bright and early Monday morning.
More gorgeous scenery
We stopped to eat at Mom's in Salina, Utah, and again, super-unfriendly. This time the waitress was a bit hostile. She acted disgusted with us the whole time for no reason that I could think of. All in all, Utah= not our favorite place. Maybe it's different up north in some of the bigger cities.

We arrived in Las Vegas around 7, making the whole trip in 12 hours, including stops!

We spent most of this day relaxing in our room and wondering the strip, trying to see things we didn't get to see the first time. We saw the Luxor and way more of the MGM Grand than we wanted to see trying to find the tram entrance--that thing is huge!
Strip by day-- that's a description, not an imperative...
That evening we went to Hooter's for dinner, which was pretty good. I am a little more open to trying the one at home now after this one. As for the Hooter's girls, they might as well have been wearing habits after all the skin we'd seen in Vegas. Mani said their outfits looked like pajamas. That made me giggle. The pool was open 24 hours, which was really nice and after dinner we went down to hang out in the hot tub and met a nice couple from Indiana on their honeymoon.


Last day! We had breakfast in the Mad Onion, one of my faves in Vegas now. We spent most of the morning in the casino, where we did not have the same luck as we did before. All in all, though, I would say that we managed to break even and have a pretty good time. We left during the afternoon to try and get home relatively early as we both had to go to work the next day.
All and all, an amazing vacation with the person I love most in the world.  Couldn't ask for more.

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