Day 71 – Amargosa to Las Vegas

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Amargosa to Las Vegas was a pretty short distance so we only left the hotel at about 11am after I had breakfast at the cafe (scrambled eggs, hash browns & toast) and as much coffee as I could handle. The trip to Las Vegas was easy and we found ourselves firmly in Nevada, driving through more dry plains and mountains, much like we had been for the last few days. Check-in at the hotel was only 3pm so we had some time to spare and decided to drive through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, again using our annual pass (value used so far $156!). It was an interesting drive with some good sights and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area – though of course it was very hot and we didn’t do any of the hikes that you can do. Somehow we always find ourselves where you need to do some walks to really appreciate nature at the warmest part of the day!
From Red Rock we drove into Las Vegas, another sprawling city that I recognise from the original CSI – I used to be really into the series! I also mainly know the names of the hotels and casinos from watching the show, so it was interesting to see them all. We got into some traffic, which meant that we were ready for check-in exactly at 3pm. I’d read a lot of reviews on Treasure Island and it took me ages to finally decide on it (price was the defining factor in the end as I could get a really good price with them direct). One of the things a lot of people complained about in reviews was having to wait a long time to check in, but for us it was painless and we got a great room on the 14th floor, overlooking the swimming pool and the Mirage. We took all our stuff up to the room, including the beer, water and snacks we’d bought in preparation for Vegas prices, and it was bloody heavy! By the time we’d put our things down and stocked the fridge (another commodity that most of the other hotels I looked at didn’t feature) we were warm and the room was lovely and cool, so cooled down for a bit before setting out to explore the town. Treasure Island is pretty much in the middle of the strip (depending on how you look at it) and my research indicated that the Vegas branch of Umami was in the northern direction, at the SLS and in the opposite direction from the more well known hotels like the Bellagio etc. We decided to head out in that general direction and walked past the Wynn, Encore, Riviera (shut now), Circus Circus, etc until we finally got to the SLS – in the heat it feels like you walk a helluva lot further than you actually do! Brian had the Manly at Umami and I had some amazing nachos with pulled pork, black beans and guacamole. The nachos were perfect and made in house – not the typical Doritos style nacho chips that you tend to get in most places. Brian’s burger and onion rings were yet again very good and I just wish there were more of them about as I doubt I’ll have another Umami meal again!
After we’d eaten we walked back and this is when you realise that going out in Vegas during the daytime is pretty pointless because it is frankly quite ugly, hot and not much to look at. Of course once the sun sets and it gets dark it is a completely different scenario and it becomes much more fairytale pretty – or gauche and brash, again depending on your outlook! On the way back we stopped by Circus Circus and walked around for a bit, but it is rather tattered looking and we didn’t stick around long (it is apparently closing down later this year). We wandered further up the road and walked through the Wynn, which out of all the casinos we saw in the three days we were there was by far the nicest and swankiest, and not anywhere near as common as some of them. It was also totally out of our price range to stay at!
Instead of finishing the night at that point, we headed past our hotel to the Mirage for their Volcano show at 9pm and waited, along with a throng of other people for it to start. The volcano show was pretty impressive and we really enjoyed it, despite being at the back and not really being able to take any pictures of it. I wanted to carry on to the Bellagio but we were both knackered by that point so went back to the hotel via the casino. I found the casinos fascinating and it is just as well I wasn’t allowed to gamble as I would have happily gambled away all our savings! Brian doesn’t understand the attraction of gambling at all, but I most certainly do!

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