The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Boca and Vega$ (a.k.a. You Gotta Love Livin’, Baby!, Part 2)

After a day of unpacking and repacking, it was off to Las Vegas with that Most Beautiful Lady®, Karen Landes. We were both attending Jen & Michael’s Elvis Wedding, so we decided to travel together and add a few days in the desert—mainly Bryce Canyon (which I’d been to before) and Antelope Canyon (which I’ll never forget—see amazing photos below!)

Murphy’s law was in full force on our first day. Our first flight was delayed so we missed our connection. We made a later flight, but our luggage didn’t so we had to wait for it. Then the rental place gave us the wrong car so we had to wait for another. Then we hit rush hour traffic so we ran even later. Then we lost an hour crossing into Utah so it was actually later. But finally, around midnight, we arrived at our hotel in Bryce.

Here’s Karen riding Ted:


Our hotel in Bryce. We called it “Pappy Bryce’s” because it’s where Ebenezer Bryce himself once lived. It was a little scary for those of us used to the better amenities that you would find at, say, the Ritz-Carlton. Or even a Holiday Inn. Or even the Bates Motel:


The next morning we officially headed into Bryce Canyon National Park…but as we did so, it started to snow! You couldn’t see a thing. So we headed into the famed Ruby’s Inn for lunch:


It was a country buffet served up especially for the tour groups of elderly folks, Japanese people, Frenchmen, and us. But Karen was excited:


Luckily the snow faded while we had lunch, so we headed in…and of course it was well worth the wait:




Bryce is best know for its hoodoos, the millions of tall, striped pinnacles of rock:



We spent several hours hiking a trail down into the Canyon, and back up. Unfortunately, I was getting very sick, and the vertical drop and rise on the trail was so steep that it even made my ears pop. But it did let us climb among the hoodoos:



Here’s Karen in a tunnel through some hoodoos:


And here’s a quick video of me walking through the same tunnel (click on it to play):


Enthralled by nature, Karen kicks up her heels:


More views on the trail:



In the middle of the trail we were caught in a passing hailstorm!


As we climbed back up, I cursed Karen for making me exert my sick ass in a hailstorm. Here she is hiking back up, toward “Two Bridges”:


More hoodoo views on the way up:



Karen wasn’t happy with the trail conditions, so she hopped on this tractor:


…but she paid the price:


Here we are back at the top:


Back in the parking lot, we came upon the largest raven in the history of mankind:



A few more views of Bryce:




And here’s one of another natural beauty:


As darkness settled in, we got back on the road and drove to Page, AZ for the night. This might be a good place to point out that we never spent two nights in the same time zone. Nevada is on Pacific Time. Utah is on Mountain Time. Arizona is also on Mountain Time but doesn’t use Daylight Savings. The Navajo Reservation does use Daylight Savings. And the Hopi Reservation, which is inside the Navajo Reservation, does not. So we never knew what the hell time it was.

The hotel that Karen found for us in Page was, amazingly, even scarier than Pappy Bryce’s. But the next morning we quickly left it and headed out to Antelope Canyon. It’s the most famous slot canyon in the Southwest. A slot canyon is a very narrow one—there were placed where two people could barely pass one other. Antelope is known for it’s fantastic shapes and fabulous colors, especially when shafts of sunlight break through it for a few fleeting, magical moments at high noon.

The unassuming entrance:


Inside one of the canyon’s more open areas:


We arrived there just in time for the crowds…I mean, just in time for the sunlight to break through (which makes for some stunning photo ops):





It was fun watching the crowds struggle to take pictures without the crowds actually appearing in them. One thing the tour guides keep reminding you is to “look up!” And these are the sorts of views you have when you do:





Here’s Karen inside the canyon:


She looks like she might be having a religious experience in this one:


A few more views throughout the canyon. The crowds leave after the sun does, but we were on an extended tour that hung around after. This was great, because it emptied out but remained just as beautiful in the changing afternoon light:






Here’s Karen coming out of the other end:


That afternoon we began our drive back toward Vegas past some more beautiful scenes. Page is near the shores of Lake Powell:



We drove through Zion National Park around sunset:



The weather was dicey but we still had time for a short hike before dark. Here’s Karen fording a stream:


Karen LOVED this topographical map of Zion Valley:


After spending the night in St. George, we finished our drive back to Vegas in the morning. Ah, Vegas. There’s just nothing like it. We stayed at the Excalibur. Some people mocked us for this, but it was perfectly lovely and, as their tagline says, “You rule!”


Here’s Karen checking out the Excalibur’s knight life. HAHAHAHA!:


We dressed and primped and prepared and headed to the Graceland Chapel:



There we met up with that most famous Wyniswoman® Missy Wilson:


Then the wedding. I’m glad they went with the more entertaining late Elvis. He doesn’t perform the ceremony, but interjects songs here and there while a justice of the peace performs the wedding. It was great fun and certainly unlike any other wedding I’ve ever been to (though I think that Elvis might have been a little drunk…):





Afterwards, there was a dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, which is located inside Caesar’s. We had a great private room for the guests, who numbered about 30 or so. The food was outstandingly good and we all had a great time.

Here’s the couple giving a toast. They both looked great and seemed so happy:


The Elvis glasses with “built-in-‘burns” were a wedding favor:



Here’s Missy with a delicious Kobe beef slider:


Here we are with the blushing bride:


Here’s Missy’s husband Scott. With the glasses on his head, he looks like Larry Fine:


Here’s the groom getting into the act with some shenanigans:


After the dinner, we headed out on the town. Missy’s shoes were killing her so she padded it barefoot through the Forum Shops:


I accosted a display:


Karen and Missy outside Caesar’s. The glass in Missy’s hands tells you that they have no “open container” law. And the glaze in her eyes tells you that she was taking full advantage of it!:


This hazy gaze of the Strip is about the last thing I remember. Or at least the last thing I can talk about. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”:


The next day I finally got some much-needed rest. I also called my doctor who diagnosed me by phone as having a respiratory infection and called an antibiotic into a nearby pharmacy. Karen relaxed by the pool, and in the afternoon we explored some of the other big casinos. Here’s New York, New York:


The funny thing is that inside New York, New York they have a replica of The Daily News Building, which is where I work! It’s so strange that when you work someplace every day you don’t give it a second thought, and yet there are always tourists in our lobby from around the world to see the art deco building that inspired “The Daily Planet”:


Karen going for big dollars (literally) at the Venetian:


Some people like the Luxor, but I think it sphinx. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!


Karen in front of the Luxor, which is topped by the world’s brightest beam of light (everything in Las Vegas requires some sort of superlative):


Inside the Luxor we partook of that Vegas rite of passage, the all-you-can-eat buffet—in this case known as the Pharaoh’s Pheast Buffet:



After dinner, it was time for some gaming!

I always have luck with Larry the Lobster, and as you can see, I did once again:


Sadly, the slot machines don’t actually use coins anymore. They just print a ticket while making a coin-like sound effect. Sad, sad. Karen enjoyed his machine, which seemed a little lacist:


We also hit the tables. Karen hit it big on Blackjack. Maybe too big, because she developed a problem, and the fun stopped:


We were pretty impressed at how well we trashed our room in only a day:



Leaving Las Vegas:


So of course it was all great time. Here are a few parting shots…

The toilet on Ted. Are there really people who need directions on how to use one?!:


Karen often left her shower cap to dry in the car:


These birds wer inside Denver International Airport. Perhaps they thought they needed to wait for clearance:


At a restaurant in Utah. At least they can laugh at themselves:

2 Comments:

  • it's really annoying that you can't leave comments below each picture because i have several addendums and i had to take notes.

    1) we actually referred to the bryce pioneer inn as 'pappy's cabin', not pappy's whatever you said. the only reason i mention it is because you made it up and i felt you should get credit because it's more entertaining.

    2) i just couldn't believe you passed up the opportunity to make a comment about the fact that a raven was clearly having a staring contest with a woman in a car, particularly because she looks like a lenore

    3) FEAR of the 'natural beauty' comment being so incorrect and not allowed

    4) for some reason (very unilke you) it seems you were saving missy and i from the humiliation of revealing that neither of us could suck up the pain of the girly shoes and that you therefore PURCHASED MATCHING FLIP FLOPS FOR US at lucky jeans in the middle of the nite that we then proceeded to parade around vegas in.

    5) i would just like to state for the record that i wolfed down two more plates at the pharaoh's feast while you writhed in pain across the table. it was quite the pathetic display.

    the end

    By Anonymous mbl, at 8:20 PM  

  • I was going to say "Whatsa matter with that girl's face?" but I didn't want you to think I was really insulting you, Karen. It's just what Doug always says about my boys!

    By Anonymous Elisa, at 8:17 AM  

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