The Neon Museum

 When we decided to go back to Vegas instead of hitting up San Francisco, I wanted to do more than just be drunk on the strip. We agreed on the Grand Canyon being our big trip, but we also wanted smaller excursions around town. We settled on a combo ticket to see the Neon Museum and the Mob Museum while we were there. 

  

The Neon Museum is also known as the Neon Graveyard or Junkyard. It’s a collection of all the old signs from old Las Vegas. The museum offers a one hour guided tour either day or night time. We opted for a day time tour; but I wish we had gone at night. At night everything is lit up, especially the restored signs. 
  

The hour long tour features a lt of tales about the history of Las Vegas.  A lot of it was random, but also fun. 

The Neon Museum is used for weddings, so when displaying the Moulin Rouge sign, they chose to do so in a way that displayed ‘in love’ for wedding photos. 

    

This guy was actually designed to be displayed without paint. But, everything is painted in Vegas. Go big or go home. 

I remember nothing about this sign. Except that I love seahorses.   

  

I love the space age lettering of this sign. Also, all the little glitter puffs that are little atomic dust puffs. They are the best. Probably my favorite old Vegas story is that they would host atomic testing viewing parties and drive people out into the desert to watch the tests. 

When the guide asked the theme of this museum, B immediately answered death. Because, you know, the afterlife makes people want to gamble. 

  
The museum is a non profit that restores old signs. They take in old signs, display them all, and  restore the most damaged ones so they can be displayed for years to come. I love their mission of preservation. 
  

This adorable duck evidently cost a car dealership over 250 thousand. In the sixties. People be crazy. 

In all, I loved our trip to the Neon Museum.  I do want to go back at night to see it all lit up. I would even consider paying to do a photo shoot there, it’s really a great place. When you add in visiting the Mob Museum, it’s a great deal. Both give a window into the history of Vegas. If you’re looking for more culture and histor in Vegas, I highly recommend both the Neon and Mob museums.  

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Grand Canyon West

img_2867Once upon a time on a different blog I used to write recap posts of all of our amazing vacations. I only missed a few of them, and honestly, looking back the gaps make me sad. I love reading back over our trips the same way I love flipping through our photo books. Maybe that makes me a little schmaltzy, but I’m okay with that.

img_2894We left Vegas bright and early on Saturday morning to head out to Grand Canyon West. Our first order of business was making sure we had food for the day, as we didn’t want to purchase 15 dollar sandwiches on site. After a quick Subway stop, the three of us (B, friend S, and I) were loaded into the car and ready to go. I was a bit apprehensive about the drive, just because I had read online that the roads were rough and unpaved in some areas. As we were driving B’s less than two month old car, I was dreading that part. I also made sure to take screen shots of all of the directions we needed because the internet said it was easy to get lost out there. Neither of those are true. The roads were paved the whole way and there were so many signs that you couldn’t have gotten lost if you had tried. Okay, maybe if you tried really hard and ignored the giant signs.

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My research did pay off in that we knew not to exit the bus for the first stop. It’s just a little “old west” replica town where you can buy souvenirs and the aforementioned $15 sandwiches. Instead, we stayed on for our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. And what a glimpse it was. I was petrified. I absolutely loathe heights, particularly the fact that my husband is so nonchalant around them. The beauty won out over my fear though and I got as close as I dared to look down.

img_2886This sign made us laugh. If you look closely, you’ll see that the person is attempting to come back up from the chasm but is not allowed to jump over the crack. So, if you do go past the sign, you are required to fall to your death and are not allowed to safely make it back to the path. For a place with no guard rails, this seems rather dark.

img_2898Further up the road was an old mine shaft where they mined guano until the mid 60s when a USAF plane clipped the cable with it’s wing and ended that operation. I would love to know the pilot that was joy riding through the Grand Canyon when he took out a bat shit mining cable.

img_2888I do wish there had been more open trails while we were there. I would have loved to do more hiking and to have had the opportunity to get away from what few people were there. We missed most of them by not doing the Skywalk. It looked really cool, but I had to be dragged into the Skybox thing in Chicago, so I was pretty sure there was no way I was going to make it on a loop out over the canyon.

img_2910It reminded me of Turkey, especially Cappadocia, with all of rocks begging to be climbed and no park rangers yelling at you to get down. It made me a little bit homesick for the place honestly.

img_2905This was the trip that made me agree to go back to Vegas the second time. We had originally planned on driving up to San Francisco, but between B’s friend being in Vegas and the chance to see the Grand Canyon, I’m glad we went back. It was fairly impromptu, which was a fun feeling. I feel like we’re getting our traveling groove back and I can’t wait to start venturing out with even more trips.

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Five for Friday, v. 31

I didn’t realize how much I needed Spring Break until it was here and gone. I had one week fully off and the other was a light week. And I feel like a better teacher again for it. My patience is back, I’m focusing on keeping it fun, and even more, I’m not counting down to the end of each lesson. 

  

one Since I originally started this post, our second trip to Vegas has come and gone. It was even better than the first. I’m both happy and sad that we don’t have any travel plans on the schedule for awhile. Happy because I’ve missed my routine, but sad because traveling is where it’s at. 

 

two The worst part about all the travel was missing this face. He’s spent an inordinate amount of time at the inlaws while we were gone. I’m not even sure he’s happy to be home. We have neither a pool nor a fountain, not to mention the decided lack of his sister dog. But, we sure are happy to have him back. And now that this hectic week is over, I think he’ll start to enjoy it too since he’ll actually get to see us. 

 
three We stayed on the strip this time around and I honestly can’t stress enough how much of an improvement this was. We could walk out of our room and be in the perfect chaos in five minutes. It was exactly the experience we wanted. Plus, everyone at Bally’s was super nice, from the check in clerk who upgraded our room, to the sales associate in their version of Claire’s who gave me an earring backing to replace the one I dropped down the sink. I am very glad we prioritized being on strip this time around and honestly don’t think I would do it any other way now. It was too much fun. 

  

four We read a lot of mixed reviews about going to Grand Canyon West from Vegas. It’s two hours closer than the National Park, and still over two hours away. First, there are multiple Yelp reviews talking about unpaved roads, there were none. Everything was paved and very well marked. I was stressed about getting lost due to the reviews, but it honestly wouldn’t have been possible. Second, there were many gripes about the price. It was steep. Almost 50 dollars per person and that was just for entry and access to the shuttle that you have to use to go to the three points. But, it was worth it to not need to spend an additional two hours each way in the car. You could pay more to go out onto the skywalk, but I had no desire to do that. Third, everyone complained about safety. There are no guardrails or fences there. You can walk right up to the edge. It was awesome. My overall review is that it was worth it.  The view was staggering, we had never been, so it was fun to do. That said, there’s not a lot to do out there, so I’m not sure I would go back unless we planned on hopping in a helicopter. 

 

five If it’s not evident, a week later I’m still all about Vegas. This week was a huge struggle. Partly due to the emotional letdown from being back home and partly due to the fact that it was a logistical nightmare. I’m not sure when we’ll go back, but we definitely will. It’s the perfect weekend getaway. 
  

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Vegas

Oh man, Vegas was so much fun. The trip went by way too fast, but it was the best. I suppose that’s trips in general, but the memories are the best. 

 
Post work on Saturday I picked up my friend and travel companion so we could begin our trip. We kicked off the festivities with mimosas while waiting for our Uber and then had wine at the airport bar. Once again, our little airport made my day. We were through security a mere thirteen minutes after leaving my house.  


We made it to Vegas and wandered the strip while waiting for the guys to finish their runs. We got our drinks and enjoyed people watching and window shopping. Thankfully, B was able to join us quickly, though he was exhausted and we all called it a fairly early night. 

 

We kicked Sunday off the only way you can in Vegas – brunch with bottomless mimosas. We took our duty seriously, and got happily tipsy. The food was good, but I actually hate all you can eat buffets because I never feel like I eat enough to justify the price. Vegas fixed that by letting me drink my money’s worth. 
  
Because we were up there for a relay race, and because their team took third in their division, we lost a good chunk of Sunday to the award ceremony. Part of this was because we were noobs and believed the fake early start time. Never again. Still, we made the most of it. I will note that none of this would have been as irritating if we hadn’t been staying off strip and if we had been aware of the monorail. That was poor planning on our part that detracted from some of the fun. 

 

Sunday night found us heading to the Rio to watch Penn and Teller. They were so much fun.  Definitely the best magic show I’ve ever been too. This was the highlight of the trip for me. We didn’t even debate the show, as its one we’ve both always wanted to see. Post show we hit the Bellagio Fountains and then wandered Caeser’s Palace in search of the spiral escalator. Sometime it’s the simple things. 

 

We aren’t big on spending loads of money drinking and neither of us gamble. But we loved Vegas. So much, that we changed our travel plans for the start of April. We were talking about going to San Francisco, but we decided to abort and return to Vegas instead. Bring it on. 

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Five for Friday, v. 30

This post is brought to you by Vegas! On my mind only today though, I still have a half day of work left before my flight tomorrow afternoon. But, it’s been at the front of my thoughts all week. I’m forcing myself to relish the anticipation and making myself wait to plan the next trip until we get back from this one. 

  
one What a saga this patio has been. We started last October looking for quotes, before finally finding a guy who wasn’t charging a ludicrous amount for our tiny patio. Then our HOA lost our application for two months. Then they took a solid six weeks to approve us. I called weekly for the last month or so. Good thing to, because they still haven’t mailed it to me. I guess I’m lucky I pushed for the verbal ok and the emailed form. Now we wait a few months, and this summer a friend is coming out to help us stain and resurface it. 

  
two We staycationed last week across the mountains at B’s parents house. It’s always so nice to visit with them. They feed us, have a pool for Loki, and we all enjoy our ‘cruise ship’ days. That’s what we call any day where we wake up late, eat a big breakfast, go on an excursion, come home to nap, and then do appetizers, dinner, and drinks at the pool/hot tub. Which is pretty much every visit. It’s incredibly relaxing and I always feel so recharged when we come home. 

  
three I’m taking a webinar next week for my first professional development for this job. A company just launched a new curriculum that we’re hoping to integrate into our studio. I’m pretty excited as it would lead to some fun, semi-private lessons on my schedule. I’m also hoping it will provide a good boost to my marketability as a teacher. 

  
four Loki stayed at the inlaws this week. It’s been very quiet without him. Some good – like being able to laze in bed or stay up ludicrously late without him getting antsy. But, mostly we’ve missed him. It’s little things like not having him there to share our bananas. We’ve had to actually pick up food dropped in the kitchen, which is no fun at all. I’m glad they took him though, since B’s original plan was to drive him up after work on Thursday and he wound up with overtime that would have made that trip suck. Still, I’m looking forward to getting him back on Monday. 

 

five I haven’t kept my resolution of scheduling a race every 8-12 weeks. Technically, I have until the end of April to find and run one, but I miss having one ready to go. It’s a lot easier to talk myself into shorter runs or not running when I don’t have a race on the calendar. I guess I had better look and see what I can get scheduled. Even if I don’t make the end of April, I’m ready to be training again. I did some lifting last week, and it’s going to take some adjusting to both lift and run regularly.  It’s all about finding the right balance for my life. I’m just not sure what that is. I guess that’s the whole point of living though. 

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Traveling Again

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Once upon a time we were the couple that visited a new country every month. Living in Europe let us quickly, easily, and affordably travel to a new place every few weeks. Honestly, I sometimes think it was all a dream. Which makes me glad I have pictures and memories to prove otherwise. 

2015 was not a good year for travel. We moved twice. Bought a house. B was in an intense six month training academy that made it hard to make the two hour drive up to his parents, much less travel more extensively. I did fly home to Texas three times, but that honestly doesn’t count as traveling to me anymore than driving up to my inlaws. I’m currently working on our 2015 photo book, and it’s going to be a bit anemic.

Don’t get me wrong, we explored a lot of LA and still have ton more to visit. There’s a myriad of things to do around here. 

But. I miss the excitement of planning trips. The rush of booking flights and hotels. The high of picking that one big must-do thing and setting it up. The eager anticipation of counting down the days until the trip. The whirlwind that every trip brings. And, finally, savoring the memories after. 

If you can’t tell, I’m a bit addicted to travel. And, luckily for me we’re back at it. We’re headed to Las Vegas this weekend so I’m in the anticipation stage for it. We’re also in the planning and booking stage to go to San Francisco early next month. Plus doing some research into camping at Joshua Tree and King’s Canyon in the next few months. And starting talks about going to Mexico this September. 

We’re back at it. And I’ve missed this so much. Here’s to knowing what makes you happy, and doing it. 

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Noise

There’s so much noise in the world. So much media to consume. So many voices clamoring for attention. 

Where do I fit in? Is my voice simply part of the confused static? Or am I bringing something meaningful to the table? 

I find myself starting and deleting posts, tweets, facebook updates, and more as I wonder if what I want to say really needs to be said. Or am I just filling up the void with more noise?

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