Saturday, March 31, 2012

Part Three Titled: The Post of Many Pictures OR Don't Travel With Someone Who Loves To Take Pictures


The next morning, I was able to take a look around and see where we had actually ended up the night before. I walked over to the car to get some water, and this is how the tent looked from the car.

Turns out, we had pitched the tent behind a pile of rocks and rubble. It appears they were clearing this side of the highway so they could develop it.

From the car looking across the highway, imagine my surprise when I saw this:

Yeah, it was a whole camper site! Had someone seen the car lights the night before, we could have been in a bit of trouble!! We broke camp faster than anything and bolted out of there before someone called the police!

I drove in to Vegas. We did not have a place to stay that night yet, so we found a Starbucks and mooched off their free wi-fi to look online for a hotel.
Mr. J was QUITE perplexed when we saw the prices were SO HIGH! So often the day of, Vegas hotels have good deals, and we had been counting on that! However, when he looked online, even a ONE star motel was over 200 dollars for a night!
Well, Mr. J was pretty set on getting a shower (LAME). He had been looking forward to a motel just for that clean, fresh, HOT water! Well, he was pretty put out when he saw the strangely high prices. He searched online and finally settled with a campsite boasting a free shower. I looked at him with horror and disgust in my eyes and shouted, "EEEEW! NO!" But he assured me I could wear my shoes and it would be okay. So, I took a deep breath and another anti O.C.D. pill, and left him in the car to walk across the parking lot to the CVS Pharmacy buy some shower staples, like soap.

As soon as I stepped through the doors, I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore!
Slot machines...

An entire liquor section...

And bottles of Jack Daniels! Like we were in some real liquor store! Horrible! (...but under 18 bucks?! That's a steal! lol)

I found some nasty shampoo for 88 cents...or the nice stuff in travel size for 99 cents...

I went with the nice stuff. ;) But I justified it by saying the travel size was MUCH more practical!

After getting our soap and shampoo (AND conditioner! Just because we are camping doesn't mean we have to have dry, static-y hair! Come on!), we drove off to find our campsite.

But it wasn't out in the woods.

It was on the side of some nasty four lane highway (are we loving camping near highways?! Oh my yes!).

In a really scummy part of town. (I know you think ALL of Vegas is pretty yucky...take the normal yuck, and reduce that standard by 5 and you have this area. Really.)

Imagine the look on my face I turned the car steering wheel and pulled in here! Ha ha ha!

Across the street was this guy.
We drove around the camp site. I was shocked and horrified, and then humbled myself and got over it. We got out of the car to look around.

I was laughing so hard at what I saw!

This patch of grass here, that is the "camp site"!
All around were campers where people were LIVING!
For a second, I laughed at our situation and where we were....but then I felt really sad. I realized people were having to LIVE here. Like this.

Even though I felt badly, I couldn't help but laugh at this. :) What a place to send your kids to play...on the roof of the shed! HA HA! :)
This was the owners attempt at keeping things "nice", I guess. lol

I wanted to go buy construction paper, markers and tape and "Heart Attack" all the campers! ("Heart Attack"ing is when you cut out hearts and write kind words on them and tape them all over someone's door! Wouldn't that have been FUN to do here?!)

However, after seeing what looked like a drug deal, Mr. J didn't feel it would be safe to stay the night here.

Good call, man.

But he thought we could still pay and use the showers!!

The office was locked, but found the free showers. Despite my "getting over it" I refused to go near them. Mr. J, on the other hand, played the "Brave Man" card and approached...only to find the showers locked.

And I thought he was going to hyperventilate.

These are the thoughts that must have been going through his nearly crazed mind.

So, I did what any good girlfriend would do.

I took him by the arm and said in my most to-the-point voice used to whip anyone back into reality, "Sweetie? You are going to be fine. It is just a shower. You need to accept the fact that you probably will NOT get a shower today. Just let it go. Accept it, and get over it."

So, he did. After a second of hyperventilating. ;)

Then, we found the sign at the camp ground entrance. Somehow we had missed it when we drove in...not surprisingly.

Mr. J wanted to make sure to point out the FREE showers.

I, on the other hand, was wondering just how this campsite could be safe since the office was closed, the gate didn't close, it was on a highway, and the guy in the kidnapper van was setting up shop across the street. Hmmmmm.
Well, we decided that place wasn't going to work out. So, we sat on a bench and ate our left over pasta from the night before (with our hands, because we didn't have forks) and then we headed to THE STRIP! (What do you mean, "Why didn't we plan a place to stay that night first before going downtown?" We DID do that! We planned to stay at that campsite! When that didn't work out we figured we had done our part to plan and now the planning was over and we were going to have fun! Sheesh!)

In our haste to leave our construction-site-campground that morning, we hadn't changed out of our pajamas. So, once on the strip, we pulled in to a free parking garage down on the strip and changed into clothes. We also used our new travel size bottle soap (thank you, Breclyn!) and water bottles to wash our faces AND I even combed my hair. I know, I really wanted to "dress up" to go in to Vegas. Put on my fancy wear.

We had a BLAST walking around Vegas! As you will see from all the many pictures below.

Trying my darndest to look like the mannequin in the window of an AMAZING mask and costume shop in the Venetian.
Actors at the Venetian

Mr. J and I played a little Black Jack. We said if we won big we would go to Cirque Du Soleil!

Then, we decided maybe if we won big we would just stay in a motel instead (Mr. J was still dreaming of a shower. After a 4 hour hike the day before and camping two nights in a row, I guess it really wasn't such an outlandish request.)

Finally, we decided we should just try and make enough for dinner (since we had been eating beef jerky, that we rationed because it is SO expensive, crackers and gummies).

Well, we made enough for dinner, and we ate like kings! We went to a restaurant in the casino called BLT Burger. It was AH-MAZING!

The menu made me laugh. Read it and see if you laugh, too. HA HA, only in Vegas. ;)

But their cowboy burger was TO DIE for. YUM! Do you see how HUGE that thing is?!

We got a milkshake to share, too. This was a TWINKY and carmel syrup milkshake! YUM!! (Unfortunately, the texture was more than either of us could handle and we didn't drink much. Too bad. :( )

Out on the strip again, we saw movie characters. They were in the most HORRIBLE, raggidy, nasty costumes! But to make things worse, look what Mickey Mouse was sporting!
Yup. A bottle of beer. Anyone know of a 12 Step Program for mice?!

In Ceasar's Palace, I did my best to blend in with my surroundings and look like one of the locals...who happened to be a fish.

In The Bellagio, one area was decorated like Holland! It was breathtaking and I could have stayed in there forever. It was so magical! It smelled so good from all the flowers--tulips, poppies, daffodils, those flowers that look like lilacs (I don't know the names of many flowers)! Check out the HUGE bees! And the daffodils! From the ceiling parasols upside down with poppies painted on the top. There was a stream with a little waterfall so it sounded lovely. And there were flowers EVERYWHERE! They smelled SO GOOD!

So, we finally were so tired it was time to call it a night.

So, where did we finally sleep??

With no other options, we drove back to Cedar City, found our good ol' construction site, and camped there. If you stay somewhere and return the next night, it almost makes you feel like you are going home.

Kind of.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 2!!

So, I have to start by saying, our plan all along had been to go camping. I had brought camping clothes (holy jeans, flannel shirts, etc.). I knew we would be going to a show later in the week after we came home, though, so I brought a couple outfits to wear once we returned to Salt Lake, and to wear to the show.

Well, on my drive to Utah, I called Mr. J and he said something about Las Vegas. Well, _I_ said, "We should go!" And we decided we would do that! ... Or, we KIND of decided. Truth is, we didn't know what we would end up doing until we did it! So, I brought camping clothes AND Vegas clothes! HA HA HA! And Jesse never, ever said a single word about how much I packed.

Now THAT is true love.

And the fact he was okay without having a "plan" and his total spontaneity was precisely my cup of tea. ;)


After camping all night in Fillmore near the hot springs, I woke up WARM and I was SOOO HAPPY! The sun was shining and the birds were singing. We walked down to the hot springs and went for a swim (or should I say, soak? I hardly swam at all...just sat and enjoyed the warm water, the sunshine, and the beautiful view).

After we got out, we went back to the car and started the long drive south.

Mr. J had to study, so I drove while he dove in to his books.

Mr. J really took his exam on Monday SERIOUSLY! He studied...

...and studied...
(...I tried to stay awake driving so he could study...)
...and STUDIED!
( If he didn't ace that test Monday, I don't know why!
It certainly wasn't for lack of studying!)

Finally, we arrived...AT ZIONS!!!!!!!

We had decided we would stop there and hike!

I will not go in to details here (those WILL come another day...TRUST me. I have a LOT to say about THAT!).

But we hiked ANGEL'S LANDING.

I kid you not.

And it was amazing.

And part of it was even enjoyable!

And it was kinda hard.

At the end of the hike, when there were STEPS to climb, I was so mad at Mr. J! After reaching the top, I wouldn't even TALK to him for a few minutes, and didn't really forgive him until we were on our way back down some time later. I was NOT pleased.

BUT, I woke up the next morning ready to hike it again. :) ;) For a girl who HATES hiking....I surely enjoyed it! :D

After what felt like hours but was actually a lifetime (yes, I meant what I just said) WE FINALLY MADE IT TO THE TOP! PHEW! I DIDN'T DIE!!!!!!

At the top of the mountain, we sat and ate a few snacks we had brought along...gummies, jerky, granola bars and crackers. There were these darling little chipmunks up there running around the rocks. As SOON as we broke out the granola bars, those little guys were begging! They became more and more bold in approaching us, and by the time I was eating a peanut butter cracker, I had made a new best friend. Check out THIS video! Is that CUTE, or what?!

So, after we had taken in as much of the spectacular view as our human eyes and minds could absorb, we headed down the mountain.

Once down, we decided to really splurge and eat out at the lodge. The food was SO GOOD (or we were just really hungry...?).

By the time dinner was over, it was about 10:30pm and I was falling asleep at the table! We had seen some camp sites in the way in to the park and decided to hunker down there for the night...only when we got to the campground there were no open sites!

Except one.

That you had to hike back to.

Well, needless to say, we ditched THAT idea.

I was too tired to drive, so Mr. J took the wheel and we headed to Cedar City.

I slept the entire way there! I felt like I had been drugged, or something! I was BEAT!

We arrived in Cedar City and drove around looking for a place to camp. After a long time of looking, we headed off down a highway type road and ended up turning in to a construction zone. PERFECT! I was so worn out, I stayed in the car and let Mr. J put the tent up alone (wasn't that kind of me?!). Once I was in the tent, I was out like a LIGHT!

Thus ends day 2. You will laugh SO HARD at the sight that met my eyes upon leaving the tent the next morning! Stay tuned! :D :D