Road Trip 2013: Day 12, September 10, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Welcome to Vegas BABY!

I think that we need to invest in a better bed at my house.  I think that last night was our 9th hotel last night and I have yet to sleep on a bed that is not more comfortable than our bed. Now that is partly our fault...when we bought our mattress, the lady showed us the mattresses and when she pointed out one mattress said “this mattress is more for kids or people starting out.”  But when Robby saw the price of the other mattresses and then the price of the that mattress-well, you can guess which one we purchased!  

And then my bedding, well it needs updating too.  But since I am a realist and know what 6 kids can quickly do to nice bedding and
because I would prefer to give up nice bedding and sleep in a hotel for another night or two, I will do without for awhile. Maybe I should just shove all of the bedding into the car when we leave the next hotel-why not?  My mom has filled her bag full of soaps and coffee (I usually do too but my space is too limited on this trip!)

The girls were anxious to go to breakfast with Nonna and Pops only and not the boys.  They had been to breakfast and were already back by the time we headed down the hall for breakfast.  The boys had eggs and sausage along with a muffin and cereal and when they asked for a waffle we had to cut them off.  I again had my bagel opting to skip the sausage and eggs!  (see day 7)  

And before long we were back in the room loading kids and suitcases on the cart.  Obviously, we take 2 elevators to get downstairs so after waiting on the second, we loaded up for the day of driving. Due to the fire and road closure at Yosemite, we did have to back track some today but that was fine. There was plenty to see with the people picking grapes from the rows and rows of vines.  

We came along more Joshua trees, more windmills and much more desert land.  We took a bit of a detour through the Mojave desert to see what we could see.  We drove through the Mojave Air and Space Port.  It is where they do some of the private space stuff.  We drove around the airport to see what we could see and even went to a visitor’s center and saw a model of the Voyager Spaceship One-first manned private spaceflight in 2004.  To the kids just seeing an airplane is a big deal so this stop was a hit.

But an even bigger hit was the next stop-McDonalds for ice cream.  Graham had his first chocolate dipped cone and everyone else had oreo shakes.  That was the first time all day long that Campbell has been quiet for a few minutes was when she was eating her ice cream.  I tried to give Whitman some ice cream but the poor thing who hasn’t even had cereal wasn’t too keen on ice cream.  When we get home, I will definitely have to start letting Whitman have cereal-soon he will be saying “please feed me” and I haven’t let him have even cereal yet.  I should have started feeding him before the trip but was afraid he would eat too slowly (and messily) for our travels.  I have to get him good and trained before the next trip-don’t have much time but I will try my best!

Back on the road, we headed back through the Mojave Desert.  It is something all of the different landscape that we have seen on this trip.  Robby is busying himself trying to figure out how we could travel permanently.  I am just planning on converting this van into an RV when the kids grow up-maybe it will still be working!  We did see cars from a company called Juicy Rentals (or something similar)  It is a very interesting concept-they take minivans and convert them into RVs-looks like a bed up top, stove in the back.  I couldn’t figure out where the bathroom might be but I might need a little more privacy than that.    

We stopped again at a McDonalds but this one was huge.  It was in Barstow, California.  All of the major roads through here intersect in this town so the McDonalds and connected shops were pretty big.  The McDonalds was actually made up of train cars so that was a delight for the kids-especially Campbell.  

Most of the trip today we have been near train tracks.  And my Campbell has loved trains and train tracks since she was tiny.  Each and every time for as long as I can remember, she has been our train and train track spotter.  If she sees one she will call it out so they whole car can know about it. So lunch in a train car with a real train track outside by the car was quite a treat for her.  

We had our lunch, pottied up and then hit the road again.  The kids are playing on their kindles so they are being quiet...well some of them.  As soon as everyone gets quiet, Cambpell will think of something to say, Keaton will start asking for milk or Whitman starts fussing.  Campbell asked to go potty about one minute from pulling out of the parking lot-she was already bored.  Her and Reagan have a fascination with the bathroom.  Reagan just likes to go so she can look at herself in the mirror. Seriously, what in the world am I going to do when I have 3 teenage girls?

We held Campbell off as long as we could and finally stopped an hour outside of Vegas for a potty stop.  We saw people taking pictures of the 4.99 gas but that wasn’t the most exciting part for my boys.  The urinal was a waterfall!  Need I say more-Pops even had to go back in the bathroom to take a look at this.  When he returned, he said that he had now seen it all.  We passed out some cinnamon toast crunch, turned up the movie and flew on down the straight desert highway.  

Really our trip the last few days could be categorized as extremes-the craziness of Disneyland and LA, the serenity of Yosemite and then back to craziness but today it was the craziness of Vegas.  I do love Yosemite but I do love Vegas craziness too!

We drove right into town with it spitting sprinkles on us.  It actually looked like it was going to come a big storm but never did thankfully.  Our first stop was the Las Vegas sign.  Elvis and his pink Cadillac were there along with lots of people taking their pictures.  The folks were in a line waiting to go up to the sign but we bypassed the line and just stood to the side of it.  Our pictures are just as good and we didn’t get wet!  And besides we had places to go and things to see!

The next stop was checking in at the hotel-first floor room (sweet) near the side door (awesome), ice machine at the end of the hall (okay) but no laundry (boo-though it is too late tonight for laundry-I bet you are thinking that I should have just brought one change of clothes since we have done laundry so often.  

After unloading the van and getting the room ready for the evening, we went to the front to catch the shuttle. We aren’t on the strip but are close and the shuttle took us to the convention center.  From there we caught the monorail-a bus and shuttle!  We rode the monorail to the end of the line once and then hopped off and headed to the strip.

Whitman had been fussing in the car but when I pulled him out at the sign, he never fussed again. Seriously, all evening that little guys were wide open and his little head was swiveling from side to side.  He could not get enough of the lights.  

Reagan was also in awe of everything.  She could not stop talking about everything she saw.  I saw her pretending to take pictures and asked what she was doing.  She said “I have a camera in my mind.”  And then a few minutes later she told me that her camera in her mind was just about full.  

We walked through the Flamingo hotel and casino.  Some of the kids remember Vegas from last time but the boys vividly remember all of the games that they could not play last time and they are still “not tall enough” to play said Graham.  We then crossed over the street and found our place to eat for the night-Serendipity 3.

In New York forever ago, we had the frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity and knew that would be a good stop for supper.  Of course, forever ago when we had that hot chocolate, I was only sharing with Robby and not 5 other frozen hot chocolate drinkers-well, actually 4 Campbell never tried it (not my child).  

Yes, we did have supper there as well.  Robby had buffalo and blue cheese pizza which he liked but said it was a bit too blue cheese-ish.  I had lettuce wraps with delicious chicken-I am usually not a big chicken breast eater but this was really good.  Reagan, Anderson and Keaton had spaghetti and Campbell and Graham had the tiny-est burger ever!  The food was good but not take out a loan good. As soon as we polished all of that off, it was time for the above frozen hot chocolate.  I did try to convince Robby to order the one thousand dollar sundae but he declined-I survived my disappointment with the few sips of dessert that were left over when I finally had my turn.

We then bathroomed up and headed towards the Bellagio.  We had to go up elevators, down escalators, up escalators and down elevators all evening long to get from one place to the other.  In Vegas things look close but by the time you do all of the up and overs crossing the streets, it does take awhile to get a few blocks.  And the kids think of Hampton Inns or Holiday Inn Expresses as being hotels and can not fathom that the hotels have malls inside of them, the size of the hotel pools and all of the other grandiose things that Vegas hotels have to offer.  Though Graham really wants to stay in the New York hotel and Campbell wants to stay in the castle one (Excalibur).  

Back to our walk, we walked into the Bellagio and of course there are beautiful things everywhere to look at.  Reagan loved the glass flowers on the ceiling.  But we were all a bit disappointed that the they were changing out the plants and flowers in the conservatory.  It was closed but there were still flowers around and lots of drawing of how it will soon look.  

Next up, we left in time for the fountain show.  We found good spots and had a short wait.  The kids as well as the grown up were pretty impressed.  Campbell could hardly take her eyes off of it and Whitman watched it all.  Later when I asked Keaton about it, she put her hands to her ears (it was a bit loud)  That is always amazing to me-I probably could have sat there and waited for the next show but there was more to see.

We then walked into the Paris hotel-the only one on the strip that we have ever stayed in.  Graham and Anderson could not get over the ceiling and how it looked like you were outside while you were really inside.  I wished that we had time to take them to the hotel that looks like Venice-they would really love that one.  After walking through the Paris, we rode the monorail for one more stop and then jumped off at the MGM.  

At the MGM, we saw the boxing ring of an upcoming fight being held here.  Anderson really, really wants to go see a boxing match.  I told him maybe we could watch one on tv-we aren’t really big into boxing at the Dennie house.  But that silly boy didn’t want to have his picture made in front of the ring. Hmm, later he didn’t want to have his picture made at the next stop.  Hope he doesn’t decide that he is too big to have his picture made because that is not the Dennie way.  Probably very few kids have had their pictures made almost every day like ours.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times that they have not had their pictures made.  Some day they will thank me when they have books and books of pictures to look through and remember their awesome childhood.  And yes, I did call it an “awesome childhood”-18 day road trip is pretty awesome.  

By the time we were at the MGM, Nonna was tired and sat with Pops and Keaton while we walked another block.  Our stop was to see the New York and take our picture with in front of the Statue of Liberty.  It was at least 4 blocks that way so Robby pushing Campbell, Whitman riding in my front carrier, Reagan and Graham holding my hands and Anderson by Robby hiked on.  We could have and would have done Vegas without my folks but they sure have been a help in the big cities.  The kids are pretty big city savvy but a few more hands and eyes helps tremendously.  I say they are big city savvy because they know when to hold on to us in crowds, know how to ride on the monorail, understand tickets and elevator etiquette.

And they did learn a new lesson today.  Right in front of Robby and the kids was a lady who got her dress stuck on the escalator.  I saw her pulling at something but thought it was a backpack.  My kids were all right behind her and were able to pass her without tripping her or them.  The man she was with finally pushed the stop button and she pulled out her torn dress.  It tore a good chunk out of the bottom of her dress but it did allow a very good lesson on escalator dos and donts.  The next escalator we rode on, I had 5 kids standing facing front, holding on to the handrail and watching everything going on.  

Our evening ended with a walk back to the monorail and then to where the shuttle was to pick us up. They said it would be 10-15 minutes when Robby called but nothing is ever that simple.  After about 20 minutes waiting, Robby called again and they said it would be 10 more.  He was getting very anxious about that shuttle-the kids could have cared less since they had plenty of room to run and my folks and were happy since it was cool and we had a place to sit.  Eventually the shuttle man came and we were on our way.  

Back at the hotel, the boys went to Nonna’s room for one last night of staying with them.  Tomorrow we will all be back in the same room but now we will feel crowded since we have only had 6 folks in our room each night.  The girls had a quick bath and shower and Whitman also got dunked.  

Keaton was ready to go to bed-tonight she is sleeping in the bottom of an armoire.  She saw it this afternoon and when Robby asked if that was her bed she said “yep.”  And since we don’t have a closet, that is where she is sleeping.  And no, it doesn’t bother me at all that my baby is sleeping in the hotel closets-she is sleeping good each night and so am I!  It is a win-win.

Before I went to bed, I found a note that Reagan had made for Campbell.  It said “Campbell, you are my best friend.”  How incredibly sweet-that is why we take vacations.

No comments: