Road Trip Day 5 - Hoover Dam, Flagstaff, & Back Home

Leaving Las Vegas, we drove over the Hoover Dam. Years ago, (5?) we paid to take the tour of the dam. We will never do that again and recommend avoiding the tour at all costs!

Hey! You're not in Vegas anymore. Get back in your car!

If you don't stay inside your vehicle, I'm guessing that this guy might have something to say about it:

We found Brandy's Restaurant Bakery in Flagstaff, AZ on the site for Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. It never would have crossed our minds to stop here otherwise.

It was delicious!

This employee didn't seem too keen on us taking photos of our food. Looking back, I guess it was a little weird.

Brandy's Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Road Trip Day 4: Las Vegas

We start our day by checking into the Imperial Palace casino/hotel. It was less than $40 a night and included tickets to see their auto collection and 2 tickets to Nathan Burton's comedy magic show. Not too shabby.

Ah, Vegas! If it weren't for the heat, the crime, the crowds, and the general sleaziness, I could see us living here.

Even Sexy Nerd enjoys shopping when it's on a fake Paris street.

We shared a plate of nachos at Margaritaville. Usually, it is one of our favorite Vegas stops, but this time didn't go very well. Not only did they never play the Margaritaville song and sacrifice the girl to the volcano (awesome), they ripped us off. When we ordered the nachos, the waitress casually asked if we want salsa. They're nachos. Sure we want salsa! That's a standard nacho ingredient, right? Surprise, surprise when we saw the additional $2 charge for salsa on our bill. Normally, it is just me who gets irked by things like this, but even Sexy Nerd thought the $2 hidden fee was a bit ridiculous. Shame on you, Margaritaville!

Still, the nachos were yummy. I think they are supposed to serve 4.

Maybe next time we will stay at the Flamingo. We always end up in their outdoor area taking photos anyway.

Good times.

Plus, they have cute little turtles!

Sexy Nerd wasn't too sure about all of the animals at the Flamingo casino though.

Kinda looks like a Vegas showgirl.

Continuing with our standard Las Vegas stops, it was time to share a sundae at Ghirardelli. At almost $9, sharing would have to do.

The Vegas pigeons like Ghirardelli too.

We are old. Shopping + nachos + ice cream = nap time!

We couldn't sleep too long though. It was time to use our free tickets for the Nathan Burton show. It was okay. Really, it seemed like it was the exact same trick, over and over again, just modified slightly, (an assistant would appear/dissappear from a box, then from a fake microwave, then from under a table, etc.)

We were really looking forward to our next show though - The Phantom of the Opera. With an hour to kill, we headed over to The Venetian and did some shopping along the way. Sexy Nerd took this opportunity to document the big flaw with my MBTs. No matter how tightly I tie them, the laces always come undone. Sure, I could just go buy some different shoelaces, but I've already invested so much into the shoes. I can't bear to spend another $1.99!

Almost showtime. We arrived at the Venetian too early though. Not wanting to sit around waiting inside a theater, we opted instead to ride the steep moving walkways a couple of times.

Who says you need money to have a good time? Darn, it just occurred to me how funny it would have been if I'd had Sexy Nerd copy the expression of the man on the poster behind him. There's no way around it. We're just going to have to go back.

Of course, there's no photography allowed in the theater, so here's just a sneaky shot we took of the stage before the show. Sexy Nerd and I have seen the movie version and another performance of the play, but the version at The Venetian was easily the best. Well, the best with exceptions. They wanted to make The Phantom seem more scary, so they tweaked a couple of things in the script, like downplaying the importance of keeping your hand at the level of your eye and they have Christine fearing that The Phantom will kill her, instead of Raoul. Hmmm, now that I think about it, this version was second best, after the movie. Still fun though.

Psyched up from the play, we energetically hit the town, determined to stay up as late as possible. After all, this was our last day in Vegas.

Late, right??

Road Trip Day 3: Tempe and Fremont Street

It's time for our first trip ever to Ikea. I assumed it would be a large store, but I was expecting large to be like Bed Bath & Beyond. It was more like an amusement park for shopaholic decorating adults! We knew it was going to be awesome when we walked through the door and heard "we hope you enjoy your day at Ikea".

Ikea is insanely huge! If we had wanted to just run in and buy one specific item, we still would have been there forever, lost in the maze that is Ikea. Whenever we thought we were nearing the exit from our little adventure, we'd find ourselves in another section of the store. First, you go upstairs, where you wander from room to room, like in a model home. Next, you're in some sort of crazy cafeteria, which is surprisingly jam packed with people. If only Sexy Nerd and I hadn't eaten before we got there! After the cafeteria, you travel back downstairs where all of the items you saw upstairs, (ALL of the items - from bedding and rugs to countertops and fabric) is available for purchase. After you find what you want to buy, you expect that the next stop will be the cashiers. No. The next door you walk through takes you into a Costco-like warehouse!

Of course, Sexy Nerd and I had to have a souvenier. Behold, our "Kristaller". Photos of it installed above our tub are coming soon!

Seriously, I would move to Tempe to be closer to Ikea. We'll be back there after Christmas, though I'm a little worried about how many people may be there after Christmas. If anything, it will make for an amusing blog entry!

Later on, I did a little research into the practicality of moving to Tempe (I told you I was serious!). Do you know what I discovered? The average high temperature in July for Phoenix is 105.9 degrees. 105.9 is the average!!! Maybe I'll just be patient and wait for Ikea to come to Albuquerque.

Anyway, it was time to hit the road again. There are some beautiful places you pass on a road trip.

Sexy Nerd and I decided to take the long way into Las Vegas, instead of driving over the Hoover Dam. We learned our lesson the last time we used the Hoover Dam "shortcut" - we were stuck in The World's Longest Traffic Jam for hours with no options for turning around. We did joke about how unfortunate it would be if we drove out of our way, only to be caught in another traffic jam.

Then we saw smoke up ahead. Could we really be so unfortunate as to be delayed by a semi truck on fire TWICE in 2 days?

I think the photos speak for themselves.

Actually, we arrived after the fire was out and were able to drive right past the truck. Phew!

Back to the lovely scenery. And the bug-encrusted windshield of the Alero.

Here is where we intended to stop for lunch - Joe's BBQ in Wikieup. Wikieup, you ask? Yes, Wikieup.

We had stayed at Ikea longer than planned, so we decided to save Joe's BBQ for the next roadtrip. If you're ever in Wikieup though, it's suppossed to be good.

We finally arrived at our hotel, Fitzgeralds, on Fremont Street. The stress of driving all day mixed with the anticipation of all the fun we were sure to have in Las Vegas had been too much for Sexy Nerd. Clearly, it had fried his brain.


Very weird.

The hotel elevators were too slow (we had to gamble NOW), so we opted for the stairs. Eight flights of stairs? Piece of cake!

*As to why Blogger rotated this photo, I will never know.

Taking the stairs isn't the most glamorous way to get into the casino.

Ah, sparkly!

In our memories, Fremont Street was a lively, fun place to spend a night. However, as you can guess from the kind of people behind me in this photo, our memories may have been a little fuzzy.

Tomorrow night we would be staying on the strip. We decided to make the most of old Vegas for the time being. Paaaaarty!

Until 10:51pm, when we were paaaaaartied out and went to bed. All those elderly people down on the street must be nocturnal.

Road Trip Day 3: Tucson

Coffee in hand, I'm ready to start another long day of driving.
Or at least another long day of napping in the passenger seat.

But first, Sexy Nerd has a clever travel tip. Not enough counter space in your hotel room?

Use the ironing board!

We stopped at my aunt and uncle's house for breakfast. They have the cutest dog ever! Seriously, this dog was even cuter than Biscuit!

Here is Sexy Nerd, charming my grandma.

How many little old ladies are computer-savvy? Go Grandma! ;)

Sexy Nerd's coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet. Cute photo though.

So many Neals!

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