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gunn family blog » Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

Jami and I took a couple days this week to sneak down to St George just the two of us. We planned the trip several months ago to have something to look forward to and despite the disturbingly high gas prices and temperatures we decided to go ahead and make the road trip. The morning of the trip started with me trying to frantically fix our sprinkler system so our grass and garden would not die while we were gone. I had to buy a new timer box and install it so we ended up leaving about two hours behind schedule.

We are so lucky to have great parents who live so close and are willing to take the kids so we could enjoy a little R&R. We have relied on Jami’s mom a lot in the past and this time it was my mom’s turn. We dropped them off and hit the road to St. George. The trip south went smoothly except for the fact that whenever I went about 80 MPH the car would shudder dramatically. I had a feeling that it was the result of an alignment issue and the thought crossed my mind that we should probably have it looked at once we reach St. George. We cruised down and about 3:00 we were in Hurricane where I was hoping to sneak in a quick nine holes of Golf at one of my favorite Utah courses Sky Mountain. The parking lot of the course was almost empty and I was able to jump right out and play nine holes in less than two hours. Jami enjoyed the warm weather from the cart. I think she watched a few of my shots in between pages of her novel. We were both glad we were able to play fast and get out of the heat.

By about 4:30 pm we were checking into the St. George Ramada. We relaxed for an hour or so and then went to dinner at our favorite St George restaurant The Pasta Factory. Jami got an old favorite the chicken fetucinni alfredo. I was a bit more daring and tried an oriental noodle bowl which was really good! After dinner we decided to catch a showing of the Spiderman 3. At first I was pretty dissapointed in the movie but having let a couple days go by and talking about the movie with a few people my review of the movie has softened a bit. It was a bit over-the-top for my taste but the message of the movie was deffinately indearing.

Friday we slept in – something we never have a chance to do at home and then caught the tail end of the free continental breakfast. We really didn’t know what we were going to do with the day but had thrown around the idea of driving to Vegas for the day. It came down to wether we wanted a relaxing day or an adventure and we opted for the adventure and climbed in the car for the drive down to Sam’s town.

Jami at the Belaggio Las Vegas We got to Vegas about 11 o’clock and parked at the MGM Grand Hotel. We decided to just wander around and throw quarters in slot machines and just watch people until we got bored. We got as far as the Forum shops at Ceasar’s Palace and decided we had to get something to eat and drink. We did not know where we wanted to go but once I saw the Cheesecake Factory I knew where I wanted to have dessert! I had never eaten at the Cheesecake Factory and was incredibly intimidated by their 30+ page menu. Delicious Mango Freeze at Cheesecake FactoryThe waiter came and asked if we had found the lunch menu on page 8 and I told him to come back tomorrow cause I don’t read that fast. Jami and I shared the lettuce wrap appetizer and a forzen Mango swirl. The frozen Mango swirl was one of the best frozen drinks I have ever had. ( I had Jami take my picture enjoying it for posterity). The lettuce wraps were equally amazing. The both the size and presentation of the meal were amazing. Cheesecake Factory Las Vegas We must have been hungry because we tore through them. For dessert Jami let me get the Dutch Apple Streussel cheesecake which was really good. I am a sucker for apples and carmel. There are so many choices while we enjoyed the dessert we got we left wondering how many great cheesecakes we were missing out on. Jami and I decided they need to add a cheesecake sample to their menu – then again they may already have one and we just never got that far in their never ending menu.

We left the Forum shops and cut accross the street to the Venetian and then started working our way back up the other side of the street back towards the MGM. Since we are not serious gamblers we got pretty tired of throwing our money into slot machines. I really wanted to play a hand of blackjack but was way too intimidated by the whole casino mystique to try it. We did find a 25¢ Blackjack Machine at the MGM on our way out and I was able to take a dollar and play for about fifteen minutes. I had taken my dollar and had taken my money up to about $3.50. We were getting anxious to get home so I decided to let the whole amount ride on one hand. The result was inevitable. I lost it all. . . It was a good reminder why we don’t gamble. Las Vegas is like a date with the High School Hottie. A lot of glitz and glamour but laking any real substance. For that reason we had saved our real reason for driving an extra hour and a half south for last – In N Out Burger!

I love In N Out! The freshest burgers and fries in the business. Unfortunately the place was packed and we decided we should get it to go and eat in the car to get back to St George in time to hit the outlet mall. That and the crowds took some of the fun out of In N Out experience but the food tasted great! I wanted to try a few of the secret menu items but had waited in line so long I forgot by the time I got to order. The drive home was going great until about sixteen miles south of St George I heard a weird popping sound under the car and then felt the car start to shudder and veer hard to the right. At that moment I remembered the thought I had back on the drive down. I probably should have gotten the alignment checked. With the alignment out we had worn the right front tire beyond balled. We got the car to the shoulder and I began to jack the car up and work on the lug nuts. When Jami pulled the spare out of the trunk we knew we had bigger problems. The spare was flat.

Considering the time and place of our situation I thought our best bet ws to put the spare on and drive really slow on the shoulder the 16 miles back to St George. It almost goes without saying but driving really slow on the shoulder when most of the traffic along that stretch of I-15 is going 90+ is pretty scarry. We literally were praying every time we came to a place where there was a bridge or not enough shoulder and we had to venture out into traffic. It seemed like an eternity but we finally hit the first exit with civilization on the south side of St George and I went directly to the gas station to see if I could pump any air into the spare. Unfortunatley driving those 16 miles on it without enough air pretty much did it in and when I put the air to it it pretty much blew to pieces. We were officially stuck.

I called my dad to get the phone numer of some family friends in St George and he suggested if we could not get ahold of anyone to call the hotel and see if they would run a shuttle to help us. That proved to be the best advice as I could not get ahold of anyone we knew and all the tire places were closed for the night. Luckily the employees at the Ramada Inn were willing to come pick us up that night and then help us make two more trips Saturday morning to get the tire and then get it replaced. We had hoped to be on the road by ten o’clock or so on Saturday but once I got the new tire on I thought I should get the alignment fixed so I went back to Big O tires and they fixed the alignment and found another signifigant problem with the axel. We didn’t end up leaving St George until about noon, and we left about $400 dollars lighter in the pocketbook than we had planned on.

All in all, it was a pretty nice weekend getaway. Jami and I realized it is nice to get away from the kids but our lives pretty much revolve around them so while the break was nice, it was a blessing to see them again and we felt particullarly blessed that we were able to get home safely!

One Response to “Viva Las Vegas!”

  1. WOW. I’m glad you guys got home safe and sound. Those cars can really do a number on you when you least expect it. I had never heard LV referred to as “sam’s town” before and got a chuckle out of that.
    I’m jealous of your time away. We need that BAD!