leaving Las Vegas

We traveled to Las Vegas, NV in mid-October for a road trip and 4 leisure nights away. We have time-share points that work there in a tower about 3 blocks off the strip in the area of the MGM Grand. The units are spacious and beautiful with full kitchens, a living area, big bedroom and huge master bath with a big jacuzzi tub and walk-in tiled shower – way nicer than home, and the resort amenities are first class. So, it’s like living high class instead of the other 98% for a few days.

The road trip is 600 miles – we leave before dawn and stop for a late sit-down breakfast in Grants or Gallup and arrive in Vegas about 3:00. We only eat 2 meals a day at this stage in our lives so we get a late lunch/early dinner with a choice of a myriad of great restaurants after we arrive and check in. This time our first meal was at a little family Italian place off strip with all house-made pastas and sauces.

Speaking of food, it is one of the reasons to visit Las Vegas. There are no more .99 cent ham and egg breakfasts or $5.99 prime rib dinners like we had in the 60s and 70s – good riddance. The casinos are full of serious restaurants, many sponsored by brand name food personalities – Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril to name a few. We had a burger for lunch/dinner one day at a place sponsored by Mario Batali in the Athens – great burger and amazing onion rings. Off the strip there are many really good restaurants from small home cooking type places to fancy, fancy places. We ate lunch/dinner at Naked City Pizza one day – a place visited by Guy Fieri on a DDD segment a couple years ago – what a dive, but good pizza. Years ago we used to get prime rib every trip at a fancy place in the Excalibur, but it changed to a steak house. Jerry’s Nugget Casino has been famous for prime rib forever. But this time we got my once in a long-time fix for prime rib at the Prime Rib Loft in the Orleans Casino – it was really good – not inexpensive – but really good – tender, medium rare, serious creamed horseradish, perfect.

What do you do in Las Vegas if you’re not a gambler? We mostly walk around and see things. The architecture – the glitz – the tourists – there’s Hoover Dam a few miles to the south worth seeing – there is the roller coaster in New York, New York – it’s amazing – the Premium Outlets are worth a couple hours especially if you need a new pair of Skechers – the overhead light show on Fremont Street is worth seeing and there’s a free concert there quite often – Shark Reef In Mandalay Bay has some great fish tanks. So there is lots to do. We wear our legs out walking – a free tram from Bellagio to Mandalay Bay helps and there is a pay for tram on the other side of the Strip that runs from MGM Grand the whole length of the Strip. Three days and four nights with a road trip day on each end is about right for Darlene and I. A fun time – worn out – and ready to be leaving Las Vegas.

…and there was evening

The creation story, in describing the separation for each day’s work uses the phrase, “and there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” I might have written it the other way around, as – and there was morning, and then evening—believing the day begins with dawn. God often sees things differently than we do. Nevertheless, evening is, maybe, the most special part of a day. Evening is a marker for each day – the time to let the mind loose – the time to reflect, to take a measure of the day – was there accomplishment? – was there good? – was the good intentional? – did good come with a cost? – was there willingness to pay? – was evil set aside? – did refusing evil require sacrifice? – was the sacrifice gladly embraced? – did wisdom guide decisions? – did patience provide time to be wise? – was there a conviction of purpose in the things done? Those days when there is strength to live life on purpose the evening gives opportunity and quiet to recalibrate – time to ask for and imagine good, not just for me, but for all – time to plan for good – time to prepare for morning – prepare hoping to make a difference.