Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taking the dam bypass


We are in Las Vegas, parked at our usual spot behind Paris on the strip (map). We were a bit apprehensive before arriving since we had heard a rumor that Bally's (who owns Paris in addition to the eponymous property next door, as well as several others) was no longer allowing RVs to park here. However, a Casino Camper reader reported no problems late last year, and when we arrived there were at least four other rigs here in addition to a couple of semis.

Normally when we park here we eat at one of the Bally properties, but last night we decided to walk a couple blocks further and dined at Wolfgang Puck's Pizzeria and Cucina in Crystal's at City Center. This is a shopping mall that is so high end it had no actual customers, and is also located nowhere near the center of the city. It is, however, adjacent to Aria, one of the newer resorts in town. The food was quite good, though, and reasonably priced for a Puck establishment.

On the way back, we cut through a much more down-to-earth mall, the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood. In spite of parking here on several occasions, this was our first foray to either venue. Shortly after we returned from dinner, I received an email from readers Steve and Carol who suggested that the restaurant in the Ellis Island casino just kitty-corner from us, across Koval, is actually quite good, so perhaps we will give them a try on our next visit here -- assuming the planned sports arena in the vacant lot just northeast of us does not materialize first. Incidentally, the rectangular slab seen immediately east of us in the satellite view is the remains of a motel bulldozed circa 2005.

Yesterday I wrote that we'd be northwest of Kingman last night, expecting to stop somewhere in the desert. But it was still early in the afternoon when we passed Kingman, and between light traffic and the fact that the new bridge bypassing Hoover dam is open, we were in Boulder before we knew it, and decided to just press on to Vegas. With the time zone change, we were here by 3pm. The new bridge not only eliminates the need to stop and be inspected at a security checkpoint, but also bypasses a series of switchbacks on both sides of the dam, and, of course, the parade of road-crossing pedestrians who move even more slowly when gawking at Odyssey. Still, there is something about actually crossing the dam that I miss, including the view -- tall concrete barriers on the bridge block it entirely.

In a few minutes we will head north to an Arco station reported to have $3.36 diesel, to put in half a tank. We'll then head right back south to Blue Diamond, which will lead us to Pahrump and our re-supply stop. We'll likely spend the night somewhere between Pahrump and Death Valley Junction, inclusive.

Photo by 49er Girl, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Had to read this sentence twice..."This is a shopping mall that is so high end it has no actual customers..." WTHeck??? What a waste of resources, eh?

    Fuel is SCARY, my truck takes more than $100 to fill up here in CO, and I think we are a little below National average for diesel...GULP! I feel for you.

  2. Judy, I kid you not. While there were dozens (not hundreds) of people milling about the mall, no one came out of a store with a bag. Of course, the stores were Cartier, Harry Winston, Prada, Hermes, Nanette Lepore, Donna Karran, Bally (the shoe, not the casino), Tiffany, Gucci, Bvlgari, Fendi, Versace, etc..

    Not a single store for "normal" people with average incomes -- Google "Crystals at City Center" and you'll get the idea. Of the restaurants, Wolfgang Puck was the bottom end. We had no idea until we got there. On the plus side, Louise said they had the nicest rest rooms ever, and there was a really cool fountain in the middle.

    I'll be writing more about the diesel in today's post.


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