December 16, 2007 GMT
Las Vegas, Nevada

Riding out of Needles we head north towards Las Vegas, along the way we see a lot of sand, more trains and some guys playing with there 4x4's in the sand, until finally Vegas comes into view.

We tackle the interstate into town, which goes suprisingly well until we get closer to our hotel. Em is getting soooo excited on the back pointing out the various hotels while I explain that I am trying to navigate and not get us killed in the chaos that is Vegas. Then we turn a corner to see every bikers worst nightmare - before us were two bikes, smashed after going down the road and one guy being worked on by the ambulance crew, now I'm really concentrating.

Disneyland for adults

After a couple of detours we arrive at our hotel "The Excaliber" basically a castle, one problem - all parking is valet. I pull up just down from reception and Em jumps off to speak to reception to ask how / where we park on a bike, I have to hand it to her, she is in her biking gear covered in sand and she doesn't flinch as she stomps through the huge door into reception.

And what a reception! I am met with the biggest space I have ever seen filled with slot machines and what seems like hundreds of people, the noise is deafening and totally disorientating. Where exactly do I check in? After approaching several people I finally get in the huge queue for check in. Our room number is 11-2710!

The receptionist tells Em that the Valets can park bikes too, "just give them the keys" yep likes thats going to happen!

So instead and by way of protest, we park the bike outside reception, where I proceed to strip it of all luggage, then leaving Em outside reception with all our gear, I ride the bike to the car park, watching the valets race each other in other peoples cars as I do so.

Half an hour later Darren returns from the parking blocks and we persuade a bell hop to assist us with the luggage. It gets brought to our room just after we arrive.

The first thing we notice about the room is the view-

Room with a view

The hotel next door has a giant roller coaster on it's roof and you can watch and hear the people on it screaming loudly on the scary bits- hysterical!

After a clean up, we head out and explore the Excalibur, then grab some food and head back.

Next day we are up early as Darren plans to do some exploring while I spend the day in the spa.

I get down to the spa and it is amazing, it feels like a million miles away from the noisy gambling floor and it is completely desserted.

There is a huge luxurious jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. You get the usual fluffy bathrobe and slippers to lounge around in and posh products to use, but the best bit had to be the powder room. Yes girls, this place had a whole room dedicated to preening - hairdryers, straighteners, make up, hair products all at seperate styling stations where you can sit and try it all!

I have to admit that I was in girly heaven and did not want to leave.

That morning I leave the hotel, happy in the knowledge that Em is getting her girly time, I cross the "drawbridge" and enter "New York New York" the hotel over the road from Excaliber. If you have read the previous blogs, then you will probably guess that given the fact I had the day to myself, I was on the hunt for a beer.

After passing through the gambling hall of New York New York I happened upon an "Irish pub" within the hotel. It really was just like walking into a "proper" pub, I pull a bar stool up to the bar and settle in. That first pint of Guiness was just spot on and the next few pints got even better, as I sat there I got thinking about Vegas.

If I am honest I had mixed emotions about getting to Vegas, I was looking forward to giving Em a break and the chance to dress up and enjoy herself - after all Em is in her element within the enviroment of hotels and eating out. On the other hand, I am in my element on the bike, on the road - and I really wasn't looking forward to having to deal with the pressure of the strip.

After a few more beers and a good chat to the barman, I feel like taking a look around the Strip, on leaving New York New York, I take in the sights and sounds that is Vegas. I pass the MGN Grand and head for the Bellagio further up the strip, we are meeting our friends there later and I wanted to get my bearings. I expected Vegas to be tacky, but as I walk past a giant Harley sticking out of the bike shop and past the Eiffel Tower, I realise that this is all done really well and I start to see it for what it is - a true adults playground.

Its early afternoon and the temperature is in the 80's and I need some shade so I enter the shopping mall known as the Miracle Mile. Now normally I would rather walk barefoot on broken glass than to go into a shopping centre, but this is done Vegas stlye and has to be seen to be believed.

I stop in an area that is designed to look like an Italian town square with painted "sky" ceiling and tables that border each of the expresso shops and restaurants. After grabbing a coffee I sit on one of the outside tables and marvel at how they created this place - inside! After a while it starts to get cold and I feel the wind pick up (I am in a shopping centre!), then it starts to rain - rain from the artifical painted ceiling into a pond that is positioned between the mall walkways - amazing.

After my coffee, I head back into the real outdoors and back towards the Excaliber, you can access the "Luxor" from our hotel so I decide to go and take a look. Same over the top decor, just different style and again really well done. On getting back to the room I see that Em is looking relaxed after her day in the spa and realise that despite my earlier reservations, I am now looking forward to spending a few days in this unreal city.

We then head out to meet our friends over from England. They are staying in the Bellagio so we meet in the bar. After a long night of drinking and chatting, we end up in the Rio. After getting back to the Belagio for more drinks we walk back to the Excalibur at 3am. My kind friends have brought over PG Tips and Galaxy chocolate as I am getting serious withdrawl symptoms and can't find anything decent here.

Next day and a hangover for all, we meet up at at midday and head off to see the sights.

First up we head over to Ceasars Palace and spend a couple of hours looking round the shops and sights.


Then we head off for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, stop to see the show in the shopping mall, then head off to explore further. Ending up in the Venetian we all decide we want a gondola ride.


After waiting for a good half hour we get our turn, it was amazingly good fun and my highlight of Las Vegas. The gondalier sang 'Volare' for us which made me cry.

Just one cornetto...

After stopping for cocktails, we wander across the street to catch the volcano erupting! This is a fountain that turns into a volcano eruption show with fire and lights as an attraction at night.


Then on to the Bellagio and we check out the fountain which is set to music. This has to be seen to be believed. It is amazing and we stand and watch in awe. Wow what a day - I love this place!


Then it's off for more cocktails and gambling and another late night...

Next day we meet up and explore the Mirage which has a baby dolphin. We spend ages looking at the main dolphin display as the dolphins play around entertaining us. One actually poses for this picture-


We head over to see the baby and get this shot


After a detour to look at all the big cats, we head off back to the Rio for a long awaited Curry. Darren has a vindaloo and is in heaven!!

Then we head off to Circus Circus and get some more gambling in. I manage to hold onto my money for nearly an hour on the Roulette table- then lose the lot! Oh well at least I got a 'free' drink! (Thats a 20 buck drink then!... DH)

I also try my hand at the biggest slot machine in the world (probably) and lose.

Em tries to win big

We then jump in a cab to downtown Vegas - Fremont Street. There is a lot going on here with street entertainment and the biggest TV in the world on the ceiling.


Then it's back to the bar for more drinks...

All too soon it's time to think about packing up, our time here has been great fun, made even better by good company - thanks guys for the Vegas experience!

Posted by Darren Homer at December 16, 2007 06:48 PM GMT

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