Rhys, Limos and Hospital Gowns

Hey Dad,

So Rhys got into Vegas at 8am. It was an early start for me that’s for sure! He looked worse though, jetlagged to the max.

We went up to the room so he could leave his case and say hi to mum. We then left for a tour of the strip. 

We walked up the strip for miles! Through all the hotels, around the miracle mile, all the way to the venetian. We even stopped off in a few shops, like M&Ms world, where I bought one M&Ms in every colour! After over three hours of walking we were both exhausted, so we took the lazy option and grabbed a taxi back to the hotel. 

We assumed our position around the pool; or at least we were about to until we realised there were no available sunbeds in our families spot! As it’s Friday, we can only assume people have descended on Vegas for a long weekend, as it was so much busier! There were groups of lads drinking in the pool and hen parties dress up in silly costumes, and noise! 

Fortunately the pool was still closed off, so we found some sun beds near by and waited until there was space in the back corner. It didn’t take long. By the time we moved Holly and Neal had turned up, followed by the others eventually.

Neals sky dive went really well, he loved it. Mum had an amazing time over the canyon too. Jon and Lauren had carried on down the strip to look at a few more places. 

We got a message from Tracey that she had booked us a limo for one hour to take us to the Las VEGAS sign and to Fremont Street. Awesome. Getting hold of Jon and Lauren was a  bit of a struggle though. We managed it eventually, and grabbed them from another hotel before heading to the sign. 

We had a blast in the limo. We stocked up on wine and fizz, played crazy music and danced like idiots. Definitely the way to travel, and as a group too which made it all the more fun. 

We got to Fremont Street, and it was a bit quiet. It was still early though so we walked up and down for a while. Jon and Neal had been going on about a restaurant on the street called the ‘heart attack grill’. 

The heart attack grill is a burger place. It is the most awful thing I have ever seen! It promotes obesity, and bad diets. If you are over 300 lbs you can eat for free. As you walk in, you are put into a hospital gown. You are then shown to your seat. The menu is hideous! The smallest burger is crazy big, and the biggest burger is 8 times that. Is was obscene. Jon and Neal of course had to order it. There was one other small catch to this place; if you didn’t finish your meal, the waitress would spank you with a paddle. No really. A wooden paddle! 

Not all of us wanted to eat there, but Esme, Holly, Neal, Jamie, Rhys, Jon, Lauren and myself all decided to try it.

We decided it would be funny to weigh Jamie in. Little did we know he would be dragged on stage and his weight would be broadcast on a huge sign above his head for the whole restaurant to see! 

We all finished ordering and got to our drinks. The wine was served in an IV drip bag. They came over with a big metal drip stand, but the IV on it and you filled your glass using the drip. Hilarious. 

Our burgers then came out. Our single burgers were just insane. There was no way we would ever finish them! It was like the size of four standard burgers at home! Along with the chilli, bacon and tomato! The chili was a meal in itself! Then Jon and Neals burgers came out. This burger was the size of Jon’s forearm. No joke! I don’t think there is anything I can say about this burger that would be an exaggeration! The other customers were coming over and asking to take photos of this monstrosity.

Jon, who had a belly full of beer by then made a valiant attempt, and got just over a third of the way through. Neal managed just under half. 

By this time, the others had finished their very upmarket meal of steak and seafood next door. We walked over to the open window and showed mum the burger. She looked horrified! We then had to explain that the bit Jon was holding was what was left of the burger! 

Oh and did I mention they did karaoke? Rhys was the only one brave (stupid) enough, but he did a good job. The restaurant seemed quite impressed actually. 

Time for the spanking. This took place by the open window at the front of the restaurant, for all the public to see. You bent over a metal bar and held the hand rails on the sides. 

Some how Lauren ended up going first, and the waitress did not hold back. With every whack we all winced. All three of the whacks getting harder and harder. Neal, Jamie, Rhys and Jon all stepped up to the plate. Neal was clearly the favourite has he ended up with a cheeky 4th spank! Ouch. 

After that the waitress vanished.  Esme, Holly and I walked off before she realised. Our asses were spared the spanking, which I was quite pleased about. The shorts I was wearing would have meant spanking bare skin. Nope! 

We walked back up the street, with some of us rubbing our bums. They even all posed for a photo right on the street, asses out! 

We walked up to the top of the street where we watched the light show on the roof. It was pretty cool, and the music was really good too. 

Dancing in the street has a while new meaning now too. Rhys was way too into it, and even attracted some of Las Vegas’ finest weirdos to join him! The others had all given up by then, and were just stood, watching Rhys. It was pretty amusing. 

We ventured back to the strip where we changed to go to the club. The club was in the hotel nexr door to us, on the 60th floor. What a nightmare that was.

The Gullicks went ahead, we said we would meet them in there. It took us forever to find the entrance to the club, and kept getting sent in wring directions by useless staff. Once we eventually found it, and got through security, I got a message from Esme saying they were back down. Typical! We headed up anyway, after all we got this far, we need to see the view. The club was packed! It was ridiculous! You could not move. At all. The people trying he get to the bar was 4 deep! We walked in and mum shot me all look of ‘nope’. We fought our way to the balcony to look at the view, which was spectacular! It looked right up the strip, which was all light up against the black sky. Only minor catch of the balcony is that is was smokers corner. Yuck. We got some photos and fought our way back through the masses of people. We left!

We walked back to MGM for our last night in the casino. The others were so tired most had gone off to bed already. We lost miserably on the horse game and wandered around for a while. 

We gave up for the night and ambled back to the hotel. Mum decided she wanted to put $20 on 20 with us so we headed to the roulette table. We all lost miserably.  Oh well. 

Time for bed, long drive tomorrow! 

Night dad x

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The top of the strip 

Hey Dad,

So we are all so tired from having crazy late nights, we are all spending the morning around the pool! Still closed, perfect! 

As I went down, I saw uncle Johnny laying on a sunbed fast asleep. I had just filled up my water bottle with ice cold water. I poured a tiny bit onto his stomach. He shot up! I laughed. He laughed too and said he would get be back later. I figured that would be a consequence.

After spending all morning and most of the early afternoon by the pool reading, talking and taking sneaky dips in the closed pool. I shut my eyes for a few minutes, which I am sure uncle Johnny must have been waiting for. As I was thinking about jumping in the pool to cool off I felt freezing cold water being poured down by front. Uncle Johnny was standing over me slowly pouring a while cup of freezing cold water with icecubes over me. It was actually really nice and refreshing. I knew he would get me back at some point; he must have been waiting for me to shut my eyes. It was funny!

Anyway we all headed back to our rooms a little earlier to get showered and changed. Everyone seemed to be doing their own things tonight, so me and Mum went with the Gullicks to meet a friend of Esme’s.  We ate at a sports bar, which would not have been your cup of tea, too loud! However there were games on the tables. We had jenga. Holly, Neal, Jamie and I played the longest game of jenga ever! The tower was ridiculous and was nearly over double it’s original height. No one wanted to knock it over that’s for sure!

The New York New York hotel has a roller coaster inside it. We wanted to ride it so Neal, Holly and I went to explore. We paid and waited our turn. The ride was two people per row, so I was on my own – until I had company. Honestly dad; I have no idea what qaa with the guy next to me, but there was a screw loose somewhere. He was trying to talk to us, but not understanding what we were saying.  He went to explain he had ridden the roller coaster 24 times that day already. He had his dinner down his shirt and smelt like he had not showered in a week. Neal was almost on the floor he was laughing at me so hard! We got on the roller coaster, and after the 7th time of saying ‘no I have not ridden this before’ we set off up the first bit of the roller coaster. With that the guy next to me answers his phone. Who does that? He told his dad he was just going up the coaster again now, and with that he shut his flip phone (yep) and stuffed it in his pocket as we went over the first drop. 

Anyway the roller coaster was OK, not one of the best and it rattled your head around a little, but still fun. Neal was still laughing when we got off the ride. He even nearly bought the souvineer photo of me and this guy! 

We met the others back at the restaurant and all decided we should go to the north end of the strip and have a look around. We had not got any further up then Ceasers Palace! Mum, Neal, Holly and I grabbed an Uber to the Stratosphere. The plan was to go to the roof and look out at the view, until we saw the price. Pass! We knew we would not bother with any of the rides on the roof, so we decided there was no point.

From the stratosphere we walked down the road to ‘The Little White Chappel’ the famous place people get married. Inside it was not as tragic as I was expecting. We also got a few photos of Holly and Neal standing outside for the fun of it. From there we walked down to circus circus. Weird place! It’s a hotel that’s basically a circus. The top floor is a fair ground with all the silly game stalls and prize machines. We noticed a little stage with a show about to start. We nabbed some ‘disabled only’ seats as those were the only ones left  (we figured if someone disabled came along we would move) and waited to see what the show was. Turns out it was a tiny little man who spun himself around in a big ring and balanced on a ladder. Tacky and naff, but amusing enough for a free show. 

Our next stop was the Venetian Hotel. With met up with the others (minus Jon and Lauren) at reception. Wow. What a hotel. You would like this place dad! We walked through the casino and went upstairs, from there you were immersed into Venice, complete with gondola ride though the canals. Sadly the gondola  had closed for the night, but we got to see then at least.  The ceiling was painted blue and looked like sky, and all the designer shops were painted to look like small streets. It was beautiful.  There is a bakery inside owned by the ‘cake boss’ people, so of course we went in! It was too late to eat desserts (almost midnight) so we got them boxed to take back. 

We grabbed a ride back to out hotel; where Neal had put all out names down on a night club guest list. Some bloke came walking around the pool earlier and asked if we wanted guest list, so Neal said yes. They all went on ahead, but by the time we got to the hotel we had a message that the lads needed shirts and no trainers or shorts. They put us on the guest list for tomorrow night, and we all instantly scrapped that idea.  

Time for roulette. No one could be bothered to walk to MGM so we had a play on the roulette table in the Luxor. It was a $10 buy in. I stuck in $10, and did something really stupid.  I went against my gut. I would have put the $10 on $20, but for better odds of staying in the game longer, I put the lot on red. Well take a guess at what damn number came in! I went mental! I also took it as my queue to give up for the night. 

Night dad x

More walking, and KA

Hey Dad,

So we got in late last night, or early depending on your outlook. 

First stop for me and mum this morning was the pool, figuring everyone would be in bed and just meet us there. 

There are a number of things we want to see and do while in Vegas, and they need some organisation! So mid morning mum, tania and I set off down the strip.  First stop MGM!

One of my bucket list wishes is to see a cirque du soleli show. MGM host KA, which is one show I would love to see. The others all wanted to see it too. 11 tickets purchased for this evening. Awesome! 

We carried on walking and got more information on activities. Some of the group wanted to go on a helicopter flight around the grand canyon. I left mum and Tania to get the information and I wandered up the strip to see a few places we missed on our long walk yesterday. I got up as far as the miracle mile, and was too hot and tired to go any further so I headed back to the hotel pool. 

I lay there quite happily for the rest of the afternoon. Pool was still closed too, wonderful. Now even though it was closed, we were still hopping in and out to cool down quickly. No one said anything to us, but the first time Holly tried it, a life guard came straight over and ushered her back behind the rope.  Only Holly could get caught first time around! 

We had booked into an Italian restaurant for dinner, and were told the plates were designed to be shared. Knowing how large the American portions have been, we ordered carefully. We still had more food then we knew what to do with! The waiter asked if we were celebrating anything, to which Tania said it was Esme’s graduation. With that he shouted at the top of his lungs and informed the entire restaurant! Esme went red, and the whole restaurant applauded. We all laughed! 

We didn’t hand around long though as we had to get to KA. Our seats were amazing. The show was simply awesome! I remember you coming back from London saying how good it was, this was just something else! We all really enjoyed it. 

Another evening spent in the casino. We stumbled across this silly horse game, where there are 5 horses and you bet which will be the first two to come in against the ever changing odds posted on the game. We each stuck in $5 worth of quarters and played until we had all ran out of money. No skill involved, just luck. It’s a naff game really, but with all of us playing it we really enjoyed ourselves. 

Yet another late night! 

Night dad x

Shopping and exploring

Hey Dad,

So buy the time we got into Vegas last night, Holly and Neal had been shopping all afternoon. Yesterday was Memorial Weekend here, and so apparently all the shops would have a huge sale today. So it was agreed today would be the best day to hit the outlet centres. I could think of better ways to spend my first morning in Vegas, but whatever, I figured we may as well get it put the way! 

The outlet centre was only a 1pinutw drive from the hotel, and it was huge. Sadly though no great major bargains. We didn’t stay too long there, no one wanted to spend the whole day shopping.

We drove back to the hotel, and the first stop was the pool! From the long drive yesterday and walking around in the blazing sun this morning; I was ready to find a sunbed and not move for a while.

I found the others sitting in the far corner, furthest away from anyone, and next to a closed off pool. It was ideal, as the rest of the hotel guests crowded around the open pool! I grabbed a sun bed, helped mum finish her lunch, took a sneaky dip in the closed pool (which was only closed because they didn’t have enough life guards) and had a nap. 

We went back up to our rooms late afternoon to get ready for the evening. We were going on a walking tour through the hotels, with Tania and Johnny as our tour guides. 

The hotels were just unvelieveable! They all have walkways linking them together, so there is no need to go outside or cross any roads. They all have crazy themes too. We are staying in the Luxor, which is Egyptian, the hotel next to us is Excalibur and then New York New York. A walkway then takes you to the other side of the strip to MGM. We carried on walking up the strip to Ceasers Palace, being amazed at all the other crazy hotels along the way. 

I had told mum about the cheesecake factory, and the huge slices of cheesecake. Others knew about it and wanted to go, so that’s where we headed for dinner. The slices were not quite as big as Hawaii, but even sharing a slice mum and I could not finish it! 

We learnt pretty quickly that MGM is Uncle Johnny’s favourite place to play poker. We headed back down the strip towards MGM. Once there we wandered around the tables, and Tania showed us how to get drinks for $1. 

Now one thing me and Jon agreed on, was our first proper bet would be roulette, 20 on 20. We headed to a table and Jon went first. Number 19. Opposite side of the board, but one number away from 20. My turn. Red 32. Now this may seem a long way off, but it is right next to 20 on the roulette wheel. I could not believe it!

I then sat and watched Johnny play poker for a while. I was hoping to pay a game, but after watching him play a table, and having not played poker since new year I decided against it, with the types of people playing I would be throwing my money away!

I know Vegas never really appealed to you, and to be honest I think you were spot on. I am not sure you would have liked Vegas. Maybe for a night just to see it, but as a holiday I don’t think this would have been for you. It’s loud, there really too many people, and a fair amount of crazies. At least the crazies now are the good kind, and not the LA kind. 

Night dad x

Tramways, bottles and traffic. 

Hey Dad,

Long day! 

We left San Deigo early ish and drove two hours to Palm Springs. Holly and Neal went shopping, so they were going to meet us in Las Vegas. 

Before that though, we stopped for what would be one of the funniest breakfasts we have ever had! We all drove to a Starbucks. My car with Jon and Lauren were last to arrive after finding somewhere to park. When we walked in, everyone was smiling and their eyes were running with tears. Neal was bright red! Mum came up to us, struggling to speak through laughter. Turns out Neal walked into Starbucks, and looked sidewards at the menu. He was not looking where he was going, and in doing so walked forward and grabbed what he thought was Holly’s bum. Nope. Not Holly’s. It was mums! Apparently mum turned to him and quietly asked him if he was aware she was not Holly. In doing that he apparently shot back and apologised, but in doing so was so loud everyone else heard! We walked in just as the laughing had stopped.  Holly did not look overly impressed either. I wanted to ask for the security tape, we could make a fortune online. 

In Palm Srings we took the aerial tramway to 8000 up a mountain. It was 40°c at the bottom of the tramway, and we were melting! 

We bought tickets and grabbed some lunch. We had to wait about an hour to board as the earlier tickets had all sold out. 

We boarded the tramway, and the ride up was awesome. First of all, we were really high up, the cables wee hundreds of meters in the air, or at least it felt like it. Second; the floor to the tramway spun! We were rotating as we were ascending, so everyone got a perfect view of the mountain side and surrounding palm spring area. 

At the top, the temperature had dropped considerably, but the sir was thinking, and it was noticeably hard to breathe! We walked a small way down a path, and came straight back up. We were all out of breath, which was crazy! 

After grabbing an icecream and admiring the view from the cafe balcony we headed to the highest point of the mountain with a viewing platform. The view was stunning! Well worth the trip up. We couldn’t stay long though, we had a lot of driving to do!

Palm Springs was about 30 or so minutes from the road we needed to be on, however the road the whole way back to to intersection was gridlock traffic! There was no way we could go to Vegas the way we had planned, and I still had one more stop I wanted to make. Elmers bottle ranch!

We found a detour, but it meant the bottle ranch wouldn’t be possible. Not content with missing the first point on route 66 I found a detour on the detour. The others didn’t want the extra drive to go to the bottle ranch, so decided to go straight to Vegas. I was quite happy to drive myself there, but mum for some reason didn’t want me to go alone so offered to come with me. I knew she didn’t really want to, and I said I was fine alone, but she insisted she come with me.

Plugging in the route with added detour, the satnav had a melt down. Against my better judgement I followed the satnav….. straight onto the gridlocked interstate! A few choice words were shouted! Mum looked pretty annoyed too. We sat in the traffic until the next off ramp, which was three miles. It took like 45 minutes. The satnav then has another detour, keeping an eye on it, the satnav took us back to the palm springs junction, and then wanted me to drive south. The natnsv got turned off. Even mum knew Las Vegas was north east of where we were and driving south was completely the wrong way. We pulled up at a petrol station for a chocolate top up and checked with the server which way to drive. He said north. Shocking.  

Ignoring the satnav, I followed my gut and headed north. We just followed obscure road signs. 

The detour may have added some extra time to our journey, but the road made it worth it! It was stunning. Mum loved the scenery too. 

We eventually made it to Elmers bottle Ranch! The ranch is simply poles stuck in the ground with small bars welded to it. Glass bottles then rested on the bars. There were thousands of bottles. It was quite a sight. We walked around it for a while, it was like a treasure hunt, finding something new at every turn, spotting random signs and statues everywhere. 

Walking around, Elmer himself came out so say hello. I got a photo with him and asked him more about the ranch.

We had a beer in the back of the car so we left that for Elmer, figuring he could drink the beer and then use the bottle somewhere. It was worth the devoured detour. 

Back on the main road we grabbed some food in an old train cart and drove to Vegas. We still had two hours to drive!

As we got closer to Vegas I told mum to keep an eye out for the beam of light. I had been told that’s how you know you are close to Vegas. We spotted it miles away! Mum asked me where the light came from, and I didn’t know myself. As we drove I to Vegas, we realised it was coming straight out of the top of our hotel! 

We checked in, dumped our stuff ad wandered to the casino Aunty Tania and Uncle Johnny would be in. After finding them we played on a few machines and got a few drinks. Exhausted from driving all day we did not stay too long. 

Tania showed us the fast way back to our hotel, it was a maze of walkways running though other hotels. More on that tomorrow! 

Night dad x

San Diego Zoo

Hey Dad,

Maybe not your ideal day today, but it had to be done. 

Today we all went to the zoo! San Diego Zoo is regarded as one of the best zoos in the world, so we had to go and see it. 

There is not really a massive amount to report at the zoo really. We saw a huge amount of animals, and walked for miles around the park. After lapping the entire park we got on the cable car to fly over the park and then got the tour bus back. We had around really nice, sort of relaxing day. 

Rachel’s family had recommended a good Mexican restaurant to go to after the zoo. We are so close to the Mexican border here, this is apparently on of the best places to get Mexican food without actually being in Mexico. 

We turned up and the place was packed. True American from, people were waiting outside with buzzers. I went in send asked for a table of 9. The waitress looked slightly horrified. She explained it would be a 90 minute wait. I said fine, which I don’t think she was pleased about. 

While we waited, we sat at the bar. Mum and Lauren ordered margaritas. They had a choice between standard and large. I’ll give you one guess on which they went for! Dad you have never seen a cocktail like it! The glass was impossibly big! May as well have been a vase! Mum had to hold it with two hands. Mum’s face was a picture when they put it in front of her. Then she took a sip, her reaction was priceless! Thus margarita blew her head off! I even have a great picture taken at the exact moment! I’ll let you guess what she said from it…


Mum’s going to kill me for that one! 

We eventually got seated, but has also been much information on tortilla chips while we were waiting. Bad move! We all ordered and left the chips alone. 

As we were sitting there, we heard an all mighty smash. The waiters were carrying all the players on huge trays above their heads, and as a waiter came out of the kitchen he lost the entire tray, and it all went crashing to the floor. After watching the carnage for a few minutes, Esme realised that was our waiter. That was our meals! Shockingly enough, our food took a long time to come out. Result cooking nine orders was always going to take a little bit of time. The food was amazing, but huge. We could have all shared and not finished our plates. We were all bloated and stuffed! You know the meal is big when Jon couldn’t finish it, neither could Neal! 

After dinner we went for a walk around the old town. It was really beautiful, and it felt like you could easily be in Mexico.  There was an open courtyard with a band playing, people dancing and sitting around tables, and little shops lined the square. It was all lit up too. We walked all around it and wandered into all the little shops. I think we all needed to walk off the insane amount of food.

Back at the hotel Esme realised she had left some bits with Rachel, and I had ordered a water bottle to hers, which had arrived today. We decided to drive out to Rachel’s to pick it up. It was actually a really nice drive catching up with Esme and her life out in California. 

Well now back at the hotel, and time to pack again. Off to Vegas tomorrow!

Night dad x

San Deigo

Hey Dad,

So about our hotel, to say it’s old is a bit of an understatement! The lift is 100 years old. The door is manual and has a metal grill you have to slide across. The loft even dips slightly when people get in to counter the weight. Needless to say we will all be using the stairs. 

Mine and mums room is two separate rooms with a door. However it only has one bathroom, so the door is pointless. Holly and Neal are across the hall, and have an inter connecting door to Jon and Lauren. We all had our doors open at 2am and were having a good laugh at how dated the rooms were. The hotels have definitely gone down hill since the house in Fresno! We were also asked to sign a waiver when we checked in saying that we were aware we were in the gas lamp district and therefore would not complain about any noise! The rooms even came with ear plugs. At 2am this was of course hilarious! We also made use of the no noise complaints by having a conversation between all the open door rooms. Neal was even running up and down the hallway on a broom he found from somewhere.  

After all the excitement of last night, we did not really move very quickly in the morning. On the hunt for breakfast, we ended up in Starbucks. Lucy and Aaron had come down for the day and Rachel was visiting her parents who live nearby.  

After breakfast, the whole tribe drove over an amazing bridge to Coronado. Coronado is a beautiful island just off the mainland. We parked up and walked along a beach. The sand was unreal, it was glittery. It looked like there were flecks of gold in it! We carried on walking and came up to the most beautiful hotel. We went in and walked around.  Definitely your kind of place dad, but out of our budgets for this trip. We even stopped at the ice cream parlour attached to it. They had coconut icecream, amazing! 

We then walked back along the street to the cars. Even the town was lovely! We didn’t stop for long in the town though, and headed out to San Deigo beach. 

After eventually finding a parking space, we walked to the waters edge, and laying on the rocks were seals. They stank! The smell almost made your eyes water! They were fun to watch though, swimming into shore and kicking eachother out of spots on the rocks. 

From the seals we walked to the sand and through a stone cave. The cave led no where, but it gave a great view of the horizon. The cave was in the water, with a few rocks to stand on to get through. Amazingly, we all kept our feet dry! 

From the beach we drove inland to somewhere right up your street, wine and chocolate tasting! The winery was set on a small ranch type place, with small wooden buildings and little people paths, it was very pretty. We had lunch there which gave us all a good laugh. Mum placed an order and we were given a number. Of course she ended up with the number 20. Jon came to the table with it and I shot back in my chair laughing. The others of course looked a little confused so we had to explain. 

Anyway, we had lunch and headed for the tasting section. We could try five wines, and were given a chocolate button to have with each of the wines. Mum was of course disappointed we only got one chocolate button.

With a fill of some very good wine, we went to out final destination for the evening; Rachel’s parents house. They were cooking a BBQ for all of us! The buyers were just huge, like over an inch thick and perfectly cooked. With salads, dips, corn, pasta and nibbles, they really went all out for us, and it tasted amazing. It was also really refreshing to have a hike cooked meal. 

We spent the rest of the evening sitting on the sofa and telling stories of our trip so far. As it got late we said goodbye and drove back to the hotel. We all need to catch up on sleep from last night! 

Bedtime! 

Night dad x