After several relaxing days in Flagstaff it seems as if we are headed back to Las Vegas for a few days. My husband is a sports analyst and at times his clients need him in Vegas for special engagements or big games. I go blank on the particulars just like he goes blank when I start to wax poetic on sustainable landscaping and the likes. It works for us.
When you have been in Vegas as many times as we have it starts to lose its luster. Don’t get me wrong, it is a fun place to play and have a great meal or two but after a couple of days all the excess that is Vegas can become too much. We tend to stay at either the Wynn or Bellagio. Does that make us snobs? Maybe, but I like to think of it as discerning, more pleasant-sounding. We did the obligatory walk through the Forum Shoppes at Caesars as well as the Esplanade at the Wynn. The Fashion Show mall is directly across Las Vegas Blvd from Wynn and at one time it was the pinnacle of high-end shopping. Not so much any more. I can barely say this but – shudder – they now have a Payless Shoes in the Fashion Show Mall. Makes me dizzy thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have any issue with Payless (in theory). What I do take issue with is that the level of excellence one has come to expect from the Fashion Show mall has greatly depreciated. Sad, so sad.
You are probably wondering why this post is titled Reno. After my husband finished conducting his business here in Vegas we decided that Portland, Oregon sounds like it might be interesting. The drive to Reno from Vegas is on US-95 – the only direct north/south option available to drivers. It is a four lane highway that takes you through some of the smallest towns you may ever see – or not see if you blink. These towns are tiny. Take for example the ghost town of Luning, population 87. I want to know where the kids go to school and where do these people buy groceries? Not only do you wonder about the type of person who would chose to live in such remote places but you have to creep through the towns at the snail’s pace of 25mph. Yep, 25 and there are cops that will ticket you if you speed! I want to know where these officers live as clearly they are not habitue’ of these crumbling burgs.
We got pulled over by highway patrol just outside of Fallon for a bad headlight. The cop was testy and clearly looking to write someone a ticket but we walked – or drove – away without a citation. The light had just gone out not thirty minutes prior to the officer pulling us over. We had already planned on getting it fixed in the morning so he let us leave – with a stern warning. Oh brother, as if the finger waging was going to magically make the headlight come back on.
Stayed the night at the Silver Legacy. Hoping toget some good sleep so we can continue our travels in the morning.
The holidays are a season of joy, happiness, reflection and generosity. At times though, they can feel like vignettes out of a grade B horror flick. The obligatory uptight family gatherings; siblings squabbling over past grievances that have yet to be redressed and compulsory shopping with all the kids in tow have led to many a nightmare for some. For others, it leads to eggnog – lots of eggnog.
Holidaze Necklace is a lightweight and lighthearted bauble for the season. A careful balance of matte and shiny antique ornaments hang from an oval link gold-filled chain. Deep ruby red and clear crystal swarovski elements dangle in between each cheerful component. Snowy white freshwater pearls and frosty vintage fluted beads individually attached with gold wire complete the decorative detailing. Holidaze Necklace is adjustable up to 21” long and is finished with a gold lobster claw clasp. The antique ornaments are approximately 1″ in diameter.
Wear the Holidaze Necklace to remind yourself not to take the holiday drama too seriously. Remember, they are your family – just keep refilling your glass of eggnog.
Elk City is right on the border of Oklahoma and Texas. Not that this is anything special in and of itself – it’s just a way to give you some idea of our location in the world – and to illustrate the long drives we have been taking lately. No matter how comfortable the seats in the Volvo – and they are very comfy – after a while your behind tends to either go to sleep or cramp up. Either one is not much fun. To avoid any unnecessary discomfort and to balance out these very long days of sitting in the car we decide to make our stop for the night in New Mexico. Sounds like a plan.
Pull out of the parking lot and onto the freeway and set the cruise control at 70mph. Yeah, it’s not 75 like in Arizona so pay attention to the speed limit. We cross into Texas and immediately a highway trooper is on our rear. Now you would think that we are terrible drivers with all of these weird run-ins with the local constabulary. Not so – we are both excellent drivers, although I suppose even the worst drivers among us would say the same so that’s not a very sound argument. Oh well. The trooper wasn’t concerned with us specifically he was simply driving up and down the interstate keeping the speeders in check. Those of you keeping score – we haven’t gotten a ticket, yet.
The drive across the panhandle of Texas was filled with rude drivers and red mesas. Amarillo – or The Yellow Rose of Texas – is home to the Cadillac Ranch and the Big Texan Steakhouse. According to Wikipedia you can see both from the I-40 and perhaps one can. I was looking forward to seeing the half-buried Cadillacs as it was just weird enough to pique our interest. We only saw the giant steakhouse and really, how is that a tourist stop? It must be a cultural thing because I didn’t get the giant cow decor as a “must-do”. Needless to say we continued on.
Made it to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. It is beautiful in an unforgiving way. Endless, sundrenched desert landscape with sparse vegetation and meager water sources. In the higher altitudes of Taos and Santa Fe the landscape becomes more green and hospitable – even getting snows in the winter for some spectacular skiing. I started to daydream of tall pines and cool breezes and cute ski outfits. I mentioned this to my husband and the blank look on his face spoke volumes. He very slowly pointed out that a) it’s not ski season yet and b) we are still on the I-40 plowing our way across the New Mexico desert. Yes, this is all true but I now have locked into the idea of an alpine retreat. Yeah, I know – think of how my husband feels. So new plan – we are going on to Flagstaff for a few days so I can smell the pine trees and my husband can politely ignore me.
I have already planned my agenda. I will start each day with a trip to Macy’s Coffee House for the most scrumptious pastries on the planet. And that is a real thing not simply an opinion. Macy’s makes a great cup of coffee – or in my case – a terrific soy latte. It is always perfectly brewed, hot with just the right amount of foam. It’s heaven in a cup. I will have the danish of the day as my morning treat. I so hope they have the pumpkin tofu pastry at least one day that we are here. Who am I kidding? I will order multiple treats to eat throughout the day. No joke. Macy’s is a haven for vegans, gluten-intolerant folks and those who enjoy a delicious plate of homemade delights. Try it out the next time you find yourself in Flagstaff.
I am off to find happiness in caffeine and whole grain goodness.