April 29, 2008


As I mentioned, my mom's 50th birthday was Saturday. I knew I wanted to do something special for her, I tossed around a few ideas, but quickly realized that the best gift I could give would be to have all her kids by her side to celebrate with her. I decided to fly my brother and sister (and nephew) in from Chicago for the occasion. I had Mike and Amy onboard in February. We all agreed a surprise would be best, so we kept our lips zipped and counted down the days.

Then, finally, Saturday arrived. I picked Amy, Mike and Nicky from the airport. It was a huge relief to have them here, I had fears that they'd miss their plane or they'd be delayed, etc. We stopped at Party City for balloons and few odd and ends on the way home. Back at the condo, I frosted cupcakes I made earlier in the day and I decorated the house.

We hid all evidence that they were here and we waited for my mom to arrive. When she got to the gate, they hid in the bedroom. We knew that my mom had an indication that Mike would be here so we planned to have him come out first(his ex-girlfriend let it slip that he would be in town at the end of April, but we were able to convince my mom that he wasn't able to come), and then have Amy and Nicky follow behind.

While at the party store, Amy bought a sign that said "Caution! 50 year old having a senior moment". Mike left that outside my front door, my mom laughed when she saw that and then opened the door. She was greeted by Frank watching tv and I walked out from the kitchen and we said Happy Birthday! She was surprised to see the decorations. Then Mike came around the corner, my mom screamed, you are here! She hugged him and burst into tears, then Nicky and Amy came around the corner and she was utterly shocked. Tears of joy filled the room.

She was completely blown away. She couldn't believe it. She said it was the most surprised she's ever been. And it was the absolute greatest gift we could've possibly given her. She wanted us to pinch her so she knew it wasn't a dream.

After we got acquainted we left for dinner at Stripburger. We had burgers, shakes and fries. Everything was tasty. Next, we went to Bellagio to check out the conservatory. Frank actually detoured to Planet Hollywood, where he ended up playing poker for the rest of the night.

The rest of us saw the display. I walked around with Nicky so they could check everything out. It was getting late and Nicky was cranky so we went back to my house for birthday cake.

Happy birthday to you... happy birthday to you...

And then she opened her gifts. Jeff, Amy's fiance, bought her horse-opoly. When he saw it he knew it was perfect for her. We opened it up and played it after we ate cupcakes.

Around 2am, there was no clear winner so we gave up. The game is fun and has lots of interesting horse themed twists. For example, all properties are horse breeds, instead of houses and hotels, there's straw barrels and barns. The pasture is free parking and the trailer is jail. It was really cute.

They stayed the night, because my mom wanted to go to a swap meet held at a Tack shop on the NW part of town. And they were going to do Potato Ridge with Frank afterwards.

Sunday morning, my mom, Amy, Nicky and I went to the swap meet, while Frank and Mike slept in. It was much smaller than my mom had imagined and the chances of her finding a new saddle for Fancy (her quarter horse) seemed slim. As we were about to leave a vendor put out a new saddle and it was just what my mom needed. They negotiated the price and then the saddle was hers.

We got back to the condo and decided on Jersey Mike's for lunch. Amy and Frank picked it up after a stop at Walmart. Frank wanted to take advantage of her employee discount to stock up on ammo. Nicky thought he could go too if he put on shoes. (Even when he's full grown it's unlikely he'll ever fit into Frank's size 15)

We ate when they returned. Then, Frank, my mom, Amy and Mike set off for Potato Ridge. Nicky and I played outside and inside to pass the time, and burn up energy so Nicky would nap during the drive to my mom's house.

Nicky got hot running around outside so we came back in to cool down. He had a ball, though. Not long after, we packed up, and headed to my mom's house. Nicky slept the whole way. He woke up when we pulled into the drive way. He was super excited to see the doggies. We played outside and visited the animals while we waited for everyone else to get there.

Nicky loved running around Fancy's corral. After we visited all the animals, Nicky played in dirt.

Just before 6 o'clock, they got back from Potato Ridge. They had fun and had their first experience shooting. Mike and Amy both fired the glock, and Mike and Frank did some skeet shooting. I guess my mom got pretty scared going around a few cliffs because she's afraid of heights, but overall she enjoyed it.

We tried out the new saddle on Fancy. I was the guinea pig, it was a much better fit than the other saddle. I rode her a bit, then my mom, and Amy. Amy took Nicky for a ride, too.

We cleaned up and then went to Terrible's Casino Cafe for dinner. The food was decent and very cheap. We went back to the house for a bit, before Frank and I headed home. My mom had a fabulous birthday weekend. Sunday night she was still in disbelief that Mike, Amy and Nicky were there. It really was a great surprise!

Review: Mamacita's

Friday night we tried Mamacita's Mexican and Cuban Restaurant. The restaurant is on Fremont Street across from El Cortez. With the addition of Fremont East the walk over is well lit and non-threating. There were a few diners around 8 o'clock and several people came by for take out.

The menu was diverse. The selections and the overall atmosphere reminded us a lot of restaurants we've frequented in Mexico. So much so, that when the waitress greeted us, I nearly responded with my gringo version of spanish.

Despite the wide variety of dishes we opted to keep it simple. Frank had a chicken burrito served enchilada style (ranchero sauce and monterrey jack cheese) and I had corn carne asada tacos. Both were very good. Their beans were especially tasty. We also had salsa and chips before our meal arrived, both salsas were mild (would prefer hotter), but fresh and delicious.

Service was good throughout the meal and the bill was $25. Mamacita's is a keeper, we'll happily dine there again.

April 25, 2008

Fun stuff on the horizon

Tomorrow is my mom's 50th birthday. I have something special planned. More details to come.

Next month, we are visiting San Francisco, I finally booked hotels this morning. We'll fly in, pick up a rental car, and then drive to Merced, Ca. Where we'll stay at the Super 8 for a couple nights so we can visit Yosemite National Park. Then we'll drive back to San Francisco, return the rental, and stay at Hotel Whitcomb the remainder of the trip. We'll catch two White Sox games, visit Muir Woods, see the sights, and hopefully eat lots of great food.

Today, I also booked tickets for Criss Angel's Cirque du Soleil show "Believe". I was able to get discounted tickets for a preview performance on September 7, 2008.

April 24, 2008

It's nice to be appreciated

Yesterday was administrative professional's day. I received two bouquets from my project managers.

And then the owners treated all the ladies in the office to a luncheon at the Foundation Room a top Mandalay Bay. We had the voodoo room all to ourselves. The luncheon was served buffet style and the spread included the following:

Vine Ripened Tomato Salad with Crumbled Maytag Blue and Toasted Ciabatta Bread

Petite Romaine Salad “Caesar Style” with Herbed Brioche Croutons

Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetables with Fresh Herb Cous Cous

Chilled Cucumber and Dill Yogurt with Grilled Pita Bread

Toasted Peanut and Scallion “Szechwan” Noodle Salad

Three Cheese Tortellini Pasta with Herbed Alfredo Cream

Grill Swordfish and Scallop Skewers with Lemon Butter

Maple Glazed Pork Loin with Applewood Bacon Jus

Spice Rubbed Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Mushroom Cream

“Pounded” Chicken Breast with Roasted Garlic Spinach and Fresh Tomato Sauce

Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Crème Brulees

Sugared “Ounce” Cakes with Marinated Fresh Berries

Assorted Mini French Pastries

Assorted Fresh Fruits

The food was good, but not great. Above all, the berries were my favorite. When we finished up we toured the bar, cigar lounge and patio. The views were great!

Potato Ridge

The other day I wanted to include a map of the Potato Ridge trail, but Google Earth kept crashing on me. Yesterday I was finally able to get it to load.

April 22, 2008

The adventures continue

Sunday we started the day with breakfast at Hash House a Go Go. Frank had the pork hash special of the day, Bob went with the chicken hash and I tried the apple cinnamon pancake. Food was good, service was slow, but it was exceptionally busy.

We returned to the condo to pack up for a day of off-roading. We planned to drive the Potato Ridge Trail, which goes over the spring mountains between Red Rock Canyon and Lovell Canyon outside Pahrump. It’s takes about five hours to drive the scenic five mile trail. We drove to Red Rock Canyon and purchased the yearly admission to the park. When we asked about 4x4 roads, the attendant suggested we don’t go, because the trail gets a bit squirrely and many people have been towed. Of course, that only encouraged us and made us more anxious to check it out.

The park was filled with hikers, bicyclists, picnickers and gawkers, it was the most crowded I had ever seen it. Everyone must have wanted to get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Also, wildflowers were in bloom so the 13-mile loop was especially spectacular on this visit. We entered the trail just passed the Willow Springs picnic area.

The mountains and vegetation are gorgeous throughout the trail and the first four miles or so are easy going most stock 4x4 can do it with ease, but the last mile requires high clearance because of rock beds and boulders that washed out the trail from flooding a few years back. Bob sat in front, so I only have pictures from the places we stopped. There’s a lot more beauty to be captured.

Bob gets a bird’s eye view

Looking back at the way we came

A postcard shot

And Frank… being Frank...

We cruised along the trail and gained elevation. We pulled over when we found a nice spot to break-in the shot gun.

Looking back toward the way we came

Bob and Frank had a blast skeet shooting. I even tried the shotgun, here’s my first try

I only fired a couple shots because I bruise easily and I didn’t want leave my arm/shoulder black and blue. Also, I don’t think women were meant to handle shotguns; it’s tricky to get a good hold of it when boobs get in the way.

We hung out for an hour and then picked up the shells and packed up the truck and set our sights back on the trail. We continued to climb elevation.

A panorama shot, it shows how the trail winds up the mountain (click for full-size image)

From there you make your descent down the mountain. When you we neared the end we finally reached to portion of the trail that is squirrely. There are lots of big boulders to dodge and rocks to climb. We took the easier routes since we traveling solo, had we been part of a convoy we could’ve made the trail far more challenging (which I know we’ll do in the future). Not long after the rocks we came across Lovell Canyon Rd which leads to Hwy 160.

Looking back at the last leg of the trail, those were the mountains we meandered down before we reached the rock beds.

We hopped on 160 and headed home. We had a great time. The scenery is gorgeous and Bob got a taste of four-wheeling. It was definitely a great run.

We cleaned up and then drove to Mirage. We had 7:30 reservations at Stack. The restaurant was busy, but not terribly crowded. Unfortunately, service was effected; it was the worst we’ve encountered there. Typically, service is excellent, but Sunday they certainly didn’t meet our expectations. Fortunately, the food was still superb.

We started with a Caesar salad, hot rocks and crunchy tuna tacos. The wasabi-mango sauce served with the tacos was not my favorite, however everything else was tasty.

Frank selected the lamb shank with lentils and twice baked potato for his main course. Bob opted to try the Kobe burger with Vermont cheddar served with fries. And I had the Kurabota pork chop and bacon-brie tater-tots. All of our dishes were excellent and prepared to perfection. We declined to look at the dessert menu because we wanted cookies from Carnegie Deli instead.

We walked over and picked out our cookies and then walked back to the Roasted Bean for coffee. We drank our coffee and snacked on the cookies on the patio outside. Afterwards, Frank and Bob dropped me off at home and they went to Planet Hollywood to gamble and play poker.

Monday I met Bob and Frank at Carnegie Deli for lunch. Frank and I shared the corned beef Rueben and I also ordered potato pancakes. Bob had smoked salmon on a bagel. The sandwiches were delicious. However, the potato pancakes were terrible. It was a major disappointment. They used to be among the best in town. I have no idea when they changed the recipe, but it’s a shame they did. To top off the meal we shared a piece of strawberry cheesecake. Now, that was delicious, and even better than I remembered.

I said good-bye to Bob and headed back to work. They went to Wynn to try their luck there. They played blackjack and ended with a losing session. On a whim they threw money into Megabucks, Frank ended up winning $250. That covered all his losses over the last 24 hours. With that, they took the money and ran…

Frank dropped Bob at the airport. We both told him it better not be another three years before he visits again. Now that we’ve spoiled him with Delmonico, I don’t see that being a problem.

April 21, 2008

And Saturday's...

I was the first one up on Saturday, which means I got the hottest shower. Bob was up not too long after me. I did laundry, made a batch of pizzelles, and cleaned up while Frank slept. Bob said he liked my pizzelles better than gram’s, which was quite a compliment, but really the main difference was that I made mine with vanilla and gram preferred to use anise.

I wanted Bob to introduce us to Japanese food, he said he’d be happy to, but I had to find a place that had authentic dishes and that had Japanese owners. It sounded easy enough, but I quickly realized it was much more difficult task than I thought. Many options are run by other Asians or Americans. Sushi is so trendy that there are hundreds of options, but few that serve up traditional cuisine. Anyhow, we narrowed down the possibilities to two: Osaka Bistro and Sen of Japan. The latter isn’t open for lunch, therefore the decision was easily made; we had lunch at Osaka Bistro.

Bob spoke to the waitress in Japanese and he felt right at home. I felt like a fish out of water initially, but I got more comfortable once I saw some familiar items on the menu. Frank and I were willing to try anything and we trusted Bob to point us in the right direction. Frank ordered a teriyaki bowl and I had chicken teriyaki and shrimp tempura. Bob ordered the lunch box, which had tonkatsu, tuna, and pickled veggies, salad, rice, etc. We also ordered two types of maki-sushi: unagi and “Oh my god” which consisted of tempura shrimp, avocado, scallions and a tasty sauce. Frank and I tried everything and had sampled all items included in Bob’s lunch box, it was all real good. I’d never order eel on my own, but I’m glad Bob introduced me to it, because it was delicious. The “Oh my god” sushi was tasty, too. Bob liked it despite it not being a traditional type of sushi. All in all, we enjoyed the meal. Frank and I won’t hesitate to eat Japanese cuisine again and Bob was thrilled to have familiar tastes since Louisville doesn’t offer any good Japanese eateries. Osaka reminded him of many meals he had while he lived in Japan, so props to the owners for keeping it authentic.

After lunch we headed to the strip. Bob’s friend Elaine drove in from Pasadena to see him. They worked together in Japan and became friends; they haven’t seen each other since they were Thailand over a year ago. Elaine brought along three of her Japanese students (they’re living abroad, she teaches English). We met them at New York-New York. Bob went off with them to catch up and Frank and I went to MGM because he wanted to play poker. Frank put his name on the waiting list and we played Sigma derby to pass the time. Long shots were coming in left and right, it’s too bad we kept betting the favorites. Frank checked to see if a seat was available, and encountered the same deal he experienced at TI on Friday night… there were open tables and enough interested players to open a table, but both TI and MGM refused to do so. Frank was peeved that they were running the room so poorly. We left; I suggested we check out the CityCenter Residential Gallery. We walked over and checked it out. I was upfront with them and said I work for the contracted roofing company on site and I was curious about the interiors of the project. I did so, because I didn’t want to deal with any sales pressure or be bored by details I already know. Fortunately, they were great and they happily showed us the interiors on display. The Harmon will have a gorgeous bath and shower combo. I’d love to have one just like it. Vdara will be a condo-hotel like the Signature. I have no doubt we will check it out once it opens. All the condos were beautiful. As much as I want the high-rise life style I wouldn’t want to live at CityCenter. It seems like it’ll be too congested, nevertheless I can’t wait to see it complete.

From the gallery we went to Monte Carlo. Frank added his name to their poker waiting list. We waited in the sportsbook, he bet on a couple horses; both tickets were losers. He finally got on a table so I left him and played penny slots and quarter video poker. I had no luck at all. Bob called, he, Elaine and the Japanese entourage met up with me. They played misc slots, it was interesting trying to explain how the pays work, although, we eventually gave up and opted for a simple “win” or “lose” after each spin. It was fun to watch their excitement when they won twenty or thirty cents and their dread when it was a losing spin. Elaine and the entourage left to check into their hotel and Bob and I walked over to Bellagio to see the conservatory.

From Bellagio Conservatory

From Bellagio Conservatory

From Bellagio Conservatory

From Bellagio Conservatory

From Bellagio Conservatory

Frank called shortly after we arrived saying he was ready to go, so I didn’t take many pictures. Bob and I met Frank at the car which was parked at New York New York. I never realized that there were two walkways to the parking garage until Saturday, Bob and I happened to be in one and Frank was in the other. It had me confused for a bit. We rested at the condo, watched TV and napped a bit. We didn’t want to fight Saturday night crowds for dinner so we settled on Buffalo Wild Wings. We played buzztime and ordered a slew of wings: hot, mango-habanero, and blazin’. It was Frank and my first time trying the Blazin’ they were damn hot, too hot, really. We’ll happily stick with the hot and mango-habanero. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, we gorged ourselves. Frank and I curled up and watched TV the rest of the night and Bob took the monte carlo and met back up with Elaine and entourage at Bellagio. They gambled and saw the sights until five in the morning.

Friday's adventures

Friday I met Frank and Bob for lunch at Archi’s Thai Kitchen. They offer a variety of specials for $6.95, Frank and I had chicken pad thai and Bob had red curry. All were tasty! Archi’s is our favorite place for Thai, I was pleased that Bob enjoyed it, too. He said it’s not authentic to what you find in Thailand, but for having American influence it was pretty good.

I worked the rest of the afternoon while they went off-roading they did the sloan trail that Frank and I did a couple weeks back. On their way back into to town that stopped at the Bass Pro Shop (Silverton). Frank picked up a semi-automatic shotgun while there. He claims it was too good of a deal to pass up… I think he just wanted it.

I came home to them assembling the gun. We killed time at the condo until our 7:30 reservation at Seablue (MGM) neared. The restaurant was the most crowded we had ever seen it, granted we’ve typically dined there on Sunday nights. Frank and Bob built their own salads and we ordered prawns to start (4 each). The prawns were fresh and delicious as always and they each enjoyed their salad creations. For entrees, Bob had bacon wrapped Chilean Seabass, Frank had Alaskan Halibut and I had Australian Prawn skewers. Again, everything was outstanding. The fish is prepared to perfection; it melts in your mouth, and my prawns have the greatest flavor. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We were fulfilled by our meal so passed on dessert. After dinner, we left MGM and headed to Treasure Island.

Frank and Bob hit the poker room and I took off to the casino in search of a video poker machine that would hand me a royal flush (one can hope, right?). I played for awhile, but had no profits whatsoever. The guys couldn’t get on a table so they tracked me down and we went to Sahara instead. They played poker and I played slots until Bob finished up and then we hopped on a $5 blackjack table. We played until Frank finished up, I broke even and Bob lost $20 so it was a decent session. We left Sahara and headed downtown.

We caught the last light show of the night and then walked over Golden Nugget so Bob could check out the shark tank and overall transformation. We were disappointed to find the lights off on the tank, the darkness made it difficult to check out the fish. We went to Mermaids so Bob could try a deep fried twinkie and oreo, but they stopped making them for the night. Two for two we were on a roll. We decided to play our favorite nickel VP at Vegas Club. My money lasted over an hour and Frank managed to more double his in that time. Bob played misc games and managed to keep his losses to a minimum. All was good until Frank went to cash out. These games are still coin operated and we were reminded how wonderful TITO really is… it took over an hour to get his money due to hopper fills and malfunctions. Then, the kicker was that the damn thing shorted him ten cents. It was ridiculous. We got home after 2 o’clock I was beyond tired. I think I crashed before my head even hit the pillow.

April 18, 2008

Fun with family

Frank's brother, Bob, arrived yesterday, he'll be visiting until Monday. It's been three years since he was last here. We planned to show him everything that's changed, sample lots of good eats, and give him a taste of what we've been up to lately. We wasted no time, right after we got Bob from the airport we took him out on his first off-road adventure and first go at shooting a gun. We went out to the trails near the condo at Grand Canyon/Sunset.

We usually shoot toward the back of this canyon

but yesterday a truck was parked there so we shot here instead

Bob did well shooting, he had a excellent beginners luck and hit the bullseye. When we finished up there we drove up the side of the mountain for an excellent view of the strip

We headed home, relaxed and killed time until our 8:30 reservations at Delmonico rolled around.

This was Bob first experience at a high-end restaurant, he's had superb meals in Japan and Thailand, but those experiences were on a different scale. Needless to say he was in for a treat.

We started with an amuse bouche of beef and green bean salad with a potato truffle drizzled with pesto. It was tasty and it did the trick; we were left wanting more. We snacked on bread while we waited for our Caesar salad to be prepared. The salad is typically prepared tableside for two, but they were happy to portion it for three. The salad was excellent as expected. For the next course, Frank had minestrone soup and Bob had a new ravioli dish that sounded wonderful when we first spotted it on the online menu.

The soup was great, the Italian sausage was outstanding. But the ravoli was the highlight here. It was roasted butternut squash ravioli with duck confit, with sage brown butter sauce, which was topped with hazelnuts and parmesan cheese. It was heavenly, I'll definitely be ordering it again on our next visit.

The main course consisted of the bone-in ribeye for Frank, the rack of lamb for Bob and I had the special which was beef medallions wrapped in bacon with topped with wild mushrooms and crispy carrots served atop potato leek puree. Frank also ordered the cheddar and bacon twice baked potato.

Everything, and I mean everything was fantastic. We were all giggly and filled with joy by the end of the meal. Dessert menus were delivered, Bob and I each found treats that we couldn't resist, and Frank picked out Jamaica Blue Mountain french press coffee for him and Bob to share. I had fudge peanut butter torte, which was fudge cake topped with a layer of peanut butter and peanut butter ice cream, and that was drizzled with blackberry sauce and fresh blackberries. Devine. Bob had white chocolate creme brulee, which was smooth and delicious. The french pressed coffee was excellent, as well. All in all, it was a fabulous meal.

Bellies full we headed home. I had to turn in, so I could be up for work bright and early, but Bob and Frank went out to the pool for a swim and time in the hot tub.

We have a lot more in store for the weekend. I'll update next week.

April 17, 2008

Four fabulous years

Today's our fourth wedding anniversary. Hard to believe four years ago I was exhausted and getting primped for the day on less than two hours sleep. I functioned that day on pure excitement, I was thrilled to finally become Frank's wife after seven years together.

I'll never forget that the day began sunny and cool, but then a storm front blew in after our reception, just in time for our photo tour. There were 40mph wind gusts, scattered showers and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. I never considered that to be an option, I thought by marrying in Vegas I'd be guaranteed sunny skies. Yeah, there are no guarantees... We made the most of the change of weather (besides, they say rain on your wedding day brings good luck), and we had the best time on the photo tour. I was bummed that not a single photo had a sunny sky, but I had my boss' husband touch up a few to give me the gorgeous skies you often see in Las Vegas.

It was bright and sunny minutes after we became husband and wife.

Blue skies on the way to the reception

And here we are after the reception. There were many times I thought the wind would take me away.

The magic of Photoshop

April 16, 2008

Review: Le Burger Brasserie

Saturday night we had dinner at Le Burger Brasserie between Paris and Bally's. Frank's been there dozens of times for lunch, but this was my first visit. We each had a beef burger with swiss, he likes the carmelized onion bun and I decided to try the parmesan cheese bun. His is was a better choice, mine was a bit dry. We also ordered a side of seasoned waffle fries, which were mighty tasty. All in all, it was a good burger. Service was good, and our check came to $30. I liked Le Burger better than the Burger Bar at Mandalay Place, but Strip Burger remains my top pick for a great burger on the strip.

Alternate plans

This past weekend we had planned to stay in Barstow and meet Vegas Valley 4-Wheelers for a run on Saturday in Calico, CA. Needless to say, we didn't make it, we hit the road around 5:30 on Friday, all was good until we got outside Vegas, then the Jimmy's engine got real hot. We pulled over, smoke flooded out from under the hood. The water pump went out and we were leaking coolant like a sieve. I called the hotel to cancel our reservation, and then called lodging.com to get a refund. They gave us a terrible time, but eventually they agreed to refund us. It took us almost 4 hours to get home. We had to stop every couple miles and flood the radiator with water. Good thing I brought a lot along with us.

It was 9:30 when we got back to the house I was starved and craving Mexican. We tried a new place that's been open for a year or two. It's called Frank and Fina's Cocina. I'm glad we finally tried it, it was delicious. Frank had a carne asada burrito and I had cochinita pibil. We agreed that we liked it better than Lindo/Bonito's and Viva Mercado's, which were among the best we've had here. I wish we could find something like what we get in San Diego, because Los Panchos is some damn good stuff.

Moving on to Saturday, we dropped off the Jimmy at the shop first thing. Very soon everything under the hood will be new, and we've replaced the exhaust system and got new tires, so repairs have got to be coming to an end soon. I suppose that's what you get with a 23 year old vehicle.

Then, we had breakfast at Hash House a Go Go. I tried the blackberry granola pancake, but it was much too dry. Not my favorite, the other varieties are far better. Frank had the pork tenderloin benedict. That was yummy like usual.

After that, we went to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve We opted to do the trails and gardens for free rather than paying the $20 admission to the exhibits since we were looking to enjoy the weather outside.

It's planted to look like the desert that surrounds us. It's really kind of ironic. Years ago, they had small garden set up for free, I really enjoyed that. This was enjoyable, but luster was lost because everything was fake. I'd rather see the natural desert then the planted desert. Anyway, a few photos of the grounds and gardens are coming up.

Fake wetlands

Beautiful yellow flowers on this tree

flowering penis cacti (of course, that's not the proper name, but it's looks like it, doesn't it?)

I've seen lots of these off-roading

a variety of desert plants

vibrant desert flowers

I love to see cacti flower

And this bloom totally made my day. It was gorgeous!!

Afterwards we returned home and went for a swim. It was the first swim of the year, I cannot express how much I love living here. Although, I will add that it was 38 in Chicago and 77 here on Saturday... Yeah, that helps sum it up.

April 7, 2008

Fremont Street entertains

After our night run, we went home to swap the Jimmy for the Trans Am. We cruised downtown, and we grabbed a late dinner at Bay City Diner at Golden Gate. It's been years since we've eaten there, the service is still slow and prices are cheap, but the food (patty melt & rueben) weren't nearly as good as we remembered.

When we walked out of Golden Gate we happened to catch the 11:15 showing of Thunderdome. The motorcycle stunt show performs Thursday-Saturday at 9:15 and 11:15. It was really neat to see. Here's a few videos of the different stunts.

Two bikes

Two bikes with a guy standing in the middle

Three bikes