Welcome back again for the conclusion of my road trip across the country! In case you don’t remember, we were on day 7, 10 states deep and just leaving Denver to head to….
UTAH! The drive through the Rocky Mountains was majestic. Pictures and words cannot capture their true beauty. I think it was the first place we actually had no cell phone reception. J I definitely understand why people live in Denver; a combination of city life and nature all rolled into one.
We did not have much planned for Utah except for Arches National Park in Moab. This national park boasts the most unusual rock formations. Although we did not get to see many arches, we did see some beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, we were not really prepared to hike through the park. While you can drive through it, as we did, it probably would have been more beneficial to have hiked. It took roughly 2 hours to drive the park and stop at the different lookout points. There were definitely some fascinating structures to observe along the way and we felt satisfied with our time there.
After gassing up and leaving Moab, we decided that we would do our best to make it to our next and final stop for Chelsea and me. Las Vegas was about 5-6 hours away, but I was determined to get us there. Melissa and Chelsea had never been to Vegas before and although I had been twice, it was my first time driving there, and my first time going there in over 10 years. I began the final leg of my trip keeping in the back of my mind that I wanted Melissa and Chelsea to experience Vegas for the first time at night.
It was about 1:00 am when we crossed into Pacific Time, where it became midnight again. Much to our disappointment there was no sign this time. But our phones changed, so at least we had an indicator. Anyway, at about 12:45, still in pitch black we climbed a small incline. We reached the top, and all of a sudden in the distance miles of lights could be seen. I realized that flying over the strip is nothing like driving into Vegas at night. We were clapping and cheering. Of course we had a playlist ready on the IPOD for our entrance to the strip. What better song than A Little Less Conversation, (theme song for the show Vegas)? Followed by Tom Jones of course!
We started at one end of the strip and drove down and back. It was so much fun being in the car with Melissa and Chelsea as they had their first Vegas experience. Several of the hotels were new to me, but I was more excited watching the two girls look up in awe. I was sad to be in my last city, but I was thankful that I had 3 nights to go with Melissa. We spent the daytime touring the casinos and in the evening we tried to experience some of the nightlife. The fountains show at the Bellagio Hotel was definitely our favorite. We watched about 4 shows in a row! If you think Vegas is just about the gambling, you really can go there without losing a dime. There are so many hotels to tour, restaurants to try and shows to attend. The top of the Stratosphere Hotel even has 3 terrifying rides! That was the only activity I did not partake in. Instead, I took pictures of Melissa and Chelsea. (I took one for the team!)
We stayed at the MGM Hotel, towards the end of the strip. We had a great view of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and the Sphinx at the Luxor. The first night we did a little bar hopping and tested out the scene at Coyote Ugly, located in the New York, New York Hotel. Melissa and I were dancing on the bar with minutes of walking in. We stayed for a short time there and then headed towards Caesar’s Palace to hit up PURE Nightclub. It was packed and the music was pumping. You kind of forget that you're out on a Tuesday night. It's pretty easy to forget what day it is when your're in Sin City! We hit the dance floor for a while, and by the time we left our ears were definitly ringing. We returned to our hotel where I taught Chelsea how to play Roulette, and she walked away $200 richer.
Chelsea had to return to Virginia the next day, but Melissa and I had still had one more full day and night ahead. We toured more hotels, such as The Mirage, The Venetian, Paris, and The Wynn. It truly is incredible to see these creative spaces. I even had the chance to see the Devils first playoff game on a huge screen! (That made my day!) After a full day of walking the strip, we decided to stay close to home on our final night and we went to Studio 54 located right in the MGM Grand. The music was great, and the club was awesome. They have dancers to entertain the crowd high above the dance floor. The outfits don’t really leave much to the imagination, and they have costume changes throughout the night. Definitely not what I’m used to seeing back in Hoboken! Overall, we had an absolute blast, and it was a great way to spend our final night in Vegas.
After 10 days of travelling, I am able to say that I was in 13 states, 7 cities, and 3 time zones…and I did it all with the 1 friend who is most dear to me. Saying goodbye to Melissa was probably the toughest day, however we promised not to really say goodbye…but “see you later.” I gave her about 5 hugs, each one filled with tears and I walked into the airport. Within 10-15 seconds we were already texting each other. I knew that she would never really be far from me.
This vacation was definitely one of my most exciting and memorable times. We laughed, we cried and we simply enjoyed being friends. Nothing compares to this experience and I feel so fortunate I had the chance to drive across this beautiful and diverse country. If you ever have a chance to take your own road trip, do not pass it up. I cannot tell you enough times how incredible it was. Just find the right person to go with, and you can’t go wrong!
If you liked this story…hopefully you’ll love the sequel…the road trip to move Melissa back to the East Coast. Don’t worry…you have a couple years before that one is released.
Click here to read Part I
Click here to read Part II