Archives for category: Excursions Las Vegas

Again, another unmissable Las Vegas excursion.

Whenever you see Kim Kardashian in Las Vegas, she’s in a bikini!  Let’s just say don’t bother  bringing anthing less than thermal underwear, in December on this fantastic adventure-  It’s VERY EXPENSIVE but worth every dollar. 

Hotel pick up, I can’t remember what time exactly but for us and our jetlag, the earlier the better.  You are taken to the Hover Dam and driven down the little trail that the 1931 construction workers used, whilst builing this amazing project.

At the end of a stone jetty, your raft awaits.  The whole scenic 11 mile float along the Colorado River is filled with interesting things to see.  Some of which, we even managed to photograph.  Again top marks for the guide/skipper, who tells you dittys about the early explorers looking for gold.

As always, we pick our visiting month when it’s coldest, December, so let’s just say it was bloody freezing.  Felt like Pocahontas but unfortunately didn’t look anything like her!

2nd part of the trip was the holiday highlight.

You are then picked up and taken back to the Hacienda Hotel.  Here, unfortunately, they asked us to leave and wait outside because the kids wouldn’t stop trying to play on the casino machines!!!

 Good news was that our yellow “Hummer”, Deep Desert Exploration Vehicle arrived at the same time.  Hooray! 

I was quite nervous at what to expect (being the scaredy cat, that I am) and whilst on the road to the Frenchmen Mountains (where the rough bit starts) you begin to let your guard down and relax. Our guide THE BEST IN LAS VEGAS (I’m so sorry that I can’t remember his name) began to tell us about how he grew up in LA, moved to Las Vegas whilst trying to break from a notorious gang and completely turned his life around.   For a busy body like me it was Christmas come early.


Wham, without noticing we had turned off the main road.  Now it was ‘hold on to ya hats time’.  OMG,  we all started screaming, up and down, how the car didn’t topple over was down to his driving skills.  This was adventure with a capital A .  It really was  the ride of our lives.  Forget theme park fake attractions.  This was Topgear in HD.


One secret I will share is that, at one point he stopped the hummer at the major fault line, at Lava Butte and told us to get out of the car, give him our expensive camera and walk up the mountain a bit and he would take a photo!  Once, we had started walking away from him my husband turns to me and says quietly  ‘We are in the middle of the dessert, an ex-gang member has got our camera, your handbag and has told us to walk up a mountain,  I hope to hell that when we turn around he’s still there’!  He was and here is the photo to prove that we have had the adventure tour of our lives thanks to him and his hummer.  THANK YOU!


This year with all 6 of us going, I made an effort to look ONLY for cheaper option tours.  I found it through Viator and at the time it did have an extra percent off.  It was a great tour, small and friendly.  With a great guide.  Well worth doing.  Our age ranges are 40ish, early twenties and under 10’s.  So a real mixed bag and this excursion was charming for everyone!

Hotel pick up is important, seeing as there are a lot of us getting ready at one time + the fact that in Las Vegas distances are deceptive.  Another great plus is that a picnic lunch is included.  Although, they are all the same type of fare, it’s nice quality and does the job perfectly.

It’s not a long drive to the Red rock canyon National Conservation area.  You start off at their visitor’s centre.  This should be made obligatory for everyone visiting Las Vegas.  The scenery is amazing and the silence of the huge surrounding, colourful mountains bewitching.

You are then taken on a leisurely 13-mile (21-kilometer) scenic loop. Stops along the way include the colorful sandstone Calico Hills, limestone Indian roasting pits and the petroglyphs at Willow Springs. 

The finale and most exciting part for me was a visit to Spring Mountain State Park, a ranch once owned by eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes.  The ranch had been owned by various people before Mr Hughes, one of which was VERA KRUPP.  Vera Krupp was an actress, who had married and divorced a wealthy German industrialist.  She had fallen in love with the ranch and with part of the divorce settlement bought it.  She bred horses there, installed a bidet and held wonderful showbiz parties there. 

One night, two men broke into Vera Krupp’s ranch  and pried a diamond ring off her finger. This wasn’t just any diamond: Aside from its 33-karat weight, it had a blue-white center and was set with two smaller baguette-shaped diamonds on either side of the marble-sized center stone. And it was worth $275,000, which was a considerable value in the 1950s.  Krupp and her ranch foreman had been tied up in the robbery and had to drive to the airport in Las Vegas to alert authorities. The FBI found the main diamond in New Jersey; it was sewn into the lining of a coat hanging in a hotel closet.  The side stones were found at a jeweler’s store in St. Louis later in the investigation .  Krupp put her ring back together and it was sold at auction after her death to Richard Burton for about $305,000. Burton gave it to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, as a gift. She kept the diamond until her death in 2011.

Another great aspect of this tour is that although it’s 6 hours you are back on the strip by just after midday.

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What is not to love about Vegas?  It’s the original ‘Emerald city’, and everyone has the possibility of becoming rich. 

As you exit from the airport and can at once see the outline of the Strip, the rush of excitement starts.  It’s definitely magical.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending upon how you look at it I’m addicted to Vegas!  Fortunately because I spend 11 months and 3 weeks dreaming and saving for my return and unfortunatelybecause  the week that I’m or rather we’re there passes TOO FRIGGIN QUICK!

I’m not a gambling addict or have lots of money to spend.  What is the main attraction then for me?  It has to be the greatest place on earth for an observer.   Don’t get me wrong, it is the best place for shopping, (yes, better than New York, London and Barcelona).  It is the best place for variety of shows (yes, better than the West End, Broadway and I’m definitely not including Barcelona in this comparison as it’s dire).  I don’t know if it has the biggest or best collection of luxury hotels in the world but if it doesn’t hold this accolade, it must be very close.  But the award for most amazing contrasts in one location HAS TO GO TO VEGAS.  That for me, an observer, is certainly the main draw.

For me to physically get to Vegas, is a major undertaking.  I live on the Costa Brava in Tossa de mar, Spain (a very beautiful place and completely different from LV).   It’s a very long way and very expensive too.  To get there, we generally first fly to London and then travel by Virgin Atlantic.  I’ve tried over the years of looking at price comparison sites, with Virgin, with BA holidays and have found that the cheapest for the same holiday + insurance (if booked 3ish months in advance) is  Don’t get me wrong NOTHING ABOUT THE WHOLE ADVENTURE IS CHEAP.  However, after 5 successive years and more hours than I care to think of trawling the internet.  This is my personal conclusion.

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