Vegas - 3.4.06

For my mom's 60th she had a joint destination birthday party with my Godmother in vegas. I guess they still got it!

We stayed at the fabulous Flamingo casino and hotel

The fam converging on Friday morning

Shalan keeping wahm by the gas fire

The Flamingo has 3,565 rooms - the 9th largest hotel in the world

Inside the Flamingo towers is the wildlife habitat

Some interesting animals lived in the habitat, like turtles, Mandarin ducks, Koi fish, African penguins, and... Chilean flamingos!

These little guys are surprisingly quick in the water

Mom and John in the wildlife habitat

The Flamingo is also home to Margaritaville

Shalan playing the Ringmaster game

Tom & Leila

Johnboy checking out the pool

Shalan brought shoes for all occasions

The view from our room was flippin sweet! We were on the 27th floor (out of 28)

The Mirage, Caesars Palace (with new tower on the left), and the Bellagio were across the street

The famous Fountains of Bellagio occupy 10 acres and contain over 1000 nozzles

She runs full tilt every 15 minutes, and is syncronized to music

We checked out the NASCAR Cafe at the Sahara

A nice tribute to Dale Sr

New for 2006 - the Ford Fusion

One of Shalan's fav drivers navigates the 42 now (Casey Mears)

Krusty Wallet's former ride

Some of us rode "SPEED - The Ride"

This roller coaster uses linear induction motors with magnets to hit
0-40 in 2 seconds and 35-70 in 2 seconds, and 3.5 G forces!

At it's peak, the train rides to 224 ft in the air before coming to a halt... then runs the course backwards

Going up!

The just-opened Hooters casino/hotel, fomerly known at the Hotel San Remo (with a $190 million upgrade)

A cool pic of some mist at Caesars

There is speculation that the Excalibur hotel may be demolished when the current Union Contact expires, which may be as soon as late 2006

MGM Grand is the largest hotel in the world with 5,034 rooms

MGM holds the record the all-time single concert box-office record. The show took place on New Years eve 1999
for the Barbra Streisand concert production here, it grossed $14.7 million from 12,477 tickets sold!

New York-New York has been the only Strip destination casino without a marquee of its own (ESPN Zone doesn't count)

The half scale Lady Liberty stands 150 feet tall

Shalan and I stopped in at the 4-story M&M's World

What a delicious crowd we have here today

The 4th floor was all racin' - Elliott Sadler races the 38 car (my mom's fav)


I think Red was trying to eat Shalan

This 7.1:1 scale replica of a Heritage Softail cost over $ 750,000 to manufacture

The front tire alone weighs 1,200 lbs. and the bike measures 32 linear feet

Friday evening Shalan and I had dinner at The Bouchon at the Venetian

By the way, this place is a friggin maze and a half (even more so than the rest of the casinos)

These pics are from inside the Venetian, which houses 4,049 rooms (the 5th largest in the world)

The Venetian holds the Guinness Record for having the largest hotel rooms in the world

Each suite in the Venetian has a fax machine/printer, and guests receive a personal greeting fax with their own personal fax number

This fountain in located in the interior garden on the 10th floor

Harrahís sits on 17.3 acres and the Carnaval Tower reaches a 35-story height

We got hooked up with access to the House of Blues Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay on Friday night

Accessible only by a private elevator, the Foundation Room is located 43 floors up, on the top of the hotel

The Foundation Room was selected as the Best View of the Strip in Las Vegas Life's
2005 Vegas 100 issue, and as Best Lounge in the 2006 Las Vegas Nighties awards

Word on the street is that it costs $40,000 per year to be a member of this exclusive club!

Shalan & I in the Foundation Room

Judy and Leila

Me, Ivan, and Tom at the FR

Shalan & I had a snack at $790 million Paris casino/hotel the night we arrived, since we were denied access to the room without sTom

The half scale Eiffel Tower replica rises 50 stories high

Uncle Chuck Mosolf, Uncle Bob Guza, and Cous Riley Guza

The gals catching up before the bus ride out of Vegas

John giving instructions on how to have your picture taken

Saturday was the main event - a dinner cruise on Lake Mead (created by the Hoover Dam)

Lake Mead fishes

Our ride - The Desert Princess

One of my fav pics from the cruise

Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the Western Hemisphere

Gathering on the roof for drinks

The Wanat Crew - Judy, George, and Ivan

Not sure what she was saying or thinking here, but it's funny

Bud Light commercial

My Godmother 'Aunt Jane' and Aunt Dee (Mosolf)

George offering some advice on buying a house

The water level was way down, as indicated from the mineral deposits from the normal water line

Double fisting

One of Shalan's fav pics

sTom and Ivan

Shalan and I with the top of the Hoover Dam in the background

The largest single public works project in the history of the United States was the Hoover Dam
(although the Big Dig may have outsed that), the Dam contains 3.25+ million cubic yards of concrete... DAMN!

Construction workers on the Hoover Dam in 1933 were treated to a new invention -
the Hard Hat, which was invented specifically for workers on the Hoover Dam

Although it's functionality was questionable, the paddle on the boat nice for show

Old Glory flying nicely

Liz Lehman/Amend giving a speech for the birthday girls

Aunt Jane and my mom having a 60-yr laugh

Jane's sister saying a few words

The Guzas!

Also the Guzas- of California

After the cruise some of us went to the Piano Bar @ Harrah's

Aunt Jane and Marsh got called on stage and had to do the hokey pokey

John, Tom, & Leila at the Pie-anny Bar

Sunday evening Shalan & I ate at the Top of the World, a revolving restaurant on top of the Stratosphere tower

On top of the tower are the 3 highest thrill rides in the world, some of which dangle passengers over the edge of the tower

The Stratosphere tower is the tallest building west of the Mississippi

All dressed up and ready to elevate

We had to walk through about a mile of shops before getting to the tower elevator

We started facing west as the sun set

Nevada has more mountain ranges than any other state (as you'll see shortly)

We revolved past the dessert tray a couple times

I had The Big Shot martini to start

Fremont St (aka Old Vegas)

Looking down on the Sahara

Shalan trying some Pinor Gris

The Strip from the tallest free-standing observation tower in the US (1149 ft)

Shalan & I at the Top of the World

After dinner we joined up with the fam at the new $2.7 BILLION Wynn casino/hotel for a show
(By contrast, the budget for reconstruction at the World Trade Center site is $1 billion less than the cost of Wynn)

Wynn is among the first casinos to install RFID tags inside chips to detect counterfeiting and is the first
in the industry to combine the room key and the casino frequent-player card in the same piece of plastic

we saw Le RÍve (The Dream), a Cirque du Soliel-style variety show that was awesome

Steve Wynn bought Picasso's Le RÍve painting for $42 million, and it's on display somewhere in the casino/hotel

The round "stage" has moving floors rise and fall above/into the 27-feet deep 1 MILLION gallon pool of water

The front row seats are only 4 feet from the edge of the pool - we were in row 2

Acrobats and divers descended from the decorative ceiling high above

Inside the Wynn

Waiting... we were surprised at how crappy the service was in the bars at Wynn

Caesar's new $289 million Augustus Tower

Caesar's just completed their $376 million expansion

Shalan in front of the Bellagio

The 3 types of nozzles in the fountain include "oarsman", which can swing back and forth to create dancing water; "shooters",
which can shoot water upwards; and "super shooters", which can send a water blast as high as 250 ft in the air!

Hundreds of blown glass pieces hang inside the Bellagio

A view of the Observatory from outside

When the Bellagio opened in 1998, it was the most expensive hotel ever built, having cost over $1.5 billion

These GIANT animals are tightly covered in real flowers

Wow, water!

sTom outside Harrahs, a proud sponsor of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)

Both the Imperial Palace and neighboring O'Shea's "are going to require very substantial modifications or complete tear-downs
and rebuilds" (Chairman for Harrah's) in order to make room for a Harrah's and/or Flamingo expansion on the Strip

The IP is particularly notorious for its outdated ethos and decors

A sweet view of the Strip during take-off

17 of the top 20 hotels in the world are located in Las Vegas

I think this is the Colorado Rivah down below

The next big projects under way include: the $1.9 billion Cosmopolitan casino/hotel/condos near the Bellagio (2008);
the $1.6 billion Palazzo, a 53-story extension of The Venetian and Sands Expo complex (which when finished in 2007,
the Venetian, the Palazzo, and the Sands Expo will be the largest resort and hotel complex in the world);
the $4 billion Echelon Place which will replaces the Stardust (2010); and the $6 billion Project CityCenter that
will replace the Boardwalk casino/hotel - proposed as the largest privately financed development in the USA (2009).

I guess we'll have to come back to see what the future holds!

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