Las Vegas can be fun. It’s a gaudy, flashy, weird place where millions, even billions, are spent on enticing you to leave behind large chunks of change. It’s easy to spend $30 to 50 for dinner, another $30 to $50 for breakfast and lunch, and $50 to $100 for a show. And that’s on the lower side of things. Then there are the ubiquitous gambling machines, modern descendants of one-armed bandits seductively designed to promise you a fortune while robbing you blind— if you hang out long enough, or think dollars are play money. Even so-called penny slots can gobble down 9 to 100 cents (or more) per play. And forget nickel video poker, at least on the Strip. Those were the old days when less greedy gangsters instead of modern capitalists ruled the roost. Today’s entrepreneurs even charge you for parking!
Of course there are less expensive things you can do in Las Vegas. I enjoy walking down the Strip, especially at night, and visiting the pleasure palaces along the way for a clever but fake touch of Paris, or Venice, or New York, or Egypt, or some other exotic locale. Even with ‘cheap on the mind,’ however, the temptations to spend are strong. Oodles of fine restaurants beckon, top shows promise and deliver excellent entertainment, and who can resist investing $20 on a possible fortune. Not me. (My friend Ken claims he is better off walking into a casino and throwing a few $20s on the floor, just to get it over with.)
The truth about Las Vegas is that it would have been incredibly easy for Ken, Leslie, Peggy and I to spend $700 a day between us on our visit last week, not counting lodging. We didn’t. The cost of one meal ‘out’ bought groceries that allowed us to eat two of our three daily meals ‘in’ for the six days. We avoided shows this time, and did most of our limited gambling off the Strip— almost breaking even. Woohoo! The really big savings, however, came from our getting out of Vegas for two days. The first trip, which I have already described, was to the Valley of Fire State Park some 50 miles east of town.
Our second trip was to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which sits on the western edge of Las Vegas and is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. You can get there in 30 minutes from the Strip. It took us 15 from where we were staying. BLM charges $7 per car to explore the beautiful park. An excellent Visitors’ Center provides an introduction. A thirteen mile road with several pull-offs and hiking trails winds through the area. The following photos provide an overview of some of the sites you can expect to see.
NEXT BLOGS: Back on schedule. I will wrap-up my Burning Man mutant vehicle photos, get poor Sully landed, and return to the Sierra Trek.
14 thoughts on “Let’s See: Shall We Do Las Vegas for $700, or See Red Rock Canyon for $7…”
as always, thank you for the awesome words and pictures 🙂
You are welcome, Patricia. 🙂
VEGAS, VEGAS, VEGAS!!!
Ah, you’d like the canyon too… 🙂
We were fortunate that in Vegas we saw 3 Cirque shows for free…heheh, Suan’s brother works for them (not in Vegas though). Otherwise it would have been pricey tickets indeed!
I really like the Cirque, Suan. Lucky you. I’ve seen several, and paid. (sight) –Curt
The good news is that (1) I never could afford a long weekend in Vegas, and (2) that doesn’t matter, because I see Vegas as one of Dante’s undocumented circles of hell. Now, those tortoises? Those are something else. Likewise, the beautiful rocks, the sky, and the great hiking. Your photos are great — and enticing. I like that license plate, too!
Find inexpensive lodging, do a quick tour of the Strip (undocumented circles of hell can be interesting), and then head for the Valley of Fire, Death Valley, and Red Rock Canyon, Linda. 🙂 –Curt
Never been to Vegas, but could certainly do Red Rock Canyon.
You’d probably enjoy a quick tour of Vegas, Peggy, and some of the shows are really good. The canyon would be waiting! –Curt
Given a choice I would take the canyon trip. I hated everything about Las Vegas apart from the pirate ship show and spotting Elvis several times. Wild horses couldn’t drag me back there!
And now, tell me how you really feel, Andrew. (laughing) –Curt
We’d go for your canyon trip every time. That number plate is wonderful!
The canyon trip is special, AC. I would still recommend a night time tour of the strip, however, if for no other reason than to gain a new perspective on decadence. 🙂 –Curt