Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 58

I started today with a really hard, 55 minute run. I left the motel and ran about two miles east on Route 66, turned around and then ran up to the Lowell Observatory. I'm not sure what the elevation was but I can tell you it was a 10-12 minute maximum effort. I was totally gassed on the climb and pretty wasted afterwards for a couple of hours but it felt great and I'm happy that my form has come around. I'm now starting to think about some races this autumn.

We checked out and I went next door to Barnes & Noble for a coffee. I must confess I was being a bit of a magazine whore as well. You know the people who take three or four mags to their table, read them all and then don't buy any of them? That's me. Always has been. Anyway, it passes the time.

We got back on to 40W and started the drive to Vegas. After a few hours, hunger pains set in so we stopped at the Iron Skillet for a bite. The gimmick there was that all of the food was served in skillets. But it was only a slightly glorified truck stop and the food was pretty dodgy. I had a chicken omelet and I am pretty certain that there wasn't any chicken in it. I felt off the rest of the day and had a really upset stomach.

Our next stop along the way was Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam is also referred to as Boulder Dam is located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It lies on the border between Arizona and Nevada and is named after Herbert Hoover who played an important part in it's construction. He was part of a commission that was formed in 1922 to figure out how to divide and use the water in the Colorado River. The agreement drawn up between the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming was known as the Hoover Compromise. Construction began in 1931, took less than five years and cost 49 million dollars. Over 100 people died during the construction of the dam. The dam has four large intake towers, two of which are in Arizona and two that are in Nevada. The bridge over the dam crosses the border between the states as well as the time zone between Mountain and Pacific times. Clocks on the towers facing the bridge indicate the time in each of the zones. Behind the dam lies Lake Mead, named after Elwood Mead who oversaw the construction. It was deemed a modern civil engineering wonder of the US in 1955 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

We arrived in Vegas around 4:00, returned the dodgy Dodge without a hitch and checked into the Luxor.

The Luxor was the first fully themed resort in Las Vegas and was built in the early 1990s. It opened on October 15, 1993. It has an ancient Egyptian motif and with over 4400 rooms is one of the larger resorts in the newer part of the Strip. The name refers to a city in Egypt that was the sight of the Valley Of The Kings.

When the Luxor first opened it had a river that flowed around the casino and guests could ride a ferry boat to inclinators. The main part of the resort is shaped like a 350 ft, 30 story pyramid covered in black glass. The majority of the rooms are located along the entire length of the three pyramid walls. Because of the unique shape, normal elevators can't be used, so they use inclinators, which travel up the building on an incline of 39 degrees and take the guests to their floor. The river flowed in the hotel for two years but was removed in 1995 for several reasons. Guests were complaining that the ferry was too slow and the resort decided that it wanted to cater to a more upscale clientele, so the river was removed. There is also a myth that people were seeing the ghosts of three workers who died during the construction of the hotel whenever the ferry passed through a dark tunnel.

The hotel is easily one of the most recognisable on the Strip. Out front is an obelisk that contains the name Luxor in blue letters and there is a massive recreation of the Great Sphinx of Giza.

The tip of the pyramid has a spotlight that points directly up into the sky. It is the brightest beam in the entire world and is visible from anywhere in Vegas at night time. It can also be seen from an airplane at cruising altitude in Los Angeles. The beam is powered by 39 lamps and costs more than 50 dollars an hour to operate.

After relaxing for a few hours, we decided to go for a stroll down the strip and look for somewhere to have dinner. We ended up in the Harley Davidson Cafe. In true Vegas fashion, the place is larger than life. I had a hero sandwich and a Sin City ale, which were both very good. Thankfully, my stomach was getting better and I was able to eat again.

Walking back along the strip, I was overwhelmed by how big everything is in Vegas. Even McDonalds.

We arrived back to the Luxor and were both fairly wrecked, so we decided to chill out in the room for a while and watched TV until the lads arrived.

We got the call and went down to the bar to have a couple of beers. The lads were in flying form and very eager to play some poker. I had taken a turn and wasn't feeling the Mae so I went up to bed when the boys made their way to the poker room. It was going to be a long weekend and I needed to rest.

No comments: