Bob Neuman and David Ruether

Trip to the South Western US

May - June  2005



We stayed a few nights in the relatively inexpensive (for a hotel on the "Strip")  Imperial Palace Hotel. It was not a good experience, especially at first. To get into the hotel, it was necessary to enter what looked like a narrow alley that led to a car circulation area from which you could enter the casino. Getting to elevators or the check-in/out desk involved a very long walk through the smoky and VERY noisy casino. The first night they put us in a very unpleasant smoking room, though we had booked non-smoking. After that, we were about 100 rooms down the hall from the elevator, making for a considerable hike to get to our room. Finding the dining areas was also interesting, involving hidden stairs to move half levels, then taking an escalator to get where we wanted to be. It's worth spending more money on better hotels - and as we visited these, you could tell the level of quality by the higher quality of music and the lower level of noise and smoke. The Imperial Palace did have one very fine feature: an incredible display of 250 cars, many very rare, and almost all for sale (David particularly liked the '33 Pierce Arrow, shown in the second to last photo). We got free passes on the hotel web site for this.

Bob liked Las Vegas more than David did (who found the continuous noise, visual "clutter", and crowds upsetting). Each casino/hotel has an annoying exterior female "voice-over" in addition to the casino noises that extend out onto the sidewalks, combining with the street noises from the heavy and fast traffic. One runs a gauntlet of people offering tickets to strip shows. Food is no longer cheap on the "Strip", but some hotels still have food courts, there is a McDonalds (if you can get in), and the buffets are often reasonable in price. Water is not free anywhere, and bottled water is not cheap (bring a collapsible cup). The Imperial Palace car collection and some of the other sights - particularly the indoor streets, squares, and canals at the Venetian Hotel (photos 1 through 4), with the singing gondoliers (we saw these three times, and it was hard not to smile continuously at this pleasant nonsense…); the Bellagio glass ceiling (photos 8 and 9), garden, and water fountains; the waterfalls, volcano, and birds at the Mirage (photos 7, 12, and 13); the pirate attack (photos 5 and 6) at Treasure Island; the Liberace museum; and some of the other attractions were fun for both of us.  We guess that if you like the noise and distractions, and are into amazing things (just the thought of riding the 160-foot jump into the air or the roller-coaster rides on TOP of the Stratosphere Tower, the highest tower in the US, gives David the willies!), Las Vegas is like no other place. And neither of us bet more than a dollar total!

The return trip was not as smooth as the trip in. We were both happy to have taken this trip of more than 3000 miles - but David has now spent FAR too much time preparing this web page (about twice the time it took to take the trip itself...).


(Photos were taken by Bob Neuman and edited and adjusted by David Ruether)
(All photographs Copyright 2005 Robert Neuman)

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