We know, we know – Vegas twice in 1 year…
Getting there: Air Canada
Where we stayed: Vegas: The Cosmopolitan on the Strip – how I miss you. Pretty new hotel, originally slated as a condo hotel, some some suites are giant and have partial kitchens. We started without a balcony facing the north strip and changed rooms to get a south-facing with balcony that also had a partial kitchen. Love their toiletries, good gym (but you have to pay to use it – something like $15/visit), lots of pools to choose from (basically think of it this way – we chose the ‘oldie’ smooth-jazz playing area, but we could’ve also visited the club-beat thumping area…hello, why didn’t we??), lots of great food options, smallish-casino floor. Palm Springs: Hello Holiday Inn Express courtesy of hotwire! Room was fine for a night, had a great pool with towels and loungers, gym pretty bare, free breakfast (hot options, but not very healthy). Venice Beach: Lovely one bedroom apartment in a house on Rose Ave, with our own outdoor hot tub, bbq, and 2 bikes and locks, free parking and wifi. Close to the Rose Cafe (great lattes and brunches), Abbott Kinney, the beach, Gold’s Gym, and a couple of grocery stores.
Fun: Vegas in August was like an oven – the pool was an amazing break from it. We drove from Vegas through the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park to Palm Springs (where, if it was possible, it was hotter than Vegas), and lastly on to Venice Beach/LA (much cooler here than in the desert – we even went in the hot tub at night it was much cooler). We biked up the coast starting in Venice to Will Rogers State Park, and while the beaches closer to Santa Monica were busy, we literally had this one all to ourselves. This is the first time we hit up the original Gold’s Gym which was a crazy experience, and we also chilled at our favourite restaurants and stores on Abbott Kinney in Venice.
Tip: 1. As per above, August in the desert is HOT – take lots of water and lots of sunscreen with you. 2. There were only a handful of stops for gas between Vegas and the route we took to Palm Springs – plan accordingly. This route will also take you longer than the regular highway route, but the scenery was well worth it – especially the crazy flash rain storms. At the same time, be warned that there are areas that will also flash flood. 3. This was the 2d’s first experience renting an apartment from one of the online sites and it was such a good and affordable experience, that we’ve done it many times since. We paid less than we would for a hotel and got way more amenities.
August 28, 2011: Hey hey from Californi-a
So I hope you’re all having a good weekend – greetings from us in Venice Beach….we’re having an amazing vacation and we have some stories and pics to share with you….
d2 got to Vegas on Monday night, and I barely arrived stupidly early on Thursday morning. I was on a flight from TO that was supposed to leave at 8.40 pm. We got on the plane and everything was good….and then a lightning storm hit TO, so we waited, and waited, and waited….for FOUR hours on the plane at the gate….and THEN we left. So basically we took off when we were supposed to be landing in LV, but I was just thankful we left at all. Lucky for me I upgraded to first, so the optimist in me would say that I got 2x the value of sitting in first since I was actually in my seat for 8.5 hours instead of only 4.5 :o) So I arrived in LV at just after 2 am, which is really just starting the evening off in Vegas. d2 and I met at the hotel and went for a nice walk down the Strip and had some food before getting to bed around 5 am. HOLY MAN, LV was hot. It was in the low 40s…loved it!!! So we spent Thursday lounging at our amazing hotel’s pool (see the view from our room in the LV pic – that’s the fountain show at the Bellagio) and doing some shopping. Yesterday we spent the morning at the pool before grabbing a crazy good burger at a resto in our hotel called Holstein. I had a kobe beef burger with tempura avocado, a sweet sauce and crispy yams. So delicious. We picked up our Ford Fiesta and then drove down to Palm Springs yesterday. We drove through the Mojave National Preserve which is this giant swath of desert that contains one of the world’s largest joshua tree forests. COOL. We also drove by large salt beds / deposits on the desert floor about halfway between LV and Palm Springs. And we also drove in and out of some crazy storms, including the one in the pic here that looks to me like some divine force grabbing down from the sky. We drove by a volcanic crater (it’s a young one at only 6,000 years old, with its last eruption 500 years ago), and then through Joshua Tree National Park which included really interesting terrain and a cactus grove. All in all it was a long trip to Palm Springs, and once we got there we tried to cool down in the hotel’s outdoor pool. It was still really sweltering and even in the evening it didn’t cool down much at all.
So here’s my final installment of this trip….coming to you from the United lounge at LAX. d2’s on his way home tonight and I’m going home via Washington DC where I have a meeting for work tomorrow.
Sigh….such a good trip….too bad it’s ending. Our time in Venice was super fun – our condo was in a great location close to the beach and lots of good little restos. We had bikes at the condo so we made the most of them. On Sunday I went for a 2 hour run down the beach with d2 next to me on the bike. I was telling d2 that I love running along the lakeshore at home but it really can’t compare to the same distance alongside the Pacific Ocean. We fueled up on brunch at a nearby cafe and then grabbed the bikes and pedalled to Santa Monica (about 10 mins away) for some shopping. We grabbed some groceries at the nearby Whole Foods that night and saw the actress Michelle Rodriguez there, and speaking of sightings, we also saw Jamie Foxx in Venice on our first night there and then the actress Hayden Panitierre ran by our condo yesterday. Too funny. Yesterday was started off the day by PUMPING some IRON at Arnie’s original home gym – Gold’s in Venice Beach. It was totally a crazy experience – basically the biggest gym we’d ever been in, with every kind of machine you can imagine, and some of the people there (guys & girls!) were insanely gigantic. Like, Incredible Hulk big. So fun to go there. For lunch we grabbed some down home Mexican cooking from a little hole in the wall resto near our condo again, then got ready and pedalled out to a lovely beach spot we found. We basically had a whole area to ourselves – it was about a 45 minute bike ride north up the beach from Venice. Such a nice time laying on the beach, dipping toes in the water (it’s COLD!), and finding a rock that matches d2’s swimtrunks – yep, that’s what vacations are all about. Today involved a lot of pouting that the trip is over along with one final run near the beach, a shop / walk, and one last walk along the beach. Then it was off to the airport via Randy’s Donuts for the all-time best long john ever. Yum.
So fun….just needed to share. Hope you are all having a good week.
lots of love,
dpr and d2