After San Diego, our next destination was Las Vegas. We stayed at the TownePlace Suites in Henderson, Nevada -just a short drive to the strip. We chose to stay at this hotel because it included a small kitchen in the room with pans, dishes, and utensils that we could use to cook meals together. By eating the hotel’s complementary breakfast and cooking at least one meal a day, we only needed to worry about purchasing one meal a day (which was typically lunch for us).
We found a local coffee shop to enjoy Frappuccino Friday together for once! This coffee shop called Grouchy John’s had great reviews on Yelp, and for good reason. I ordered their signature Frappuccino (the Grouchy John’s Frapp) which was a blend of white chocolate, Amaretto, coffee and milk -heavenly!
After our coffee stop, we wanted to explore some of the natural sites. We visited the Valley of Fire State Park. To our surprise, my Love was able to get a year pass to all of the Nevada State parks free with his military ID. The Valley of Fire was unlike anything I had ever seen before! Miles of bright red rock surrounded us, and I saw a live lizard in the wild!
Our second day, we drove for about an hour to the small town of Pahrump for 2 different wineries. We first stopped at a little family owned one called Sander’s Family Winery. We sampled a few wines, bought a sweet red that they were especially known for, and chatted with the winemaker family. They then suggested a different winery in the area, so we went to the Pahrump Valley Winery next. There, we also sampled some wines and bought a bottle of a blush that my Love and I both liked.
After our wine tastings, my love and I drove another hour to the Red Rock Canyon. We could once again use that free pass for this park, so it was cheap entertainment. We drove through mountains and canyons for 13 miles. It was breathtaking. Mountains have a way of making one feel exceptionally small in this world.
Unfortunately, on day 3 of our vacation in Vegas, my mom called me to tell me that my grandmother had passed away. I am so grateful to my Love for sticking with me through this difficult time, letting me cry on his shoulder, and hunting down butterscotch pudding for me (something I used to enjoy with my grandma). My grandma was an artist in her younger years, so I wanted to paint to honor her. I found a cute little paint-your-own-pottery studio called, Color Me Mine. Together, we painted a mug that said, “I Love You” on it. The Color Me Mine staff were so understanding that we were from out-of-town, and rushed our order so it would be glazed before we left the Vegas area (something that usually took a week). It was ready for pick-up within 3 days and is now one more souvenir for me.
We finally hit the Vegas Strip on a Tuesday night (we waited until after the weekend so it would be a little less packed). While on the strip, we first found free parking and checked out the casino. Being in Vegas, there were plenty of casinos to choose from, but we picked The Venetian. We got drinks (which were way too expensive, seriously $25 for 2 drinks!) and played 3 machines… and lost all but 5 cents. But hey, we can at least say we gambled in Vegas!
After trying our luck, we walked to the Bellagio to see the fountains. The fountains and lights were set to music so it was quite the performance of sorts. After that, we walked around some more, and ate a late dinner at Beer Park. We went there because they had rooftop seating which let us get quite the view of the Strip! The food was good, and their drinks were much more reasonably priced!
After all of that, my Love and I really just wanted to get back to our hotel and shower (we just felt dirty after walking around in the heat so close to tons of other people).
After the Strip, we just needed a relaxing day to recuperate. We slept in, and watched cooking shows. After seeing Cupcake Wars though, we both wanted cupcakes. After a little searching, I found The Cupcakery. We went there and got cupcakes together, it was a cute little cheap date. A laid back day like this felt like real life. It felt like how it would be if my Love and I lived together. Just watching TV together in bed was wonderful.
On day 7, to kill some time, we explored all that is IKEA. This was cool because we each got to see what we both liked and prefer in different furniture or design elements for our future home. I learned that he likes more modern furniture, simple pieces, and not a whole lot of color. While I like more timeless design pieces, small bursts of color, and what he calls “expensive taste”. Regardless, we were still able to agree on certain items that we could see having in our own home. Once again, a trip to IKEA felt like we were already living the dream together.
Our last day together, we had one last Frappuccino Friday at Starbucks and checked out of our TownePlace Suite. Reality was back and it was time to go back to our separate lives in our separate states. Reality is quite the bitch that way… We were going back to lonely nights, Skype dates instead of real ones, and missing goodnight kisses.