Saturday, July 18, 2009

On the Road - day 7

Well, here we are at day 7 of vacation, the head-home day.. sigh..

Sorry, there aren't too many pictures today. I did take several pictures of the big hotels on the Strip but eh, I didn't think it was worth including them here.

Each day we were assigned different seats on the bus so that everyone could rotate from front to middle to back instead of having to sit in the same place each time. The tour guide pretty much just kept moving us in a circle.

The picture below is of Julie standing with the family that was in back of us the entire time - except for the day we rode in the very back of the bus, during which they were in the very front.

I included them because the little boy, Ryan, was quite a character. He was also quite active and wore his parents out, as well as got into the usual kind of arguments with his older sister. Ryan's nickname, or at least what his parents called him, was "Boy." Half the time he was Ryan and the other half Boy. As in, "Boy, we just going dump you out the bus."

What was funny was the way he got to know all the teen-aged girls on the tour.He just went up to them and started talking, introducing himself, and telling one of them that she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. He also would offer them food and walk with them, and tell his parents that he was going to have lunch with them, too.

"We're going over here when the bus stops."

"I can't go because I'm having lunch with the girls."

"No you're not, Boy, you're coming with us."

"No I'm not. I'm eating with the girls."

Haha.. pretty funny. They live in Alhambra somewhere and the daughter goes to San Gabriel High. Listening to her talk took me back to when Katie was in high school and I'd hear her friends jabbering about stuff.

The Stratosphere Hotel is easily visible from the main highway that goes past Las Vegas because of its height and also because it is not right next to any other hotel. But here's the secret tour section of the hotel where we stayed:


Just kidding.. it was some place across the street. I decided to break down and include one (1) picture from the Strip - see below.

After leaving Las Vegas, our next stop was the Tanger shopping outlet in Barstow. And right on the money, the tour bus pulled up next to a $10 all you can eat Chinese buffet for lunch. Julie and I, as well as several others on the bus, spied a much better destination as we were driving up the street and we made a beeline for it when the bus stopped.

This was the most crowded In-N-Out I've ever seen. It also had the largest indoor seating area of any in my experience and the place was literally packed. The entire front of the restaurant was sardined customers either standing in line to order from the cashiers at the four registers, or else waiting for their order to be called. All of the seats were taken. And this was at nearly 2:00! What a gold mine.

Mmm, the food was sooo good. I wish I had taken my camera in with me so I could show you just how crowded it was. Below is a picture of the outlet center. Not really much to see but I did buy some shoes at Timberland. I was thinking they had better well fit right when I got home since I couldn't return them.

Then it was back on the highway and back to the Knights Inn in Rosemead for the dropoff point. Below is a picture of the outbound Friday rush hour traffic.. Welcome to reality!!

As it turns out, we were the only ones who were supposed to go back to the 99 Ranch Market in Arcadia and our tour guide was going to take us. So we asked if he could just drop us off at the house instead since it was a few blocks closer. We ended up getting bus-to-door service! That was nice, especially since it was so hot and I would have had to walk back home from the market to get the car to go pick up Julie and the luggage.

All in all it was a very nice vacation. We saw so much in those seven days - America is one fantastic place. The bus ride got tiring but I wouldn't hesitate to do something like that again. It was more comfortable than the cramped plane ride we took to Beijing a few years ago, and shorter intervals between stops, too.

We also saw some decent movies, ones that redeemed the first two rotten tomatoes. Nothing great, but entertaining: Casino Royale, Jersey Girl, National Treasure, 21, Fast and the Furious (that was kind of stupid, though.. actually really stupid but it was fun watching the cars).

As I write this on Friday, it has been a whole week since we returned. I've been reliving it by writing about it day by day this week but now it is back to the normal grind.

All is not lost, though - tomorrow it is back to Costco! Yippee!

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