TOWB: Day 2, Las Vegas to Pine Top
After a stressful day of driving in traffic yesterday we owed ourselves some fun. We left the LINQ, which is by far the most confusing casino/hotel I've ever been in, and heading to the west side of Vegas to the Red Rock Casino and their famous Feast Buffet. Only when we got there did we find out that we'd traded sitting in traffic for standing in line. The line was almost out the door but we were steadfast in our commitment to gorging ourselves! The buffet did not disappoint with food from around the globe and all across the spectrum. I love buffets because I like being able to sample lots of different foods without having to commit to a whole meal of one thing. I tried sushi for the first time, not really my thing; and I discovered Bao Buns which I really enjoyed. Balson enjoyed quality/value proposition of the whole affair. Oh and they had carnitas pizza which was pretty great.
We finished up there with just enough time to race back across town to the Luxor to pick up our tickets and backstage passes(oooh fancy) for Blue Man Group. This was easily the highlight of the day for both of us. The deal we had was the "Behind the Blue Experience" and we were both surprised to be two of only four people on the tour. We stated on the stage in the empty theater where we got to play and pose with a few of the instruments. The PVC thing was easily the coolest to play and it was easy to make cool sounds even if they weren't exactly musical. Next we got taken back stage to see their make up station that they can use during the show to touch up if they need to. It was pretty hilarious, it was just three mirrors on the wall and each had a blue make up tube velcroed to the wall below it. Another intersting tidbit we saw was that they have lots of rags around within easy reach on the back sides of the set pieces, but they keep them in place with mousetraps(with the latch bit removed), pretty darn clever. Then they took us out into the empty audience to watch their soundcheck and then we got to meet one of the titular "Blue Men".
We both forget his name, but he looked like Matt Damon undercover and he filled the role of the Left Blue Man(which is how they refer to the three roles, Left, Right, Center). We talked with him for about ten very interesting minutes before the guys in the booth gave him the subtle lighting hint that it was time for him to start getting into costume. He had a very interesting story. He was studying chemical engineering and criminal justice when he saw the Blue Man Group perform in Chicago. He instantly knew that that's what he wanted to do with his life and pivoted to focus on auditioning for the group. He auditioned for 3 years, working on his craft the whole time. He said that he came from a family of artistic types and performers, but he was always shy and not interested in performing. He's been with the group for 14 years now and has toured all over the world(including cruise ships). You could tell that he was very happy with his work and we can both attest that he was pretty good at it too.
The show itself was awesome, I won't bore you with the details but if you have the chance to go see them, you owe it to yourself.
Afterwards we explored the luxor a bit, taking the diagonal elevators up to the fifteenth floor to marvel at the architecture that is the Luxor pyramid. This is a good time to mention something about technology. One way that we were interested in contrasting this trip with the previous one 13 years ago was looking at how technology has changed the act of going on a road trip. Navigating on the roads is infinitely easier now thanks to the excellent GPS functions on our phones. Just to compare that to 2004, we got "Trip Tiks" from AAA which were maps printed with each section of the trip drawn out. We could deviate from the route, but we had to find our way using our US atlas or any one of the many state maps we brought with us. One area that doesn't seem like it's changed is navigating Vegas on foot. There were a ton of times that we couldn't really figure out where we were going and while we instinctively reached for our phones the first few times, it became clear pretty soon that the best and quickest way was simply asking employees.
After leaving the Luxor we had dinner at the In-N-Out on Dean Martin and then got on the road to Holbrook. As we were leaving we both realized that it felt like we were finally actually making progress getting across the country. I think it's because Vegas seems so close to LA that it almost seems to be part of it.
Sadly we waited too long to book our hotel in Holbrook and by the time we did they were all booked up. So we ended up pushing through to another small town called Pine Top. It's on the way to our first destination tomorrow so it's just making our day tomorrow easier, which is good because we're getting in at 2 am.
Random road trip thoughts included the meaning of the words "superstructure" and "substructure" as it relates to bridges, how much it sucks driving at night and how we really should start doing it during the day, where the town name "Show Low" came from, and how lame Arizona is for not participating in Daylight Savings Time(or how dumb the rest of the country is for doing it in the first place).
Tomorrow's activities include a stop at Pie Town(for Pie of course), visiting the Very Large Array(we're very excited about this one), and on to Albuquerque. In Albuquerque we'd like to visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science History but we might get up a head of steam and push on through to Amarillo.
Again let us know in the comments on Facebook if you know of something amazing we should do, see, or eat.