Las Vegas

[1-July-2006] We had started driving by 10pm yesterday night and drove past Gilroy, Barstow, Mojave, Needles and reached Vegas by 3 pm in the noon. Enroute, we had stopped and rested at Mojave for 2 hours and fixed a problem in the car which took another 2 hours. We checked into the Binion’s Casino Hotel in Fremont St. After freshing up, we started out for Hoover Dam by around 5:30 pm.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam has been there in my list of must see places (though not among the 1st 10). An engineering marvel by mankind, Hoover Dam had caught my fascination by a Discovery Channel program which covered the history of the dam in detail. So, here I was standing on Hoover Dam after all these years. Though the dam was huge, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the dams I have seen in India (Malambhuzha Dam, Neyyar Dam, Mysore Dam etc) are actually bigger than Hoover. I am not sure, But, I just felt so. Anyway, Hoover is definitely a place to see. 🙂

Me at the Hoover Dam

After roaming around the place clicking pics for sometime, we rushed back to Las Vegas by around 9 pm. In LV, we headed directly to the Strip. Got caught in the traffic jams spent most of the time on the road nudging along with the traffic. We could visit only the Treasure Island, Fashion show Mall and Stratosphere.

Mexican trader Antonio Armijo, leading a 60-man party along the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles in 1829, veered from the accepted route. While Armijo’s caravan was camped Christmas Day about 100 miles northeast of present day Las Vegas, a scouting party rode west in search of water. An experienced young Mexican scout, Rafael Rivera, left the main party and ventured into the unexplored desert. Within two weeks, he discovered Las Vegas Springs.

The exact date is unknown, but Rafael Rivera became the first known non-Indian to set foot in the oasis-like Las Vegas Valley. The abundant artesian spring water discovered at Las Vegas shortened the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles, eased rigors for Spanish traders and hastened the rush west for California gold. Between 1830 and 1848, the name “Vegas,” as shown on maps of that day, was changed to Las Vegas which means “The Meadows” in Spanish.

Nevada was the first state to legalize casino-style gambling, but not before it reluctantly was the last western state to outlaw gaming in the first decade of the 20th Century. At midnight, Oct. 1, 1910, a strict anti-gambling law became effective in Nevada. It even forbid the western custom of flipping a coin for the price of a drink. The Nevada State Journal newspaper in Reno reported: “Stilled forever is the click of the roulette wheel, the rattle of dice and the swish of cards.”

“Forever” lasted less than three weeks in Las Vegas.

@ Treasure Island Casino

By the time, we had covered these places it was already 3 am in the morning. So, we had to go back and rest. We missed out all the good casinos like Venetian, Luxor, Mandaley etc. In all, Las Vegas part of our trip was not a success. We are all dead tired and frustrated that we couldnt cover anything in the short time we had. Hoping that the rest of the trip would be a success, we all went to bed and slept like dead logs.

@ Binions Casino Hotel

For more photos of Las Vegas, visit my album online here

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