A big part of my trip was car-related so here are some pic and video highlights..
After a little birthday shopping at Caesar’s Forum shops, i headed out to Exotics Racing for my main birthday event…driving exotics around a racetrack!
First up, Nissan GT-R! I was seriously considering trading in my AMG for one of these but after driving it, i will agree with the often heard criticism that it is too technical and a bit boring.
Next the AMG SLS! I had driven one on the street but of course the track is different…certainly it was more visceral than the GT-R although it was very challenging to drive with a helmet on!
and here is a vid to give you an idea.
Next, Porsche 911 Turbo S…WOW, now THIS is a car built for the track! I loved it even while taxi-ing in the parking lot…just the feel of the gas pedal alone. Bottom line, this was my favourite and i am starting to save up for a 911 GT2 RS 🙂
Finally, the Ferrari F430 Scuderia…i hate to admit it, as i have never been a huge ferrari fan, but it was really good, jerky shifting not-withstanding.
I am also SOOOO glad i did the Corvette drift ride-along! One of the most fun things i did all trip! (certainly more fun than the helicopter landing tour of the Grand Canyon)…note the cooling fans
and a vid…the Corvette had the best sound of all cars…which is saying a lot considering the lamborghinis, ferraris, and MacLaren a the track!
Next up, the Shelby Museum and Factory Tour!!!!!
The guided tour was very informative…and we got to see some really unique pieces, such as the first cobra!!! Shelby turned down an offer for $23 million for this about a year or two ago!
ha i rented one of these a couple of years ago (remember i drove it to visit TAD?)
Lots of Super Snakes as well
My favourite was the new wide body kit
Here is the latest and greatest, the Shelby 1000 with nearly 1000HP stock but you can pay extra and get it up to 1100!! I heard one take off but sadly
i could not catch it on video 😦
I did get a video of a Super Snake rumbling about though..
We were not allowed pics inside the factory although we did get to sign our name on the wall
Finally the Ferrari store / dealership / museum in the Wynn hotel.
I was quite annoyed that they did not allow pics in the museum (kinda defeats the purpose)…what i can say is that the top floor had mostly 458s and Californias while the lower floor had a wider selection of exotics, not just Ferraris…for example, there was a Mercedes Maclaren SLR and Rolls Royce Phantom. Of course you can pay $25 to have your pic taken in a Ferrari
After doing some research, i wanted to go to Mojave Machine Gun experience but they seem to be out of business as they did not respond to any communication…so i went for my second choice, Machine Guns Vegas (MGV).
Upon entering MGV, you are greeted by girls dressed like Lara Croft…they quickly show you all “packages” and try to upsell you of course. I opted to build my own package as there were specific guns that i wanted to shoot.
the main area
my two hostesses
i opted for the VIP upgrade..this gives you access to a VIP lounge (with rear entrance for celebrities) and more importantly, a private range with two lanes…seeing as i did not want to be disturbed by other shooters, this was a worthwhile option for me.
ok now on to the shooting…the first gun i chose was a suppressed .22…they had a big selection of targets and i started with some zombies
next i shot the FN Five-Seven…not a great grouping, i know…but i was shooting more for the feel of the gun than for accuracy…my verdict is that i will not buy one after all
ok next the P90..i had shot one before but not with 20 rounds in the mag
another dream of mine, being a shotgun fan, to shoot the SPAS-12!!! I hoped the aliens at Area 51 did not see this
and now the moment you have all been waiting for, full auto! first the MAC-10
then the M60! I had to go shoot with the proletariat on this one as they could not move the stand
a little souvenir from my trip
First off, i have to say that i was disappointed with the food in Vegas! In fairness, I had super high expectations coming in, given all i have heard and read in researching my trip. At the risk of sounding like a “snob”, my impression is that the food in Vegas would be appealing to someone who hasn’t been to many “world class” restaurants in culinary capitals like Paris, New York etc.
That having been said, with my jam packed schedule i did not have a chance to eat out at top restos every night and i made only two reservations in advance of my arrival.
One of my first activities was to shop at the Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace (where i was staying)…here i came upon Max Brenner’s Chocolate by the Bald Man, billed as The First Chocolate Restaurant in the World.
an interior shot
I ordered their Illegal Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Pancakes…no, i did not finish them!
A free chocolate covered pecan for “dessert”
Again, given my schedule, i did not have time for a nice meal on my birthday so i had my “birthday meal” a day late at Steve Wynn Steakhouse at the Wynn. I chose SW over other steakhouses because of pics on the net, specifically i wanted to try their Tomahawk Chop.
I arrived early for my reservation so i had some drinks out Parasol Up / Down next door while i waited for my table. It was nice to sit by the man-made lake.
Ok now my table was ready…time for some steak!
they light up the waterfall at night and a singing frog comes out
Ok, on to the food…they start you off with a nice selection of bread and herbed butter
I opted for a blue cheese salad as an appetizer given the volume of meat that was coming
Finally the Tomahawk Chop! 30OZ. of steak..nearly 2 pounds!!! Of course, a lot of that is in the huge bone! Accompanied by the biggest baked potato i have ever seen and creamed spinach. The meat was, unfortunately, the fattest that i have ever had..granted, i usually order fillet mignon, but still! The creamed spinach was average. At least the service was fantastic.
I ordered a half bottle of Krug Champagne for my birthday…not cheap at $105
Actually the meal was not cheap at all! This is for one person!
The next day I was in a rush so once again i ate at Caesar’s Palace, this time at Central, open 24 hours a day and located in the main lobby.
I had the breaded chicken…which sounded a lot better than it actually was
at least the dessert was ok (not great, ok)
The next day i ate yet again at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, this time at the Cheesecake Factory! We don’t have these in Canada (at least not that i know of) and being a Big Bang Theory fan, i always wanted to try it.
The stuffed mushrooms were great! The sliders, not so much!
i opted for Chris’ Outrageous cheesecake, described as: A Cheesecake Factory Original – Layers of Moist Chocolate Cake, Chewy Brownie, Toasted Coconut-Pecan Frosting and Creamy Chocolate Chip Coconut Cheesecake.
Once again, nothing special.
Last, but certainly not least, MIX at Mandalay Bay! I found this through a web page on the most spectacular looking restos in Vegas and even based on pics, i knew i had to try it out! And i was not disappointed as i loved this resto!
To get to the dining room, you have to go up a glass elevator and pass through a lounge that has SPECTACULAR views!
The glass elevator
The view from the lounge!!
Now on to MIX…the most beautiful restaurant i have ever seen! I literally eat out every day and have been to thousands of restaurants in my life and I can’t really explain it but I felt “at home” here! I requested to be seated facing inward, as opposed to sitting by the window despite the spectacular view outside.
Service was fantastic..they also gave me a lot of “complementary” things like this glass of champagne
and this soup
Still recovering from the Tomahawk chop the other day, i opted for the half portion of Tuna tartare…a mistake as i could have easily finished the large.
Next i had a filet mignon with foie gras..and it was excellent!
Again i was pretty full so i just had a scoop of salt water taffy ice cream
a complimentary dessert drink
And a very happy customer!
So there you have it, another restaurant added to my list of worldwide favourites. Still, i will admit that while excellent, the food at MIX was not as good as Girl and the Goat in Chicago or Barberian’s Steakhouse here in Toronto but the overall experience is one that i definitely want to repeat.
I used to think New York was the “mecca’ for watch shopping but i think that crown may go to Vegas! I visited a few watch shops and the selection was unreal!
First of all, many manufacturers have their own dedicated stores..Rolex has one in Caesar’s Forum Shops
and in the Wynn
Breitling also has a store in the Forum shops,
as does Panerai
Breguet has a couple of stores
Tag Heuer at Crystals mall
This is the largest IWC store (in terms of selection) in north america
In addition to these, there are tons of dedicated watch stores like Wynn & Company
Tourneau had a better selection of Rolex than the two Rolex stores (sorry no pic)
and my favourite, Roman Times! Wow! What a selection! I have never seen such a selection of Franck Muhlers, for example, they had 4 display cases! Great service too! They let me try on, handle, and photograph everything, including this FM priced at $219,000..and they had ELEVEN versions of this one alone!
They had three out of the four limited edition Hublot 4000M dive watches
And this new IWC Pilot perpetual calendar
I got tons of catalogues…this was just from day 1…i got at least that many again over the next couple of days.
Shopping in Vegas is incredible! Seriously, i came with a list of stuff to buy and i found almost everything, in my size, and some even at a discount! I think Vegas has surpassed New York as my go to shopping destination! I have covered watch shopping specifically in another thread so this will be mostly about clothing and accessories.
The Forum Shops are the main reason i decided to stay at Caesar’s Palace…and they did not disappoint!
My first stop was the True Religion store…they had the largest selection of jeans in my size i have ever seen..more so than the New York store in SOHO and the factory outlet at Woodbury! The red jeans were 50% off and then another 25% off while the black coated were 25% off!
Right next door to True Religion was Christian Louboutin, another planned stop.
I scored the wallet that i wanted but sadly they did not have the matching shoes
Next stop, Louis Vuitton…again i got lucky as they had the sunglasses that i wanted..aviators with LV logos on the lenses..
Finally Guisseppe Zanotti..same designer who makes Lady Gaga’s shoes without heels..they did not have the ones i wanted in my size at the store but they were available at another location so they had them shipped in overnight..i was shocked that the “other location” was actually their New York store (I assumed they were talking about another store in Vegas!)
Next up, Crystals at City Centre…
A Paul Smith store!
Even better, Tom Ford!!!!
I saw some nice ties at Hermes but decided to hold back a bit
As i wanted another seven-fold tie from Bvlgari
Woohoo a three floor Prada store!
I wanted these shoes in another colour..i nearly passed out when they had them in CAMO!!!!!!! and in my size too! God i love Vegas!
More great shops at the Venetian
and the Wynn
So all in all, a very successful shopping trip! In addition to the above, i ordered some custom cowboy boots at the Cowboy Christmas show…but that is fodder for yet another thread 😉
I have been posting bits and pieces of my recent Vegas trip…thought you might like to see what was one of the coolest parts, my Area 51 tour! This is an all day excursion through stunning scenery with some cool stops on the way to the front gate of the top secret military base! I posted 161 pics on facebook and i’ll re-post some of my favourites here.
Our first stop was at the airport to see the designated fleet of planes (painted white and red) that transport people to the base everyday…we did not get out of the car to take pics though (due to bad experiences in the past).
Next on to the 2 hour drive..again, stunning scenery on the way!
i loved this winding road
Our next stop was by some ancient hiroglyphics
Next we did a high speed run on the same dried out lake that appeared in the last scene of Independence Day..man that was fun!!!
Another stop to take pics of the scenery
including Joshua trees…these get their water through their skin as opposed to roots like regular trees
Ok back on to the highway..more specifically the Extra Terrestrial Highway! The name was suggested by a movie and the state liked the idea so much that they actually changed the name! This is the first of two signs that we crossed.
We passed by this alien store but sadly it was closed
The long road ahead
Just before reaching the town of Rachel, we saw these military vehicles at the side of the road…hmmmmm
And we reach Rachel
You can see the ENTIRE town behind me, in one pic!
And now one of the coolest parts of the trip! Check out the dust cloud behind me!
That folks, was not caused by wind!!!!! It was a LOW, and i mean LOW flying aircraft!!!! That explains the military trucks we passed…i tried to zoom in but i only had a 24-70mm lens
wow that was worth the trip alone!
Next a quick photo under the second ET Highway sign…
…before stopping for lunch at the Little Ale’inn!
UFO self parking
Their own flying saucer
Lots of alien stuff inside
I of course had the alien burger
before signing my name on a $5 and posting it on their ceiling
and taking a pic with the founder’s grand-daughter (wearing a brace as her truck just flipped over)
now back on the road
next stop, the famous “black mailbox” seen in a few movies…
the last leg to Area 51!
an alien in the clouds???
Note the size of the joshua trees as we get closer to Area 51…something they are testing???
Eureka, we are here!! note the microphones among the cactus to greet us
and the signs warning of deadly force for crossing the line!
note the white SUV on top of the hill watching us!!!!
all in all i loved the tour..i enjoyed it more than the helicopter landing tour of the Grand Canyon..next time i would bring a longer telephoto though…you never know what you might see.
When it comes to Grand Canyon tours, there are MILLIONS of options from simple fly-overs to full day excursions with exploration of gold mines, drives by Hummers etc. etc. Given that i already had a full day Area 51 tour planned and i am not much for “touristy” stuff, a four hour tour was enough for me. More specifically, a helicopter landing tour where we fly over the Hoover dam, land 3,500 feet down in the Canyon and then fly back over the Vegas strip.
I took about 150 pics…here are about a third of them…
And here we go!
Lake Mead..one of the largest man made lakes in the world…Las Vegas gets 90% of its water from here!
They had pic nic tables set-up for us..time for a Champagne toast!
On the way back, we stopped in the middle of nowhere to refuel
…before flying back over the Ring of Fire
and the Vegas strip
COWBOY CHRISTMAS SHOW
A few months ago i posted about cowboy boots…in the process of my research, i discovered a FANTASTIC brand called Rocketbuster..they make about 500 pairs a year for the likes of Oprah, Julia Roberts etc. Their boots are made to measure and i was procrastinating sending in my measurements as i did not want to make a mistake. Luckily i fanned their Facebook page and found out they would be in Vegas for the Cowboy Christmas Show, coinciding with the National Finals of Rodeo the EXACT days of my trip! Did I mention that i love vegas? lol
And here they are!! Look at those unbelievable designs!
Here i am with the founder..the crocodile boots i am holding are $3,900
And here she is measuring me up personally!
Next we sat down to design my boots!
This gent designed the rhino toe on my boot
This customer got wingtip cowboy boots.
more pics from the show
ANDREW DICE CLAY
Last but not least, I had front row, centre seats to see Andrew Dice Clay in concert. Crazy story as well… note my shoes don’t match,,because i only brought one pair as i am planning to buy here..i was worried i would look like a knob in my Oakley boots..guess what?? Andrew Dice Clay was wearing the same Oakley boots but in black!!!!!
Opening act..Eleanor..I met ADC’s wife too.
That about covers it…