From Cali to Vegas: Day 3

I cannot believe how starkly different my morning and night ended up being. We did a lot today, and I have many scattered thoughts as I try to recount our steps.

IMG_0019We spent half of our day in LA, as we didn’t have enough time in the first two days to check out the iconic Hollywood sign, and this was one of the must-sees for my husband. I’ll admit, my husband’s interest in it was initially greater than my own. “Oh, it’s just a sign,” I thought in my head.

I wasn’t sure that I would feel an excitement or attachment to it because I’m not big in the entertainment industry. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the movies, but that’s where it ends for me – and I never watch a movie more than once (unless it’s Anchorman or Elf.  I guess that makes me a Will Ferrell fan).

Turns out there are numerous ways you can set eyes on this glamorous Hollywood symbol. We chose to hike it! Some locals recommended Griffith Park, home to a beautiful observatory and numerous trails (with bathrooms, yay)! We chose to do the pet-friendly Mount Hollywood Trail – finally something we could include our dog in.

I always get nervous before new hikes because my husband and I are on the opposite spectrum – he’s advanced, and I’m as beginner as they come. I’m afraid of heights, and the second I see a cliff drop-off to my side, I start to freeze up. Fortunately, this trail was well-paved and had plenty of walking room between you and the mountainous drop-offs.

Tall trees, crisp fall weather and clear skies made for a memorable sighting of the iconic sign. To my surprise, I did feel excitement over this landmark as I stopped to appreciate it for all that it means to so many across the world. I connected to it out of appreciation for what it means to dream. Whether your dream is to make it on the red carpet or something entirely unrelated to the entertainment industry, all dreams matter as they bring out the best versions of ourselves.

A perk of Griffith Park is the cute restaurants and cafes nearby. We stopped at Roosevelt Cafe at the bottom where they let Werkley eat outside with us. Freezing cold in this fall weather, I kept it simple with a bowl of chili, while Sean had a shawarma after getting really excited that they had it on the menu; it reminded him of deployment when he would eat these in Bahrain.

Fast forward through a hotel check-out and a 4.5-hour drive that turned into a 6-
hour drive (partially due to horrible LA traffic and also from my pregnant bladder), and we drastically changed scenery to the bright and flashy Las Vegas, which pops out at you after hundreds of miles of bland desert, but it’s a beautiful drive nonetheless.

Before heading to the strip, we stopped at my Uncle’s place along the route for a home cooked meal. Here, we left our fur baby, too, so we could enjoy the strip without our kiddo. Even though we are only in Day 3, it has actually been 14 days since we’ve had a home cooked meal since we’ve been living in a hotel in Hawaii before we started this stretch. I cannot tell you how fulfilling it was to have a family dinner (Thank you Uncle Jim)!

We checked into the stunning Delano, sister property to The Mandalay Bay, where we decided to spoil ourselves with a stay on the famous strip in light of our first-ever trip to Sin City. Despite the excitement, Vegas beat me tonight as I quickly faded and exchanged a crazy night out for a pampered night in – largely thanks to the unfortunate habit of gamblers being allowed to smoke in the casinos. It started to fill the air, and this pregnant momma just wasn’t having it.

I lost $40 in slot machines, but gained happiness with pistachio frozen yogurt and a warm bath; Sean gained $665 in roulette,  gaining happiness in making money with which to pay our room.

This is probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in, which makes me want to sleep for an eternity tomorrow, but I am determined to better take on all that Vegas has to offer. Stay tuned.

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The beautiful trail to the Hollywood sign at Griffith’s Park.

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This cell phone capture doesn't do justice to how clearly we could actually see the iconic Hollywood sign.
This cell phone capture doesn’t do justice to how clearly we could actually see the iconic Hollywood sign.
Hitting the road to Vegas.
Hitting the road to Vegas.
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Home cooked meal with Uncle Jim!
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We made it to the city!
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Starting out easy at the Mandalay Casino.

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Sean’s lucky winnings!
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Seriously, this bed though …
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