Las Vegas In 24 Hours, 14-15 March 2009
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I asked Lisa what she wanted to do for her birthday.  "I want to see Cher," she said. "She's 62.  I want to see her before she stops performing."

Road trip up the 15 with the requisite stop at Baker.  Baker is the self-described gateway to Death Valley. 

And Baker is also home of the world's tallest thermometer, towering above the Bob's Big Boy at 134 feet, representative of the brain-melting 134-degree temperature in Death Valley in 1913, a record that still stands to this day.

The Baker thermometer has, of course, a digital read-out.  Sure, strong winds had already blown the thermometer down, smashing a gift shop. But really, wouldn't it be cool if this thermometer had a glass tube filled with mercury?  Surely, just this once, we could throw caution to the, er, wind and truly have the world's tallest maximum thermometer and make Daniel Fahrenheit proud?

We gazed out at the 33-ton steel structure while woofing down gyros under this statue, perched not atop Mt. Olympus, but on the roof of the Mad Greek Restaurant.  The Mad Greek says that they're the best gyros in the USA.  Who were we to argue? 

He may be Bun Boy, but he doesn't want any big rigs entering.


Gyros in our bellies, we hopped back on the 15, driving past Primm, past Jean, until we saw the colorful buildings and the black pyramid rising up from the desert valley floor.  We had arrived at Excalibur, our home for the next 24 hours.

As we walked toward the second tower of the Excalibur, we heard screams.  Looking up, we saw the roller coaster ride, weaving through New York, New York.  Unexpectedly, we ran into a friend of our chiropractor, Shamille.

Vegas may not be my town - that'd probably be Santa Cruz or Dharamsala - but it does have some nice lights. 

And many of the people are drawn to those nice lights like moths to a flame, all hoping that their strange machine will spew coins.

We, however, didn't have time to see if a blue-lit machine would spew coins; we were on our way to Caesars Palace to see Cher.  And to go to the Colosseum, we went through New York, New York.

I took several photos of the Statue of Liberty, all with the flag waving majestically in front of it, but chose this instead, this making me the most weak-kneed with patriotic fervor.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my poker chips beside the golden door!"

Lisa checks out the Cher Buddha lamp and the glittery Cher shirts near the Colosseum after a delicious meal at the Mesa Grill.

The Cher show was a spectacular 90-minute show full of what you'd expect - throaty singing, dizzying wardrobe changes, choreographed dancers.  It was a retrospective of her various incarnations from the 1960s to the present, all the way from her '60s Sonny and Cher to her heavily AutoTuned present, and she delivered, appearing in feather-adorned goddess costumes, Native American garb, and many other elaborate costumes.  Not bad for a 62-year old lady.

After that, we began making our way back the slow way, stopping to see some of the action at the Pussycat Dolls Casino.

Dealing at the Pussycat Dolls Casino.

Construction of the Caesars Palace began in 1962. 

Only five years later, Evel Knievel was already attempting to jump the water fountain on his motorcycle. 

He didn't make it.

Caesars Palace, where every guest is a Caesar.

Las Vegas In 24 Hours
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