Monday, June 30, 2008

A long time in the making

Back in March or so Karen and I had begun to entertain the idea of returning home for the 2008 Downriver Dream Cruise. My sister Mary and her husband Mark have held an annual Dream Cruise Party every year since about 2000 or 2001. Although I did not yet have vacation time yet at my new job when I asked about having a long weekend during that time they were more than willing to let me have it. Even when we lived in Michigan we did not see my brother and sister as often as we would have liked. Like most families, they have hectic schedules and the time just flys by. So, much like Chritmas, the Dream Cruise served as a mini family reunion of sorts over the last 8 years or so. Since airfare during Christmas would be $1800 for the two of us, it is not likely that we will be able to make Christmas anytime soon. We figured that flying home for the Dream Cruise was doable. So in early may after getting final approval from work for the time off, we called my parents because we knew that they wanted to come out in late spring or early summer. The Dream Cruise was held on June 28th. When I spoke to my mom she said the wanted to come out, of all times, over that weeked! I was left stumbling trying to think of an excuse as to why they could not come out and visit then without sounding like we just didn't want to see them. Finally I mumbled that I would be in Salt Lake City for training that weekend and that if they came out they needed to leave the previous week!

As it turned out they left on Tuesday and we flew home on Friday! So we got in to town Friday afternoon. One of the things we wanted to do was eat at Texas Road House. It is one of our favorite restaurants and the closest one to Las Vegas is in Salt Lake City, 8 hours away. We also ate at White Castle, which is not available in Vegas either.

We lifted off from McCarran at 8 AM. 15 mins ahead of schedule!

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Here is a view out the window of our Airbus 319. To me it is a spectacular view if for no other reason than it has actual clouds in it. In Vegas you don't see clouds that often and when you do they sure don't look like this.





Our flight was un eventful other than to say that the man who you see standing up in the picture below is the reason that I didn't get a "Big Front Seat". Apparently working for the airline has its privilages!

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Here we are relaxing at Btty and Toms house with Tom's brother ahd his wife, Larry and Linda.

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The weather forcast for out trip back home was discouraging to say the least. Rain and thunderstorms were predicted for the whole week. They proved to be accurate:

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In Vegas, 5 rain drops constitute a storm. Michigan, pleasantly for me and Karen, delivered a REAL thunderstorm with lightning and thunder for hours on end. This however did not bode well for the Dream Cruise. Saturday morning was a dreary time. It was severly overcast and raining. The hour by hour forcast did not offer much hope either.



This first picture from the Dream Cruise illistrates the point well:

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We somehow managed to keep this secret from most everyone. Mary, her husband Mark, and her friend Linda knew we were comming. Most of Karen's family knew we would be there also.

Our goal was to suprise my side of the family and I must say it worked.



Here is a picture of two of my sister's puppies:

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Here Brian is testing out his new camera:

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Mia sharing a laugh with someone:

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Here is Zack getting a drink:

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Here is the party tent:

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This also served as Sarah's graduation party. Congratulations Sarah!!! Though we will not be able to attend the ceromony, we are proud of you none the less!!!



The Dream Cruise Party starts about 2PM and like clock work, about 2PM the clouds gave way to sunshine and the weather was great!



Now for some cars:

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More to come...

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Bonnie Springs Ranch

On Sunday we went to Bonnie Springs Ranch. Me and Karen had never been there and from reading the web site it seemed like a nice place to go. Having visited there now I must say I liked the old western town a great deal. The wooden floors bent and popped as you walked along them. The live hanging was fun also. The petting zoo, on the other hand, was a bit disturbing. To see wolves caged in a very small, 20 foot by 20 foot maybe, just didn't seem right. There was also a Lynx in a very small cage as you will be able to see in my next post.

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Below is the Marshal for Bonnie Springs Ranch:
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The Marshal was looking for a prosecuting attorney for the trial and he needed someone with a cruel heart and ice in their blood. Naturally he picked Karen out for the job.....hahahaha
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Below on Karen's right is the Judge. All the Marshal wanted to know about the Judge was that he could pronounce the word "GUILTY".
The Defense Attorney is on the Judge's right. His qualifications were that he be meek and mild.
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In the picture above Karen is announcing the charges against
the condemned. They include, from least serious to most serious:



  1. Robbing the Bank

  2. Shooting at the Marshal

  3. Stealing the Marshal's wife

And most serious of all:


4. Bringing the Marshal's wife back. lol. The condemned stated that she was a miserable thing!


Here is the condemned shortly after he was hung:


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The acting would not win any Oscars but it was very entertaining.



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Random Pics:


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Red Rock Canyon

at night.
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The above photo was taken with a slow shutter speed while zooming
in from 24mm to 105mm. It gives an interesting look.

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Its sooooo nice to be there late in the evening. We were there about
8PM on Saturday. With the exception of a few noisy cars it was totally silent.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Now for the good stuff

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Dad's girlfriend was walking by as we were taking a break. Mom and Karen were in the Casino gambling. We were standing outside the entrerance. Along comes the same girl that propositioned dad last year to make him smile a long time for a dollar. She passed through the hundreds of other people there and stopped at dad and asked him if he wanted to buy her ring. It was a good deal too. She said it was worth $5,000 but she would sell it to dad for only $500....what a bargain!!!

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Later while still walking about the casino, the young woman on the right had commented on my camera. She and her friend(they were from Alberta Canada) asked me to take their picture. Well, even though I knew it was not allowed, it was like putting a drink in front of a recovering alchololic, I couldn't resist. I don't think the camera was finished processing the photograph before security descended upon me! "Excuse me sir" he started...he went on to explain that photography is not allowed where I was. He was very nice about it though, so it was all good. I hope you ladies enjoey yourselves here in Vegas and come back soon!

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The Venetian, the Paris, Main Street Station, and Fremont Street

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This man just proposed to his girlfriend....she said "Yes!". Then again, what else would she say in front of several hundred people.....

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The view of the strip from atop the Paris.

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Below is the Main Street Station. One of the oldest
casinos located in Downtown Las Vegas.

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This is a Pullman Car.
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The Main Street Station is very elegant.

Down on Fremont Street.
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Here is Carl Ferris playing a song for mom. I've never seen him take a request before, but he did for mom.
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Not wanting to blind the man and un able to bounce the flash off the ceiling as it was way too high, I tried bouncing it off the floor. It seemed to work pretty well.

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This was one of the bands playing at Fremont tonight. They bragged that
they knew how to play both kinds of music....Country AND Western. They were
pretty good too.

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Here is a punk cover band that was playing at the other
end of Fremont Street. They were pretty good too.

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Tired and heading home about midnight.

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