First, we took off early for Las Vegas, deciding two nights were better than one. My dear friend Kim and her husband Nate live in Henderson. A place I would seriously consider moving to. Seriously. They have two daughters and a baby boy on the way. Jack and Ireland (their 4 year old) get along beautifully. She plays hard, so it's nice to not have to remind Jack to "be soft" when he is around her. They played at the park, we took them to the Shark Reef/Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and bought them some Red Mango. It's a love affair that will grow on till they learn about cooties.
The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is always fun, we see different creatures, pet sting ray and I love photographing jelly fish. Something for everyone.
We learned in Vegas traffic that the overheating problem our car had didn't disappear with the winter months in Utah, it was just hibernating. We learned quickly to identify the needs of the Sentra and turn the heat on full blast when the car was idling in traffic or at stop lights, and to keep an extra bottle of coolant in the trunk. (Which didn't open.) So on the drive to Los Angeles we paid close attention to the temperature. "Good thing we had those belts replaced at Jiffy Lube before we left.." we both said to each other. Having booked our Hotel at the Angelo the night before, I was excited to be so close to the Getty. Jack and I have been there before, although this time around was a bit more difficult; Jack not being entertained only by new places as easily,but needing 'games' and 'kid things' to keep him happy.
Being that we had only one night booked at the hotel, it was relief when our old, reliable friend Cole invited us to stay at his house in Sherman Oaks. He and his fiance' Jill have a great place and the cherry on top, was Miles, their labradoodle. Though cautious at first, he and Jack developed quite a relationship and before we had even sat down were playing fetch and and doing tricks. We drove to Malibu to hit the beach but it was pretty breezy. But this part of the trip was delightful thanks to farmer's markets, bakeries, good friends, and canines.
The drive to San Diego was great, no overheating like in the horrible traffic in LA, and the temperature was perfect for windows-down driving, and Jack slept a large part of the time. We booked ourselves at the Bahia, the hotel next to the routine hotel Dana that we typically stay at. It was beautiful. The weather was warm and we couldn't wait to get in the pool. The next morning after a large breakfast.. Josh noticed a belt hanging from underneath the car. Nice work Jiffy Lube. So the rest of Josh's day was spent at the Jiffy in Mission Bay, where they found damaged and missing parts from what we were told was repaired by the Salt Lake Jiffy crew. They ended up sending Josh over to a mechanic to fix it. (Why not get the overheating issue taken care of as well... yes?) That will take an extra day. So we book another night at the Bahia and extend our stay to fix the 11 year old Sentra. So many hours and many dollars later, it emerged from a garage with a new lease on life and a desire to be driven hard.
So back to Vegas we went, tired and worn from the long haul with the car. We saw Rio, and took Jack to the splash park. We decided with no hesitation to stay an extra night in Vegas. Kim was pleased, so we could take some baby-mama photos of her. I was pleased cause it was snowing in Salt Lake. Jack was pleased because he thought he lived there. Josh was pleased- because he can essentially work from anywhere, but there were contacts in Vegas. We took the kids to the "Natural Museum of History", got Kim's photo shoot done, and the last night we got to stay at "The Orleans Hotel and Casino" free of charge. Not too shabby.
The only real loss on the trip was a load of laundry that may have been sabotaged by a senseless stranger, a toy from McDonald's, and Peedie, our fish that died while we were gone. Oh well.