aeri rose’s guide on how to have a rockin’ vegas weekend

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The view of Las Vegas Boulevard from The VooDoo Club

Step 1) Drop in on a high school girlfriend, now a professional actress living in Las Angeles, and kidnap her from work Friday evening. Drive straight to Las Vegas. Get lost only sort of and spend far too long driving through tiny desert towns on your way to Sin City.

Step 2) Roar into your hotel parking lot by 10:00 pm, check in, drop your bags, put on lipstick and high heels, and hit the casino floor for some free drinks and fun with the slot machines.

Step 3) Sufficiently buzzed, head to The Strip and take in the lights, sounds, and sights of Vegas at street level.

Step 4) Grudgingly, like kids at a sleepover, agree you should get some sleep. Crash into unnaturally soft and luxurious beds in a pitch black room and sleep far too late.

Step 5) If this is your first time in Las Vegas, as it was mine, pull yourself out of that bed at a somewhat reasonable hour for a chance to check out some of the most famous casinos.

Some Highlights?

– Walk the sidewalks and raised bridges of The Strip and snap a selfie in the center of Las Vegas Boulevard (from the elevated safety of a bridge of course).

– Watch the Fountains of Bellagio water show. Several times daily the outdoor fountains of The Bellagio Casino put on a beautifully orchestrated show incorporating music, lights, and dancing jets of water. Free and fantastic! A must see.

– Admire the grandeur of The Venetian. Eat some gelato on a bench beside the canals and watch the gondoliers ferry other guests around the opulent casino. Admit that you almost feel like you really are in a dreamy Italian city.

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Yes this is really a picture of inside the casino

– Back outside, visit White Castle for some burgers and fries and remind your palate that you’re really still in America. Let the setting sun is encourage you to run back to your hotel to get dressed for another night on the town.

Step 6) If you’re only here for the weekend, this is your only full night of debauchery. Make the most of it! Start your evening at a concert or show. Whatever kind of entertainment you’re looking for, Vegas can deliver.

We went for a rock show, like any good punk rock princesses would.  Since high school I had been trying to catch The Darkness live, and I was over the moon to find out they would be playing at the House of Blues that night. So, hair properly teased and full of enough hairspray to blast a new hole in the Ozone layer, we made our way to Mandalay Bay.

 

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I believe in a thing called love. Just listen to the rhythm of your heart.

It. Was. Awesome! Worth the wait and just the kind of energy we needed to get our night started.  In the crowd we met a group of English guys in the RAF (thats the Royal Air Force) stationed in Vegas for the summer. Which leads me to step 7.

Step 7) Make Friends!

Following the concert the British Guys recommended we check out this other club. “The best view in Vegas” they promised. With no further plans, and open to whatever the night might throw at us, we agreed. So we made our way to The VooDoo Nightclub at the top of Rio Las Vegas.

They were right about the amazing view. Situated slightly off The Strip, from the top of the Rio you can see all of Las Vegas laid out below you, fanning out in straight golden lines of light across the desert.  It’s incredible.

Look closely and see the massive High Roller Ferris Wheel. At 550 feet tall, it currently stands as the world’s largest ferris wheel. And with an open bar “happy half-hour” ticket option, that’s one Las Vegas sight that I still need to conquer.

With hints of blue starting to thread their way into the star filled night sky, we knew it was time to call this night a success and head back to our hotel for some zzz’s. Though the next day would be the last day of our wild weekend retreat, we had plans to go out with a bang.

As a happy coincidence, the weekend we went to Vegas also happened to be Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, a massive Pin-Up and Rockabilly conference held at The Orleans Hotel every year in April.

Which is why Step 8 is…

Step 8) Make the most of every minute

Sure we stayed out until past 4:00 am the night before. And sure my girlfriend’s flight back to L.A. left the airport at 3:30 pm.  But that is no reason not to pull out our peep-toe heels, don our cutest leopard print vintage ’20’s dresses, and twirl our hair into a Victory Roll or two for day of Rockabilly, classic cars, greasers, and pin-up girls.

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So we made the most of every minute. We woke up. We chased our Advil with multivitamins and Smart Water. And we had a blast at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. The cars were incredible. The shopping prolific. The other attendees inspiring.

But all too soon it was time to take my partner in crime to the airport.  With happy hugs and promises to see each other again soon, we closed the curtain on our Rockin’ Vegas Weekend.

After dropping her off I pointed my Jeep eastward and on towards Zion National Park; the next stop on my road road trip east, and an adventure of an entirely different sort.

Tune in next week for stories from Angel’s Landing Trail and Zion National Park in Utah.

See you down the road!

~ Aeri

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306545_10100339996775636_297841040_nHave you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur.  To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

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good buddy

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

 ~Henry David Thoreau

And nothing makes the world seem so cozy as to be visited by friends from afar.

I’m sure Thoreau just forgot to add that last bit.

This fall I have enjoyed the new sensation of having friends visiting me. How delicious it has been!

First, a friend from Pennsic War decided to work at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and we have had the delightful opportunity of spending out weekends together.  How wonderful it is to discover a new kindred spirit!  Whether sharing ciders and laughs, or cheesecake and knitting projects, or weekends have been a hoot!

Then, a friend who has been working in China had work that brought him to Pittsburgh, PA.  And compared to China a five hour road trip didn’t seem too far to travel for a good friend.  So a visit to Pittsburgh was made! And I have to admit I was impressed with that ol’ city.  I expected smoke stacks and coal mounds, and even sought them out for a photo shoot with the new Rainbow Rampage collection, but it was a tough search down by the river’s edge to find the grit and grime.  Downtown Pittsburgh was clean and trendy and full of art and life.  The tourist center even has a sweet little book detailing all the outdoor art installations throughout the city.  If I only had had time to explore more of them!

I did find the time to stay an extra day and attend the Mumford and Sons concert at the First Niagara Pavilion.  Which was so awesome! They were great.  And the adventure that took us from the Lawn to the third row was awesome too!

Mumford and Sons August 29, 2013
Mumford and Sons August 29, 2013

Then Sandra, my Swiss friend with whom I have shared many a travel adventure, came to Boston with her new beau; and I just had to head north again for a visit. It was one of my first road trips with Shelly, my big white van, and I was excited to test out the comfort-ability of the bed in the back.  It was great!

On the way up I stopped off in Delaware for a few hours to visit with a friend from my Drexel days, and we caught up with each other over glasses of white wine and dainty cheese plates.  Oh Wilmington how I underestimated you!

That night I stopped to sleep at a rest stop in Connecticut.

Lets pause for a moment and talk about rest stops, and deciding which ones to stop at.  Not all rest stops are created equal. As a solo traveler it is important to trust your gut and look for clues.  I was let in on this little tip at a Denny’s when I shared a midnight meal and a counter with a group of truckers on the I-10 West of Dallas.  Straight from the lips of professionals, I took their advice to heart.  I like to remember the three S’s:

1. Shakes

2. Semi’s 

3. Shadows 

Shakes, as in restaurants like 24-hour diners and fast food chains, create traffic and energy at a rest stop.  It may seem bright and noisy, but it is much better to stop over at a place busy with people and frequented by patrol cars.

Semi’s, as in tractor trailers, are usually a good sign that a rest stop is well used and on the beaten path.  If the stop is split between car parking and trucker parking…park with the trucks.  I like to tuck Shelly in between two monstrous truckers and find myself gently lulled to sleep by the deep growling idle of a monstrous diesel engine.

Shadows aren’t necessarily your friend. But the light sources that create them are.  If you are just plum exhausted and can’t bear the thought of traveling a single mile more in search of a bright glowing island of coffee and gasoline than pull into that dodgy looking blue sign rest stop off the highway. If you must park, at least park under the light.  Though it was the consensus of my trucker angels that if you have to choose between pulling over under the light on an exit ramp and pulling into a dark and shadowy abandoned rest stop, choose the exit ramp!

In all of my cross country adventures I have to say that Pilot and Love’s are pretty great truck stops. They have 24 hour restaurants and mini-marts, gas pumps, lots of lights, lots of trucks, and lots of parking.  You can always see them from the highway well before their exit because they have monstrous electric signs with the current gas prices printed in green and red which is a great beacon of hope when groggy highway fatigued eyes are searching for answers. And in the morning when you wake up in the front seat with your legs over the steering wheel and your feet stuck in the dash the cashier won’t look at you funny when you brush your teeth in their bathroom and pour yourself a 24 oz cup of steaming hot, incredibly bland, amazingly rejeuvinating coffee before hitting the road again.  Ah the life of a modern gypsy.

But I digress. Boston.  And then Houston, with another old friend and another new adventure.  Perhaps those stories should be saved for another day.  Each deserves its very own post I think, complete with catchy title and a photo that hints at stories yet to be told.

Over and Out,
Aeri

a very coleman thanksgiving

I know it’s a little late, but I had such a wonderful Thanksgiving this year that I just have to share it!

What's on the burner now?
What’s on the burner now?

I spent Thanksgiving in Todd Mission, Texas with my good friends Noelle and Al.  Noelle is another wonderful traveler who is touring the country with the most delightful little vardo in tow. To find out more about her story, you should really visit her blog- A Life Fantastic.

This was our first Thanksgiving as “adults;” and by that I mean, we weren’t with family, watching the game with the men, wrestling with cousins or dogs, and waiting for our grandma/aunt/mother to ring the dinner bell.  We were the chefs! Well, Al and Noelle were the chefs. I brought a case of beer, some carrots, and an eager appetite.

When I arrived I was first greeted by Tiny Puppy.  Cooper, a seven week old Australian Shepherd, is a tiny grey ball of cute.  A few more steps and I was in the living room: a tarped over space between their amazing vardo and their kitchen tent, complete with fat white Christmas lights,  an outdoor carpet and a camping couch.  There, I was greeted by Noelle and Al and given a culinary tour.  The warm scent of cinnamon and nutmeg filled the air around us.  “That would be the pies.” Noelle said.

Pies?

This thing can heat like a convection oven! See the tiny pies inside? Yum!
This thing can heat like a convection oven! See the tiny pies inside? Yum!

Pies.

With only a Coleman two burner propane camping stove, and a toaster oven they put together a complete Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m talking turkey, stuffing, gravy, corn, carrots, cranberry jelly, rolls, mashed potatoes, AND home-made pumpkin pies.

All of the Things!
All of the Things!

I have a feeling that these two are amazing cooks anywhere, but they really proved that those little stoves are good for more than reheating Spaghetti-O’s and re-hydrating space food.  While the pies continued to bake in the toaster, Al prepared the turkey with fresh herbs and spices.  Then, while the turkey cooked we used the stove to make creamy mashed potatoes, buttery corn, fluffy stuffing, brown sugar glazed carrots, and gravy. Sorry gravy, ran out of adjectives. The scents shifted tantalizingly through the spectrum until finally the turkey was ready.  The rolls were thrown into the oven for a moment while the turkey basked in it’s own juices.  And then, only then, did Al deem Things Ready.

Cutting the roast like a pro.
Cutting the roast like a pro.

And boy was it good! It was amazing!

It was the best way to spend an evening with friends.

It drove home once again how thankful I am for the opportunity to live the life I do, with all its travelling. And it gave me a new chance to be thankful for good friends and warm homes, whatever the home may look like.

 

And thank you, to everyone who reads this blog. I hope you continue to get as much joy out of reading it as I get out of writing it.

 

Thank you!!

 

~Aeri

Buon Appetite!
Buon appetite!