While we stayed in Kingman, Arizona, we took a quick day trip into southern Nevada. We visited Hoover Dam, TV’s Pawn Stars’ pawn shop and the Strip in Las Vegas. I had a different perspective of this area than the rest of my family as I visited this area as a teenager over 20 years ago.
Hoover Dam. This site has come a long way from the 1990’s. I remembered a seemingly endless traffic jam, an extensive walk down a hill, and then a drawn-out wait in grueling heat to view the inner workings of the dam. Nowadays, the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge bypasses the iconic dam. After a quick vehicle security checkpoint, we took a pedestrian path onto the bridge for beautiful views of the dam. Afterward, we drove across the dam and parked on the opposite side. This original parking area was free. (A close parking structure now sits opposite the dam, but has a fee.) The original road is now closed off to traffic from the Arizona side, so we returned the same way we came.
After seeing the Hoover Dam, we made our way to Las Vegas. We first stopped in at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, the home of Pawn Stars. A giant mural was painted on the back side of the building as well as other photo stops on the front side. We were surprised at the small size of the store. Basically what was seen on TV is all there really was to the store. We did not see any celebrities during our visit, but that was okay. I do not profess to be a Chumly fan anyway.
For the remainder of the day, we found some free parking at Treasure Island and then walked the Strip in Las Vegas. While my husband, Joel, enjoyed looking at the lights and city action, I was disappointed. I would declare the place to be a “has-been”. When I visited as a teenager, it seemed like they had more free gimmick shows operating. Not only were some permanently closed, the ones that remained open looked very outdated and hard to hear. Perhaps casinos no longer needed those gimmicks to lure people in to gamble. Also, cheap buffets are a feast of the past. Some places charged over $35 for an evening buffet. Needless to say, we saved our money and ate on our way home instead.
Though parts of Sin City changed, some areas have not. They still have the nasty sewer stench in some areas, but at least no one handed my men fliers to see hookers like they did in the 1990’s. Of course they really didn’t need any as the scantly dressed showgirls were right on the street. At least they had some clothes; other women with clothes painted on proudly had their photos taken with the lustful men. In addition, I kept looking over my shoulder as a guy kept following us in one area. I was not about to be a victim of a pickpocket. I fatigued quickly with my prolonged heightened sense of awareness and had enough of the walking and panhandlers by the time darkness set in. Overpriced M&M World chocolate and lighted fountains set to music were just not worth it to me.
However, Vegas was not a total loss. The boys did witness the blank desperate stares of the hopeful gamblers and the street people begging with signs. They now understand what drew people to this place. I was happy to leave the Strip before the boys had an even greater “education”.
This was one long day, but I had my fill and was glad to return to Kingman. We conquered a lot- a giant dam, a famous pawn shop, and the Strip. The saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” did NOT stay in Vegas that day.
Until we meet again,