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**REMINDER: From now until September I'm on either Pacific or Mountain Time. If you are on the US east coast my posts will be appearing later than usual. Thanks!**

Jameson and I drove about five hours to a hotel in Grand Junction, CO. The roads were winding and dark, but the weather was good and we had no trouble on our travels.

The next day we went to Denny's for breakfast. Before receiving our meal, a server came over and told us that a woman sitting nearby had paid our ticket! We never saw her and were unable to thank her, but left a massive tip to "pay it forward". Mystery woman, whoever you are, thank you!!

After that we began our drive to Vegas. On the way we saw lots of awesome scenery. Sorry about blurriness or glares, it was difficult to get good shots through the windshield.

In Utah we stopped to visit a scenic viewpoint overlooking Black Dragon Canyon, so named for a pictograph that resembles a large flying lizard.

Another traveler offered to take our photo!

We stopped for dinner in Beaver, UT, at Crazy Cow Cafe. They've got absolutely delicious burgers!
After driving for most of the day we arrived around dinnertime. We stayed at the Rio.

We checked in and went downstairs to check out the casino. I don't really gamble, so after losing five bucks at penny slots I was content to watch Jameson win at three card poker :)

The next day we went to the Rio's buffet (which was awesome), then walked down to the strip, playing Ingress on the way. We got to see the Bellagio's fountain display, and found the Ringling slot machine!

In Caesar's Palace we decided to play a little. Or rather, Jameson played and I watched :) He won money AGAIN(!) and to celebrate we had dinner at Gordon Ramsey's Pub and Grill. It was delicious! I had the steak and ale pie, and Jameson had ale-battered fish and chips with minted peas and dark-roasted fries. We each had a tasty mixed drink, and for dessert shared a sticky toffee pudding which was AMAZING.

After our fabulous meal it was time to head home and freshen up before seeing Penn and Teller!

The show was awesome. The illusions were so seamless; everything they did elicited a "How did they DO that?!?" response. Some amazing illusions include breaking an egg and making it whole again, pulling coins from an empty tank of water and then filling it with goldfish, and sawing a woman in half (no, really!). There was even a little tongue-in-cheek about animals in entertainment. They were educational, fascinating, and thought-provoking. We had a great time! I'd definitely go see them again!

The next day we decided on brunch at Hash House a Go Go. Ooooh dear. We sat down thinking that this would be a normal restaurant. But as we watched other customers receiving their meals, we realized that we were in over our heads.

That is Jameson's sage fried chicken with bacon waffles and fried leeks (the small tree in the middle of it all). Mine was a mango coconut pancake that was literally bigger than the plate it was served on. It was ridiculous and we barely made it out alive :P

After that craziness, we headed over to the Luxor to view the Bodies exhibition. Jameson had seen it before but this was my first time. No photos were allowed, sorry. It's an incredible look at the human body...the placement and functions of the organs, the mapping of the nervous and circulatory systems, and the diseases that can ravage all parts of the human body. It was really incredible to see.

After that, we figured the train should be spotted so headed over to the yard and sure enough, there it was. We unpacked and relaxed for a bit.

Opening day went well. A large number of Blue Unit folks came to visit us; they're on a break right now since this was about the time the circus would be in Mexico and we're not going back there for various reasons. There were also lots of former Ringling peeps who've found jobs with other circuses or shows in Las Vegas. It was great to see some familiar faces :)

On Friday we only had one show. During the day, I did nothing :P The show went well.

Saturday was a typical three show day. Nothing of interest happened, except that Koji (BMX) popped a tire. We also had several celebrity guests, including Sigfried and the Osmonds.

On Sunday, we had two shows. Both went well, and the last ended early enough that some of us who aren't on load out duty could still enjoy Vegas. Jameson and I will be driving to see the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon these next few days! The Dam is only an hour away, so we decided to stay in Vegas for the night. We checked in at the Monte Carlo, and got a pleasant surprise: a former Ringling employee is a manager here, and he upgraded our room!! We entered a VIP lounge where we received our room keys, which also give us exclusive access to Hotel 32 (the 32nd floor). This was our room and bathroom.

And this was the view.

There were some complementary snacks in the room, including neopolitan macarons and small candies. And the minibar had ALL the snacks. Liquor, beer, wine, candies, nuts, Gatorade, Red Bull...it was amazing. I couldn't fit it all into one picture.

After checking in and oogling at the room, we went downstairs for a light dinner at Yusho, a Japanese "street food" restaurant. I had grilled octopus and Jameson had pork belly. I forgot my phone so no pictures, but as you can imagine it was delicious :)

As I type this Jameson is downstairs playing some table game. Tomorrow we meet the generous benefactor who got us the fancy room, then head out to see the sights on our way to Tucson AZ. A special thank you to Brett and Joel for arranging this experience for us. Even though it was only for a night, it was fantastic.

This whole week has been a lot of fun. I've gotta admit, I've got a great life. :)

Other stuff:

Jameson's album, "Our Story", is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and other major music download sites. I'm proud of him for putting himself out there. It's not an easy thing to do. And I'm not just saying this as his girlfriend: his music is really very good. Have a listen! (Our Story on iTunes)

The Las Vegas Sun took some fantastic photos of our show this week. Really great pictures of Mable the elephant in action. (HERE THEY ARE).

The Barlow Family (my boss's family) with Teller of Penn & Teller!

(photo courtesy Theresa)

Sometimes, especially in smaller arenas, space is at a premium and dressing rooms have to be wherever there's space. This week the band was "over the river and through the woods". Here are the directions to our dressing room. Yeah, we got lost.