Elvis is alive and well in Vegas

My friend and I decided a trip to Vegas was definitely in need.  A break from the day to day, business as usual monotony of adult responsibility.  We booked our trip and off we went…go west my friend so we did.

We didn’t really have any sort of itinerary in mind just a few things each of us wanted to see and do while in Vegas.  For me, I wanted to drive to the Grand Canyon and see the most impressive hole in the world, and it did not disappoint.  The beautiful colors, the peaceful stillness and that view!  It is almost surreal, the view of this massive crater.  The canyon is ginormous, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point and 18 miles at its widest.  If you are thinking about traveling out west any time in the future the canyon is definitely worth a visit.

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My friend wanted to ride the High Roller, play the slots and people watch.  The High Roller is one of Las Vegas’ most recent additions giving you a chance to view the entire landscape from above the strip while riding an observation wheel.  It stands at 550 feet and has enclosed air-conditioned pods that you and about 40 of your friends can ride in, one pod even has a bar if you would like to order up while viewing the city.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone vacationing in Vegas as a relaxing way to view the area, have a cocktail and take some fabulous photos!

The slots, well gambling is the real attraction for most in Vegas and as they say “you win some and you lose some”.  My friend broke even and we moved on to walking around taking in all of the sites and people watching.  People watching in Vegas, well there really is nothing like it and Fremont Street is the place to go.  From characters that dress up like the Kiss performers to street performers and everything in between, Fremont Street has it all!  Book a flight and if people watching is all you do here you will not be disappointed by the collection of folks that are walking around in this condensed area.  It truly is an experience.

The highlight of our trip was a bit of a surprise to both of us when we thought what we were hearing was Elvis singing.  Yes, you read that correctly, ELVIS!  During our many walks around town we saw an ad on the wall of the Piano Bar in Harrah’s casino for the Big Elvis show.  This we had to see and hear.  On our last day in Vegas we went to the bar around two in the afternoon and waited in line for what would be the highlight of our trip in the absolute Fun Department!  Big Elvis did not disappoint!

Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee has been performing at Harrah’s Casino for the past twenty years and as Elvis impersonators go, in my opinion, his voice is closely spot on!  He performs three days a week doing three sets per day…we stayed for all three sets and Mr. Vallee brought the house down!  He was honored with a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2017 and much deserved by his incredible performances.  He sang Suspicious Mind, Folsom Prison Blues, It’s Now or Never and my personal favorite and one that we requested, Kentucky Rain and many more.  He includes the audience in a rockin’ rendition of Viva Las Vegas using volunteers from the audience as Little Big Elvis and the Elvettes and rocks the casino!  His talent as an Elvis impersonator is larger than life, and his performance was outstanding!  He was both professional and very approachable and I have to say for me ended our fun-filled trip with a BANG!!  If you are travelling to Vegas any time soon or in the future stop by Harrah’s Casino and see the Big Elvis show at the Piano Bar Monday, Wednesday and Fridays…Big Elvis does not disappoint.  Thank you Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee for a great end to our fantastic Vegas trip!

 

Paris Girl

Paris Girl –  I drew the girl in the picture using colored pencils but she seemed a bit lonely on the page.  I pulled a royalty-free image of Paris and dropped it in the background and placed a graphic of an airplane in the picture from Photoshop and Voila’ Paris Girl!

 

Keep drawing!

K Lentz

Great Getaways Photo Contest

Yesterday I was notified that I was the winner of the Great Getaways Photo Contest sponsored by Cincinnati Magazine and Madison Indiana.  I have to tell you that when I had submitted the now winning photo, I never thought in a million years that I would actually win.

The now winning photo was taken at the Crazy Horse Memorial in October of 2010.  My sister, Kathy Witt, is a travel writer and was traveling to Rapid City South Dakota with the Midwest Travel Writer’s Association of which she is a member and invited me along.  The trip was absolutely amazing!  We toured Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Custer State Park, Deadwood, the Crazy Horse Memorial,  the Minutemen Missile Silo (very cool), Dahl Arts Center… the attractions in and around the city go on and on.

While at Mt. Rushmore, I met the last of the living legends that had help to carve the awesome monument and had a great time at the reception dinner for all of the writers. How often in life do you meet someone who has actually carved one or our monuments? I’d say that would be a Bucket List item, it was quite a night!

I also had the pleasure of touring the Badlands, gorgeous!  Which I must say, if you haven’t seen them in person, you don’t know what you’re missing.  The landscape is outstanding!

the Badlands
the Badlands

Just for fun, I got my picture taken with our late great 40th president, Ronald Reagan. Rapid City has bronze life-size statues of all of our presidents erected throughout the downtown area.  Very cool.

me and Ronald Reagan
me and Ronald Reagan

Something I thought that was very interesting in the city was Art Alley.  The alley is in the middle of Rapid City South Dakota and is an open platform for all artists to share their artwork. The artwork in the alley is continually being painted over by local artists, but as you can see from the photo below, the artwork is very captivating.

Art Alley
Art Alley

One day we took a jeep ride through Custer State Park and it was absolutely stunning! The buffalo, three thousand head or so, roam around the park as they did during the 1800’s.  If you’re a fan of western movies, as I am, this was quite a sight.  The city also has the set from the movie Dances with Wolves as one of the attractions.  Filming for much of the movie took place in and around the Badlands and Custer State Park.  And after seeing the movie, I can’t imagine any other film location!

There is so much to see, do and experience in Rapid City South Dakota and the surrounding area I can now understand why my photo won.  If you ever get the chance to head out west, try to make Rapid City South Dakota a stop and of course the Crazy Horse Memorial.  After all it’s a Winner!

"Crazy Horse - Reflected" winner of the  2013 Great Getaways Photo Contest
“Crazy Horse – Reflected” winner of the 2013 Great Getaways Photo Contest

Thanks again to the staff, judges, participants and of course the voters of the Cincinnati Magazine for selecting my photo as the winner.  Oh and one more note.  As the winner, I will receive round trip airfare for four aboard Ultimate Air Shuttle to New York City!!   I can’t wait to hop in that plane and head to the Big Apple along with my sister, of course, and check off another Bucket List Item.

Week at the Beach – Hilton Head Island South Carolina

If there is one place that I love to go and relax, it is on the beach.  For years now we have been making the drive to Hilton Head Island to relax, golf, ride bikes and view the local wildlife.  This vacation was not much different and that is one of the things that makes vacationing there so enjoyable.

The golf courses on the island are absolutely gorgeous!  The green carpeted fairways, the pristine white sand, the wind off the ocean, some of the toughest hole placements I’ve ever played, and don’t forget the wildlife.  The gators were everywhere!  Case in point, hole number 14.  It’s a nice long dog leg right with sand traps running along both sides leading you to the green and a large lake to your left and one big gator sunning himself.  So where do you suppose our foursome hit all four balls?  That’s right, about 10 yards in front of the mouth of the gator.  Go figure.

You would think that with all that open landscape and four people at least one of us would’ve hit the ball away from the gator.  No not this foursome, we hit our balls about 10 yards ahead of him and had to quickly make chip shots keeping one eye on him and one on the ball.  But we’re not out of the wood yet, our chip shots landed in a sand trap where another gator was hanging out!  Leave it to hacks to drive so close to a dangerous target.  Scary but very cool.

Riding bikes is another favorite on the island, sun up to sun down.  The bike trail winds its way along the island mirroring the roadway system but far enough away to be safe and relaxing.  The slow pace of riding offers the best way to view the landscape and the ocean.  Each morning I would hop on my bike and head to the beach.  Ah so relaxing.  Riding along the ocean each day I noticed on this visit the beach was littered with helmet crabs and jelly fish every morning.  I’m not sure why but it definitely creeped me out!  I thought my brother the Marine described it best when he said, “riding along the beach each morning is a little like dodging land mines.”  A bit overstated but once a Marine always a Marine.  🙂

I almost stepped on this nasty looking one!  It reminded me of the Predator movie when that thing took off his body armor.  Gross!!  The jellyfish are pretty nasty too and this other helmet crab was making a run for it!

One day we had a bit of bad weather, not rain so much, but very windy.  So I decided to walk up and down the beach with my camera and see if I could get any interesting shots.  I saw a beautiful flock of seagulls (wasn’t that an 80’s band), a dolphin, a shell still occupied and this guy reeled in this little shark just as I was leaving the beach.  Outstanding!

Another great week on the island and I’m certain it won’t be our last!

Rabbit Hash Kentucky, if you ain’t been you got to go

I’m not sure if this would classify for most as a must see destination, but the little town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky is quite a site! To get there you take I-75 to Mt. Zion exit and go west.  Then drive to route 42, then to route 536.  Follow 536 down to Rabbit Hash hill road and from there you pretty much near drive until you drive into the Ohio river.  But just before you do, you veer slightly to the left, you’re there.

Here’s the famous general store.Rabbit Hash General Store

And last I had heard the Mayor of Rabbit Hash was Lucy Lou seen here after the 2008 elections, I guess she’s still Mayor.

2008 Candidate Lucy Lou
2008 Candidate
Lucy Lou

This dog was hanging around the General Store when I drove through town, must be the Sheriff.  He looks real busy.

This interesting building was yonder across the street from the General Store, but I’m not certain what actually goes on inside there…

The tours not over yet, if you cross the street you can eat at the

and git some pulled pork BBQ and baby back ribs, hoof lickin’ good!  Not sure why I’m writin’ with a southern drawl, but you git the picture.

It’s definitely an interesting town and has quite a history.  I enjoyed my drive to and from and if you’re ever in that neck of the woods stop by and check it out!  Oh and if you’re not sure how to git wherever your going when you leave, follow these signs.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Bucket List items are different for everyone

As a graduation gift, my neighbor and close family friend, gave me a ticket to ride in a hot air balloon.  I was a bit anxious at first never having been off  of the ground, but I went and the ride was magnificent!

To anyone that has not left the ground, riding in a hot air balloon is literally up lifting.  The feeling is indescribable.  Standing in the basket waiting to lift off not knowing what to expect hearing the roar of the flame heating the air in the balloon and then…slowly the basket begins its climb.  Riding in a hot air balloon is not like riding in a plane or helicopter, it is something all together different.  The basket is open so the air brushes softly past your face and you are standing looking over the side to the ground below and see the perfectly laid out plats of land.  Slowly floating knowing that only the hot air from the flame keeps you airborne.  It is both exhilarating and serene.

Hot Air Balloon

It was quite an experience, one I have never forgotten.  I encourage anyone that has not had the opportunity to float in a hot air balloon to do so and  I look forward to reliving the experience.

Bucket List item #2 may be a rerun item.

I’ll keep you posted.