Friday, December 24, 2010

Pretty Prescott

Our park offers many day bus tours to various casinos and last week Jim and I decided to go on the one to Prescott, Arizona. We'd never gone on one of these tours before; but for the cost of $10 per person, and then they GIVE you $10 to gamble, how could you go wrong?

Well, you KNOW how you could go wrong. By gambling more than the 10 BUCKS! Which, of course, everyone does. But it's fun.

So a handful of our friends signed up to go, along with enough people to fill two buses. I tend to get motion sickness easily, so my friends encouraged me to mention this fact to the tour guide so she would let me sit up front. (I don't know if they were doing this out of kindness to me or because the didn't want me to blow chunks on them.)

They were planning on seating our group in the back of the bus. So as the guide was crossing the names off the list of those who were present, I quietly requested to sit up front and stated the reason.

She answered loudly and belligerently, "And you're telling me this NOW?"

WTF? Like I'm supposed to tell her a couple of days in advance? What was the big deal?

Then she said, "Oh, alright!! I'll just announce it to everyone before they get on the bus!"

I said, "You're going to tell everyone that I get sick?"

"NO! I'll just tell them not to sit in the second seat!"

Whatever! Wouldn't it be easier just to let me get on first? Duh.

Anyway, that's what happened. Whew. Crisis solved.

The people on the bus with money in their pockets.

It was about a 2 1/2 hour bus ride because of the morning rush hour. When we got off the bus, we were welcomed with our own "good luck" bead necklace. Then we got our membership card with $10 on it, and off we went to lose our shirts.

The casino wasn't too big, and smoking is still allowed since it is on tribal land. So if you happen to sit next to a smoker, but your machine is on a "roll", you have to choose whether to sit there and endure the smoke, or get up and walk away from a machine that might pay off.

Lunch time was scheduled from1:00-1:30.  We were handed our free lunch - a turkey sandwich, cookies, chips and water. It was okay.

There was a large display of gingerbread houses  in the lobby of the hotel connected to the casino. Jim and I took a break from donating our money into the slots and walked over to see them.

I was surprised at how large the display was; this was one whole side. I didn't photograph the other smaller side.

The following photos show just some of the spectacular houses:

This train ran all around the houses.

This is the First Place Winner.

In the late afternoon the bus dropped us off in the old part of town in front of the courthouse. The courthouse was quite impressive looking.

"Whiskey Row" is the name of the street that runs on one side of the courthouse. It dates back to 1864 when there were many brothels and saloons on that street and had famous visitors like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

Now it has many shops, restaurants and yes, bars. We didn't have time to really browse at all; our friends were waiting for us at the famous "Palace" restaurant.

The Palace first opened in 1877 and "is the oldest frontier bar in Arizona and the most well-known and historic restaurant in the state." (according to their website).

Here is Rudolph and pal hanging on one wall in the restaurant.

The long wooden bar with a huge mirror behind it.

It was pretty cool to walk through swinging doors to get into the bar. This photo was taken from the inside looking out.

These stairs once led to the brothel. *wink*

Artwork hanging on the wall. (I assured the people sitting there that they wouldn't be in my photo. Looks like I lied.)

This huge poster was on another wall. I didn't know that this movie had been filmed here. The things I learn from traveling!

After we noshed on typical happy hour food and had a couple of drinks, it was time to meet the bus. Jim and I walked the block and were able to go into a couple of stores that were still open. I could have purchased a rattlesnake mug if it had been on anyone's Christmas list  - but alas - twas not.

Here is Santa in a window display.

The courthouse was lit up so beautifully. I did my best without my tripod.

Here is a large tree that was lit up nearby.

The trees along the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.

My friends are used to me wandering around snapping shots. They were standing in a huddle, trying to stay warm, waiting for the bus. My friend Viv was happy when Jim joined the group so he could block the wind from one side. She has the dark hair and is in the very center of this cluster.

Then they saw me coming and showed me their better sides.

The bus arrived and all of us gathered back onto the bus. I got one last shot of this lit tree.

Here is what old, poor people look like after a day at the casino.

This is Ken, our friendly bus driver.

You thought all our fun was over with? NO! Next up was a drive through the Festival of Lights which was a HUGE display of Christmas lights over a large subdivision area. I only have a few photos because it was very hard to take pictures since we were constantly moving but I wanted you to get a feel for what it was like.

They had a sign for each of the 12 days of Christmas.

And old fashioned town.

There were two or three of these large tunnel of lights that we drove through. They were very tall - tall enough for our large bus to get through! I took these pictures through the large windshield of the bus.

This tunnel was made up of large candy canes.

This photo is a mistake; the bus took off while I was pressing down on the shutter. But I like the feel and look of this!

All the excitement was over; we were going to settle down for a 2 hour ride home. Everyone was tired and a nap sounded good.

But our tour guide had other plans. She had brought along a DVD for us to watch. It was a Christmas movie. She must have copied it herself because it didn't work in the DVD player, no matter how hard she tried. She put it in, she ejected it. She moved the player this way and that way; she hit it a few times. I told her that there was an error in reading the disc; she just didn't seem to want to accept this fact. So she left the DVD in the player with it "stuck" in the "loading" position and the lights were bright and shining glaringly in everyone's eyes. I piped up, "Why don't you just turn it off, it seems to be bothering people's eyes". (Read MINE!)

Well, she was hell-bent on us watching a movie for some reason. She asked the bus driver if he had any movies with him. He happened to have, "A Bridge Too Far".

So that's what she put on.


A nice CHRISTMAS movie.

About a war.

With guns shooting every freaking minute.

And lights flashing.

And I started to get a migraine.

I tried to curl into a ball.

I tried to cover my eyes from the flashing lights.

I balled up my vest to make it into a pillow. It smelled like smoke.

So my stomach started to reel. (That's not unusual with a migraine. At least not for me.)

Every time a gun shot off in the movie I wanted to scream.

It was the LONGEST bus ride home.

We finally got back to the resort and I practically JUMPED off the bus. I didn't even wait for our friends to get off. I just told Jim, "C'mon let's go. I'm sick."

So we walked to our trailer, about 3-4 blocks, and I immediately felt better to be out in the night air.

All-in-all, I'd do it again. It was a lot of fun!

But next time I'll spend more time in the town shopping. At least I'll have something to show with the money I spent!

Christmas joke-of-the-day:

Q. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?
A. It's Christmas, Eve.


Valerie said...

Fabulous pictures, Pat. What a shame that the fun day had to end so badly. Yeah, next time .. go shopping! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Brian Miller said...

wow. amazing the gingerbread town they created and the light pics...i want a rattlesnake merry christmas pat!

misslynda said...

Other than the movie on the way home, you got a great deal for $10. As usual, your photos are exquisite! - - those rattlesnake mugs are kind of freaky - -- - especially if snakes give you the creeps. I am still impressed at all the activities you and your friends find to do every week.

Eva Gallant said...

Looks like a fun time! Great photos...amazing gingerbread houses!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Sounds like a great tour except for the casino and the bus ride! (I'm just a party-poooper).\

Merry Christmas to both of you!!

charmine. said...

What fun!Loved all those ginger bread houses.Loved the old buildings and the interiors.Happy Christmas Pat and hope you have a lovely time with family.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Merry Christmas!

My best wishes to you and yours!

B xx

Donna B said...

So nice to see Prescott lit up for Christmas. We went there a couple years back and had a very memorable visit. I will have to share it with you some time...and the pictures too!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

awesome! awesome! awesome! looks like you had a blast...

James said...

This is a wonderful post and I really enjoyed the pictures, especially the night ones.

I would have loved to go on that adventure even even though I'm a good 20 yrs younger than most of the people on the bus. It reminds me that just the other day I was telling my wife that I wouldn't mind living in a retirement community and taking cross country vactions in a motor home. I guess I'll have to wait a few years though.

Missy said...

These pics are great! I love the Log Cabin!!!

Joann Mannix said...

Pat, I love your pics of your jaunts. It always makes me feel like I'm traveling with you.

My husband and my's favorite restaurant is inside our local Indian casino. It's awful to have to walk through the smoke to get to the restaurant. It makes me glad I don't gamble.

I love the gingerbread houses and the brothel staircase is beautiful. I'd love to have that in my home. Just for the story itself!

A rootdigger said...

great pics, I was wondering if one of the gingerbead houses was chocolate bar siding. It worked well. Recently at a store I saw log house like made from long large pretzels.I wondered if the idea is circulating or if these people creative? So many ideas here. Gorgeous lights!Home is where you park it sure beats where I take my shoes off.

Anonymous said...

amazing pics as always my friend...hope your christmas was grand and your new year will be happy:)

Sunny said...

I wondered if you would like to adopt me? You guys take such fun trips! (Except for the long ride home!)
A very Happy New Year to you and Jim :)
☼ Sunny

Entre Nous said...

Oh I LOVE the photos, and the snake mug! The casinos here didn't do too much unless one wanted to pay extra. What a great trip for them money. I always plan on losing twenty bucks, so it's great when I hit!

Happy New Year :}

SquirrelQueen said...

It looks like a great way to spend an evening, except maybe for the tour guide and war movie. I love all the gingerbread houses and the snake mug, I might have had to buy that.