Day 8

Friday 20th May 2011

Fresno

A bit of a disturbed night; too much wine for me and an upset stomach for Tina meant we were both tired in the morning. It also was our last day in Vegas and we were back on the road to California once we’d packed and checked out.

But first breakfast and the buffet; a hearty meal always a good cure for any ills.

Having eaten, we went back to the room for the last time, packed the cases and vacated the hotel after checking out and ensuring the billing was correct. We really loved our stay in Vegas and The Bellagio, even Tina who was sceptical at first, enjoyed it. And the helicopter trip just was fantastic.

We set the sat nav for our next destination, Fresno, and it came up with an arrival time of 4.54pm and it was only 10am as we left. It was going to be along day with just under four hundred miles to cover.

We set off up the strip for the last time and soon joined the Interstate 15 south towards Barstow. Progress was good and we soon made our first stop at Baker for fuel and a comfort break (or to use the restroom at the Americans would say). The time was midday.

Continuing south we crossed the Mojave National Park, a sacred American Indian reserve; the desert area looked an extremely dry and harsh place to live. One of the places we also passed was the Mojave Air and Space Port, where many of the worlds airliners are kept once they are no longer required. It would have been interesting place to stop and look but I missed the turning so we carried on.

We ploughed on, observing the changing scenery, firstly desert, then tree lined mountains followed by the flatter Napa valley, where most of the grapes are grown for the Californian wines. It was amazing to think that only a few hundred miles apart you can see such varied landscapes.

We carried on our journey, stopping once more, before finally arriving in Fresno at the next hotel, number four, bang on time, just before five. After checking in, we were given our room key and were gobsmacked when we opened the door. The room had a lounge area, separate bedroom with a king-sized bed and two TV’s. When I checked the paperwork I realised I did actually order that particular room, so it was not too much of a step down from the Bellagio after all.

After showering and freshening up we went in search of somewhere to eat, walking across the street to a Chinese restaurant. On enquiring as to whether they can accommodate gluten-free food the waiter said “they close at 10pm”. Tina and I looked each other and walked out.

We wandered up to a shopping precinct and found a restaurant that was recommended to me; ‘The Cheesecake Factory’. When we checked the menu they did indeed have food I could eat but the items were expensive and stted they were for 6-8 people. We walked out of that one too.

We had more luck at the final restaurant, Flemmings Prime Steakhouse and were soon shown to the table. Tina said she was not that hungry so we skipped the starter (or appertiser as the Americans like to call it) and went straight for the main course. I went for New York steak again whilst Tina had chicken (again). We skipped dessert. The bill came to $99 making it the most expensive meal of the holiday to date.

Whilst we were waiting for our food, we did some people watching; I watched a couple polish off a two person appertiser plus one another, a salad each then a main course each (one had chicken the other steak) plus all the side trimmings. I have no doubt they would have had a dessert as well had we remained the to find out. Tina observed that the Americans don’t use their cutlery the same way as us. She watched a few eating their meals and noticed that they cut normally using both implements then put the knife down, swap the fork into their right hand to place the food in their mouths. This fascinated her and said I would never be able to do that as it takes too long to get the food in my mouth, me being a fast eater.

We paid the bill and returned back to the hotel room, it being extremely warm as the outside temperature was a lot higher than we’d been used to.

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