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by | 2018 | The Lills, Travel

From South Carolina to Utah, we spent a lot of time in the great outdoors, in nature and in peace. We camped under the stars, we hiked miles of trails, we swam in natural lakes and rivers, we dangled off of cliffs and we observed amazing wildlife. From Zion National Park in Utah, however, we headed to a place neither of us thought we would ever go: Las Vegas, Nevada.

We thought of Sin City as offering nothing to the non-drinking and non-gambling crowd and as we drove into the city, we became blinded by the lights. We had no idea what we were in for, but we decided to get right to it.

Family members who had been to Las Vegas before, recommended us taking in the beautiful architecture and the ambiance of everything. We visited the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, which is known for its iconic fountains. We called a Vegas booking company and we were able to grab discounted tickets for the show, Piff The Magic Dragon, which was absolutely hilarious. We had an incredible vegetarian Japanese meal at Nobu and we won big at the fair games at Circus Circus. Seeing Las Vegas from the High Roller Ferris Wheel was a highlight, as well as treating ourselves to a wonderful dessert and another beautiful view at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. We packed a lot into just a few days and yet, there was still so much to see and do.

Las Vegas Nevada | Eiffel Tower Restaurant View | The Lills

We met so many people in Las Vegas. There were those who had tons of funds and were there to roll the dice and there were those on the streets, who had nothing and were just trying to survive. It was a bizarre combination of money and the lack of. The city never seemed to go to sleep and the scorching heat constantly reminded us we were in the desert. While we humans went and explored, our cat and dog stayed nice and cool in the comfy hotel room. Each time we let them outdoors, they only lasted a few minutes. It was usually upwards of a hundred degrees…or more…and it didn’t often drop below ninety degrees at night.

Traveling Cat | Traveling Dog | The Lills

After a few days of running around the city, we began to realize that it had more to offer us than we had first thought. We were told about Fremont Street, also known as “Old Las Vegas” or “The Fremont Street Experience”. It was the original location for gambling, before The Strip was built. The Fremont Street Experience project canopied Fremont Street back in 1995 and we read that today, the five blocks use 12.5 million LED lights to put on the show each night.

We were excited to see Old Las Vegas, but when we arrived, we were surprised at how modern it had been made. We felt all of the new technology took away from the old-school vibes and ambiance in a way, but at least they kept some of the original outdoor neon signs. We were pleased to see the old casinos still kept some of their charm, but we noticed they offered the same cheesy electronic games that were offered on The Strip.

For fun, we decided to sit down at a card table, which was playing a game that we knew was one of our family member’s favorites: Texas Hold’em. We put very little on the table and watched, as the fellow next to us hit two straights in a row (one being a straight flush). He made thousands of dollars in winnings and it was very exciting to watch happen before our eyes. The two of us played a few games to have the experience, but we most enjoyed observing the nature of the beast.

Freemont East Las Vegas Nevada | The Lills

We are cheeseballs at heart, so the most exciting part of our Las Vegas adventure was renewing our vows at the famous, Little White Wedding Chapel. We went to a few local thrift stores and picked up our wedding attire, we grabbed some flowers from a market and drove our VW Bus through The Tunnel of Love. There, we were greeted by the staff and they gave us some history of A Little White Wedding Chapel. It has been in operation since 1951, it has been featured in movies, many famous people have wed there and it is open 24 hours a day. We became part of their history that evening, it became part of ours and we had so much fun saying “I do” again.

The two of us and our wonderful minister gathered in the gazebo and read our vows. The moment we sealed it with a kiss, the lights turned on and we all laughed out loud. The two of us had thought they had planned it so that the lights would turn on at that very moment, but our minister let us know, the lights were on a timer. He said it must have been divine timing. Wow. We all laughed again out loud and the minister signed our renewal of vows certificate in the main chapel. We were also given a wonderful pamphlet of Marriage Messages and Love Recipes.

Success in marriage is more than finding the right person. It’s becoming the right person. – The Little White Wedding Chapel

The owner of A Little White Wedding Chapel has been in the industry since the fifties and she believes that you should not marry the person you can live with, but you should marry the person you can’t live without. We were so happy we went with them and it was an experience we will never forget. To top the night off, we celebrated renewing our vows with an incredible meal at the Top of the World restaurant at The Stratosphere Tower.

Little White Wedding Chapel | Las Vegas Nevada | VW Bus | The Lills | Alex Lill | Lara Lill

The Stratosphere is a wild tower on Las Vegas Boulevard, featuring thrilling rides at the very top and a rotating restaurant, giving diners a 360 view of the city during their culinary experience. We rode the elevator to the Observation Deck and watched, as brave souls jumped on rides that either flung them to the edge, shot them to the sky or plummeted them down to the ground by a thin harness.

We made our way to our seats and because it was near closing hour, we felt like we had the place to ourselves. Slowly, the entire floor rotated and we sampled several things from the menu, as the cityscape view continued to change. Once, we even witnessed a person who had signed up to jump off the tower, fly past us, as we were mid-bite. One of the waiters told us it was a straight-shot to the bottom…yikes. We decided to stay in the building and use the elevator to get to the ground level.

Our meal at Top of the World was outstanding, the views were wild and everything was so romantic. The entire night made us remember getting married in 2010, when we had nothing to our name and began our simple life with big adventures. We never had a honeymoon, because we had very little and we were focused on building our life and business, so this trip felt like one. We couldn’t believe how many people congratulated us that night and we imagined ourselves as newlyweds, ready for our next adventure!

See what happens next on our cross-country journey here!


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