My Trip To California + Las Vegas || Travel Diary

My uncle mentioned his trip to Cali one week before his departure and next thing you know me and my sister J purchased a plane ticket 2 days before his scheduled flight to meet up with him there... This was also our first time paying for our own plane tickets, not to mention going on a plane without any adults. (Unless you consider me at 18 years old an adult... I don't.) Since we booked our flight very short notice, and paid for it ourselves, it was either going to be about $1,500 to fly Virgin or $500 to go on US Airways. Virgin America was AMAZING... Just kidding, we did not ride in style with purple/blue ambience lighting and black leather seats with personal TV's. Instead we had our knees up to our chest, chairs that I swore were at an 80 degree angle and yes of course our plane had a connection in Charlotte... Our uncle however who had booked his flight in advance rode comfortably in JetBlue and arrived in a swift 5 hours from MIA to LAX, but this isn't about him :P. After our all-day flying shenanigans, my sister and I arrived unscathed and were picked up by my uncle in the early evening. Our trip was to be 5 days, Wednesday to Sunday. Our first day was more flying and checking into the hotel than anything else.

Me + J on our flight

 Thursday morning we got up bright and early, which was easy considering Miami is 3 hours ahead of Cali, ate breakfast and headed out for BIG BEAR MOUNTAIN! Being from South Florida the only "mountains" I'd seen were what we like to call trash hills... Yuck! So this was a pretty big deal for me! We went all the way to the top, so I could take pictures and because I'm an adrenaline junkie who loves heights. Later we went on exploring the towns and stopped by to have lunch at one of the little restaurants. Let me tell you it is not easy ordering vegan at any Italian place and this was no exception.
J taking a pic of Big Bear Mountain
After exploring a portion of the mountain we headed back to the hotel to refresh ourselves, change and go to Downtown LA with my uncle, his 'friend', and her daughter. We had fun, laughed, talked... a lot, and later had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe then continued our stroll through the Walk of Fame before calling it a night. :)

Downtown LA with J, myself & A!

The next day, on Friday, we set out with the whole crew to Las Vegas! Not before stoping by A's aunts house were she graciously treated us to a bunch of vegan goodies; cakes, fruits, & drinks. It would be a long trip with at least 2 hours in between spent in stop-and-go traffic. When we arrived we booked a suite in The Luxor where my grandmother had stayed a decade ago and went out to look for some food. I was famished, luckily we found a place called Slice of Vegas Pizza that served vegan pizza, yum! Afterwards we explored some of the city... Most of the exploration was done in a manner that even Greg Nicotero would approve of in his zombie-training camp; J, A and I were completely beat. After what seemed like hours of walking around, which I'm sure were only 30 minutes, we went back to the hotel and collapsed on our beds.

J looking out the window of our Luxor Suite

The next day we were much more energetic and excited for our day, we walked through all the hotels and explored the casinos, which let me tell you is not easy in 106 degree weather. I'm from Miami but nothing prepared for the desert that is Las Vegas, we couldn't be outside for more than ten minutes before we ducked into the next air-conditioned facility. Whilst at the Mirage we stopped by the Secret Garden to see all the animals and feed my sisters obsession of lions, not before spotting Siegfried from Siegfried + Roy and snapping some pics! After the Mirage my uncle asked me if I would go on the Stratosphere ride Insanity, what he thought of as one of the scariest rides, and I, of course, agreed. We walked, yes walked, almost 3 miles, with my uncle saying it was just around the corner every 5 minutes. Clearly it had been a while since his last visit to Las Vegas or he lost all sense of measurement because 3 miles in Doc Martens is not ok. We finally made it and chickened out/opted to ride the New York New York roller-coaster instead. Yes we walked all the way to the Stratosphere for no reason :) (No worries, we got a cab ride back.) After we finished with the roller coaster we set back to LA and had a long sleep back at our hotel.

1/2 Siegfried + Roy & Us
 Sunday was our departure day and even though I had a blast I missed Miami and my dogs at home. We woke up packed and left for the airport with our sore legs and suitcases in tow. Me and J arrived in Phoenix at 7pm to prepare for our three hour layover. J and I picked up some vegan goodies for our ride back home and finally at 5:41am we arrived at our airport. With our trip coming to a close, I can't help but think this was good practice for what will be a long year of traveling around the world after me and my sister graduate from university.
Vegan snacks for my ride back to MIA
Quick Video Summary of everything that went down on our trip!


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