VIVA LAS VEGAS
As many of you know, BYU received an invitation to play in the Las Vegas for the third year in a row. Ashley and I were going to go, but tickets were kind of expensive. Well we had quite the good fortune, and Ashley won two tickets in a drawing at work. So we got her sister and brother to drive up from Arizona and go to the game. I hadn't been to Vegas since I was 17 and this would be Ashley and I's first trip together.
We left for Vegas Friday night after we got off work and started driving around 7:00 that night. The drive was suprisingly good for how hard it was snowing. We had snow for first two hours of our trip and so that slowed us down a little bit. Then we ran into the cold weather. When we got to Cedar City around 10:00 that night, it was 12 degrees at the gas station. And I thought that it was supposed to get warmer when we got further south.
We had reservations to stay at Treasure Island, right on the nothern end of the strip. It was a pretty posh hotel. The beds ended up being really comfortable, it was really easy to get back to our hotel because it was right off one of the freeway exits. That first night, we just checked in and went to bed. The next morning we got up and went to the Rio buffet. We made it in time for the champagne brunch, which included the best of breakfast, and the best of lunch. It was the largest buffet that I have ever seen. I started to walk through and saw so many things that I almost became overwhelmed with the amount of food that was there.
After the buffet we drove over to the Tropicana to see the bodies exhibit. For those of you who don't know what this is, it's pretty cool. They are actual dead people, and they dissect and preserve their bodies so that they can show different things about the body. It was really cool. You hear about the effects of a stroke, or of smoking cigarettes, but you never really get to see it. Well in the exhibit, you get to see these effects in a real body. You also get to see highlights of the different parts of the body. One of the coolest things in my opinion was to see all the veins and arteries that you have in your body. They inject a solution into the veins and then chemically dissolve everything except for that solution. They did the same thing for the artieries. So all you see is veins and arteries in the shape of a body. It was fun to see exactly how everything goes inside your body. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures, so we don't have anything to show for this.
While we were in Vegas Ashley had quite the hard time obeying all traffic laws. Normally she is a really good driver, but for some reason she couldn’t stay on her side of the road. I know, I know it sounds crazy but it wasn’t that bad. She just kept turning onto one way roads, of course she would be going the wrong direction. She seemed to forget to look for the “Do Not Enter signs.” One time she even made like 3 turns just to get back on track…That crazy girl…. I love her anyway!
Now, we get to the real fun stuff. We left for the game and got there just in time to see the kickoff. The game was not a high scoring game. BYU looked pretty good in the first half, but then at the very end, Harvey Unga fumbled on the 7 yard line and gave UCLA the ball and the chance to pull within 4 points at halftime. UCLA came out much stronger in the second half and after two 50 yard field goals by their kicker the game was almost tied at 17-16 for BYU. The game took an improbable turn when UCLA got the ball back with just over a minute left, and then converted a huge third down for thirty yards putting them on the ten yard line. With the clock winding down, and UCLA well within the the range of their kicker, it seemed like all hope was lost.
My mind instantly went back to the some of the most amazing moments in BYU history. In the last couple of years, we have John Beck connect on a last second pass to Johnny Harline to beat Utah. We saw Max Hall convert the improbable 4 and 18 when he went down field to Austin Collie. But blocking a 22 yard field goal attempt by a kicker who had been perfect so far that day, just seemed impossible. Well, with BYU, I think that now, you have to expect the impossible. After a timeout to add to the suspense, both teams lined up for the last play. As the ball snapped, the lines crashed together, the ball was kicked, and out of the crowd rose one higher than the rest. Eathyn Manumaleuna got just high enough to get one finger on the ball, and it fell just short. BYU had come out victorious against all odds.
When the game was over, we rushed down onto the field. Ashley got close enough to tough the Las Vegas Bowl trophy, and we were able hang out down on the field and get some nice pictures. The game was freezing, and almost turned into a tragedy, but BYU pulled off the miracle and made for yet another exciting finish.
The next day, Ashley and I went shopping on the strip. Ashley got me a new camera for Christmas so we were able to take lots of cool pictures to post on here. While walking around down there, one thing that we both noticed is that there was a complete lack of Christmas in Vegas. The Bellagio had their garden area dedicated to Christmas, and it even smelled like Christmas. Other than that though, Christmas was not present in Vegas. There wasn't even really any Christmas trees down there. It was definitely nice to get back in the car and have some good christmas music. Since I hadn't been down on the strip for quite a while, I enjoyed just being down there and seeing all that has changed on the strip. It seems like you could go down there every year, and there would still be a new casino.