Adventure Day

Day 7; Las Vegas; 9th July

Its safe to say we were not up early today.
Slightly rough, we woke up late morning (still in my fabulous outfit I might add, just couldn't bare to take it off!) and tried to piece together what the hell happened the night before. 

We had a full free day to play in Vegas & a very large bucket list to do so no messing around, up, dressed and dragged Colin out with us to experience...

Since me & Em had eaten breakfast at 4am we felt eating more would be cheating so we all went straight for the alcohol at the first slush bar we found. 
Hair of the dog an all that. 
It was actually really refreshing!
We strolled round in awe of all the crazy hotels on the strip sipping on our slushes.

Colin wanted to introduce us to some actual gambling, not this slot machine crap we'd done the night before. 
Strolled into Tropicana Hotel and sat down at an empty blackjack table.
No idea how to play Blackjack FYI
The nerves set in, what if I lose all my money, or get addicted and end up gambling my house away
Luckily that didn't happen, Colin kept us grounded and helped us play.
Em didn't last long and lost her money within a couple of rounds
I however persevered on and actually won!
$50 please m'aam 

Chuffed with my winnings we left and carried on along the strip
I can't actually remember the order of what happened so I may be lying

Im going to say we went into Excalibur next and got some crap Chinese buffet before heading through Luxor & ending in Mandalay Bay. 
Now every hotel and casino we walked into Emily would say the exact same thing
"This is my favourite casino" 
"Oh wait no this is my favourite casino"
"THIS is my favourite casino"
Make your mind up love, which is it to be??

We had reached the end of the strip so now was the challenge to make it the whole way down to the Stratosphere on the other side.

We had mentioned to Colin on our walk that we wanted to go on all the roller coasters, only to learn that he wasn't a fan of rides. 
A bit of peer-pressure later we had him strapped into the Big Apple Coaster in the New York New York hotel.
That's what friends are for :) 
$14 for the ride and it was actually awesome!
Me & Emily laughed and screamed like little girls the whole way round. 
There are so many unexpected twists and turns and loops! 


                                       Colin survived & actually enjoyed it (we think)
So we continued down the strip.
Monte Carlo (probably another favourite casinos of Emily) & then into the Bellagio
The flower displays were amazing!
Had a really cool underwater theme 
Got a great view of the Paris Paris hotel & the Venetian across the road.

Played some slots which stole all my money so it was onto Ceasars where we saw Alan from Hangover chilling outside with a baby & tiger
as ya do.
Inside we found Fat Tuesdays (slush bar) which was on our bucket list so we bought our 2nd alcoholic slush of the day.
I went for a yard cup of Bellini which was great! It was my mission to keep the cup & im pleased to say I lugged it round America with me and it made it back home in one piece.
F knows?
I collect some strange shit on my travels ok.

 Next stop we passed the Mirage, kinda gutted I didn't get to see the Volcano show;
next time ;) who's with me??

We walked and walked and walked and time was ticking on.
We had no idea what everyone else was doing or if there was a POA for that evening
We were just so close (not really) to the Stratosphere so we made a team decision to just carry on! 
10km+ of walking the strip we made it to our final destination.

The Stratosphere Hotel
Tallest building West of the Mississippi;
an acrophobias dream destination

That being said I was not going to let my fear of heights ruin our adventure day!
The Stratosphere has 3 rides in the hotel
Oh wait, did I say in?
I meant ON
Yes, on the top of the hotel.

They were X-Scream, Insanity & Big Shot
Me & Em wanted to do all 3 but Colin opted for 2; whichever we thought would be the 'nicest' ones
Now looking at the rides we concluded that X-Scream looked the worst so Colin shouldn't do that.

This was X-Scream
It was horrible! 
Thought we were goners!
Colin kindly filmed the whole thing.

Thinking the worst was over with we went onto Insanity
Dangling & spinning off the side of the hotel was horrendous!
I felt so ill and made us so trippy.
Who comes up with these ideas?

Finally was Big Shot,
A one way ticket to space & death if the breaks didn't work
THIS, was the worst!
You had no idea when it was going to shoot off and when it did we basically all soiled ourselves.
The picture says it all. 


All the emotion & fear
Apart from Colin, he has so much fear he looks fine
We laughed for a good 20 minutes looking at the picture before deciding we all obviously all needed a big copy! Sold

By time we'd finished it was dark & the whole strip had lit up which was awesome!
The views from the hotel were amazing.

                                        Back down onto safe land we found ourselves in
"The world's biggest gift shop"
But still, a gift shop means souvs so we stocked up on all the goods
Which reminds me ...
Whatever happened to that delightful pink tshirt you got Colin?
What did it say again?
Ohhhh yes I rememeber "Kitty needs a spanking"




It was now 9:30pm so we'd been walking the strip for over 9 hours so we decided it would be a good time to head back to Super 8 & freshen up ready for a night out in Fremont St & to see if anyone else was around. 
Joe had surfaced, just. So we made him come with us too!
A quick change of clothes and we were ready to head to Fremont St so we could tick off the last 2 things on our Vegas bucket list:
Picture with 1 Million dollars in Binions
& Zipline down Fremont St

A taxi ride later we were there, think we'd worn Colin out on adventure day, he fell asleep in the taxi!
We headed straight for Binions
What a surprise; the million dollars photo op closed at 10pm
So that one was buggered!
Me, Em & Colin went to buy our zipline tickets whilst Joe went to gamble some more dollar! 

Zipling was with SlotZilla & you could either zipline lying down the whole strip ($40) or sat down half the strip ($20).
We just went for the sitting down option, so went to get in our gear.
I stupidly wore a dress that night so when I was in the harness it pulled my dress up and all you could see were my knickers. Oops
Good job I wasn't going to be sat down flying over people seeing up my dress
Oh wait :/
Oh well, it was all good fun!

ANOTHER big slush and we were walking round the old strip and exploring in the casinos but tbh they were all a bit quiet and shit. 
Realising it was 11 and we'd not actually eaten since the shit chinese we went for dinner;
Dennys again
F sake 
Ordered the bacomslamburger ... zero bacon in my burg though
Sort it out Den

Team decision and we got a taxi back to thr strip & to MGM Grande to do some more gambling.

Joe, joe, joe, joe
You should have listened to us mate.
Your new friends who had your best interest at heart
We would have made you alot richer

Basically as we're walking through the casino we notice a roulette table that had all reds on the board. Suuuuurely the next will be a black.
Now im pretty sure Joe asked his dear friends if he should put $400 on black
"YES, do it! We'll support you, you can do this. Go team."
All the encouragement to make this move ;)
If he says otherwise it's all lies
Did he do it?
Was the next number black
Joe knows the answer to that & I doubt he'll ever forget
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Screw The Heat We're Going To Vegas

Day 6; Las Vegas; 8th July

The Mirage
Life or death group decision this morning; literally
Like do we want to die in the heat & go to Death Valley

I was actually really looking forward to Death Valley but tbf the heat probably would have killed us and Griffin
So Vegas it was!! 
Best decision of the day!

Kayla & Adrian had some great activities planned for us in Vegas!
We drove off on route for Vegas and saw some pretty cool dust devils in the sand on the way. 
Our POA was to find a thrift shop and buy the most amazing and ridiculous outfit for our big night out. 
Goodwill was our stop. 
Basically running off the bus into the shop the challenge had begun.
A bunch of the girls ran to the wedding dress section and started grabbing the most bizarre and 'special' pieces of clothing we could find! 
I had my heart set on a wedding dress, but it wasn't mean to be :(
I tried this chic number on but the zip wouldn't close, clearly too many Chips Ahoy already! 

Wedding dress chic                                  
I was back on the floor searching for other items; stumbled across a fabulous colourful shoulder-pad                          shirt and a few aisles down found a hideous florescent yellow skirt to match. 
Now the hunt was on for a hat; I struck gold. 
It was big, and red and everything I was looking for. 

As I headed towards the tills to commit to my outfit I noticed some colourful neck garlands which I obviously needed to complete my outfit.
$18 for the lot. Bargain

It was so funny to see everyone running round in a panic trying to find outfits and some of the things people bought were amazing!!! 
Matt was so keen he put his outfit on before getting on the bus, those shoes were something else!


                                     It wouldn't be a night out without a stock-up on booze!
Everyone picked their poison and went in to buy litres and litres of spirits, mixers and a cheeky bottle of Kinky ;)

As we drove along the famous Las Vegas strip we had Elvis blasting to get us properly in the mood!

"Vivaaaaa Las Vegas"

We headed off to our hotel; Super 8 which was just a block off the strip and dumped our stuff. 
A double bed each; living the dream! 
Adrian & Kayla had something special planned for dinner;
Im a big big big burger lover, & this was a great burger! 



          Back to the hotel & pre-drinks were chosen to be in Jolin's room. Let the games begin! 
Getting ready was so much fun, i've never felt or looked so fabulous! 
Emily bless her did a panic buy in Goodwill and picked up a pair of shorts without trying them on, back at the hotel it turns out they were a too-big pair of pyjama shorts! 
She'd committed to them so she had to wear them! 
Outfits on point, we were ready to drink. 

Thrift shop challenge complete - ready for the party bus!!

                          Bit by bit everyone arrived to the boys room dressed the the nines! 
There were some seriously special outfits going on. 
Drinks were flowing & a big drinking game was played
So many rules to remember it screwed people over pretty quickly; especially any late comers who had no idea what was happening ... Nicola!

The clock struck 9 and it was time for the long awaited Partaaaaay Bus
Clambering aboard with our life supply of booze the cray night began!
First off I need to describe the party bus
We betrayed Griffin that night and used another bus :O
She was wonderful! 
This bus came fully fitted with a strippers pole, comfy leather seats, coolers, speakers, the works.
Photo Credit: Maho Hayashi
Matt was the first on the pole and there were suspicions this wasn't his first time, he was a natural!
The more drinks that were consumed the more people embraced the pole. 
I basically burnt off all my inner thighs on my turn.
The bus wasn't stationary might I add; it was driving us all around Vegas so dancing, holding drinks whilst in a moving bus proved too hard for most.
People and drinks were falling all over the place! 
Photo Credit: Maho Hayashi                             

                            Our first hop-off stop was at Fremont St in downtown Las Vegas
We walked through the Golden Nugget Hotel and into the main strip to watch all the lights and see all the older casinos
Everyone was pretty smashed already by this point, and Colin was walking round drinking his own concoction called 'Regret' ... sounds promising.

 Back on the bus the party continued all the way to the Las Vegas sign.
Actually angry at myself I didn't get a decent picture with or of the sign. 
This was also when I lost my beloved hat to basically everyone else on the bus; everyone wanted a picture in it. Obviously saw how amazing I looked it in ;) 
Kanye West also made a guest appearance on the bus

Photo Credit: Sofia Eriksson

"Laaaaaaa, la la, wait till I get my money right"

The final drive down to the Bellagio was the craziest, everyone was downing all the drink we had left, everyone was on the seats, drinks everywhere.
No decorum left on the bus!
Goodbye to the bus & hello to the final Bellagio fountain show of the night.
It was so cool!!
We had a bit of MJ playing for our show and we got to see the main Vegas strip properly all lit up!

Photo Credit: Sofia Eriksson
Photo Credit: Colin Wiseman - Kayla you make my life in this!

Kayla had managed to get us entry into Beach Club at the Encore hotel so we split up into taxis to meet there. 
On arrival we were getting all the looks for our fabulous outfits! 
Jumped to the front of the queue and all the ladies were allowed in for free 
The guys however had to fork out $45 each!! Crazy

Made our way through the crowds as a group to secure a good dancing spot and started throwing all the shapes! One by one people disappeared and started to call it a night.
At one point we were in a queue for the toilet and me Em & Ellie became bezzies with an aspiring actress called Lindsey Cruz.
Later found myself on a massive beach bed outside with Em, Maho & Sofia until they decided to head home with some of the others.

              My good pal Lil Jon was playing at the club so me & Emily were keen to stay on.


All the classics.

Bumped into Linds (we're that close now) again and had another hug farewell. Miss you gurl.

Just after 2am me & Em realised we were dying of dehydration so decided to go for a stroll into The Wynn next door. Paid a hefty amout for some water and dove into some gambling on the slot machines. 
Won big time that night, a whole 20 cent here and there!

Blood pumping from our big wins we decided to take a wonder down the strip and see the lights. 
Basically walked half the strip! 
Made some new 'friends' outside The Venetian hotel who took a liking to Emily's Pj shorts and wanted to stay in touch

'"Nice shorts, can I get your number?"
"No sorry, I don't have US calls"
"What about your hotel number ;)"

:/ Probably not mate
Took a while to shake him & his friend off before continuing on with the strip
It was about 4am and we were hungry so we found ourselves a Dennys & ordered the greasiest and grossest meal going. 
Breakfast sorted


                                   Found our way to Caesars Palace to grab a taxi to the hotel.
We could have gone to the casino at the hotel, Joe was there until the early hours.
But we headed to bed knowing we had a jam-packed adventure day tomorrow!

I had previously unpacked my entire bag across the double bed so instead of making more mess I just slotted into the covers and slept on the very edge of the bed. I could have jumped in with Em but I doubt she would have appreciated that tbh.

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The Wedding Planners

Day5; Yosemite NP & Bishop; 7th July

Im not a morning person AT ALL, so these early wake ups were killing me. Every morning me & Em had a routine:
She'd wake up super early, start getting ready / go for a shower and wake me up around 7am
I'd snooze for a while (it eventually got later and later) and then get up when everyone else already had tents down and was tucking into breakfast. 
This is why I never got OJ 

I thought that a nice cool shower would wake me up;
not this shower. 
It was freezing and barely a trickle running out so I just stood half a meter away splashing the odd bit of water over me in an attempt to get clean. 

Our first stop of the day was at the Giant Sequoia park to see the biggest living organisms in the world!! Its amazing how thick and tall these bad boys can get ;) 
A short walk away there was a massive one that had fallen down and you can walk through a tunnel down the trunk. 
It was more like a crawl in the end
A few of us went down & I decided to film the whole thing, pointless - it was pitch black. 
I also promised I wouldn't put it anywhere because it had a shot of up Ellie's dress the entire time oops!
Photo credit: Kayla Rodiger

Photo Credit: Sofia Eriksson
We stopped for lunch at the gorgeous Lake Tenaya. I had put my bikini on under clothes because we were told there was a lake stop but I waited until Matt, Alan & Joe had run in to test the water before making the decision to stay put.
Their girly screams didn't sell it for me. 
               Braved up a bit after lunch and went in in my shorts, it wasn't actually that cold!

Lake Tenaya 
Back on Griffin and another supermarket sweep stop; bought myself a bat & ball set to play at campsites, only actually used it once because lost the ball lol. 

On our drive into Bishop we drove through a massive freak hailstorm and the whole group were thinking the same thing

"Shit, are we going to have to put up our tents in this???' :/ 

Luckily we avoided the hail, it passed as we continued onto our campsite and was glorious weather as we drove into 'Browns Town Campground'
Tents up me & Emily attempted a game of tennis, but basically had a rally of about 10 and kept hitting it into the roads or no where near each other:
"Oops, sorry"

Big salad for dinner tonight which was great followed by more beers and discovering that Kayla had the LOTR album on her phone; cheeky bit of Elrond's Council over dinner went down a treat ;) 
A lot of backstreet boys was played that night round the campfire, and more fun playing Heads Up.

We soon realised that Vegas was tomorrow!!
Excitement set in and we started trying to plan a wedding;
Joe would marry Colin = Jolin
& Matt would marry Alan = Malan 
I remember laughing more than i've ever laughed before and we took the wedding plans to the extreme planning hen & stag dos. 
Joe wasn't sure how his parents would react to his marriage so we hatched a plan and say he married a Coleen ;)
Matt & Alan had already started to form their amazing Bromance and we wanted to cement that relationship in a binding contract :) 
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The Great Bear Attack

Day 4; Yosemite National Park; 6th July

Sleeping in a tent is actually comfortable! 
Like srsly 

8am was our set off time, well, it was meant to be 8am most days but 8 meant 8:30 to us. 
So it was an early start, tucking into breakfast of bagels, yog, fruits and the OJ. 
You had to be up early to get OJ, I only had it a few times :( 
Sleep > OJ

We started our drive through the park towards Glacier Point. 
A few photo ops on the way showed how incredible this national park is; the views were unreal! 

Marcel, Jana, Me, Colin, Sofia, Alan, Joe, Sarah & Ellie                                  

                        We parked up and decided on a short hike before getting to Glacier Point. 
The hike was up to Sentinel Dome
I feel I'm going to use the word 'incredible' a lot when describing this park so I'm going to google some synonyms now to mix things up a bit. 
The view from the top was ... preposterous?? 
Um ok we'll go with that

Here we had our first view of the Half Dome; this has been my laptop screen saver for sooooo long and now I finally got to see it! It was unbelievable.
Loads of photos later we made our way back to the bus. 
However that did not go to plan. 
Sarah took a tumble and sprained her ankle really badly!! 
At least Sarah fell doing something exciting; hiking in Yosemite. 
No offence Colin but a curb isn't cool. 
A massive group effort then to help out and carry Sarah back to the bus. 
Felt so bad for her but hat off to her dealt with it like a boss.

Sentinel Dome
Photo Credit: Sarah Jackson
Up to Glacier point and here we spilt off into groups depending on what we wanted to see and do that day. I had sneakily put 'Walk the Panorama & Mist trail' on our bucket list without consulting Emily so we had to do that; so Joe, Colin & Sofia joined us for the challenge and the longest hike of our lives! 
We had to meet back at the bus on the valley floor at 5:30 which gave us 5 hours to complete the hike; 12 miles apparently. Those Yosemite miles are all lies though!

Me & Em & The Half Dome

Sofia & Joe inside what was left of a tree
Note that when we arrived in Yosemite we got a booklet full of maps and trails and info on the park. One particular section on Mountain Lions caught my eye. 

"If you see a lion, do not run or crouch down. Instead shout, wave and throw stones. Attacks are rare, but if you are attacked, fight back"

So we set off, awaiting to be attacked by lions and bears and plague-ridden squirrels. 
We actually wanted to see a bear, just not on the same path as us. 
Alas, no bear the whole trail. 
So we concocted the perfect bear attack story to tell the group when (or if) we got back / blame any incident on a bear:

Emily fell over ... because she was being chased by a bear ;) 
See, makes everything more exciting. 

Sofia was bitten on the back of her head .... by a bear ;) 

Pretty sure Emily fell again, chasing off the same bear ;) 

The rest of us tried to fight off the bears, clothes were torn, things got bloody and we all had our share of cuts and bruises. Lucky to have survived tbh. 

A couple hours later we reached Illouette falls so we stopped for lunch and a dip in the river. 
It was boiling on the trail but we were glad it was all downhill (so we were told)

Concocting our bear attack plan ;) 
Photo Credit: Sofia Eriksson



After crossing the bridge it was all uphill
It was so steep and hot.
Dehydrated and sweating like crazy we trekked on and on. Time kept slipping away and the worry if we'd actually get back in time started to sink in. 
But for now the main worry was our survival, there were no water pumps on route and supplies were drying up. We were hot and tired and tbh if a lion attacked me i'd have let it.
On we went and Sofia was starting to feel the effects of dehydration. Sharing what water we had left we helped her back to life! We hadn't quite got the stage of 'every man for himself'

Calves were on fire but we kept going and eventually the path started to even out and start going down.
We finally reached the top of Nevada Falls and the river looked amazing but we were running out of time to get down so had to give going for a dip a miss :(
Wasn't too fussed though, because if I'd have gone downstream & over the falls I quite possibly / most likely would have died. Good times.
Instead we stood near the cliff edge and admired the view; marvellous
Colin was cray and lay down taking pictures over the edge!

Em, Me, Colin, Sofia & Joe 

Nevada Falls
More steep paths down & drinking up the last of our water supplies we arrived at Vernal Falls at 4pm.
The water taunting us; we trekked on. 
The waterfalls were so impressive and beautiful; but literally zero chance of survival if you fell off!!

Our final decent and we still had loads to go. With no fresh water in sight we accepted death.
 Soon to be squirrel food.
About 15 minutes from the bottom we found a fountain of water! We were saved!!
But also very very late. 
Powerwalking to the public bus we got on and realised we had loads of stops before making to to the group bus. Bugger. 
30 minutes late we made it, and still in one piece. 
The bear made us late ;) 

We were ready to reenact our great bear attack when the rest of the group pipes up to inform us that they actually saw a bear; a real one! It didn't attack them so our story is still better I guess ;)
Sarah was now on crutches though after a visit to the doctors :( 
We can say she got attacked by a bear too though. 

At camp it was my team to cook dinner; beef tacos which were amazing if I do say so myself :) Messy but so good! 
No cleaning for us tonight so we settled in around the fire and took in the scenery, drank some beers, played some songs and just relaxed. 
Was actually so nice having a break from social media and wifi and just enjoying what was around us and the company we were in.

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