Personal-Everyday ChaosTravel

Red Rock, Grand Canyon, Neon Boneyard + Nelson Ghost Town | surprise trip to vegas

By November 7, 2017 No Comments

Things to do with your family in Vegas

I had less than 20 hours to pack for the trip….as a matter of fact, hours before, I had no idea I was even going to be ON a trip. Turns out, the hubby (now that I can say that) surprised me…like REALLY surprised me with a trip to Vegas so that we could finally after all of these years (16 to be exact) get married. We had always talked about it but when you’re a wedding photographer and you go to a wedding almost every weekend, yours tends to get pushed to the back burner. Add in two kids, two businesses and just life in general, life passes by and before you know it, 16 years pass by and you still have a “baby daddy”. haha!

Now we’re official! I’ll be blogging all about the actual “wedding” in a few days, I’m waiting on the images from the photographer we hired, but for now, here are some “behind the scenes” kind of images from our trip. Mallory came along because I thought it wouldn’t be the same if she wasn’t there for when we “tied the knot”, so she got out of school for several days to go along. We made sure she got some “education” out of it and she got to do a lot of things that I never got to do at her age.

We visited Red Rock Canyon in the Mohave Desert. We flew in a helicopter over Mead Lake, the Hoover Dam and we landed in the Grand Canyon. She experienced Freemont Street (and ziplined), the Neon Boneyard and I took her portraits at the Nelson Ghost Town in the middle of the desert. We did so much stuff while we were away that we only managed to have a short trip to one of the casinos out there! I have never been much of a gambler myself, but one of my friends is so she gave us lots of tips about what to expect. She even recommended that we practice our gambling skills using an online casino like BET2YOU first. Casinos can be a lot of fun, but it is so important to keep your cool and know when to give in. Of course, that will come with confidence. You’re probably not going to be able to keep your cool if it’s your first time in a Las Vegas casino, so it’s probably worth learning the game first before you waste your money. By visiting that site above, or another online casino website that’s recommended on, people should be able to understand the game, ensuring that they will be prepared for their first visit into one of the famous Vegas casinos. Most people go to Vegas for the casinos, so make sure you’re ready for the competition. Anyway, if you followed me on Instagram, you saw our little adventures along the way.

Red Rock Canyon, Mohave Desert

First stop (pretty much after we got off the plane), we hit up Red Rock Canyon located in the Mohave desert, roughly 20-25 minutes from down town Las Vegas.

red rock family photosred rock family photosred rock family photosred rock family photosOne of the nice things with having her there-we had someone to snap a photo of the two of us! Photographer in training!

red rock family photosFamily shadow people.

red rock family photosA kind stranger took this shot for us. I won’t lie, I kind of had a little anxiety handing over my camera to someone I didn’t know in the middle of the desert. YOLO right?! haha

red rock family photosShe loved the canyon and climbing on all the rocks. You can see her in the distance in the image above. She was quite adventurous.

red rock family photosred rock family photosred rock family photosRed Rock is amazing. Every time we visited, I wished we had more time….and a few models to photograph! haha

red rock family photosred rock family photosRed Rock at dusk. The image doesn’t do it justice.

red rock family photos

Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead + Hoover Dam

The next day, we took a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon—-WHAT WHAT!

maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyon

maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonNot only did we get to land inside of the Grand Canyon, we also flew over Lake Mead and the Hoover Damn. Seeing them from the sky was incredible. Something else easy on the eyes was our pilot! HAHAHA

maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonThe Hoover Damn-I’ve visited on foot and from the air. I will always been in awe of it….this time we didn’t get to take any “dam tours”. hahahamaverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonLake Mead-one of the largest manmade lakes in the Western Hemisphere maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonAnd then….we approached the canyon. It’s a feeling I will never forget. Coming up over the ridge and then BOOM the views were spectacular.

maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonmaverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonComing in for a landing. The helicopter was mostly glass so it made taking in the views so easy.

maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonmaverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonMallory and a bunch of rocks.

maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyonDid I mention, they served us champagne ?! I love that you can see our ride in the back of the above image.

maverick helicopter ride into the grand canyon

Nelson Ghost Town

One of my favorite things was visiting the Nelson Ghost Town which was about an hour outside of Vegas. We had gone there with the purpose of being photographed for our “wedding photos” by a real photographer and not one of the cheesy ones they had at the chapels on the strip. Trust me….they were cheesy. I wanted good quality photos, so we hired a local couple who met us in the desert. I had some taken in my “wedding attire” and the rest taken in this simple black dress. I can not wait to get them back.

nelson ghost town nevadaMallory snapped these images for us! I’m telling you, she’s a photographer in the making!

nelson ghost town nevadaThis place was amazing and was basically any photographers dream location. This place was built around an actual, real, gold mine. No houses to be seen for miles and the buildings and items (including old cars) on the property are real relics.

nelson ghost town nevadaOf course I snagged a few of Mallory before we left…or I should say, before we lost light. It was almost dark at this point. Although it doesn’t look like it in these shots because of some camera tricks….it’s almost dark and they were shutting up the place for the night. nelson ghost town nevadanelson ghost town nevadaI love these images but they also make me sad…she’s growing up so fast.

nelson ghost town nevada

Neon Boneyard

One of the last places we got to visit before returning our rental car and heading to the airport was the Neon Boneyard. I have been wanting to come here since the first trip to vegas 6 or 7 years ago. My dream was to photograph here, but I never got the chance. To bring a model, wedding couple, engagement session , etc. it’s $300 for about 30 minutes of shooting. I’m obsessed with colors and textures and this is just a dream.

The Neon Museum maintains restored signs along the Fremont Street Experience as well as the signs in the Boneyard collection and to see them all in one spot is soooooo pretty!

neon bone yard las vegas nevadaneon bone yard las vegas nevadaAll the colors with the blue sky…..

neon bone yard las vegas nevadaneon bone yard las vegas nevadaneon bone yard las vegas nevadaneon bone yard las vegas nevadaneon bone yard las vegas nevadaBecause we’re the cheesy tourists that have to have their photos taken by the “Wedding Information” sign. haha! neon bone yard las vegas nevadaneon bone yard las vegas nevadaneon bone yard las vegas nevada

These last few images are just random shots taken around the Vegas Strip and Freemont Street. Although I don’t have any images of it, Mallory got to zip line right thru Freemont Street.

teens in las vegas

Freemont Street Experience + Las Vegas Strip

The “secret pizza” hallway. There is a place (a secret place) that is not advertised and there is no sign above the door…the only way you will find it is if someone has told you about it. It’s down this long hallway and the pizza is amazing! I asked them what the name of the restaurant was….and he told me “it doesn’t have a name, you can call it whatever you want!”.

Freemont street married in las vegasFreemont street married in las vegasDid you spot Mallory?! The street art throughout the streets is pretty amazing.

Freemont street married in las vegasBecause….Pizza! haha!

Freemont street married in las vegasteens in las vegasteens in las vegas

There ya have it folks. We did all of that AND got married in 2.5 days. I’ll share more of that in another blog post. I’m married ya’all!

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