More about my Las Vegas trip

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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Down the Lane

Wednesday morning was the day we had planned to go into California. The most I had seen of that state was driving to Primm, California, from Las Vegas, Nevada years ago, just enough to say I had been there. I wanted to see more. After we had coffee and a light breakfast, we had Patsy, my sister-in-law, to drive us to the closest rental car business. We rented a car and headed toward California on Highway 15.
I was looking so forward to seeing California. In my mind I thought I would see what one sees in the movies about California. Boy, was I ever shocked and disappointed. I must say it was the ugliest drive I ever took for over 200 miles through the Mojave Desert. The most exciting thing we saw was sand and more sand. Finally we saw a sign for San Bernardino, so we took that exit, However, we ended up in Riverside, California, that made the day’s trip worthwhile.
We ended up being so glad we had gone into California, and Riverside was worth the drive. We were hungry, so we chose a restaurant that sat across from a very beautiful building. The meal was delicious! The name of the restaurant I cannot remember, however. It was a beautiful, warm and sunny day, so we dined outside.
While we were dining, we noticed a photographer taking all kinds of pictures of two young ladies. They had an old, convertible automobile that they took many pictures of them sitting on it or in front of the car. Other pictures were of them in front of the magnificent building. Later a gentleman emerged, and then it was plain to see it must be engagement pictures or wedding pictures because of how often they were kissing and being photographed.
While eating, I asked the question of what Riverside was famous for. I was told it was for the mission inn across the street. As soon as we had eaten, we decided to check it out. It happens to be one of the most historic hotels in California. Presidents and celebrities have stayed there. It boasts a Festival of Lights which is one of the best light shows in the USA.
What began as a 12-room, adobe building in the late 1800s and was used as a mission boarding house has now evolved into a very famous hotel and spa. It is of Spanish architecture and design. It is gorgeous. It has changed off and on throughout the years and with different owners. Each owner used it differently, such as for apartments and dorm rooms. It got into financial difficulties, but is now a thriving business. I am not sure how much COVID made an impact in their business, but I have a feeling it will be booming soon. There are six different restaurants inside the building.
Walking to it we walked through a beautiful archway with a bell Inside the building. It is the oldest Christian bell in the entire world. Walking outside the building makes one feel that you have witnessed something special but being inside and seeing the unbelievable, breathtakingly, beauty let’s you know you definitely have witnessed something special.
It is now a complete work of art and a place that once you see it, it will linger in your mind. There is so much history within that building but it would take a lot more time to write about. A definite place to see if in that area.
By the time my friend, M.K and I returned to Las Vegas we had driven 536 miles that day. We were tired but knew we had to get up early the next morning to get the rental car back.
Thursday was another wonderful day of our trip. This was the day I had requested that I had to see before I left Las Vegas. Today we were going to get to visit the Marshall C. Darnell Elementary School. This school was named after my brother-in-law, Marshall, who was Patsy Pace Darnell’s husband. He has passed on, but his memory has not.
The unique thing about this is Patsy grew up and went to school in Clark County, Kentucky, and her husband had a school named after him in Clark County, Nevada.
I can honestly say I have never been more impressed with any elementary school than I was with this school. As soon as Patsy went into the school, she was treated like Queen Elizabeth had just entered the building with the respect that was given to her.
The principal seemed to have such a sweet disposition, as did the head secretary. We were shown the building as much as possible without interrupting school classes. The students all looked so happy. I was glad to see that at lunchtime they were allowed to talk to one another and I was reminded of how noisy our lunchrooms were when I went to school. It was a time of freedom to enjoy being with one another. Now students are practically hushed. These students felt free to wave to us and many did so with sweet smiles.
The bulletin boards were all decorated by the teachers, and I was so impressed at the uniqueness yet teaching examples they had with each bulletin board. For example one bulletin board showed a highway and read Darnell is on the road to success. Roadsigns were all along the road. One read “Dream BIG!” Another showed a stop sign that said “Don’t STOP until you’re proud!” The yield sign read “SMILE!” One showed a screwdriver that read “MAKE IT WORK!” Another showed a turn right sign that read, “One day at a time!” One sign read “CAUTION! GOOD VIBES!” Another read, “BE AMAZING!” Then a pedestrian walking sign read, “KEEP MOVING FORWARD!”
Another bulletin board had socks like they were hanging on a clothesline. The headline read “TREAT YOUR MASKS LIKE YOUR SOCKS!” The signs read all about what you should do, “CHANGE it daily!” “Make sure it is clean!” “DO NOT BORROW OR LEND THEM!” “Make sure it fits snug, but not too tight!” I loved another bulletin board that read: “LEARN PEOPLE’S NAMES! It’s an easy way to make someone feel important to you, and make them want to remember your name!” “Think before you speak!” “Together is our favorite place to be!” “Say hello even if you do not know that person. It creates an interaction they will remember.”
I thought how much better our world would be with these same words of wisdom!
We were told that Darnell was at capacity because all the parents wanted their children to go there. There has been a boom in house building so they will be in the area of the school. I loved seeing a glassed-in area showing pictures of Marshall and honors throughout his career. The yearbook each year speaks so highly of him by dedicating a whole page about the wonderful person he was. They spoke of how they hope their students will be a shining example of all he stood for and wanted for each student. My memory of Marshall was much like theirs.
The rest of the day we drove down the strip once more, then to dinner with Patsy’s daughter and her friend. Our week was drawing to an end. Friday we packed, ate our lunch and arrived at McCarran Airport to leave for home. It had been a wonderful week we both agreed.
We arrived back to the Marriott near the airport around 12:30 a.m. We did not get to bed until around three in the morning, very tired, to say the least, and trying to adjust to Kentucky time once again.
We did ride back with the gambler who rode out with us on the return flight. We both agreed we had had a very good trip and were thankful we had arrived safely back in Kentucky.
As you can tell, I love to travel and see new things, and this trip did just that!
Thanks again to Patsy Darnell for hosting us.

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About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at

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