Stratosphere Tower | Fremont Street | Photos |Videos
December 5-6, 2007
Las Vegas NV
Waking up Thursday was rough. We slept in quite a bit. But once we were all up and ready, the three of us headed down the strip with no particular plan as of yet until I suggested Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, so that’s where we went. Little did we know how far we’d need to walk. And the weather was back to being cool, and none of us brought a jacket. Hard Rock was off the strip. It was very nice & modern, with a very rock atmosphere and memorabilia everywhere.
We headed to the casino’s diner, Mr. Lucky’s 24/7, where Jon and I ordered our first cheap steak of the trip, the Gambler’s Special for $7.77. Larry had BBQ chicken pizza, but I’m just not much on BBQ and pizza together. We watched some of the Rodeo that was going on elsewhere in the city on TV. Today many British guys had started to arrive, along with more cowboys, as the undefeated British heavy weight champ was going up against the undefeated U.S. champ the MGM Grand the nite after we were leaving. That, along with the movie premier of ‘Jumper’ at Luxor the evening we were leaving meant we were hitting Vegas in the middle of a lot of big events.
We walked back to the strip, which was quite a long journey, and headed thru the Miracle Mile Shops again before walking into Paris. Actually, we were planning to take the bus to Circus Circus as Larry wanted to go to the Adventuredome, but the bus was taking FOR EVER so we decided to spend time at Paris at the shops. We also took a few minutes to make sure we checked in for our flights so we could get in the ‘A’ boarding group. While we were back outside waiting for the bus which, again, was taking FOR EVER, Larry’s wife called. He said he was going to take this call and walk back towards the hotel and that he’d catch a bus and meet up with us later. When we finally did get a bus to stop that we could board that wasn’t full, we took to the Stratosphere, which took FOR EVER because it was so crowded and the busses on this side of the strip were running so far behind.
We arrived at Circus Circus and were heading to the Adventuredome when Jon asked ‘Why did we come here?’, so I was all ‘Well, Larry wanted to come here, so we never made plans once Larry left’. That was when we made different plans, and walked down to Sahara. I asked Jon if he wanted to ride Speed, and he sure, so I got our tickets and we took a ride, sitting in the front row in a train by ourselves. We took pictures outside of the Sahara and then I asked Jon if he wanted to go to the top of the Strat since this was our last nite and we’d yet to go. He said sure, so we headed across the street.
Once we arrived we walked thru the Strat’s shops and made a few mental notations of places we’d like to hit up on the way back. Unlike a lot of the rest of the major casinos, the Strat has a much more ‘economic’ shopping promenade. The last time I was here, it took almost 40 minutes just to get thru the security line to get to the elevators. This time it took less than 5 minutes to get to the elevators and we didn’t wait very long to get to the top. We took pictures and looked at the strip from about 800 feet in the air. We watched Insanity, the only ride I’d not ridden at the Strat, from the windows below and then watched some drunken Brits scare each other near the windows. I told Jon that the views outside were even better so we went to the outside observation deck where we watched XScream cycle. Jon opted out of any rides due to his fear of heights. We saw at least 3 wedding parties at the top of the Stratosphere. Oh, and found out later on that the guy from CSI Miami was there, but I missed seeing him as I was hanging out elsewhere…
I wanted to ride Insanity, but I was really afraid. I’m also afraid of heights, and even though I like Big Shot, XScream scared the beejezus out of me. I just knew Insanity would be terrifying. I wanted to ride, but had talked myself out of it, until I finally said to myself I wasn’t leaving until I rode, so I got my ticket, gave Jon all of my personal belongings, and headed up to Insanity. The wait was excruciatingly long. I was in line with a bunch of Asian kids and I don’t think they spoke any English, so I ended up sitting by myself, afraid of every slight jerk before the ride started.
Insanity-The worst part about Insanity is the wait for the arm to rotate out over the edge. I’d pulled the lap bar so tight that I couldn’t move. The arm started moving and slowly but surely we made our way out over the edge. Then it started to spin. I had been very nervous, but once we started spinning, everything was much better. I actually liked this ride, a lot. It seemed to give a really long cycle from the ground, which was one of the big turn offs for me since spinning tends to make me sick, but it spun at the right speed and once I was on the cycle didn’t seem so long.
After I rode Insanity I met back up with Jon and we headed back down the tower to the shops. Between 2 different gift shops I scored 4 97¢ shot glasses, a roll of authentic poker chips and a couple of extras I paid separately for, and Jon scored a hat and some cards and a poker chip. I was happy with all of this because what they offered at the more expensive shops in the other hotels just wasn’t what I was looking for to get as gifts, so I was glad we came here. It was still early so we headed outside to catch the bus, which was still taking FOR EVER for some odd reason. Eventually one did show up and we made our way to Fremont Street.
Not long after we arrived at Fremont Street a show started on the canopy. This one was aviation themed and Jon and I both enjoyed it, especially the space shuttle launch at the end. Once that was done we went to Mermaids where I got some deep fried Oreos and then we headed down Fremont Street watching the street performers and bands before settling on one of the Casinos for $11.95 Steak and Lobster for dinner.
Once we finished and went back outside another show started on the Canopy. This one didn’t have a real ‘theme’ but was similar to the one I’d seen in 2005. I love the Fremont Street Experience. Afterwards we headed to the bus again and made our way back to the Hotel. Jon and I had tickets for an early show at the Tropicana, one of the big, glamorous showgirl shows with sequins and big headdresses and such. So we changed our clothes and headed over. The show was really cool, but the lead singer wasn’t very good. It was about an hour or just over, but about half way through, I felt as if I was getting indigestion.
Once the show was over I told Jon I wanted to head to the room and take something for the slight pain in my side, but as he was in the restroom the pain hit. Kidney Stone attack #2 on Vacation for 2007. Jon came out as I was in a fetal position on the floor of the casino. I was in a lot of pain, but at least this time I knew what it was. Thankfully Tropicana wasn’t far from Luxor. Once we made it back I was, unfortunately, done for the nite. I had two foresight on this trip to bring the leftover hydrocodone from my last attack, so I took one along with 2 Excedrin and ran myself a nice hot bath. I actually fell asleep in the bathtub, and although I wouldn’t have minded if Jon and Larry had went back out as we’d planned to, they ended up falling asleep. Eventually I woke up, dried off and got in bed.
Friday we woke up fairly early. We checked out and found that our bill had $109 extra dollars added on. Jon called down and found out that the little lady that upgraded us also upgraded our price. Thankfully they took it off the bill. We got all of the luggage together and took it down to the luggage check room as we went to find the Luxor’s buffet for brunch. I did like the way it was themed. It use to be called Pharaoh’s Feast, but now it was simply called More.
Once we finished eating we headed to pick up our luggage and get a taxi. I think we all assumed the worst checking in, but in reality we were in and thru security and at our gate within 15 minutes. Since our flight wasn’t until 3:25, but got delayed so we decided to sit by the gate and catch up on emails and burning picture disks of the photos on Larry’s laptop. Then our flight got delayed some more. And then some more. I think we eventually took off around 5 PM WCT. By that point it was getting dark. I dosed off a few times on the flight home and we tried watching Batman Begins but the DVD was messed up.
We arrived back at Dulles just after midnight EST on Saturday December 8. I was thankful that we found a luggage cart for me to put all of my stuff on because we had a hike to Jon’s car. Unfortunately, though, once we arrived at Jon’s car, he couldn’t find his keys. He’d made sure to check for them when the luggage was being checked in Vegas, but when the baggage people took his shoulder strap off and put it in his bag, they dropped his keys out. Now we didn’t have a way to get into the car. Jon was angry and frustrated and annoyed, so he called his brother telling him he hated to wake him up, but that he’d left a spare key on the table in his brother’s house. I perked up at this and interrupted a rather annoyed Jon and asked him if his key looked like this upon pulling the spare out of my wallet. The same spare key that I picked up at his brothers house assuming mine had fallen out of my wallet the morning that we left.
Well, that key didn’t work, so I said to hold on a second and looked in the other side of my wallet, and lo and behold, another key was there. That was the best mistake I’d ever made in my life, picking up Jon’s spare key by mistake. We packed our stuff up and headed back to Jon’s house arriving around 3 AM. I slept most of the way in Jon’s car and then cozied up to the recliner in his parent’s living room. The next day after getting less than good directions we finally met up with my parents and then eventually they dropped Larry off with his wife before we headed home. I was exhausted, but at least I wasn’t in any pain any more.