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.
I woke up later than Larry and Jon on Wednesday morning. They had headed to Caesars Palace and met up with Corey and Nathan as I slept in. Once I finally did get up I called Larry’s phone to see where they were and made plans to meet up. After getting up, taking my shower and getting ready I headed out by myself. Caesars wasn’t a terribly long walk so I took the tram to Excalibur and headed thru New York, New York, toying with the idea of riding The Roller Coaster, then opting out of it. I stopped at CVS for a bottle of water and then headed to Caesars Palace.
Once inside it took a while to find the guys. I did get a decent glimpse of the Forum Shops, though, which were very nice. Once we met up we headed down the strip, once again stopping at Bellagio’s shops and then to Planet Hollywood to eat. The Spice Market Buffet was voted the best buffet in Las Vegas for 2007 and had got nothing but rave reviews so I was excited to try it out. It lived up to the hype for sure. The food was great. There was plenty of sea food, plenty of Middle Eastern & Mediterranean inspired foods, Asian food, and more. We sat at our table after we finished eating and talked for quite some time and talked.
After we left we walked thru the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. This was quite large with modern shops and plenty to do. We did some window shopping, hit up a few stores, and eventually made our way to Sharper Image, where a few of us tried out some of the massage chairs. Once I was finished, Jon and I decided to head down the mall, he was going to a shoe store and I needed a bathroom break. I was supposed to meet Jon at the shoe store but I couldn’t find it, so I sat for a while in the mall hoping someone would walk by as my phone had died at that point, Jon didn’t have his, and I don’t know Larry’s number by memory.
Larry had mentioned that Nathan & Corey were going to spend Tuesday at Red Rock Canyon. So on Tuesday morning we met up with them to hike in the Canyon for the day. At first I opted out, but then decided to go ahead and go. My feet hurt and I didn’t feel like more walking, but I ended up going with the others. It took a while, but the boys finally arrived to pick us up, stopping at Carl’s Jr. for something to eat as I was starving.
Getting to Red Rock was an adventure, but once we arrived it was worth having decided to go. We spent a few hours hiking up the rocks and in the canyon, taking pictures, and even spending time relaxing on the rocks. I never did anything too hard, but I did some really basic rock climbing up a few small rock faces. Larry, Corey, and Nathan were a bit more adventurous. Corey had brought rock climbing gear, but left it at the room. We did watch other groups climb up some of the cliffs, though. We found some really interesting parts of the canyon to explore and take pictures of. The day was cool but not cold. The sun, however, was severely bright.
At one point we all climbed up to a point on the rocks and sat and watched over the canyon. Larry took some video, and we all just lay around and did some people watching. Even though we spent quite a few hours at Red Rock Canyon, and I really enjoyed going, there isn’t much to type about other than we walked, sat, climbed, walked, sat, climbed, and then we road the entire loop around to get out of the National Park. Once we were finished I told Corey that I was thirsty, and the guys that didn’t eat in the morning were getting hungry.
On Saturday December 1, my parents drove me to Charleston WV to meet Larry & Stephanie, and from there we left and drove to Elkins. One of Steph’s friends was along for the ride as well. Jon drove his new car to meet up with us in Elkins. From there we drove to Charles Town, where Jon’s brother lived. We watched WVU get soundly beaten in football as we stayed there for the nite, although I don’t think any of us got much sleep. As we were leaving the next morning, I made sure to grab my wallet, and I saw an extra key on the table by the couch that looked like the extra key I keep in my wallet, so I put it back in the side pocket where it belonged. I did, however, manage to leave my tooth brush RW’s house.
We drove to Dulles, checked our bags, and ate breakfast all before the sun rose. I’m not a morning person, but we booked a flight at 8:15 AM EST so that we could have a full first day in Las Vegas. At approximately 8 AM we were boarding the plane. This was our first time flying Southwest, and thankfully we got in the ‘A’ boarding group. The flight seemed longer than it should have at over 5 ½ hours. But we were on a plane going to Las Vegas, and everyone was in a party mood. Just before 11 AM WCT we landed at McCarran. Having watched Ratrace numerous times on DVD, I knew that this airport had slot machines. And that was what you were greeted with as soon as you stepped off the plane and into the terminal.
McCarran had a very Vegas feel to it, with shiny surfaces, slots, and neon lights. I was surprised at how quickly we got our baggage and how close the taxi line was to the baggage claim, which was good because I WAY over packed for this trip. But in line for the Taxi this annoying older guy kept trying to cut me off from my group by getting in between me and the other 2 . Finally I outsmarted him and ended up in between Larry & Jon. So we got our cab and were off to our hotel. It was a sunny day, but colder than it looked outside.