The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Unexpected Trip To Vegas

         A trip to Las Vegas had not been in my travel plans last week, in fact I thought I was done with traveling for the summer.  However, one of my daughters was visiting us for the week and was going to meet up with her future sister-in-law who was visiting Vegas with some of her friends.  Originally she was going to drive by herself, but my wife wanted us to drive her there and have a mini get-away at the same time.  That was okay by me.
Welcome Sign as you enter the Las Vegas Strip
(photo credit)

         If you've been to Vegas I don't have to tell you how cool it is.  Well, not cool in temperature--we sizzled in temps of 108 degrees Fahrenheit and with scorching wind that took our breaths away--but cool in sheer dazzling spectacle.  Let me put it this way:  It's like an adult Disneyland with booze, gambling, top-notch entertainment, and buffets big enough to feed all the starving people of the world.   Las Vegas is maybe not for everybody, but it is a place that will leave you goggle-eyed when you first encounter it.   It's sun, sin, and spectacle all in one big city, and you can have a pretty good time and stay within a reasonable budget if you avoid the sin.

         I've been there enough times now where it's not such a big deal anymore, but I still enjoy popping in now and then.  And even while I was still at home making my travel arrangements, I realized that this trip was going to be somewhat different than my previous visits.  First of all, I realized that there were some pretty big conventions in town and that fact, combined with the summer tourist season, meant hotels were going to be booked up and the value prices I am usually accustomed to getting were not going to be available.

          This was a correct assessment.  Harrah's, the hotel where we usually stay, only had rooms that were $200 per night or more--not for me.  Likewise, up and down the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip--the most happening part of town to be--hotels were totally booked or at prices I was not willing to pay.  Other nearby hotels of a dubious nature were available at cheaper rates, but my finicky nature doesn't like to take chances on places where I'm going to be taking my suitcases into and sleeping for the night.

         I finally decided to book our room at the Springhill Suites in Henderson, which is about 15 miles from the Strip.  This was no longer going to be as much of a Vegas experience as it was going to be a Henderson experience, and that was fine with me since it would be a new experience.  As I pondered some of the things we might do in Henderson, it occurred to me that this was the home of Zappos.com and I had read where they gave facility tours.  Now that was something I could get into more than the usual Vegas shenanigans.

         Upon investigation of the Zappos.com site I discovered that tours were available Monday through Thursday, but they had to be booked ahead of time and there were no openings available until July 7th.   I was disappointed. Still, I planned on going there anyway just in case there was a cancellation.  More about this later.

         On Thursday morning we got a later start than I had originally thought.  The trip to Vegas from our house is three and a half hours as long as everybody is speeding, which is usually the case.  I like to stay with the flow of a traffic cluster as I prefer not to get speeding tickets.  The trip went smoothly.  Once we had negotiated the Las Vegas traffic and gotten our daughter dropped off at the Imperial Palace, where she would be staying with her new friends, it was twelve-thirty--lunchtime.
South Point Hotel and Casino

         My wife and I were both famished, but decided to avoid a buffet.  On the interstate I had noticed a billboard advertising a Steak 'n Shake at the South Point Casino a few miles south of the Imperial Palace.  We don't have this restaurant chain anywhere near where we live, but we have always enjoyed eating at these restaurants on our travels back east.  Also, I figured the parking would be easier and the restaurant would be less crowded than those around the Strip.   I was right about the parking, but there was a line for the restaurant.  We waited anyway and didn't have to wait long.  As always, the burgers and fries were darn good and shakes were about as good as you can get.   I wasn't super impressed with South Point, having never been there before, but I would go back for the Steak 'n Shake if I got that craving.  And what the heck!--If the rates were right I might even consider staying there sometime.

       By the time we had finished our lunch and dawdled at the South Point Casino a bit, I realized it was going to be too late to catch the last Zappos tour for the day.  Since there were no tours on Friday, according to the website, I figured a visit to Zappos.com was not going to be on the agenda for this Vegas excursion.  So we went to our hotel.

        It felt like the middle of nowhere in the middle of the desert.  A panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip stretched before us fifteen miles away.  There was a lot of residential housing and industrial complexes around us, but there wasn't much in the way of restaurants or stores in walking distance.  Not that this was such a bad thing--we did have a car if we needed to go anywhere.   And the desert view was pretty spectacular.

Entrance
Springhill Suites in Henderson, Nevada
        Springhill Suites is a Marriott owned property.  We typically stay at Marriott Hotels when we can.  They are consistent in quality and value.  They are also smoke-free, which makes for a better smelling place.  And in addition to all of that, I get points for my stays and that usually awards me some free rooms every year.  Like most of the Marriotts I choose, this hotel also offered a complimentary breakfast.

         When I arrived at the front desk, I was greeted by a charming young lady by the name of Natasha.  As I was checking in, I mentioned about how I had wanted to tour Zappos and had missed that day's tours.  She told me to wait a moment and that the hotel's sales manager might be able to help me.  The sales manager was Annie Clark.  She came to the front desk and I told her of my interest in Zappos.  She said that she had connections there and might be able to help me and would get back to me.

          My wife and I unloaded our suitcases into a comfortably air-conditioned room.  With the 108 degree temperatures outside, that room was a welcome retreat.  As soon as we were settled into the room the phone rang.  It was Annie Clark.  She said we were on for a tour at 12 noon the following day and that we should get there by 11:45.   I was thrilled and I was grateful for Annie's superb handling of my request.  I must give my kudos to Annie, Natasha, and the entire Springhill staff for a delightful stay while we were there.  And now we had an activity planned for our Friday.

        That afternoon we slept some in that refreshingly cool room and then I blogged for a while.  I had recently acquired a wireless mouse for my notebook computer and it made my activities so much easier than that pad thing on the laptop.  Later we decided that we should probably have something to eat and went out to look for a restaurant.  Signs of dire economy were all around us as we came upon one closed restaurant after another.  There were some Mexican restaurants, but I'm overdosed on Mexican and just wasn't in the mood.     We decided to head in the opposite direction from where we started and it was a good thing.  A few blocks from the hotel we found something that sounded good--and it was.

Henderson
Metro Pizza in Henderson, Nevada
      Metro Pizza looked inviting from the outside.  It also looked crowded.  We only had to wait a few minutes so it wasn't too bad.  Once we were seated the service was fast and efficient.  We wanted to eat light so I ordered a personal size pizza and my wife asked for the fried mozzarella.   I got a 24 ounce microbrew honey porter.  It really hit the spot on such a hot evening.   My pizza was incredible, although next time I will probably get a different topping than the ground beef.  The beef was crumbly and seasoned like taco meat--not what I would have preferred.  Otherwise, the crust, sauce, and cheese were about as good as it gets.  One of the best things on the table was the bread they served before the meal.  We asked for more it was so good.

       After dinner we took a bottle a wine back to the room and relaxed.  It was such a comfortable room and we wanted to take advantage of our stay.  After all, we didn't need to go out and gamble or hang around the strip.   Chilling out--and I mean chilling in the air conditioning--was good enough for that evening.  Besides tomorrow we had our tour for Zappos set up.  More about that on Friday.

       Have you been to Vegas?   If so, what do you think about it?   Do you have a favorite place to stay while there?   Is there any particular hotel chain you prefer to others?   Are you familiar with Zappos.com?

     








57 comments:

  1. I went there three years ago and what an expereinece? I stayed at The Monte Carlo Hotel which overlooked The New York and The
    Excaber(Not sure how to spell that).
    What surprised me was the Venietian Hotel with the minature Venice on the second floor, the artificial sky it was awesome.
    I hope to go there again someday.

    Loved your account but as you say you have been many times and have seen more of Vegas than I did.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Yvonne.

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  2. So this was a "non vegas" trip to vegas. Sounds great to me. I've never been so it's all good.

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  3. I loooooove Las Vegas :) We've been twice (so far!) and I am totally jealous of your three and a half hour drive. For us it's more than 12 hours in the air, and four different airports (worth every second though!)

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  4. Never been to Vegas - as I read your blog post I kept thinking of CSI Vegas....and how very American the whole experience sounds.

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  5. I've never been either, but I hope to go one day. I'm sure it is exciting. I've never heard of zappos.com either. I feel so inexperienced. Lol

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  6. I would love love love to go to Vegas. Love to.

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  7. I was 13 or 14 when my family stopped over in Vegas. After touring some casinos and Circus, Circus. We went to check into our room. Mom thought it was nasty and unclean, so we asked for another. There were none. We left...only to realize it was Labor Day Weekend and the telethon was in full force.

    We slept in the car that night...all six of us. ☺


    Happy Wednesday!

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  8. Dying to go - have been trying to talk my sister into it. Maybe if she reads this...
    Sounds like you had some pretty good luck with eating and accomodations, I've had some disastrous wait times and meals while on vacation.

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  9. to me Las Vegas is so shinny and so far away that I don't even think it's a real place :)

    Sun and sin, love how you stated that, Lee :)
    It seems you enjoyed yourself like a true millionaire during your visit to Vegas!

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  10. Sounds like a fantastic trip. I sure need one about now. Sorry I digress...

    Yes I have been to Vegas once. (I lived in Reno for 6 years but never drove down to Vegas)

    I was a Sales Manager for Curt Warner Chevrolet (#28 for Seahawks and Rams) and they had a new Tahoe/Suburban launch one year and Curt sent me and one other guy. We stayed at the Mandalay Bay Hotel where the bathroom in our room cost more than my house. We had a marvelous time. I cautiously chanced a dollar on the craps table and turned it into about 20.00 and quit.

    As far a favorite place, I loved the Mandalay Bay but we could never afford that.

    When we traveled a bit and used Motels, seems like a different life ago, we like the Best Western chain. they were always clean, safe, fully accomodating, and all that we needed.

    Never heard of Zappos.com but I but you are going to tell us in days to come.

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  11. Sounds like you had a great time!!!

    I love Vegas. It has something for everyone, it seems.

    (You didn't happen to find any of my money while you were out there, did you? I misplaced some last time I was there.)

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  12. Yvonne -- The Venetian is also one of my favorites. We didn't go there this visit though.

    Mybabyjohn -- I think everyone should check out Vegas at least once.

    Jolene -- You definitely have a long trip to get there. Ours is really not so bad as long as the car air conditioning is working good and traffic's not too heavy.

    Alison -- Having never watched any of the CSI shows I didn't think of those at all. It is a crazy American experience that people from around the world love.

    Miranda -- I wouldn't say "inexperienced", just "different experience".

    Teresa -- I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy it.

    Larri -- Six sleeping in a car!!! Sounds absolutely miserable.

    Li -- All of my visits have been pretty nice. I can't really think of a bad hotel experience, but we've always chosen more known places when they are offering good rates or stayed where my work put us up (which was always quite acceptable). You and your sister should go.

    Dezmond --Even when you are there it doesn't feel like a real place. We are usually pretty frugal on our trips. And this time my wife was paying the expenses since I can't really afford it these days.

    Gregg -- Best Western is another chain we frequent when a good Marriott deal isn't nearby. I've always liked Best Western. My wife, who always seems to be lucky at slots, came home with $100 more than she went with. She also lost a lot of winnings, but she had fun. And the main thing is that she came out ahead! I've never stayed at Mandalay Bay, but that has usually been our choice for the buffet--they have a pretty good one.

    Bryce -- Not only did I not find any of your missing money, I still haven't found the money I have missing at home.

    Lee

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  13. Thanks for sharing you very 'cool' trip. :-) I love Vegas, haven't been there in like a decade though, and this post makes me wanna go back!

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  14. I love Vegas - it's a city that never sleeps. :)

    Years ago when I was in college, I was also working for an airline as a flight attendant and had regular runs to Vegas. Sometimes it would be a turnaround (out by 7 a.m. home by 5 p.m.) with just enough time to do slots at the airport. Other times they would put us up at a hotel that was union approved but I don't recall the name - it was on the strip though.

    My first over-night trip (staying at the union approved hotel) had me perched at their Baccarat table. I didn't have a clue how to play the game but had a grand time and walked away with over $200- at that time it was a small fortune.

    I did take my parents on a couple of trips to Vegas and we stayed at Circus-Circus, which was really fun - great slots and real animals parading in the lobby along with performing circus acts. The rooms were inexpensive and so was the food, but that was years ago. Nice memories.

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  15. I ADORE Vegas :) It's so fun! Best things to do there, eating and shows. Best shows: O, Mystere, Blue Man Group, and maybe Phantom. Best places to eat, Bellagio buffet (don't listen to anyone who says the Wynn's is better. Bellagio beats all, believe me), Serendipity3 by Cesars Palace (You MUST get there fried oreo shakes. I know it sounds like a heart attack on a plate, and it is, but its so so so so good :), and the Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay. As far as where to stay, usually wherever's cheapest, (or it would be Bellagio every time), but so far I've really liked the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. Sorry, spouted off there, but your set for next trip to Vegas, right? :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  16. That South Point Hotel looks like it was carved out of a block of gold.

    'After dinner we took a bottle a wine back to the room and relaxed. It was such a comfortable room and we wanted to take advantage of our stay.'

    A couple of times when my husband and I have traveled to a place we know well, we've opted to stay in the room for a night and order champagne and pizza-- just because the room is so nice we want to enjoy it!

    Looking forward to your next post. :)

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  17. I've been once, but I'd love to go again with my husband who's never been. I've got an Aunt down there, so we'll always have a ready made excuse :-)

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  18. A friend used to live in Vegas, so I've been a couple times. It's wild to wander the streets at thre in the morning and the traffic looks like eight at night. The city that never sleeps!

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  19. I have not been to Las Vegas, but after reading this post, it sounds like a lot of fun. I've heard so much about it, yet never made it there. I'll have to go to Metro Pizza when I do. Pizza, yum!

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  20. Marvin - If you haven't been there in a decade then you'll be amazed at how much it's changed. Construction has slowed with the economy in the past couple of years, but it's still a booming place.

    Paula -- I never play anything but the slots because I have no idea what's going on with the other games and I tend to lose anyway. I usually have a $20 limit for the slot machines and hope that I'll win enough to keep playing for a long time. My money usually goes pretty fast, but for some reason my wife can play for hours sometimes and walk away with money in her pocket. I don't know how that works.

    Sarah -- You can't do too badly with any of the big casino hotels. I've found that the rooms are all pretty acceptable. I like Harrah's because I'm used to it and it's got a pretty good location. Maybe I'll have to try the Bellagio Buffet, but we've always had a great experience with the Mandalay Bay. What we do is go in right before the suppertime prices start so we pay for lunch but we're still there when they start putting out the higher ticket dinner menu items. The meal usually holds us over for the rest of the evening.

    Suze -- You save money by staying in the room. And in Vegas when it's so hot it's exhausting when you're out for a few hours and the cool room is a vacation in itself.

    Fa -- It's fun to take someone who's never been there to see it for the first time and watch their reactions.

    Alex -- I'm an early riser and I always thought it was weird to come out of the quiet of the room floor at about 6:30 AM to go get breakfast and emerge into the casino where it would be the sounds of slot machines and music, the smell of cigarettes, and a goodly number of people drinking alcohol and gambling away. You can really lose track of time there.

    Emily -- You must plan to visit Vegas. Metro pizza is a local chain and they have several locations throughout the city so you don't have to go to Henderson if you don't have any reason to.

    Lee

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  21. Vegas isn't my favorite place.

    I imagined something akin to the old Robert Urich show when I visited the first time, and was let down by the traffic, crowds and heat (as bad as AZ).

    I'm not really much of a gambler, so lately, I've gone either to scrounge their used CD stores or to attend a concert.

    I'd go more often, but lately their hotels have all started tacking on an "amenities charge" to their room rates, and I just object to that in principle.

    It's like when a plumber charges you $200 to fix your leaking water main and tacks on $50 for the service call.

    Give me Zion Canyon in Utah over Vegas any day!

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  22. I've never been to Vegas but would like to at some point in time.

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  23. Good Afternoon Lee,
    What a nice trip... Sometimes the best kind are just like that! I have never been, so I really enjoyed reading about your trip! Have a great day!
    Lisa

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  24. Larry -- The amenities charge sounds like the airline. Or the charge for plastic bags in the grocery store that some cities are now imposing. I have encountered that amenities charge yet, but I guess if the rates were low enough a small extra charge wouldn't be too devastating. However, the principle of the thing sucks. And when you're comparing natural wonders to man-made spectacles I would probably lean toward the glories of God's creation. But you know, sometimes the crowds, heat, and traffic can be just as bad in those places. A place like Vegas is just a whole different experience that I enjoy a couple times per year.

    Carol -- I'd say go for it next opportunity you get and you can judge for yourself.

    Lisa at Fishy face -- A little getaway can be very welcome sometimes and Vegas suits me fine.

    Lee

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  25. Hi Lee! Great post! I have only been to Vegas once, actually we stayed in Kingman and went to Las Vegas to check it out in the evening. My youngest was only 9 years old so no gambling, just looking at the night life and the incredible lights and little shows in front of the casinos. Had a blast and I have always wanted to go back. After reading your post, I am thinking of planning a little trip, and now I know where to stay and get good pizza too!

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  26. I was there for a state test; I don't remember where I stayed, but it was near the strip. I walked around for several hours; boy does that city hurt my eyes and ears at night :). It was fabulous though.

    I took a bus from the airport to the hotel, a more frightening experience than any roller coaster I've been on to date.

    All I can say is, it was a rare experience, and I wouldn't turn it down if I got the opportunity to go back, but Vegas is definitely not my kind of city. But the people were helpful and friendly.

    ........dhole

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  27. Lee-

    Both hotels I stayed at last year tacked it onto the room with no warning.

    I didn't care so much at Circus Circus ($5 added to a $25 room), but at Red Rocks Casino, it was $25added to a $150 room. That wasn't ready when I checked in at 6pm-I waited until almost 8 for the room. And I checked out at 9am.

    Just charge more for the freakin' room! Or at least tell me when I book the stay!

    I typically travel alone, maybe I'd enjoy Vegas more with a companion. The Circus Circus stay, I was with Stephen T and that was ok-except for the HEAT!

    In Laughlin, NV, I could just chill on the water taxi all day, getting off every so often to sample the casino bars...not so much a gambler.

    Double check your bill-when I complained at Red Rocks they told me everyone does it (maybe not in Henderson).

    LC

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  28. Yvonne-

    The casino you could not spell was named after King Arthur's sword!

    That ought to help!

    Larry

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  29. I've been several times and usually stayed at the Excalibur (generally in a package deal with the flight from Dallas). The nice thing about the Ex is it is close to the airport and in walking distance of some of the best places (MGM, New York New York, Luxor, etc.) The slots there have always been friendly so that's a plus!

    Reading your post makes me realize I haven't been there is a while so maybe a trip later this year will be in order...if the price is right. Can't wait to hear about the Zappos tour.

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  30. Rasz -- Las Vegas is family friendly. There's plenty to do with the kids if you don't mind them seeing all the gambling and other seedy aspects, and really it's not much worse that what they already see on TV anyway. My kids loved it when they were young and like it even more now as adults.

    Donna -- I think Vegas works much better as a shared experience, unless you're a solitary serious gambler. It's a fun place to go with a loved one or a group of friends.

    Larry -- If the hotel doesn't offer a disclaimer or warning when you are booking the room and checking in I think you could raise a big enough stink at check out to get it taken off or get some kind of comp. I've done that for other things and gotten freebies and discounts. I'll be watching for it though in the future. Springhill Suites only charged us the usual rates plus tax and nothing more. Like I stated to Donna above, Vegas is definitely better when the experience is shared. I've had less fun times when I was there on business and with business associate than when I was with my wife, family, or friends. It can feel pretty lonely if you're there on your own and seeing all kinds of people who are having fun in groups. Then again you probably could make friends if you were real gregarious, but that's not so much me. Let me know next time you and McCarthy go.

    Lee

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  31. Chuck -- We used to stay at the Excalibur when we went with the kids. You are right that it is nicely situated. The last several years we've moved up the Strip to be in a more central location. But just about anywhere on that main part of the Strip is situated close to plenty to keep one occupied. One can easily do a Vegas trip every year or two if they can afford it and it is pretty affordable.

    Lee

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  32. Though I love in Australia, I have visited Vegas a few times ;) The first time I was 17, travelling with Dad, and only there for a few hours (it was raining that time). The second time was in 2007 with some friends from LA/Idaho. And the third time was this year when I flew in for the first time (the other times I've got there by road). I was intrigued by the pokies in the airport ;)

    I've enjoyed myself each time.

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  33. I've only been to Vegas once, and it was for a work convention, so I didn't get out to experience anything there... Not that I'm upset about that, it's a lot of activity going on, and I'm just not really wired for that...

    But I found it sort of unnerving that you could SEE mountains in every direction. It made me feel like I was a cheerio in a big brown, jagged bowl.

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  34. I've been to vegas twice, and loved it each time. Last time I was there we stayed at the Excalibur - it was fun and close to everything. Next time, I'd like to stay a bit further from the main strip and explore other parts of vegas. Never heard of zappos before, but I have now!

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  35. Trisha -- Now you've got me wondering what a "pokie" is. Would that be video poker perhaps?

    Matt -- The surrounding mountains are something that really adds to the experience I think--especially when some of them have snow on them.

    TF --I think places like Zappos are the vanguard of the new corporate culture of the future. I hope so.

    Lee

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  36. I don't know anything about Zappos so look forward to your post to enlighten me:-)

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  37. Let's just say, the only time I visited gas was 50 cents/gallon. :) But when I do travel, motel staff are my source for local advice. Never heard of zappos, I own a zippo though. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  38. I've never been to Vegas, but I have been to Lake Tahoe. Same state :)
    Zappos...I know they have shoes.

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  39. I've never been to Vegas, so I enjoyed this little virtual trip! Sounds like a wonderful time, thanks for sharing your experience.

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  40. jabblog -- Zappos is making rapid headway into the dot com world and will soon be a name almost everybody knows.

    Jules -- If gas was still 50 cents a gallon the last time you went to Vegas, then I'm sure you'd be amazed by what it looks like now. I certainly was when I returned after 35 years.

    Carol -- Not only does Zappos have shoes, but they have just about every shoe that is made--and clothes, accessories, housewares, etc.

    Julie -- Vegas is an experience that really requires being there to get the full impact.

    Lee

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  41. Great press for Marriott! I love how they went out of their way to schedule that tour for you! And I'm looking forward to reading about it!

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  42. Everything looks so new & shiny going by your pictures. Glad you had Steak 'n Shake -- the fries are small but good!

    It's wonderful to read about a pleasant experience at a hotel & how people in the hospitality industry can be so accommodating.

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  43. All in all, it sounds like you had a relaxing and serene trip! Those always hit the spot.

    I've been to LV more times than I can remember. Probably 15 times for business alone. When our kids were young (we have 5), we used to go to Circus-Circus, as they were the most "kid friendly" place on the strip. We've stayed at most of the hotels, but my favorite is the Mirage and we've stayed there many times. I don't gamble much anymore while there because it would get in the way of my picture taking. We'll be driving by LV soon on our way back from a sizable RV trip. We may try out the RV park at Circus-Circus for a night or two.

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  44. hi Arlee!
    I've given you a BLOG AWARD and you can drop by anytime you're free to get it. Hopefully it helps to brighten up your day. :)

    warm regards,
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  45. I go to Vegas every year and occasionally more than once. It is dangerous now because there is a $25 direct flight from my town to Vegas. Its nothing to get there anymore.

    I love to stay at the Luxor. Its theme from the beginning makes me smile. It has all been updated in the last 3-4 years so its more modern and high rolling night clubs.

    The first weekend in August is the Hacker convention DefCon19. This will be my 6th time attending. Now that I am a writer with my own business, I can write off the trip!

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  46. never been to vegas but want to

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  47. I didn't grow up in LV, but I was there almost every weekend. It's not my favorite place, but it has something for everyone, so it's a great getaway location.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

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  48. We went to Vegas when our kids were 14 and 11. We loved the shows and just visiting all of the hotels. My older son went back to visit with friends for his 21st birthday and appreciated it much more then! Julie

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  49. I LOVE Las Vegas! I've been there twice, and the buzz of activity is fascinating to me, since I come from a very small town. I enjoy being inside the casinos, with all the sounds of the slot machines too.

    I just read your comment on my blog. *laughing* I'm not still grocery shopping, but I am currently in a job training program. I've moved to Little Rock to be a part of it, and at least for the time being, I'm not able to get on the computer for fun nearly as much as I used to. But I hope to start blogging again when things get settled down a bit. But thank you so much for the interest in my blog! If things go the way I hope they'll go, I will have some VERY INTERESTING blogs in the near future.

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  50. Brianna - I'm a big fan of Marriott and I think when a business gives good service they should be recognized for it.

    Lisa from Nadir -- I used the businesses promo photos so they look especially good, but the real thing was pretty nice.

    Pat -- Circus Circus is very economical and family friendly and is a favorite of circus acts who are passing through town.

    Nutschell -- Thanks! I'll check it out.

    SBJ-- Luxor looks nice, but I've never stayed there. It's good when you can go on business. I used to go every year for trade shows.

    becca -- You should go!

    Clee -- I certainly wouldn't want to go every week, but 2 or 3 times a year isn't bad. Maybe even once a month if I could afford it.

    Julie -- There really is something for all ages there, but young people really like to go there to party. Not me though. A meal, a few hours looking around, and early turn in to a nice room is what I like.

    Lee

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  51. Rachel -- I figured there was something. Hope all is well in Little Rock and good luck with the job training. Glad to hear from you.

    Lee

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  52. Oh, yes, we've been to Vegas. Used to live in Victorville, which was then a gas station stop for the 'Vegas bound. Hope you had a great time.

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  53. Mr friend, you are lucky....
    I so totally wish I could see Vegas. It's the focus of many fictional memories for me.

    For example, I have recently been watching the movie "Leaving Las Vegas" over and over again. It's brilliant...although it kind of puts me in a dark place psychologically.

    Anyway, have fun!

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  54. Susan -- Victorville certainly is closer to Vegas, but I'm not sure that I'd want to live there. But yes we had a great time.

    Andrew -- You could totally do it. Flights are usually bargain priced and you can find some great room deals. There also usually package deals available. They want to make it easy for people to go there so they can lose all of their money.

    Lee

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  55. I love spontaneous trips, and had the chance to do that back in May. To Vegas. I'm not a Vegas person, but it was a LOT of fun.

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  56. BOIDMAN ~
    Dang! This was a looooong blog bit! Who do you think you are, me? It took me two gin and tonics to get through this entire piece.

    >>...Have you been to Vegas? If so, what do you think about it? Do you have a favorite place to stay while there? Is there any particular hotel chain you prefer to others? Are you familiar with Zappos.com?

    I was born in L.A. but conceived in Vegas. They tell me I've been back since being conceived there and that I had a good time. I'll take THEIR word for it and NOT the Black Russian's.

    I liked the Old School Vegas much better than this modern version. (In other words, "Take it away from the corporations and give it back to the Mob to run! It was better then.")

    Yeah, my favorite place to stay is whichever place is offering the cheapest deal. If you're hangin' out in your room, you ain't exactly experiencing Vegas! "What happens in Vegas stays in someone else's bedroom" anyway.

    Best bar in Vegas?: "The Peppermill", on the Vegas strip just South of The Riviera Hotel; it's like stepping back into 1950 - VERY COOL!

    Nope, never heard of Zappos.com.

    Your daughter stayed at Imperial Palace? I thought that place had been torn down to make room for one of those newer mega-hotels! I don't remember seeing it the last time I was there, and I thought it was long gone.

    I will ALWAYS hold a grudge against the Imperial Palace: One night, circa 1988, I walked up to the Imperial Palace's "The Sake Bar", took a seat and ordered sake. Bartender says, "We don't have sake."

    I stands up and outs I go!

    Imagine that! A bar named "The Sake Bar" but it doesn't serve sake! I'll NEVER forget/forgive that.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  57. Hi Lee .. wonderful tour .. I loved it - having never been .. and I hate over paying for anything ..

    Looking forward to reading about the Zappos ...

    Happy 4th July .. cheers Hilary

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Lee