kevin_standlee: (Atomic Vegas)
Although our hotel room is on the opposite side of I-15 from Las Vegas Blvd, it has a good view of "The Strip"

Balcony Views, Night and Day )

Yesterday, we decided to take advantage of the free hourly shuttle from the Staybridge to New York New York.

An Hour Was Enough )

We had a look at the restaurants, in particular the deli, and while things made an effort to look like a cartoon version of New York, and for all we know the deli food was good, we decided that we'll stick to the Manhattan Deli at the Atlantis in Reno. We caught the next shuttle back to our hotel and drove to the Black Bear Diner (#25 in our passport) instead.

Tomorrow morning we leave Las Vegas. Having nearly driven off the road the last time we tried to go all the way home from Vegas in one day, we are heading for Tonopah tomorrow.
kevin_standlee: (Atomic Vegas)
As I mentioned in passing last night, our first hotel was very unsuitable. The Candlewood Suites room was comparable to an Extended StayAmerica low-end room, but the way it was laid out would have made it very difficult for me to get any work done, and Lisa said she might have to take some blankets and towels and sleep in the closet. So we asked the hotel to let us balk (which, thank goodness, they did), and we reviewed our options.

Checking the IHG app on my phone, I found a Staybridge Suites over on the other side of I-15, with a Holiday Inn Express next door. Rather than booking, we just drove over there, and the manager very nicely took us upstairs to show us a room.

The Kind of Room I'd Love to Have at a Worldcon )

On top of all of the space and amenities, this room cost less than the Candlewood. We said, "We'll take it," and checked in for three nights. We then tossed our hand luggage into the room and had dinner — on Monday-Wednesday nights, they have a "social hour" with food, in this case hot dogs, hamburgers, and chili. They have a cooked breakfast every morning, although unfortunately you can't take it back to your room, which is what we'd really rather do. Still, that's a minor quibble.

Kuma Bear Takes Charge )

After we got moved in, I got my computers working (no wired internet, but the wireless connection worked okay and didn't suffer from the flakiness that plagued me in Tempe) and then we drove over to get some groceries from Whole Foods Market.

Of course you're unlikely to ever find a hotel like this within easy walking distance of a Worldcon-class convention facility, and if you did, it wouldn't come for the relative bargain price ($109/night before tax but including breakfast). But it's a really nice place. It's not as over-the-top luxurious as the Bellagio-Pallazo, but it also comes with a lot more services that we actually use, like the kitchen and the in-room laundry. We had lunch this afternoon from the groceries we had (and those we'd brought with us from Fernley — we were prepared for having to eat many meals in the hotel room there, although in fact we did not do so), and Lisa did a couple of loads of laundry. (Soap is $3/box, good for two loads, from the shop in the lobby.)

We generally don't come to Vegas for long periods of time, but if we did, this would be high on our list of likely places to stay. As Lisa put it, if you're coming to Vegas for one or two nights and want a high-end experience, stay at a place like the Bellagio. If you want a place that you can use as a very comfortable home base for a few days or a few weeks, the Staybridge Suites is for you.
kevin_standlee: (Atomic Vegas)
Despite IHG Spire members supposedly having 2 PM checkout, the hotel asked us to vacate by 1 PM, which we did manage, but it means I have Day Jobbe work backed up badly.

Because Kingman to Las Vegas is only a bit over 100 miles, we elected to divert over to Laughlin to pick up something at a shop we saw on the way down. To our dismay, when we got there, we found that they were closed July 5-6. It wasn't a total loss because we were able to pick up the Black Bear Diner Bullhead City (#25 in our passport book) that we missed on the trip south.

Heading out of Laughlin, where the thermometer read 46°C, even with the air conditioning turned off, the minivan overheated. Not disastrously so, but enough to where we needed to pull over (at the south entrance to the byway to Christmas Tree Pass, a road suitable only for 4WD vehicles) and let the engine cool down. After it had cooled, we started back up the main highway, using the miserable auxiliary cooling method of during the van's heater on full blast to try and shed more heat. To try and give that heat somewhere to go, we rolled down the windows. The driver's side window got stuck 2/3 down and would not roll back up. We pulled over again and Lisa worked on it. She was able to eventually get it rolled back up again, but we must not roll the window down more than about 10 cm until she can affect permanent repairs.

Passing Interstate 11 )

Our initial hotel in LV was something of a disaster and we balked. Fortunately, it was not yet 6 PM and we were able to get out of the hotel without having to pay for it. It wasn't the staff's fault; it's just that the room was very unsuitable for us. I actually considered paying for three nights at the Bellagio, which would have been quite expensive; however, thanks to a very obliging hotel manager, we ended up at the Staybridge Suites, in a nice room about which I will write more tomorrow after I've dug out from the Day Jobbe backlog and had more rest.

We got in some groceries -- this room has a full kitchen -- and settled in for the first of the three nights we will be in Vegas. Our room has a nice view of the Strip, but for now I just need to get some sleep so I can work a full-plus day tomorrow.
kevin_standlee: (Atomic Vegas)
Today was the longest driving leg of the trip planned: about 300 miles, although the actual mileage was closer to 350 in the end.

Where we Ended up )

We got away from Tonopah in good time, leaving around 8 AM. Being able to get yogurts from Scolari's grocery store next door and store them in the room 'fridge to have for breakfast made for a relatively quick start.

Checking Out the Goldfield Subway Station )

After Goldfield, we made for Beatty, where we stopped at Eddieworld, an oasis in the Nevada desert where one must resist the urge to spend too much money on candy, nuts, fruit, and jerky. We managed to escape with only minor damage. I also got a postcard for Kelli, and immediately dispatched it to her. She's stuck in that nursing home, and I try to send her cards from along the way on our trips.

Alien Travel Center )

I mentioned yesterday that we had errands to run in Las Vegas "to boot." That actually was to be taken literally. Lisa left her moccasin-boots that go with one of her outfits behind, and she's been meaning to get another pair anyway, so we went looking for them. The first place we tried in Las Vegas at which Google pointed us no longer carries boots, but pointed us in the right direction (which turned out to be a shop on Fremont Street). But we were on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, and it was well past time for lunch. So where do we go when we want to have lunch in Las Vegas? Well, the Black Bear Diner, of course! We collected our 23rd BBD in their "passport" promotion, and we were really happy to get out of the heat. The AC in the minivan doesn't work well in city driving, you see, and it was around 40°C in Las Vegas today. After lunch, we refueled the minivan and worked our way downtown, which took quite a while due to heavy traffic.

This Errand Was Not Bootless )

After about four hours in Vegas, we were happy to get moving again, particularly when traffic cleared sufficiently that we could get moving fast enough to turn the air conditioning back on as we headed south on I-515/US-95/US-93.

After crossing Railroad Pass, we turned south on US-95. We made a brief stop to have a closer look at at solar thermal power plant (Nevada Solar One, if my Google-fu isn't failing me). But as we pulled back out on the road, we were troubled by a clattering sound that had been annoying us on the whole trip. We stopped again and finally figured out what had been causing this. Some of the rubber trim along the roof line had come loose and was flapping in the slipstream. Lisa started to get the trim back into place, and I had an idea.

"Would a rubber mallet help?" I asked.

Lisa said, "Yes!"

Well, I happened to have one. Some years ago, I bought a rubber mallet to assemble IKEA furniture. I've taken to packing it in the "Business Meeting box" in case the Gavel of Westercon gets lot. We dug the mallet out the box, and Lisa used it to help hammer the trim back into place.

Laughlin at Last )

After getting a minimal setup established, we had dinner at the buffet. Note for next trip: don't eat at the buffet. We're spoiled by places like the Peppermill. We agreed that we would have had a better meal at the Fatburger franchise located inside the casino.

Tomorrow we drive to Lake Havasu City. After having been over London Bridge in London, we decided we should visit the original one in Arizona. Tomorrow night we should be at Tempe.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
This morning, we decided that getting a bellman and getting the van to the front of the hotel was such an incredible hassle that it was easier for us to make three trips down to the parking garage with our luggage. As some of our stuff is in bankers boxes, I wish I'd brought the folding luggage cart. (The boxes are great on a cart, but troublesome to hand-carry.) We checked out and were on the road a few minutes after 10 AM.

We had no idea just how fatigued we both were until after Beatty, the start of the "long middle" of US-95 in Nevada. We limped in to Tonopah and considered calling it a day there, but felt slightly better after having sandwiches, so we pushed onward. This was a mistake. Both of us were having tremendous difficulty staying awake. We each tried spelling each other at the wheel, but it was frightening driving while having to keep shaking myself to stay awake. Lisa was literally in pain from the fatigue.

As we approached Hawthorne, 325 miles and about seven hours since we left Las Vegas, we decided to give up. The first motel on the south end of town is an America's Best Inn, and has decent rooms and about the price/quality of a Holiday Inn Express, including a wired internet connection. (There are many other cheaper properties; we're spoiled.) We bailed out 100 miles short of home. I got online and e-mailed my manager, who agreed that it was better to arrive alive. I expect to be home around Noon tomorrow. As soon as we could, Lisa went to bed. I'm going to do so as well.

A bunch of things have happened online today, including another Hugo Controversy. I don't have time to address them right now and I'm too exhausted to give them proper attention. But I will once again say that one should never assume malice or conspiracy when there are other reasonable explanations.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
This was the only day on this entire trip on which we did not have a specific deadline or reason to get up early, so we did not. When I woke up on my own, I thought I'd slept until noon, but in fact it was only 9 AM and I'd just managed to knock my travel alarm off the counter and jar it sufficiently to make it reset itself to 12:00.

This hotel room at the Venetian is an enormous split-level suite with a vast bathroom. And as far as I can tell, this is their ordinary level or maybe possibly the first-step upgrade, not something for their real high rollers.

Here, Take a Look for Yourself )

Click through any of those photos to look at the rest of them. It's a really astonishing place, but probably not really our style. If I weren't using a free-night coupon for one of the two nights and getting the Sunday night (relatively) cheap rate for the second, I would feel that I wasn't getting the right price-value proposition. For instance, there's no coffee machine in the room; I have to go downstairs and get coffee or pay a fortune for room service. I'm glad the hotel gave me a mini-fridge, because of course I dare not even look crooked at the mini-bar or I'll be charged for it. Everything I take for granted a couple of steps down the chain (Holiday Inn Express) is extra-charge here.

Mind you, when we came back to the hotel this afternoon, we decided that getting pastrami sandwiches from the deli in the food court on the second floor and taking them back to our palatial room was a good use of the place. It allowed us to start relaxing that much sooner.

How We Spent the Weekend in Vegas Without Gambling )

I think that if we're going to "do" Vegas, we'd be better off making it the entire focus of the trip, as a separate vacation, and that we need to set aside more than just two days for it. Just looking at everything there is to see and do here makes me tired. And I am now completely convinced that Las Vegas would be a terrible place for a Worldcon. We would be utterly lost here, like a drop of ink in a barrel of water. In Reno we were okay. We'll probably do quite well in Spokane, as we'll "own" the city the way we did Winnipeg in 1994. But Vegas? Never. Even ComicCon (which apparently was once flirting with the idea of moving here) might have difficulty overwhelming this place.

Tomorrow morning we have the final leg of the trip ahead of us, and it's a long one: over 420 miles from Las Vegas to Fernley via Tonopah. I'm not looking forward to this drive, but I am looking forward to getting home.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
We got out of Tempe right on our projected schedule at 10 AM, but kept making more stops than I originally expected, and this turned into a very long day.

The Scenic Route )

Tomorrow we don't have to be up early, and I'm not going to turn on my alarm. We have errands to do, and unfortunately I have Day Jobbe stuff that must be done. I'd do it tonight, but I'm wiped out.

Most e-mail and LJ messages are getting no action. I have insufficient time and energy to post photos of the train museum and of Kingman that I took and of this huge hotel room that Lisa took. The big comfy bed is calling me.

August 2017

S M T W T F S
   1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:10 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios