“Man, I really like Vegas.” – Elvis Presley
I am not a well traveled woman. While I am slowly working on it, it still remains a fact that the longest flight I have been on prior to this trip is less than two hours from Newport News, VA to Atlanta, GA. So, traveling over 2,000 miles from Charlotte to Las Vegas was an experience. To clarify, a miserable experience. Here is a rough snapshot:
- Initial flight out of Newport News on Friday was delayed, so much so that we were going to land in Charlotte after our connecting flight had departed. We would have been stuck in Charlotte for the night without our luggage (which can somehow make it to Vegas even when we cannot). We opted to take an early 5:45 am flight out of Newport News on Saturday. We would get to Vegas around 9 am and still have the day to explore.
- While we both had tickets for the same flight when we left the terminal on Friday, Bradley was placed on another flight by the time we got to the airport the following morning. He was now on a flight from Newport News to Philadelphia and then to Vegas. He was scheduled to get to Vegas around 11 and I would get to Vegas around 1 because my flight to Charlotte was delayed (it would end up being delayed twice more). While we were uneasy, it seemed ok. We were terribly wrong.
- Philadelphia had tornadoes that morning which delayed Bradley landing which meant he missed his connecting flight. His travels were then changed (again) to fly into Dallas then to Phoenix and finally to Vegas. His flight out of Philly was delayed almost an hour because they couldn’t figure out how to fuel the plane without making it unbalanced. So, as was the trend on this day, he missed his connection in Dallas. By the time he got to Dallas, he was adamant that his next flight be directly to Vegas (no more connections…or missed connections). That flight ended up being delayed and he finally got to Vegas around 10:00 pm. With the time change, we estimated that it took him roughly 21 hours to get to Vegas from the time we stepped into Newport News airport on Saturday morning. Needless to say, his mood was slightly sour by the time he arrived.
- My flight into Charlotte was delayed (multiple times) leaving me with only 10 minutes to make my connecting flight which, of course, was on the other side of the airport. I made sure I was first off the plane, immediately took off my flats (those things are NOT made for running), and tore through the airport like a bat out of hell. I had already prepared myself to cry on demand if needed but, luckily, I pulled up to the gate just as they were preparing to close the door. Pity was shown and I made it onto the flight. (I have got to start working out again – I was a huffing puffing mess.) I arrived to Vegas around 1:00 pm with no hopes of seeing my husband anytime soon.
Thankfully, two of the vendors that Bradley frequently does business with (and with whom we have also enjoyed various dinners and events with) had already made plans to treat us to dinner and a show on Saturday evening. They had much better travel luck than Bradley so they were still able to take me to dinner and treated me to a wonderful show put on by Reba McEntire and Brooks and Dunn. You haven’t lived until you have seen Reba sing Fancy in a red dress. I hate that Bradley wasn’t there but am glad that there were at least two familiar faces to keep me company in sin city. Needless to say, it was a rough time getting there, but we both made it there eventually, and we did so safely.
The rest of the trip was spent gambling, going to the Hoover Dam, and taking in all of the sights. Some overall reflections:
- Everyone talks about the dry heat of the west coast. Fun fact: when it is 120 degrees outside it feels like an oven. I don’t care if it’s dry heat or wet heat – it is hot. The only perk is that your sweat leaves your body almost immediately so you are surprisingly dry despite feeling like you are literally baking alive.
- Seem people are desert people. Some people are not. After spending some time in the desert, I can say with honesty and certainty that I adore greenery, trees, and flowers. A few days in the desert is fun but I’ll set up my home where it is green.
- The casinos in Vegas are beautiful and each one is unique. That being said, at some point you’ve seen it all. Gambling is gambling and the lights are just as bright from one spot to the next. Unless you are really into gambling, a few days should be enough to give you your fill.
- Las Vegas during the day is not that impressive. Without the flashy lights and displays, all of the buildings start to look the same during the day. Save your energy for after sun set because that is when Vegas is really something to be seen. Otherwise, take a nap while the sun is up and get your shopping out of the way (if you are into that).
- The food is fantastic. We had dinner at the Aquanox and it was hands down my favorite eating of the week. There is nothing that you can crave that Vegas can’t offer you.
- There are approximately 2398742 Starbucks in Vegas and every one has a line longer than you care to wait in. But you will wait in it because you haven’t slept more than four hours a night and you need all of the caffeine you can get your greedy hands on.
- Cash out when you win money, even if it’s not that much. Trust me. Greed is how they get you.
- Clothing is somewhat optional in Vegas. In fact, many things are optional including good sense and normal sleeping patterns.
- Go to Fremont Street. It feels like a step back in time. There is the dirty feel to it – not morally dirty but dirty from time. It also feels roughly 20 degrees cooler there – I have no idea why but it does.
- There are far fewer Elvis impersonators in Vegas than you anticipate.
- Always look up when in Vegas. People have spent quite a bit of time working on the ceilings in Vegas and they are worth the crick in the neck.
- In theory, you realize that the Hoover Dam is massive. In reality, it is shocking.
After a few dutiful days in Vegas, we loaded up the rental car and went further west to California. We made it all the way to Long Beach before finally heading back to our eastern home. While we didn’t spend much time in California, the weather was absolute perfection. The breeze on the coast made the 75 degree day almost chilly. I could have relaxed on that coast for a few more days but responsibilities demanded we return to Virginia.
Long story short, our travels back home were much less adventurous than our departure.
After a few days back home, we are Asheville bound tomorrow morning. This is the real part of the honeymoon. Las Vegas was a work trip for Bradley so his days were spent in meetings, lunches, and responding to dozens of emails. This is a work-free trip. His phone time is limited to fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening. Are you listening Smithfield?? He has extremely limited access to his email and I’m hoping that our remote cabin makes even the 30 minutes a day difficult to accomplish. This part of the journey is about us. With few formal plans made, we are happy to do what we want when we want. And with a beautiful cabin, there is nothing that says we ever have to leave it.