After nearly a decade of annual visits, I have begun what will be my final visit to Las Vegas for the foreseeable future. For the first time ever, I am alone in this burg as my normal traveling companions, Mat and John, were unable to join me. Mat is rebuilding his P.T.O. and John has simply wearied of coming here. So my goal is to squeeze as much fun as I can out of this trip and prepare myself to explore new vistas in the future.
Now this trip started off right due to the fact that I was using Southwest Airlines. This airline ranks at the top of my list when it comes to traveling and they routinely rank #1 in customer satisfaction each year. Unlike nearly every other airline, Southwest still lets you check your bag for free (your first two, as a matter of fact). You can also sit wherever you feel like on the plane without being charged an additional fee. Even better, one can actually get a free beverage and snack on this flight instead of being nickeled and dimed to death.
Due to terrible winds, my flight out to Vegas ended up being delayed by 20 minutes. This ended up being negligible as those same winds gave the flight to Vegas a bit of an added boost and we ended up arriving at about the same time as originally promised. The only two difficulties of the flight were that I realized I didn’t have my Kindle with me and there was a woman on the flight who sounded like she was well on her way to being three sheets to the wind. She was quite obnoxious and spent most of the flight pestering some poor college student who was studying anatomy so she could have some time for fun while in Vegas. I truly admired her patience.
Upon landing, my fabled luck appeared as I was able to immediately grab a shuttle for the Rio. Though, if you haven’t driven through rush hour traffic on the Las Vegas Strip, let me assure you that it’s quite an experience. It took nearly an hour to get from the airport to the hotel with all the stops and traffic, but I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride and have a chat with my best friend, Josh.
Once I reached the Rio, my luck remained as I was able to check in without a wait in line. I’d also like to take a moment to thank Luis who checked me into the Rio and upgraded me to a Sambia Suite free of charge. Because of that, I am now sitting on the 37th floor of the Rio enjoying a beautiful pool view and an amazing view of the city.
After I deposited my gear in my room, I wandered around the hotel a bit to see what had changed and what hadn’t. The hotel still doesn’t seem as plentiful with guests as it once did, yet I must still assume that business must be up as their famed Seafood Buffet is now open every day and the Rio recently opened a Hash House a Go Go on the property.
Hash House a Go Go is known for “Farm Food done Freaky”. The portions are humongous and will probably keep you full for a day or soon as the restaurant is known for serving one pound sandwiches, deep dish skillets, and pancakes the size of a garbage can lid. However, one thing I did notice is that the prices are pretty high at this location, nearly double what you would pay at the restaurant’s location on Sahara. While I would recommend a breakfast here, try to get to the Sahara restaurant to make use of the lower prices.
After wandering about a bit (and losing a couple bucks), I caught the shuttle to Bally’s so I could make the quick jaunt to Planet Hollywood and have another meal at Gordon Ramsay’s BURGR restaurant. As a solo guest, I was able to get seated at the bar right away. This time around, I enjoyed the American Burger (a more traditional hamburger, topped with butter lettuce, red onions, American cheese, pickles, and a thick slice of tomato). As before, the presentation and taste were top notch.
Once I had finished my meal, I walked across the street to the Bellagio. I had seen their fountain show on numerous occasions, but had never actually stepped inside of the casino. It is quite elegant and I spent a while in there playing slot machines based on Clue, The Phantom of the Opera, and Back to the Future.
As of yet, my nearly mystical luck has only manifested itself in a great room, good seating, and good timing. I couldn’t get any good runs going on any machine, though my luck did start to heat up towards the end of the night. The day had taken it’s toll on me as I began to develop a whanging headache. So I cut my evening short and returned to the Rio where I am getting ready to rest up for another adventurous day tomorrow.