Well surprise surprise, somebody's been slacking. I guess I should try to get up-to-date before the season starts again, so on to the next installment of my Las Vegas report. EDIT: I started writing this before the season started again... so much for that. LOL
We left the Adventuredome and began to make our way back through the endless maze of the Circus Circus casino. I've never been a casino guy. Brit and I went to a casino in Pennsylvania a few years ago where they gave you a free $20 card upon entry since we were in the area and it was about -2 degrees outside and we had nothing better to do. We sat at some super complicated slot machines, lost all of the money within minutes at games we didn't even understand and bailed without spending a dime of our own money. It was sh*t.
That said, we came across a Roulette table and felt like we should probably play just because we were in Vegas and it was the thing to do. There wasn't a dealer, but there was an actual wheel under glass and a ball that launched out of a tube and onto the wheel. I don't really love the idea of video roulette, but with a real ball and a real wheel I was all in. I actually looked at the lack of a dealer as a plus since we know nothing about casinos, casino etiquette or the game we were about to blow money on.
We put a 20 in the machine, and attempted to make a bet. The first few attempts went terribly, but eventually we found a helpful compulsive gambler who was sitting there looking defeated with his head in his hands who had most likely pissed his life away at this game. Thankfully he was nice enough to show us what to do so that we could start making some horrible life decisions of our own and a few minutes later, we successfully placed a bet and promptly lost 3 bucks.
We quickly figured out that the only way to really have any fun with this game was to bet evens and odds or reds and blacks so you had **ALMOST** a 50% chance of actually winning so you won a lot and got a lot of false hope in the process. After playing for a few minutes and getting a drink or two I was finally forced to admit to myself that I was sort of loving it. Sh*t. I really, really hated that I was loving it because I know me.
One nice thing was that the machines took actual, physical money (and not a game card) so you couldn't be too much of an a**hole and lose track of what you were doing. We each decided to drop 40 bucks in and that's it. I was up for awhile, but I eventually ended up blowing it. Brit on the other hand was quite the high roller. I don't want to brag but she pretty much took Vegas by storm.
After having an absolute blast drinking in the casino, we finally decided to head out for our own good. It took us awhile to find the exit (which is by design), but we eventually did and hopped in a cab over to the High Roller.
I'm one of those weird "morning people" you hear so much about but never actually meet in real life so I was up early that morning looking at things to do in Vegas and came across the High Roller. There are tons of cool things to do along the strip, but this one seemed pretty cool and unique and there was an awesome promo code online so I snatched it up and bought us two day tickets.
Big time High Roller tip: they sell day and night tickets with night tickets being way more expensive but pay close attention to what constitutes "day" and what constitutes "night". Since it was November, the sun set very early so it turned out that you could use the cheap day ticket to hop on the wheel at sunset which (in my mind) is the ideal time to ride and should really demand a premium. Their night time rate didn't actually kick in until an hour or so after it got dark so you could easily save like 20-30 bucks per person on night rides depending on what type of experience you buy.
There are two types of cars on the High Roller, one is a standard car and one is an open bar car. I'm about to disappoint all of you, but we actually went with the former since I had to return the rental car soon after. The good news was that there's a full bar in the boarding area so you could grab a drink and bring it with you on the standard cars if you'd like to drink on the wheel but not get totally blitzed.
As weird as it is, I didn't really know much about the High Roller going in but apparently it's the world's tallest Ferris wheel at 550 feet which is pretty damn cool. It's also one of those ultra modern ones that loads as it's moving and moves at a snail's pace (taking 30 minutes to make one rotation). The line moved quickly and we stepped into our pod with 20 or so other people, excited to finally check out one of these new modern ferris wheels.
The experience is actually really cool. There's a 30 minute recording that tells you a bit about Las Vegas and the surrounding area that's coordinated with the ride. In addition, the wheel moves so slowly that this is really an experience suitable for pretty much anyone. The entire experience reminded me more of a trip to the top of the Empire State building than a standard ferris wheel ride. Even if you hate ferris wheels, you'll probably enjoy High Roller.
Once the sun had set and we touched back down to earth we began clock watching a little. It was a shame we had to rush since The LINQ (where the wheel is located) is actually pretty awesome, but we had a flight to catch and we had one last stop to make on the way. Still... we ducked in a few shops and grabbed a few pictures of The LINQ promenade area.
Unfortunately it was just about the top of the hour, so after a minute or two of wandering around we hustled out of there and across the street to our last stop; the Bellagio. In-case you've been living under a rock, the Bellagio is famous for it's amazing fountain shows which happen every half hour from mid afternoon to late at night. The shows are obviously free, and due to the convenient location and minimal timeinvestment required combined with the spectacular show I would never dream of going to Vegas without watching it at least once. I hadn't seen it since I was a kid and Brit had never seen it period so we were pretty excited to check it out and with about 2 minutes to spare we managed to find an open spot along the railing.
The show was awesome and probably even better than I remembered. The coordinated fountains are really cool, and watching them blast water over 450 feet in the air is insane. They sound like Fireworks when they go off which really gives the show a cool "wow factor". Part of me wishes I got some better pictures or shot a video, but honestly there are tons of pictures and videos out there already that will never do it justice so about 30 seconds in I decided to just put the phone down and really take it all in. In the end I'm glad I did, it was amazing.
Unfortunately once the show ended it was time to head back to the car. We hated to leave, but a the same time we couldn't really think of a much better way to end our trip with a bang than with a sunset ride on the world's tallest ferris wheel and a Bellagio fountain show. We could have taken a cab, but instead decided to make the mile or so walk on the strip and take in the cool nighttime atmosphere. The strip as a whole has a great vibe. It basically feels like a cleaner and less annoying Times Square with better alcohol laws and less Elmos facing sexual harassment lawsuits.
While it was a mile walk, it felt like it went by in no time since the entire strip is pretty much full sensory overload and before we knew it we were in the car and on our way to the airport (or rather on our way to the rental car return place that's nowhere near the f*cking airport). We dropped the car and grabbed a shuttle without issue this time and before we knew it we were back in one of the nicer airports in America reminiscing about what a great trip we just had. Our trip was already amazing and we were more than satisfied, but there was one last surprise waiting for us.
Ever since Brit had first heard about Frontier Airlines naming planes after animals she was super hyped at the prospect of flying on one of their planes in particular. Right before we were about to board she ducked into a gift shop so I made my way over to the windows near our gate just to take a peek. With so many planes in their fleet the chances were almost nonexistant but... wait... is that seriously? It can't be. Let me get a little closer. Holy sh*t.
I didn't say a word and made my way back to the gift shop wondering how long it would take her to notice. As we approached the gate, she pretty much lost her sh*t.
PS: Look at this coaster dork
While I'm not a fan of red eye flights, there was something pretty entertaining about waking up every 20 minutes or so (you try sleeping in a middle seat on Frontier Airlines), looking out the window and seeing a giant flashing Shamu on the winglet. Our plane actually landed super early too as Shamu is apparently quite the overachiever. It was so early that they didn't even have anyone to park us yet and we got to watch the guy run across the tarmac full speed. That'll teach you to underestimate Air Shamu. Orcas are stupid fast, if they had went to SeaWorld they would have known that.
When we got to our car it was about 4am and I had already been awake for about 18 hours (aside from a few cat naps on the plane). We hadn't booked a hotel yet since I assumed I would just see how I felt when we landed, but I felt pretty good and the thought of an empty beltway seemed too surreal and too amazing to pass up. I got in the car and figured I'd drive the 45 minutes to Maryland and get a hotel. We blew through DC for the first time ever (since it was 4am) and I was feeling good so I just decided to keep pushing. "Well, we might as well get through Baltimore", "Well, we might as well get through the construction in Delaware", "Well, now the sun's up and we're already in New Jersey so we might as well just go home". In the back of my mind I always sort of assumed that would happen.
By the time we got home after being awake for over 24 hours straight, a 6 hour drive and a 5 hour plane ride we were exhausted but it was also absolutely worth it. Between Vegas and the Canyons it's a trip neither of will soon forget and I'd highly recommend it to anyone.
...Just don't take roulette advice from either of us.