The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bright Light City Set My Soul On Fire

I promised a debriefing from Vegas so here goes. It was a long ass drive! There have been a few changes since the last time I made that run, too. Most notably the new Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. You no longer drive over Hoover Dam. As a matter of fact you can't even see the dam from the bridge because of the high concrete gardrails. But, you can take the scenic route down to a viewing area.

I had planned to stay on Fremont Street, but all the rooms were booked for St. Patrick's Day, so I got a room at Stratosphere. That turned out to be a great move. I was impressed with how clean and shiny everything was. They've obviously had a renovation lately and it showed. It made Monte Carlo look like a dump. No stained and worn carpet. No malfunctioning a/c. Flatscreen TV. Everything was first rate. My new most favorite place to stay in Sin City.

The one good thing about driving my SLK there was being able to cruise The Strip with the top down. That is one very cool drive at night. The senses are almost overloaded with sight and sound coming at you from 360°. It was like being in a Top Gear video. I can scratch that off the Bucket List.

They had several block parties for St. Pat's, but Fremont Street Experience was not to be out done. There were several live bands and the place was flush with street performers. The $9.99 Prime Rib Dinner at 4 Queens wasn't bad either.

I didn't take in any shows, spent most of this trip playing Tournament Texas Hold 'em at Stratosphere. They had 3 of them daily. Tournament poker is different from cash games. Everyone starts with the same amount of chips, the blind bets go up every 20 minutes and you play for a share of the entry fees. The strategy is much different. I thought I did remarkably well playing against more experienced players. I made the final table in one tournament, but came up just short of winning any prize money.

I actually got interested in tournament poker from watching Celebrity Poker Showdown. I miss that show...

The drive back wasn't too bad except for a late winter storm that hit Arizona dumping over a foot of snow in blizzard conditions and had I-40 all screwed up. Sunday there was almost 200 miles of I-40 closed due to weather. By Monday most of it was cleared but there was still problems for westbound travelers. There was at least a 15 mile traffic jam east of Kingman. There were numerous cars and 18 wheelers that had crashed overnight littering the median and I did run into a few flurries and icy patches, but for the most part eastbound 40 was OK. I wanted to stop at Meteor Crater, but could see a storm closing in and I wanted to stay ahead of it.

It will likely be a while before I return and it definitely won't be in the SLK, but man I do love Las Vegas!

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