Wednesday, June 17th - After a very comfortable sleep in our Family Room in Green River,Utah, Kat, Arp, and myself headed down to the lobby for breakfast. I had been told last night that was the food was all prepared fresh on the premises, and oh boy, were they right! Omelets of all shapes and sizes, biscuits with gravy, sausage, bacon, and more all prepared in a kitchen by a chef. I ordered the western omelet and enjoyed every bit of it. Again, it looks like we get what we pay for, considering this had been our most expensive hotel yet at $117.
After breakfast, we hit the road for Vegas! As soon as we got on the road, I noticed the first sign we came across, "Next Services 109 Miles." Wow. Now, I know that 109 miles isn't a long way considering we've easily driven for longer than that at a time, but when you see what you're driving through, you can't help but be a little nervous. Desert and mountains. A ranch here and there. And nothing more.
The temperature alternated between 75 and 100 degrees as we traveled through mountainous areas and sandy barren deserts. Our drive even took us through Death Valley, where the temperature actually reached 102 (with a rumored 45 degree overnight.) We tried not to worry about getting stranded in the desert (thanks to our trusty Ford Explorer, Faith) and continued on our way.
We drove from Utah through Arizona (for about 25 miles) and onto Nevada where we experienced our third and final time change. By early evening, we had arrived in Las Vegas, and made our way to our hotel room at the Planet Hollywood Resort. I have previously stayed at the Excalibur and MGM Grand, and was excited to stay at a location more in the center of the strip. Of course, as usual, the reason we had picked this place was because it was cheap AND it offered a free bottle of wine with our stay if we booked through Travelocity. Which we did.
And when I say this room was cheap, I sincerely mean it. Our room total with everything included was only $82. PLUS a free bottle of wine. Well worth it as the room turned out to be VERY comfortable on top of everything else, offering us a couple of piece of free movie memorabilia as well (seeing as it is the Planet Hollywood Resort and all.) In our room, we found a framed picture of the cast from the television series "MASH," as well as the camera Hawkeye used in the series and the top portion of Loretta Swift's on-set chair (essentially the cloth from the back of a director's chair.) Kinda neat.
We retrieved our bottle of wine quickly and planned to drink it before hitting the strip for food and fun. Of course, we immediately noticed that our room did not have a bottle opener for wine nor did the front desk. They advised us to contact room service, which would have meant waiting for room service. We decided to screw it (no pun intended) and open it ourselves. Using a standard ball point pen, we PUSHED the cork INTO the bottle. It took a few minutes, but before long, we were enjoying a lovely bottle of Beringer white wine from 2005.
As soon as we finished the bottle, we made our way to the casino floor of the Planet Hollywood and then to dinner on the Miracle Mile (a shopping mall directly behind the casino.) We ate at a lovely Mexican restaurant and found ourselves ready for the remainder of the evening after a couple of frozen margaritas (delicious.)
We made our way back to the casino floor, where the three of us each redeemed our free $5 slot cards, and played on various penny machines. Kat picked one out for me to play on called "Benny's Big Game." I played only six times before winning $20.00. Considering that was the most I had ever won in Vegas, I decided to stop right then and there (essentially winning back the money I had lost in Deadwood at Cadillac Jacks.) Kat proceeded to play her $5 and ended up winning $40! Arp didn't fair as well with his $5 and lost a few more dollars as well.
With our money at Planet Hollywood spent, we began our walk north on the strip, stopping at the Bellagio to view the fountains dance, then Paris where we again each gambled a free $5 offered to us. Kat ended up $10 up (totaling a winnings of $50 altogether for the night) while Arp and I didn't win anything more. The cool thing at Paris is the appearance of new "Star Trek" penny slots with a very robust animation display and mission system. And not the new "Star Trek" either. It was all graphics and voices from The Original Series. The slots even had "Star Trek" chairs with built in speakers to enhance the sound effects. Very cool indeed.
From there, we continued up the strip, hoping to make it to Circus Circus (as I had never been to Circus Circus before), but by 10:30, we were already beginning to fade from our long day of driving, and decided to stop at Treasure Island, where we watched the outdoor "Call of the Sirens" show. Now, I could have sworn that this show was actually pretty good, but I was very very wrong. Full of terrible sexual innuendo, scantily clad sirens, and pirates who kept taking their shirts off for no reason, I found very little redeemable about this show other than the pyrotechnics and sinking pirate ship (a pretty cool practical effect.) We left early as to not be overcome by the crowds of people also watching the show. (One particularly terrible line, uttered by the head siren, was "The last seaman in my cove called me Sin." Ugh.)
We began heading back to Planet Hollywood, and by 12:15, we were back in the casino where Arp attempted to break even by trying out the "Jaws" penny slots and "Alien Vs Predator" penny slots. At first, it didn't look good, but then, a last minute set of wins put him $1.63 into the positive, meaning that all three of us had come out of Vegas without losing money!
So overall, we got a cheap hotel room, none of us lost money, and we all had a good time. It's rare to say all three of these things after a trip to Vegas, but here we were, comfortable in our beds, content knowing we had done it. The only thing that began to creep up in our subconsciouses was the knowledge that only a few more days remained in our trip. In fact, tonight would be the last night we'd spend in a hotel room together. But what a splendid last night it was.