Here we go again. I couldn’t hold out any longer. We’re out in the western U.S. again. The travel getting here was a little easier and a lot faster this time. We left Indy at a leisurely 10:00 AM on Delta Airlines. No Harley this time. No direct flights were available so we flew from Indy to Minneapolis then on to Las Vegas. Not a straight line route for sure, but it was effective.
The Minneapolis airport it huge. We had almost an hour between flights but by the time we walked from gate D1 to gate G22 our next flight was already boarding. That is not the type of schedule I usually put together. It did however look good on paper. It’s a good thing we’re in better physical shape this year than previous years. The distance was a mile and a quarter from gate to gate. Safely on the plane, off we went.
Three and a half hours later we were landing in Las Vegas. I was getting pretty squirmy in the seat by the time we landed. The first stop was at the closest restroom. While I was in there, the PA system announced that the airport emergency had been resolved and we were free to go back to normal operation. I was already in “normal operation” mode so I was only slightly concerned that I had just barely avoided an airport emergency. Either that or someone recognized how badly I needed the men’s room and cleared a path by announcing the emergency.
Another mile and half walk plus a shuttle ride to baggage claim and we were one step closer to actual vacation. Picking up the rental car involved a bus ride of 10 minutes. The reservation was located and we breezed through the rental car process. Now my confidence was growing that our first day was going to end up fine even if done in a rush. We walked out to the car pick-up area and it was empty.
“Hey – where’s my car?”
“Sorry sir but we have no mid-size sedans. We have subcompacts. You can wait and see what comes in or I can offer you a free upgrade.”
Magic words – “free” and “upgrade” don’t always mean good things. “You can have your choice of a red, a silver, or a black minivan.”
A what????? NO WAY. I don’t need luxury but not a minivan. “There is really no other choice sir. I did give you the Dodge with the eco-boost 4 cylinder engine so it will get a little better gas mileage than the others.” Great – an underpowered minivan and us headed for the mountains.
I swallowed what little pride I had left and loaded the bags in the silver minivan. At least no one I know will see me behind the wheel of this thing. Only one last thing to worry about and the day will be over.
I had made reservation at a casino – The Pahrump Nugget to be exact. I am not much for gambling but Jana is good at it and seems to have some success. The problem was I couldn’t for the life of me find the confirmation number or any sign that the reservation had actually been made. I worry about everything. I ended up making a second reservation for the same place and printed out the new confirmation just as we left home. It turns out I was worried for nothing. At the desk at the casino I was told I actually had two rooms reserved. Fortunately, I was able to cancel one of them and all the first day worries were over.
On the way to Pahrump, we stopped for lunch at a place that sounded way more fun than it really was – “The Diner”. It was picked from a list of options appearing on the GPS. It was a nearly new building conveniently located at the entrance to an “RV resort” which was really a high end camp ground for motor homes. The diner was supposed to resemble something from the ’50’s but really just looked all wrong – a good idea with bad execution. We had salads and fountain drinks – $36.00. So much for cheap food in the Vegas area.
I watched Jana get started at the blackjack table in the casino then headed back upstairs. She came up a short time later after minimal losses and maximal fun. Day one was complete with little damage except for the minivan thing.