9 hours of alone time...in vegas. muahahahahahahaha.
after saying goodbye to the bean, squeezing in a barre class and packing a few last-minute items, MIL dropped me off at ontario airport and my adventure officially began.
i'd forgotten to check in for my flight until late the day before, and so i'd gotten stuck at the end of the "B" boarding group. but i got lucky and found a middle seat in the third row, so it was all good. the flight to vegas was a quick one, and we landed almost as soon as we'd reached cruising altitude. like, the flight attendants literally handed out drinks and then turned right around and started picking up cups and cans to get it all cleaned up before landing. and as soon as i exited the plane and started making my way to baggage claim, i saw this:
only in vegas, man. and maybe i've never really paid attention at other airports before, but i thought it was funny to see a sign that not only pointed you towards baggage claim, but also to the nearest liquor store.
the carousels were surrounded by lots of bright, colorful ads for vegas entertainment.
once i had my bag in hand, i opened my lyft app and requested a ride. i guess lyft and uber and the like are still facing opposition of some sort, because i practically had to go through an obstacle course to find where i could be picked up.
my driver was friendly and chatty, and the half hour drive to the hotel went by quickly. i'd never been to the red rock resort before, so it really was an all-new adventure for me.
i had no issues dropping off my suitcase at the bell desk, and after inquiring about a shuttle to the strip i decided to check out the resort a little. and what do you know, the first thing i saw as i looked around was this:
now, because the temperature in vegas was rather brisk for this so cal girl, i actually opted for a hot drink. first red cup of the season!
but this also presented a bit of a problem, as i hadn't really packed any real cold weather clothing. with the journey i was about to embark upon over the weekend, i knew i needed to find some stuff to keep me comfortable. i'd noticed some shops across the street from the resort, and so after sitting in the lobby charging my phone for a while, i set out in search of stuff to spend money on. my lyft driver had told me that this was a brand new mall, and with the shuttle to the strip only leaving every two hours, i decided to stay close to "home" and walked over to check it out.
it was rather...empty looking from where i first entered. a lot of the shops were still "coming soon," and i was a little confused.
but hey, there was a great view of the mountains and the skating rink that would open soon.
i kept walking though, and then...
i managed to find a few things that would work out well, and then i headed out to see more of the mall. i wandered in and out of a bunch of stores, keeping in mind that my suitcase was already pretty full of race gear, and did a good job of not buying anything else. and then i remembered that i hadn't really eaten much, and so i decided to stop here for some grub.
while the menu looked pretty good, i decided to go for some dim sum off of the cart instead.
it was starting to get dark and even chillier, and so i decided to go back to the resort and do a little more exploring.
good thing i had ruled out a visit to the spa.
i was amused to find this machine. i would've sat down to play it just because, but i just can't deal with those digital slot machines with a thousand different lines and characters and things. i prefer the OG slots where you actually pull the lever and watch the reels spin.
as i kept walking, i saw it - a row of my beloved old school slot machines, and the best ones EVER - wheel of fortune!
because i'm cheap, i opted for the quarter slots vs. the dollar ones. and then i plunked my happy ass down and started playing. not too much later, i hit it:
spinning that wheel is the best, man. i love it. although hitting red, white and blue 7s ain't bad.
i was making that machine my bitch, man. i must've sat there for an hour at least.
i finally got up when i had to take a potty break. i didn't want to break the winning streak, but nature calls. and hey - not bad for an hour's entertainment and having started with $20!
i tried my hand at a little three-card poker, but i'm not very good at it. so i got up and checked out the other tables, and when i found the $5 blackjack i immediately took a seat.
i lost a little there, which was okay. after all, i don't go expecting to win - i always set a budget for myself that i'm okay with losing, and anything over that is just icing on the cake.
around 11, i finally met up with my cousin and my friend interview, who had picked up our van on their way from the airport. we walked down this super long hallway on the 12th floor towards our room:
and the room itself was really nice.
downstairs in the hotel cafe, we discovered that the players' card i'd signed up for in the casino entitled us to some seriously cheap eats. the three of us each had a plate like this and the total bill was under $12.
around 1am, we finally called it a night and hit the pillows for some rest before our first day of ragnar. shopping, gambling and cheap food - i'd call it a pretty successful first day in vegas, wouldn't you?