In the land of margaritas by the yard, non-existent open container laws and glassy eyes from a long night before, I found myself not at the head of a craps table, or mesmerized by a sparkling overhead light parade, but at a brewery. Although Las Vegas may be well known for its sin city ways, they do have a decent amount of breweries in the area. And you know me, I love checking out new breweries!
In the dark of night, the dynamite charges explode. Puffs of sparks and debris shoot out the windows and the building begins to lose its balance. Wobbling, as though it has become weak in the knees, knowing its final moments are near. The walls give way and floor after floor comes crashing down to the ground. It is the fate of many hotels in Las Vegas.
It was a night in early January of this year. I laid awake, tossing and turning for more hours than I was able to sleep. I had had an extra stressful week at work. In addition to that, I also had building pressure from financial woes that had been plaguing me for the last few months. If it could happen, it did. My refrigerator died on me, check. Unexpected car repairs, check. Trouble with my main heat source for my home during an unseasonably cold winter, check. Canceled my annual spring road trip due to reallocating funds to lame adult responsibilities, check. Pulled over for the first time and given a ticket, check.
After we returned from our visit to the Valley of Fire we were in need of dinner. Amy decided to turn in for the night and Laura contacted the married couple to see if they would join us. They decided not to meet us. I will save you most of the remaining drama of that story and leave it with they still owe me money for our shared expenses and I have never spoken to them since. Not that I ever expect to get that money but it really points out the fact that you have to be careful when you plan trips with others. No one likes traveling with a wet blanket and the wife was a sobbingly soaked wet blanket most of the trip.
Amy and I had gotten ready the next day earlier than the rest of the group. We left Laura getting ready in the hotel room and who knows what the married couple were doing – perhaps wringing themselves out from being a wet blanket?
During our wait Amy and I walked over to the Paris Hotel and took the Eiffel Tower Ride to the top. I am not normally afraid of heights but as we were in the elevator climbing the 46 stories, my stomach got a little weak.
Grand Canyon West is located closest to Las Vegas. It is not actually part of the Grand Canyon National Park, but part of the Hualapai American Indian Reservation. In my opinion the difference in scenery is minimal and by visiting Grand Canyon West it will save you an additional 5 hour round trip. Pretty important when you are in a car full of people who are on the brink of not getting along.
We had been planning the Vegas trip for around 6 months, so I was pretty confident that everyone knew what was planned and could all budget appropriately. I had also made it clear that although I would have an itinerary, that no one else other than me was obligated to do anything on that itinerary. I also felt that I had done a good job of incorporating the ideas from my other friends if anyone had made suggestions. Are you sensing disaster? Good…
After I returned from my driving experience it was now time to experience Vegas. I was hungry after I tried my hand at being a NASCAR driver so our first stop was going to be Cabo Wabo Cantina, located near the Planet Hollywood hotel.
Cabo Wabo held a special spot in my heart, well not so much the restaurant, but Sammy Hagar, who founded Cabo Wabo in 1990. The Red Rocker had been a part of my life since I was a child as my mom was a huge fan. I had spent many years listening to his music as a solo artist and while he fronted for Van Halen. Although I preferred the days of Van Halen with frontman David Lee Roth, I still could not deny that I was excited to stop by the restaurant. My friends and I ordered up our Mexican inspired meals and a few margaritas.
I set my alarm for 6:30am. Waking up this early in Vegas seemed unnatural. Not that people are up at 6:30am, but most of those people had yet to go to bed from the night before. I had gone to bed early the day before as I had an important task for the day. I had purchased myself a 3-lap ride along in a NASCAR stock car at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
My first memory of Las Vegas was when I was around 12 years old. My parents, best friend and I were headed to California and briefly stopped in Vegas. It was late, most likely around midnight and my mom was adamant about seeing the Vegas strip, even against my dad’s wishes. It was always cute how he thought he could talk her out of something.