Once we were back in Las Vegas, we returned the rental Ford Mustang, and took a short cab ride over to the Flamingo hotel on the strip.

Our luggage was there waiting for us!

I’m really glad we picked the Flamingo. First, their colour scheme just suits me somehow.

Second, flamingos are cute and they had live ones! Third, it was a really great central location on the strip!

Inside the hotel, yet outside, in their courtyard, there were Flamingos and ducks and a black swan and koi and fish and birds. Really neat!

The High Roller ferris wheel was right behind the hotel and was neat lit up at night. Lots of palm trees too! Jeff’s first time seeing palm trees!

We dined outside on some nachos and I had my first $14 drink.

Now here’s what I have to say about Vegas. It is an iconic party place. I was always under the impression that it was cheap and there were deals. Instead, we felt nickled, dimed, and gouged the entire time we were in the city.

We pre-booked our hotels, and were comfortable with the prices. We didn’t know there was yet another $38 fee for each night for a “resort fee”. Nothing felt welcoming. In fact hotel staff would seemingly rather not interact with you at all. They promote computer screens to check in, and drop boxes to leave. The front desk staff aren’t friendly. They don’t welcome you. You’re really very much on your own.

Drinks were expensive everywhere. At least $14 unless you want a cheap domestic beer. There were no free drinks while playing slots. We only got asked if we wanted a drink at 9am and it was a tiny little bottle of water.

Otherwise, bottles of water were at least $5. Bank machines charged $7.99 to withdraw money.  There are purposely no mini-fridges in your room. There are no benches to sit outside unless you’re at a casino. Aloe for my sunburn was $15 for a little bottle. The Canadian-US exchange rate was really bad, so every charge hurt extra bad.

Expectedly though, there were drunk people everywhere. People of all sorts come to Vegas, all ages, all sizes, all walks of life, some even with toddlers! It was fun to people watch, to see the people in young love all gussied up for their man, young barely legal girls coming for a girls weekend with boxes and boxes of booze, groups of guys all in town for the construction show, people in new casts and splints and wheelchairs from incidents the night before. And many women in wedding dresses running about.

Lots of people had drinks by the yard, or bought cheaper big beer cans at a nearby drug store to chug as they walked. Drinks were so expensive, we never had more than 2-3 a day in Vegas. It was just too much money! 

I saw Elvis, and Chewy, and male strippers, and female impersonators, Jesus preachers, beggars, and more. I think I’m looking at something amazing now:

We ate barbeque, and tried out Guy Fieri’s restaurant. I had mac and cheese on a burger! It was pretty fantastic actually!

And Jeff had a Caesar unlike anything I’ve ever seen, with even a sausage and candied bacon on top!

We didn’t do the ferris wheel since it was another $20 each. We didn’t see a show either. We were constantly badgered by people trying to trick us into watching their timeshare presentation in exchange for free shows. They were relentless.

One thing was for sure though, Jeff’s Denver Bronco’s hat had people talking to him ALL THE TIME. Always asking about the team this year, and who will quarterback, and what trades or deals were in the works. What a phenomenon football is in America!

On Sunday we took a special race shuttle we had arranged to the Las Vegas Speedway to see the Monster Energy NASCAR race, and cheer on our favourite driver, Clint Bowyer. The race shuttle buses took us through the Nellis airforce base, and missed all the traffic.

We drove by the track the day before, and thought the sun was going to back at our backs for sure, so we didn’t put on that much sunscreen. 

I brought it though, and good thing we did, because that Nevada sun was insane, especially for March! It started cooking us from the outside in, like we were pale white chicken breasts on a grill. We had to hit the concession booth in the stands twice for armfuls of $5/bottle waters we were gulping, and had a $7 hot dog for lunch. It was over 30C but not humid at all.

I thought my lovely new hat was hiding my face from the sun, but apparently IT WAS NOT! Holy hellfire I was burnt to a crisp. I was actually nauseous for the next couple of days from the sun sickness and still have a big puffy hand where fluid has built up under the sunburn.

The race was good! Especially the end where Busch went on a hot headed rampage against Logano in the pits. And seeing Bowyer with a top 10 finish! The fly over of the four fighter jets before the race was really thrilling too! I was surprised there was no Goodyear blimp though! In fact, although televised, I think I ever only found two cameras around the track. They must really blend in!

The stands really filled up (the above pictures were from well before the race) but there were some open seats. I think a bunch of people had to stay in the shade under the stands too due to the hungry sun.

Seeing the race in person is a different experience from TV.  In some ways, watching on TV is great, because you have the commentary and replay, but when you watch in person, you can laser focus on a driver, and watch their techniques, when they go high, when they go low, how they pass, or get passed. Some people spend most of their time wandering around and staring into space though. Not sure everyone is as big of a fan as they think they are.

We saw Mikey Waltrip’s interviews from afar, and watched him run the length of the pits between interviews.

The race had a different crowd from the race we watched in New Hampshire a few years ago. In New Hampshire, you could bring in your own cooler, and there were way more people without shirts, on motorcycles, just a much different group of people. More rednecky, in a good way.

In Vegas you can’t bring in alcohol and beers were $8 and $9. People were still plenty drunk though. We heard the Vegas race sells more merchandise than at any other track. We tried, but with Bowyer switching teams this year, there just really wasn’t much to buy!

Unfortunately the Las Vegas race track has lots to figure out with their flow of people after a race. Everyone gets let out the back and the shuttles they promise to start in 30 minutes, didn’t, and once they finally moved, they took just a load each, and then disappeared leaving hundreds (thousands?) of people left stranded with no clear understanding of how to get around to the far side, or any assurance that they weren’t going to miss their bus shuttle into town. It was really quite frustrating, especially being on the verge of sunstroke!

90 minutes later we got around to catch the last of the buses back to the strip. The NASCAR hauler trucks even left the garages with the cars before we left!

We spent the night lathering ourselves with aloe, and took it really easy on our last day in the city. On our last night, we meet my coworker Eric on the strip. He was on a vacation with his family. His young son is a Taco Bell fan, so we went to the big two storey Taco Bell that even served alcohol with your order! It was a fun place! And actually the first affordable meal we had in Vegas! Maybe that is why there is a growing number of fast food franchises popping up on the strip.

It was fun to see someone I knew, but afterwards, when we were half a block away I was kicking myself for forgetting to take a picture of all of us! We were getting pretty worn out I guess!

We were up at 4am the last day to head home. Luckily for us, the flights were on time and fairly uneventful.

We even pushed the day super long, and drove the 6 hours back to Dawson once we arrived in Whitehorse. It was much colder and snowy in the Yukon, but with the time change, we’ve sprung ahead here into sunsets after 8pm already!

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

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