Ramble On

Monday, October 24, 2011

Leaving Las Vegas

Well, I surprised myself at the number of posts that I was able to pull together about my recent trip to Las Vegas and the side trip to Death Valley.  But all good things must end, and today will be the last post on that topic. By the way, press play on the video above while you read this post, if you'd like some ambience.
These days, and dating back to the early '90's, it's my preference to get an aisle seat on a plane. I'll go to great lengths for that position; mind you, it doesn't offset legroom, but the liberty for just one of my shoulders in the confined space of a flight is worth it. But I put aside that objective for part of the return home from Vegas - the relatively short flight from Las Vegas to Denver - and took the window seat I was assigned. That decision turned out to offer something of a treat.

My view was to the northwest of our flight path, and since we were flying in the late afternoon the sun's rays were not so bright in the cabin. I opened the shade periodically to check progress - I guess I snapped an iPhone photo every 15 to 20 minutes - they are shown here in order. The first is of part of Lake Mead, just outside of Vegas, then they track Nevada and Utah, ending with the snowcapped 14-er in Colorado.

(Note - the blogspot photo interface is giving me fits today. Sorry about the disjointed text layout!)

In particular, as I was flying over Utah, I realized that I was seeing landscapes I drove through once, down I-15 from the Rockies to the Los Angeles basin.  It was amazing, the sense of recognition I had for the views and geology.

On that trip, I had stayed overnight at a Motel 6 in Green River, Utah, with the plan to drive all the way in to Los Angeles the next day. I had car trouble in the southwest corner of that state - after six years of weekends only use the radiator coolant in my Oldsmobile had calcified, and the car was not up to the heat of desert driving. After consulting with AAA (and giving Mary a healthy scare back in DC), they referred me to a 24-hour service station on the Strip in Las Vegas, so for the rest of that Sunday afternoon I limped into the Bright Lights City, driving until the red light came on and then pulling over until it went off.

I got a room in the Motel Six just off the Strip, as it happens only a block away from where I stayed this time.  The service station replaced my radiator overnight (I spent most of the day in the MGM Grand sports bookwatching the ponies); my car was ready by 11am, and I was on the road at noon.  The charge was around $400, very reasonable for what they had to do and for my my circumstances.  They even called Mary a week later to check in and make sure I had gotten where I was going.

By the way, that service station is long gone now, it stood approximately where the Bellagio fountains are now.  But I do remember that experience as among the best adventures I've had, not to mention one of the best customer service experiences I've ever witnessed.

A few years later as I was visiting my grandparents, I had occasion to remember all this when I saw the postcard I had sent them from Green River, Utah on their refridgerator. Grandma said that when they first retired, about 15 years earlier, they had also stopped for a while in Green River - they were car camping though.  That campground was only two blocks from the Motel 6, so it's very likely we saw the same things.

Well, with the photo of the 14-er coming up here, I'm reaching the end of my tale.  I had a great trip to Las Vegas and out west.  If you've never been, it's well worth it. 

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