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My December weekend in Las Vegas

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Kathy98, Dec 7, 2010.

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  1. Kathy98

    Kathy98 Tourist

    Jan 4, 2002

    My Trip Report

    I had a 7 pm flight out of JFK on JetBlue. I really like JetBlue. The first checked bag is free and they offer free snacks and soft drinks throughout the flight.

    A man put his bag in an empty overhead compartment in the front of the plane when he boarded and proceeded to his seat in the back of the plane. A steward saw this and took the bag out of the compartment and carried it back to the man saying, ‘I think you forgot this.’ It was really funny.

    The pilot came out of the cockpit just before we took off and mentioned the flight time, air speed, etc and then mentioned that he spoke to the crew and that they are all very excited to be going to Las Vegas and none of them is going to ‘grab a beer and blast the emergency slide.’ I am easily amused.

    We land in Vegas and I catch a taxi to the New York New York (‘NYNY’). I see cowboys everywhere. The rodeo is in town. Yahoooo !!! I unpack and go to bed. It is about 2 am my time.

    I get up early the next morning and jog down the Strip. I love doing that. Early morning is my favourite time of day. I go back to the hotel and pay $10 to use the steam room and whirlpool at the spa. This becomes a daily routine.

    I had asked Presidential Limo for a town car to take me to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I instead get a limo but the driver said I would just have to pay the town car rate. I actually would have preferred the town car. Oh well.

    Driving into the raceway I see about a half dozen ambulances parked in different locations. I do not feel good about that.

    We get to the track and there is a car going around the part of the track that I can see at about a million miles an hour and sounding like a jet. It scares me. It scares me even more knowing that I will soon be riding in a car going around that very track.

    I go to an area where they have tents near the racetrack and I sign up to ride ‘shotgun,’ meaning that I sit in the passenger seat of a stock car, and ride three times around the track at about 165 miles and hour. I am terrified. I pay my money and I am given a jumpsuit to put on over my clothes. I was also given a helmet that must have weighed 20 pounds. I thought I would topple over when I put it on.

    There were quite a few people doing this. There was one couple where the guy refused to do it but his girlfriend did. That was funny.

    It was soon my turn. I was terrified. I climb into the car through the passenger window. The inside of the car seemed like it is all roll bars. The steering wheel looked homemade. The driver shakes my hand. They strap me in the chair. I can barely move and then the driver takes off like a rocket.

    I have no idea if I screamed the entire ride. Maybe I just whimpered. I just remember thinking each time we entered a curve that the car can not possibly make it through the curve going that fast. I was petrified. I just stared straight ahead thinking I was going to die. I was wondering how many times the car would roll before it burst into flames. I have never been so scared.

    The ride was over before I knew it. They say it lasts about two minutes. I could not believe the driver was doing this over and over again with different people. It seemed it would be exhausting to drive the car even once around the track at those speeds.

    They take your pic when you are in the car. I had to buy the pic even though they mount it on an ugly wooden plaque. Jeez.

    I saw an ad for this the last time I was in Las Vegas and thought it would be cool to do it. I have never been to a NASCAR race in my life and only know that Richard Petty is somehow associated with racing. The Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway conducts this ride. I might do it again. It really was a rush.

    We head back to Las Vegas and I have the driver drop me off at the Stratosphere . I get a bite to eat and take the ‘secret’ elevator to the ticket office for the tower. I buy my ticket and soon am zooming to the top of the tower.

    I go on the Insanity ride. That is cool. That is the ride where they swing you around over the side of the tower. I have been on all the rides on the tower and this is likely the best. Well, not all the rides, it turns out.

    They have a new ride that I did not know they had. It looked wild. You jump off of the tower attached to what looks like a bungee chord. Yep. You literally jump off the side of the tower. Google ‘Stratosphere sky jump’ and you will find videos of people jumping off of the tower. It looks wild. I have to learn more about this.

    I take a taxi over to the Encore. I have a ticket for Garth Brooks. The location of my seat is incredible. I am in the eight-row dead center. I got the ticket when they first became available through a National Finals Rodeo promotion. I saw Garth this past August. Steve Wynn doubled the ticket price since then. All the tickets cost the same no matter where you sit.

    Garth basically did the same show I saw in August but sitting less than 15 feet from him made a world of difference. He does not do a traditional concert. He talks a lot during the show. And, he sings songs by Elton John, Bob Dylan, etc. It is an amazing show and I will definitely see it again. He is just amazing. Absolutely amazing.

    Trisha Yearwood, Garth’s wife, came out on stage and they sang ‘In Another’s Eyes,’ and ‘Walkaway Joe.’ I love those songs. The concert was over much too soon for me.

    Strangely, after the concert, this guy came up and asked if he could take a pic of me with his girlfriend. I said, ‘sure.’ And, so, he did.

    I ate at some Asian restaurant at the Encore; it might have been at the Wynn. It sometimes is confusing knowing if you are in the Wynn or Encore. Oh well.

    The next day I head over to the Las Vegas Convention Center for Cowboy Christmas. This is really cool. It is exhibitors showing different cowboy stuff. They had exhibitors showing saddles, ropes, etc.

    One of the strange things they had was Roy Roger’s stuffed horse ‘trigger’ and his stuffed dog ‘Bullet.’ It was just an exhibit. They weren’t actually selling the stuffed Trigger or Bullet. I do not think so, anyway.

    I met my shopping downfall here. I fell in love with this cowboy hat. It was made by M.L. Leddys. It costs a ton of money but I bought it anyway. My husband told me I was nuts when I told him how much it cost. I told him if he would have come to Las Vegas with me that he might have been able to stop me from buying it. I am kidding, I would have bought it anyway. I love it.

    I feel guilty now for spending so much money on a hat I will likely wear about three days a year and decide to take one of the free shuttle buses that they run from the Convention Center to the rodeo rather than taking a taxi. I ask where the buses are and get on one. There are only a few people on it. It goes to the Riviera and everyone gets off. The driver said that he doesn’t go to the rodeo at all. Bummer. I walk though Riviera to the taxi area. I am really surprised by how nice it looks. I catch a taxi to the rodeo.

    I love the rodeo. I don’t know what I can say about it. There are a lot of cowboys and horses. It is the coolest thing in the world. Everyone is just so nice too. And, it helps to wear a cowboy hat. The only negative, I suppose, is that you almost always have to buy your tickets though a ticket agency and pay about three times the face amount. Oh well.

    I get back to my hotel; it is still early. I decide to the ride the roller coaster at NYNY. I loved it. It does a loop. I went in the ‘re-ride’ line when my ride was over. I did that a few times. The first ride was $14, the second was $7, the third was $4, and the fourth was free. They actually put a band on my wrist that said “Manhattan Express,’ the name of the roller coaster, and I think I could have ridden for free the rest of the night but four rides was enough for me.

    I eat at the Italian restaurant at my hotel.

    The next day I just walk around Caesars, Bellagio, etc looking at all the holiday decorations.

    I have a ticket to the first ever American Country Awards show at MGM arena. This is being presented by FOX TV. FOX says it is the only country awards show where the fans vote for the nominees.

    The show started at 5:00 pm and was broadcast nationwide live. I got the ticket the moment they became available. I do not think a lot of people knew about this show when the tickets first went on sale and so I got a pretty good seat.

    This list of people who performed is impressive and included Trace Adkins, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, and more. The Band Perry, which currently has the No. 1 song in country music, sang ‘If I Die Young.’ I love that song. I had a fun time. A lot of cowboy hats.

    I stayed at NYNY because it is convenient to the rodeo and the MGM Arena. And, it was too cold to go to the pool. I have always thought NYNY has the worst pool of any of the major hotels. The one regret I had was that I was going to miss the opening of the Cosmopolitan by a week. Oh well.

    Las Vegas seemed slow this trip even slower than last year when I came for the rodeo. I sure hope it picks up.

    I flew back home on an uneventful flight
  2. booker

    booker VIP Whale

    Oct 26, 2009
    Coast of Washington State
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I do believe you are a Country Adrenaline Junkie. Good report.
  3. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

    Aug 7, 2007
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Loved your report, always enjoy seeing some different type of experiences and you definitely seemed to hit a lot of different things on the trip. The Richard Petty experience is something on my 'someday' list, glad to hear it was a good time.

    You mentioned that it was only $10 for the whirlpool and sauna access at NYNY, is that due to the resort fee? Monte Carlo has something similar that they only charge guests $10 or so for full spa access rather then just fitness center, staying there next trip so I was curious.

    Thanks again for the great report.
  4. ATXTX

    ATXTX VIP Whale

    Nov 7, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    It sounds like you had a lot of fun! What a wonderful experience to be in such great seats in each venue. Enjoy your Leddy hat - if you are ever in Fort Worth you should go by their store near the stockyards, actually you would love all of the stockyards.

    Great TR! I love it when folks do things other than gambling in Vegas.
  5. trooth

    trooth Low-Roller

    Nov 21, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    That was a good read. I am not much of a country fan any more, but I have seen Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks and Trisha in different concerts years ago. I am sure you had a blast as that entertainment list was quite impressive.
  6. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

    Apr 23, 2009
    Calgary , Alberta , Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    My thoughts too! Wonderful experiences you had! You could have blown thru the cost of the Leddy hat while gambling , faster than the speed your driver took around the racetrack lol and you have something to show for it!
    I've done the rollercoaster but not the top of The STRAT rides , I dont' think I have the gumption to be that high up and try them lol
  7. rlhendrix

    rlhendrix Low-Roller

    Mar 17, 2009
    Woodstock, GA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Nice TR. I am sort of interested in why someone would want a picture with you and their girlfriend. Did you ask any questions?
  8. MarkY

    MarkY Low-Roller

    Apr 27, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Nice fun report. Can you tell me what the Richard Petty ride experience costs? Reservations needed?
  9. Kathy98

    Kathy98 Tourist

    Jan 4, 2002
    rlhendrix …

    I did not ask any questions. I just thought it was funny. I have, at times, jumped into a group picture that was being taken. I would put my arms around the people and smile brightly. No one was ever annoyed and most people think it is pretty funny. It is something I have only done in Las Vegas.

    MarkY …

    The cost of the drive is $109. They said that since I was coming by car I did not need a reservation. I am not exactly sure how else you would get there. I thought it was strange phraseology.

    I think my entire time at the track was about 25 minutes. The ride itself is only about two minutes but you have to slip on coveralls, sign waivers, etc.
  10. Easy Money

    Easy Money Tourist

    Oct 19, 2006
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    You didn't find a cowboy to take a wild ride on ???:poke:
  11. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

    Aug 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    You and I were in the same place at the same time on several occasions it would seem. We saw Garth on Sunday December 5th and I agree wholeheartedly it was money well spent!! We were in the 12th row off center to the left as you are facing the stage and the seats were wonderful. We also went to the ACAs at the MGM! I really enjoyed that show as well.
    Christmas at Cosmo
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