Arriving in Vegas

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011 at 12:29

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Our arrival into Vegas was the end of a big journey from Perth but the start of our great family adventure of Western USA of 36 days. We timed our arrival to allow 6 days for David to adjust to the climate, attend the various pre-race activities and complete his taper as a competitor in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships so our 9 day Vegas visit was probably unlike what you might expect.

Trip Day 1: Vegas Day 1

Monday September 5, 2011

Arriving in Vegas by plane during the day is spectacular - a most unexpected
vista of mountain ranges surround what appears below to be a rather typical urban community. As the plane descends to the Tarmac you notice a long street of massive skyscrapers - " the strip" of hotels that transforms by night into a neon wonderland.

Our first impressions of Vegas started the moment we entered the airport terminal. In contrast to what can only be described as "squallor" at Los Angeles terminal, Vegas was clean, modern, trendy, well organized and above all friendly! We followed signs to baggage collection, stepping into what we thought was a lift but quickly realized we were on a train inside the terminal being whisked away on the Hogwarts Express! We exited inside the baggage carousel area then out to a shuttle bus to the hire car pickup terminal. All so efficient and streamlined! We had already passed through customs at LAX (took 10 mins). We had booked our car online the day before we left home (economy car rentals) on advice from ExplorOz members Dave &Shell (yes, what a coincidence!) so went straight to the Alamo counter. Here, the US sales talk began! Of course, they didn't have vehicles that matched the description of what we thought we'd booked (Jeep, Grande) and he tried to tell us that the equivalent would not be big enough, we should upgrade! I had heard of this so was a difficult customer to persuade so made him show me the cars in the lot and stuck to a firm no until he dropped the upgrade price of a bigger SUV to $30 more for the total hire period of 3 weeks - $1600. We were pretty happy with that as the GMC Acadia was well appointed, the kids loved the single seats with armrests and their own climate controls. The hatch was more spacious than our Landcruiser!

So finally, we hit the Vegas roads and easily found The Desert Rose Resort and were very impressed. We were checked-in and into our room in no time, freshened up and walked to the MGM for dinner in the the themed Rainforest Cafe. Walking through a Vegas casino for the first time was an experience for all of us but was necessary to reach the restaurant. This was a Vegas extravaganza with rainforest animal animatronics including sound effects, lights and aquarium. Dinner was filling, not as expensive as we had expected and a great way to start our trip. We easily walked back to our hotel and welcomed our wonderful beds.

As I've written so much, the next days will be summarized in my next blog - please read on Vegas Diary
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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