Upon returning back to the West after Thanksgiving break, I had to pick up Shelly and drive her back to our hotel because I was the first one back. I had driven Shelly on my own before, but only for short distances and definitely not through the craziness that is L.A. traffic. I thought everything was going pretty well when suddenly Shelly’s door decided to pop open in the middle of the freeway. I didn’t know what to do other than to completely stop, park, and go close it before all of my luggage flew out the door, never to be seen again. I managed to pull this off pretty seamlessly, and couldn’t help but laughing the rest of the way home at how it must’ve looked to others and how bad the whole situation could’ve been.
Odd as that start was, the week seemed to follow a similar suit of embracing less than ideal circumstances. For starters, the next morning as we prepared to drive to Las Vegas, our nut door decided not to work and we had to delay Vegas for a trip to Penske instead. When we finally did hit the road though, the drive was almost better because we got to drive into Vegas at night and see the strip lit up in all its glory. This was my first time in Vegas, and I couldn’t help but think of the classic movie “The Hangover” and even requested the song they play as they ride into the city, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” by Kanye West, to complete the moment.
Our Vegas hotel was pretty far from where all the action was, but luckily for us, Clay Grover (Elise’s dad) was visiting us for the week and staying at the Wynn Hotel, right on the strip. As you can imagine, we spent as much time as possible at his hotel rather than ours and ate several meals right in the Wynn. Our first night in town was mainly spent walking up and down the strip, looking at all of the lights and musically-synchronized fountains, and partaking in some very interesting people watching. We also stopped at the Bellagio and I had Conner explain the rules of Blackjack to me while we observed several rounds at a table. When I finally tried it out (it was my first time gambling) I sat down and immediately lost about $60, which is not surprising as I have been known to have pretty much the worst luck in the world.
While we were in Vegas we were hoping to see Cirque du Soleil, but couldn’t find last minute tickets to a show. I was initially pretty bummed because I’ve always wanted to see one, but then Elise’s Dad found us tickets to an aqua acrobatics show, La Reve, that was right in the Wynn. The show was in a round theatre and the cast moved seamlessly in and out of the water as they danced, sang and performed stunts including trapeze and high dives. It truly was a dream – which is what La Reve means in English.
After La Reve, Conner and I felt that the only thing missing from our Vegas experience was a night out at a club. However, going to one turned out to be easier said than done. We had had several recommended to us, but almost all of them had an extremely high cover, especially for guys. Feeling slightly defeated, Conner and I bought a huge pineapple dole whip Daquiri to split and continued to walk the strip (you can drink virtually anywhere in Vegas). Just as we were about to throw the towel in and head for home, a guy came up to us and offered us free tickets to Chateau Nightclub, which is on top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel. Not only did we proceed to get in for free, but we also happened to end up at a virtually private, rooftop Ginuwine concert. By virtually private, I mean that he performed more in the center of the crowd than on a stage and stayed to party with everyone afterward. I’m telling you guys, life is nuts.
All in all, I felt like I got the full Vegas experience in my time there: I lost some money, partied with a celebrity and got to experience the over-the-top hotels, meals and shows. A lot of these experiences that made the week so great wouldn’t have happened if we simply gave up after our first plan failed. I think one of the things I like most about my team is that both of them are pretty easygoing and adaptable when things don’t go our way, and we all manage to stay positive in even the worst of situations. Maintaining that attitude has made our west coast road trip that much better, and Las Vegas was just another unforgettable stop with my Westie Besties.