Got up early, had a buffet breakfast in the Hotel Roosevelt where we had the best service we have had in America. We then headed for the souvenir shops to make some quick last minute purchases of things we had scoped out earlier in the trip. America is very much like New Zealand regarding shopping hours, nothing opens till 10.00am. However here they stay open till around 8.00pm.
We checked out, the valet brought our car back and we were off to Vegas!!! However we did make a stop at the Gene Autry Museum because we had paid for it as part of the CityPass. Our time would have been better off going to the Griffith Observatory or Venice Beach as we didn’t get to those desired destinations due to time constraints. It was ok, kind of like the american version of the stockman’s hall of fame, but we didn’t really give it much quality gawking as we were anxious to head off to Vegas. I did get to see the Billy Crystal’s blue cap from City Slickers and Thelma and Louise’s blouse. Even saw Billy the Kid’s gun! Actually there was a massive room just full of guns from the old west.
After leaving the museum we jumped back on the I-5 to a little adventure that I’m not allowed to talk about because it involves Kelly’s present. Lets just say the journey through the building to make the purchase was an experience in itself. 🙂
We then took the I-10 across LA encountering only one traffic jam and then we hit the I-15 to Vegas. About 10 minutes after hitting that freeway we were crawling, and we pretty much crawled the rest of the 3 hour drive to Barstow (normally only takes about 2 hrs). This was due to a combination of the usual suspects – roadworks and accidents. At Barstow we stopped to go outlet shopping. There are two outlet malls on the outskirts of Barstow, one has over 100 shops stocking brands such as gap, tommy, reebok and levis. These are the faulty, left over or dodgy stock for sale, and some were drastically discounted. Pauline and I both picked up some bargains. We then went to In-N-Out burger for dinner which is a chain that has a menu similar to what McDonalds had when it started out (i.e hamburger, cheeseburger, drink). We had to wait quite a long time for it (in fast food measurements) because they make each burger fresh for you. But it was worth the wait as it was the best fast food burger I’ve ever had. The thing we have experienced lately was the fact that we are always waiting in line for something. It’s rare that you can get something or see something immediately. I thought this country was renowned for it’s “I want it now” policy, but it seems they have learned patience.
Our stay in Barstow lasted several hours and it was about 7.00pm by the time we hit the road again. Traffic had calmed down a bit and we were able to go quite a distance before we hit the snarls again. The snarls lasted the entire way to Vegas, and we didn’t check in until 11.00pm. Our 5 hour trip from LA to Vegas ended up taking us 11. At least we had a movie to watch on the Powerbook while we were crawling.
We actually passed through a small casino area near the California-Nevada border called Primm. It kind of gave you a taste of what’s to come. I’ve since learned later that prostitution is legal in Primm, but not in Vegas. Apparently the taxi drivers who take the ladies to Primm get paid a percentage, and also have a very nice waiting area (this is all according to the driver on the Vegas trolley bus).
We found the carpark to the hotel easily, weren’t forced to use the valet service although we did have to walk a mile from the carpark to the room with our gear (might have been better to just tip them). And I’m not exaggerating when I say we had to walk a mile. Our hotel is enormous, it takes 3 minutes to walk down the hall to get to our room, and there are two other wings! Pauline was anxious to get a taste of the town, and even though it was late you wouldn’t have noticed what time it was. Vegas is stunning and amazing and tacky and glitzy and totally an adult themepark. We watched the dancing fountains at Bellagio, took some pictures of the Eiffel tower coming out of the Paris casino, and looked at the mannequins on the ferris wheel at Boardwalk. Just as we were leaving our hotel to embark on this journey I put $1 in the slot machine near the door and won $11!! Beginners luck?? Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.