Sunday 2nd July 2017

Waking up and heading out this morning was on the plans. It was the final day of our vacation and both of us did not really want it to end, but we did want to head home (at least Heidi wanted to just see Darcy again). After breakfast at the hotel (one final waffle for the road!) and checking out, we gassed the car and headed out for the airport. With the mess that is LAX we gave ourselves plenty of time. The roads were with us this morning as what is usually a 2 hour drive, turned into less than an hour. We made it to LAX with so much time to spare.

We stopped for some ice cream at Thrifty Ice Cream (found in a Rite Aid, drug store ice cream is awesome!) and then we headed over to Imperial Hill for some spotting for a while. I got to see a few new planes, get some decent photos and Heidi enjoyed some sunshine (as the marine layer slowly burned out). After a while it was time to get back on track to the airport. We topped off the car, and headed back over to the National lot to drop off Buzz.

Back to the terminal area to check in for my second flight of the trip. We were flying home Delta (due to time and price) but they had just moved in LAX. So our flight was going out of Terminal 2 so that is where we got dropped off. Once inside though they made it clear that only International check ins are at T2 and all domestic check ins are T3. Well that is just stupid! So we had to drag the bags over to T3 and drop them off. We decided to go through security at T3 rather than T2 as it was a little bit quieter. Through Pre Check (a bit of a line) and it was back to being in the airport. We took the bus over to T2 so got a free ramp tour on the way.

Over in T2 it was a mess (but then so was T3) there was no help desks anywhere, barely any signage and over all a shit show is the best description. But the terminal was pretty (thanks to Westfield forking out for the upgrades before Delta took over). We found a place to sit down and get some power, relax and wait out the bedlam. After an hour or so our plane showed up so we headed over towards our gate.

Delta Air Lines – DL2515
Los Angeles to Seattle Tacoma
Boeing 737-800 (N390DA)
Comfort+ – Seat 12F

Boarding: 1420 (Gate 21B)
Push Back: 1452
Take Off Roll: 1502 (Runway 24L)
Top of Descent: 1642
Touch Down: 1704 (Runway 34L)
Shut Down: 1730 (Gate A1)

Just before boarding was called I had a chat with the gate agent mentioning that it was a flight with a large stand by list and that all the upgrades to Comfort+ had been completed and if there was a chance of any further upgrades. Next thing I know two new boarding passes were being printed. A little bit later Boarding was called and it was a major shit show! People lining up everywhere, everyone thinking they can get onboard when they shouldn’t. Total bedlam. Thankfully we had the new boarding passes and were heading onboard soon.

We got settled onboard and the flow of people just kept coming. A lot of people mixed up with seats and a lot of back and forth about people apparently sitting in seats that weren’t. Eventually we were able to button up and get ourselves pushed back. It was a quick taxi out of the ramp area to the taxiway but we were in a constant line up. We were onboard a 2ku fitted aircraft so even though it said we could have wifi from gate to gate, I couldn’t get the hook up to settle down till we were almost on the runway. So I stayed offline till we were airborne.

While we were waiting to line up, I started to get a movie selected so that I could enjoy some entertainment on the flight. Movies were included but then I also had a Wifi promo code as well. We took off with plenty of power out over the ocean before turning back over the coast just north of LAX and headed North. I turned on the wifi and got connected and fired up a movie to watch.

About 20 minutes after take off they handed out a snack to everyone in Comfort+. We were happy to buy a snack box each as we had some credit from Amex to use. But they didn’t offer them out for sale at all. Hell we didn’t even get to have any biscoff, they offered one type of snack packet and that is it. Very disappointing.

The flight just kind of went on without a hassle, I watched my movie, hung out on the internet, all the usual things in this day and age. Pretty soon we were crossing into Washington and starting descent. It was pretty easy flight. It was great to be able to just relax all the way home. We had a straight descent into SeaTac and before we knew it we were coming in over Federal Way and Des Moines. We touched down on the far runway and had a long taxi to get over to the gate.

We pulled into one of the holding spots just off the B gates and here we waited. We were in the penalty box because we were early (or the other flight was running behind, not sure which). I had originally turned down an offer for a ride home thinking we would be at the gate quickly. Sadly because we waited so long, we probably could have been picked up. O well!

We were finally into the gate and off the plane. We didn’t have to wait long for our bags (well within the 20 minute time frame) and soon enough we were off to a ride share and home. Within 20 minutes of pulling into the gate, we were home and in our house. That is a good thing right?

Friday 30th June 2017

After winding our way out of Downtown Las Vegas we hit the freeway out of town. We made a brief stop to pick up a house warming gift for Heidi’s best friend but after that it was all freeway, all the time! We made pretty good time, traffic was heavyish but not horrible. We took a brief stop in Baker at the Alien Fresh Jerky (made from the best abducted cows!) to check it out (since we had seen so many signs and heard about it on the radio). It was pretty interesting and very very crowded.

Back on the road through to Ontario and it was fairly non eventful. We didn’t even have to stop for the agricultural check point, although I thought they would. We hit some bad traffic just outside Ontario/San Bernadino thanks to a few accidents and we were almost in one ourselves due to the fact that a water tank was lying in the middle of the freeway. Ugh!

The rest of our day was not that exciting. We visited Heidi’s best friends new house and I was sent off to check in on my own. We were staying at the same hotel we had stopped at almost a week before. This time we were staying for 2 nights and we had upgraded to a suite, since it was only $10 a night extra.

Saturday 1st July 2017

Again another non eventful day, more time spent at the friends house, but with a few moments of fun. Heidi enjoyed the fact that we were going to the recycling center to return the plastic bottles we had accumulated. All for $1.72 in refund… o yay! We also took over some time babysitting one of the kids so that Heidi’s best friend could move in a bit easier and get stuff set up. We took little Kora to the Chick Fil A for lunch and some time in the playground, then some time spent by, and in, the pool.

We finished off the night by having dinner at a local Korean BBQ place. It was all you can eat which isn’t a bad thing. It means you can pick and choose the meats you want, rather than having set plates. So much easier and it doesn’t always require you to go overboard on the food, it just means you have what you want. We had some very, very tasty stuff. O they also had Macaroons with Ice Cream in the middle…. they were delicious.

Tuesday 27th June 2017

We woke up and got ourselves sorted in Palm Springs at a fairly reasonable 7am. We didn’t need to rush but we wanted to get on the road before any traffic and also before the heat obviously. We had picked up some breakfast supplies for me the night before, Heidi on the other hand wanted to enjoy her Sausage Gravy MRE, it even came with “artificial whitener”. Looked gross to me, but she was happy with it.

The roads were pretty clear as we drove out of PSP. We had tossed up between going via the Freeway or via Arizona but the freeways won out due to ease. Heidi took the first stint at the wheel as we headed out into the California interstates. We made a number of stops (hello Bathroom breaks, i should stop drinking so much coffee in the morning on road trips). We were originally planning on stopping for lunch around Barstow but we ended up making really good time, so did a driver swap there only. We headed out towards Las Vegas across the Mojave Desert.

We made such good time that we ended up in Vegas a good hour ahead of our time so we stopped just outside town to hit In N Out for lunch and work out final plans about how to drop bags etc. Sadly our hotel was on the opposite side to the self park area, so we had to do some to do a lot of back and forth to get into our rooms. Because we didn’t want to pay for Valet, since we received complimentary self parking, we had to drop our bags up at the North Valet first, then drive around to the Self Park then cross back over the hotel to check in. Silly but it was what we had to do.

After dropping the bags and parking the car (it was sure an adventure) we made a brief stop at the MLife desk on the way over to the Sky Suites check in. While checking in they gave us a brief run down of the amenities and the benefits of our stay. They handed us our keys to a 1 Bedroom Sky Suite with City View. That kind of made me sad for a second figuring we were looking back away from the Strip, however I was wrong. Our room on the 55th floor was massive and panoramic views of the strip and best of all, the airport. I could watch a lot fo movement on the Eastern Side of the airport through all of the GA areas. The suite was massive as well, almost as big as our house so we had plenty of space to move about.

We made plans to relax for part of the afternoon (I ran an errand down to Fry’s) and then we would have our progressive dinner along the strip. This is something we have done just about every trip since we first visited together. We would walk up to Harrah’s for a salad, explore some of the hotels along the way and then hop onto the other side of the strip, explore some more and have some pizza at Cosmopolitan at Secret Pizza. From there we would find some dessert depending on what we feel like, although this year, that would mean not leaving the building as Milkbar is now open. Everything was great and the we walked for hours on end. Pizza was tasty and Heidi’s first taste of Crack Pie and Cereal Milk Ice Cream made her night. We returned to our hotel for a relaxing night where Heidi gambled and I passed out.

Wednesday 28th June 2017

After a nice late sleep in, a gym session in the massive Aria gym and then it was time for breakfast. We were heading to the Aria buffet (it was comped thankfully) and they had changed the way they do things. They now did not have a breakfast and lunch on weekdays. They had 3 sittings still but it was breakfast till 9am, Brunch till 3pm and then Dinner from 3pm onwards. We managed to get into the restaurant just before Brunch started so the crowds were not there. But shortly afterwards the restaurant filled up. They had all of our usual favorites, plus a whole heap more! We were very happy full people by the time we waddled out.

Today was our relaxing day and Heidi had a spa treatment booked for the afternoon. Before catching up with a friend for a little bit, we headed out to the Airplane Shop where Heidi let me finally buy a model! I ended up getting the Salmon 30 Salmon in honor of Heidi’s Grandad. After seeing our friend I dropped Heidi back at Aria for her treatment and I went off plane spotting. I hit up a few different spots including Sunset drive and also the MGM parking lot. I didn’t get as many photos as I wanted as it was stupidly hot, along with their being numerous runway changes. I just got tired of the back and forth so went back to the hotel to enjoy the view of the airport from on high.

We had tickets (or so we thought) for Blue Man Group that night and we had a couple of different options for dinner but went for something that not many people would expect. I had never been to a Taco Bell before and Las Vegas is the home of the first ever Taco Bell Cantina. Their flagship store, it has a wedding chapel, the usual taco bell food and alcoholic slushies! I had no idea what to order, so Heidi helped me through it. What we had was suuuuuuuper tasty. I was happy as larry. Heidi had a Margarita slushy, I ended up with the Mountain Dew Baja Blast, which was pretty good.

After dinner we made our way over to the Luxor for the show and just as we parked we got a message saying our tickets fell through. Ugh. We frantically looked at options and in the end, went with a walk up ticket, the prices were not that bad. Heidi Loved Blue Man Group and I enjoyed the new show (different since the last time I saw it in 2012). We managed to get a photo with one of the Blue Men as we left. Back to the hotel to pass out as it was a late night.

Thursday 29th March 2017

We woke up early to eat breakfast before leaving the hotel. This time having breakfast at the Aria Cafe rather than the buffet as we didn’t want that kind of full belly. We were heading out early to meet our friend at the Red Rock Casino. After that we were heading out to the Red Rock area to enjoy the outdoors and do a small bit of hiking before the sun became way too much.

We saw a few different spots and Heidi was specific she didn’t want any busy hikes so we did part of the Ice Box canyon hike. As we left the park we were all sweaty and tired! Well worth the hike too. The views were stunning and it was so different to Joshua Tree. We returned to the hotel (after putting some gas in the car) and after showing our friend around the suite for a bit, we got ready to check out. Neither of us was that hungry so ended up just putting together a few bits and pieces for lunch.

We checked out of our hotel (after several back and forth trips across the hotel to the self parking lot) and headed over towards Downtown Las Vegas. We made a brief stop to get some souvenirs at the World’s Largest Gift Shop (which is sketchy yet hilarious at the same time), before heading to the Golden Nugget Hotel. Thankfully I had managed to get us VIP check in as the place was an absolute Zoo at check in. No staff to help out, the valet was a mess with cars and people everywhere and not a Bellman in sight to help with bags. I had to ask several people to figure out where VIP Check In even was. But soon enough we had keys and vague directions to our room.

We went out to explore the Downtown area for a bit and tried to figure out dinner. We found one place to try but it was small and we probably would need a back up. After a while in the heat I went back to the room and Heidi came back for a bit too before she headed off to get set up for Slotzilla. I got my large camera and decided to try and see if I could get photos of her. It wasn’t easy but I managed to get something resembling a photo, though it wasn’t very good quality.

After trying out our dinner place and seeing the wait for a table was over 90 minutes we decided to try out Hash House a Go Go in the Plaza Hotel. It was good and we both enjoyed our dinner. We went back to the hotel and picked up the car from the Valet (we wanted to move it from the main valet to the one closest to our room) and headed out to pick up some Ice Cream from a place I had been to in the past. It was still as tasty and sketchy as I remember it. But who cares it was delicious! We came back to the hotel and passed out!

Friday 30th June 2017

We woke up early with all intents of hitting the gym but just couldn’t roll out of bed. So we instead made our way to the buffet earlier than usual so that Heidi could still make it to the pool before we checked out. The buffet at the Golden Nugget was cheap ($14++) and with a 2 for 1 voucher made the value all the more better. It was a very good selection on offer with the requisite ice cream by the scoop and the thing that made it all the more amazing, real Krispy Kreme donuts! We filled up for sure and enjoyed our time this morning.

Heidi wanted to hit the pool so that she could ride the waterslide. The slide opened at 9am and Heidi was the third person down it. She wanted to do it as the slide goes through “The Tank” which is a large Aquarium Tank filled with fish and sharks. The slide goes straight through the middle, although Heidi says she couldn’t really see anything. After packing up and checking out, we hit the road out of Las Vegas, leaving it behind for another year.