One Man's Eyes

I'm an early 30's engineer with delusions of adequacy. From here, I'll share my perspective, usually through words, sometimes through pictures, of the view of the world from one man's eyes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Las Vegas Trip - Travel Report...Part 1

Last week, my wife and I took a trip to Las Vegas. It was the first time for each of us. The kids spent the week with my parents, so it was just the two of us. In getting ready, I spent a lot of time learning about the town at sites like the Tripadvisor Las Vegas forums and Zeke Quezada's blog and articles at So, first a brief rundown of each day, and then some general thoughts and observations.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon. I had decided in advance that I didn't want to deal with a car this trip, so we planned to take a cab from the airport to the hotel. I was expecting to have to wait in a line, but when we reached the queue, there were plenty of cabs and only a few customers, so we got one right away. We got an honest cabbie as well, straight over to Caesars (no tunnel) and the fare came to what I expected. Nice tip for her.
We checked in at Caesars Palace. Being our first trip, I elected to follow the advice to find a center strip hotel for a home base. We had stayed at a Caesars property some ten years ago when we went to Lake Tahoe and enjoyed it, so I felt it was a safe choice. I managed a very good deal on the hotel and flight together through Southwest Vacations. It was a bit of a surprise, because the consensus was that the best deal was to book hotels and flights separately. But, the deal being offered by Southwest was at least $200 better than any other way I could assembly the flight and hotel.
We got a mini-suite in the Palace Tower and it was a very nice room. We were on the 24th floor with a view of the pool. The room was bigger than our first apartment and featured separate bathrooms for each of us (already planning to do that in our next house now) with a joint dual shower and a jacuzzi tub that was big enough to seat us both comfortably.
I had scoured the internet for deals on shows and had three booked before we left for the trip. The first night, we went to see Penn & Teller at the RIO. When we got to Caesars, I got a Harrah's reward club card and several coupons. One was for the Carnival World Buffet at the RIO, so we went there for dinner. The food was good and there was a lot of it. A good half dozen different stations with different food types, plus a whole separate space for desserts. There was a big crowd and a sizable line, but, since I was using a coupon, we actually got to switch over to a short line and were seated after about 20 minutes. Definitely be prepared to wait if you want to go eat here. We stuffed ourselves pretty well and went to the show.
I found a deal at Travel Zoo for 40% off mezzanine tickets. Apparently, so did everyone else. The lowest level seats had opening and the balcony above us was largely empty, but the mezzanine was pretty much full. Penn & Teller were entertaining. The tricks that they pulled off were amazing, even when they showed you how they did some of them. Penn was a little heavy handed with his political and atheist views during the show, but it was still an entertaining night.
Getting back Caesars was a bit of a challenge, though. The RIO is off the strip, across the highway. While it was about a mile and a half walk from Caesars, the path was not pedestrian friendly. I found out that Harrah's run a free shuttle from both the Paris and Harrah's over to the RIO. To get over, we walked down to Paris and waited about 20 minutes for a bus to come. However, when it came time to go back, it was clear that most of the Penn & Teller audience were like us, coming from hotels on the Strip. The queue was long and it took a good while for us to catch a bus back across. I'd recommend just catching a cab back from the RIO to the strip if you are coming out after a show.
You know, I think, since I've still got several more days to cover, that I'm going to close for tonight and make a few more posts over the next few days. In the mean time, you'll just have to entertain yourself with some of the pictures that I took from the trip.

Ed's Vegas and Grand Canyon Photos

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