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Friday, March 16th

I’m writing today’s blog on a beautiful day in Las Vegas, Nevada while my leg recovers from my busy travel day yesterday.  My normal visits to Vegas include meeting a gaggle of close friends and partaking in all of what Vegas has to offer; the gambling, the shows, the buffets, the drinks and especially the smut smackers (if you are unfamiliar with this last term, this what we refer to the people on the strip wearing bright shirts and trying to hand out business cards for local “entertainers” that will entertain your junk for the right price).  Being up here by myself I really have absolutely no desire to head towards the Strip.  I have decided to relax and elevate my leg as long as I can before I head to the Flogging Molly concert tonight at the Thomas and Mack Center tonight.

Yesterday started dark and early as my alarm woke me just before 5AM.  My good friend Deb picked me up and had me to the airport before 6AM.  Traveling light, with just a single backpack, I checked in at the counter and asked the Hawaiian Airlines attendant for either the bulkhead seat or if the flight wasn’t full, to place me in a seat with nobody next to me, so I could elevate my leg.  Getting through security was a breeze, now that I’ve gotten the one legged hop through the metal detector down to an art form.  I settled into the waiting area and watched the sun rise up from behind Haleakala Volcano as Mother Nature shared with us the first rays of the day.  There were no clouds hiding the summit of Haleakala and the sun felt great as it fell upon my face.

As I boarded the plane, among the elderly people in wheelchairs, I crutched my way 44 rows to the very back of the bus.  When I got to my seat, the flight attendant took my crutches and placed them behind the last row, about 3 rows behind me.  As I got settled in, I texted my friend Tyson (who works for Hawaiian Airlines) and began taunting him that, once again, he was not assigned to my flight.  Immediately I got a response text from him claiming he was on board the plane right next to me.  I was sitting on the left side of the plane (if you are seated) so I was already looking at the plane he was on unintentionally.  I told him I was in seat 44A and that he should get himself towards the window by his plane’s engine, so that I might be able to see him.  I could make out a silhouette, but when he held up his iphone and took a picture I could see the flash.  What a fun and random exchange before a long flight.  It brought a smile to my face.

Tyson is in the window directly under the N...you'll have to trust me on this one.

The flight was fine, bumpy at times, but much more bearable since I could put my leg up on the empty seat next to me.  I made faces at the baby across the aisle (we bonded) and eventually closed my eyes for a few moments.  The movie shown on the flight was The Big Year, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.  Like most hollywood movies these days it was mediocre.  Seeing the movie for the first time on a plane certainly does not help the whole moviegoing experience.

I landed in Vegas around 4:30PM, made my way outside and waited for the rental car shuttle.  Thanks to my previous 2 week rental with Hertz, back in November, I had earned enough points for a free weekly rental.  As with most car rental companies at major airports, the Hertz counter was off property at a location with many other rental agencies.  I ran into this during my last trip to Phoenix and I loved it; a central car rental location with one airport shuttle that serves all the rental car companies.  You can get on the first bus that shows up, rather than waiting for a specific shuttle, they take you to the main building and simply find your specific rental agency counter.  My choices for mid-sized vehicles came down to a: Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Mazda 6 or for a small fee I could upgrade to a Ford Mustang.  Since I am planning on putting 900+ miles on the rental car during this 6 day adventure I decided to go with the one with the best miles per gallon…the Corolla.

My adventure chariot...giddyup!

On my way to the hotel I made a quick stop at In-n-Out Burger to grab some dinner.  Only 6 miles form the airport, it took no time at all to find the Homewood Suites by Hilton.  This was my first time staying at a Homewood Suites, only because I usually opt for the slightly cheaper Hampton Inns through work.  I was slightly surprised to walk into a hotel room with a small kitchen, couch in the sitting area, desk, as well as the standard bed and bathroom.  I enjoyed my double-double at the kitchen table before heading back down to the front desk to share some treats from Maui with the staff.

View from the bed in my Las Vegas hotel room.

I tend to bring a few treats from Maui with me when I stay at hotels that I get through work.  A few bags of Hershey Kisses, with Macadamia Nut pieces in them, is a small price to bring a smile to a front desk clerk’s face.  Some instant aloha in a silver foil.

I am going to wrap this blog up as I am about to head to dinner and then on to Flogging Molly.  Cheers!