Tearei & I never go out and do anything for New Years Eve. This year we were in Vegas among the huge crowds. But, let’s back up to the trip here…
With New Years Eve on a Saturday this year, the traffic on Friday made it seem like California was emptying into Nevada. At points I felt my GPS was “punking” me as it said it was going to take 3hr 11min to travel that last 100 miles, but still said the same amount after another hour of driving.
We made a couple of silly errors. One of course was trying to travel when everyone else was as well. Another was waiting until the last minute to book a room. Lucky for us the extended stay still gave us a decent rate as we were going to be here for a week. Otherwise the “cheap” motels were $120 +.
At about 6pm we were ready to head towards the strip to join in the festivities. Our plan was to take a bus that goes right in front of our hotel. It’s a straight shot about 3 miles down to the strip, so we didn’t think this would be a big issue. We waited at the bus stop for about 20 minutes or so, and then we saw the two story bus heading our direction. The driver only slowed down slightly to announce “You’re going to have to catch the next one.” We figured that if that one was full the next one is likely to be as well, as it was still early in the evening.
We switched plans and drove, paid the $20 for parking, and walked up to the strip.
Earlier I had purchased a Groupon for a “yard” sized drink. It’s one of those crazy tall drinks they sell here. Our first mission was to find the place where I could get my drink. Weaving through thousands of people at various levels of intoxication, past the guy on on the loud speaker shouting about Jesus, past 7 street vendors selling mostly light up novelties, through the lines in front of the street “bars” we come to a security guard at the entrance of the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Casino where my drink is waiting for me. He is stopping anyone who doesn’t have a good reason, from going in. As we could tell from the people in front of us, “going to the bathroom” was not a good reason. Lucky for me, going in to get my drink qualified, and we got in.
We passed a couple of bars on our way. One was the Stripper Bar which has a giant old time “stripper” sign/statue that looks like Bob’s Big Boy’s slutty girlfriend. As we were walking by a little kid starting playing on one of the feet of the statue. It was totally innocent, but I can’t imagine the parents were too excited about it.
We found the Fresh Grill & Bar. I stood in the “alcohol” line and Tearei walked right up to order some food in the empty “food” line. I had them fill my 36″ drink with a concoction they call “moonshine.” It was just a blended drink with orange & pineapple, and as I’d later find out, Everclear. Tearei had a spicy chicken wrap and I had a cheeseburger.
The Miracle Mile of Shops goes in a big loop, so we decided to walk around the loop to get back to the front and go back out. The lighting for the inside of the Miracle Mile is really interesting. With clouds painted on the ceiling and the lights set to a certain level, it’s meant to give you the feeling of dusk. It’s pretty effective.
We stopped by a wishing well, where it “rains” every half hour. We waited a couple minutes to see the action. I was laughing at Tearei because she was so excited about videotaping the “rain.” As Oregonians how often do we get to see rain? I have to admit, the stuff they come up with is pretty neat though. If we are here a month I might actually miss the rain and go check it out again when I’m home sick.
By the time we got around the circle of shops, I had almost finished my drink, so I decided to go back to get a refill. Tearei waited outside, as she was getting hot. I got my refill, met back up with Tearei outside, and headed back down the strip.
We stopped into a candy shop called Sugar. It was crazy busy in there, and they didn’t seem to have lines. There were about 6 of them making milkshakes behind the counter and whoever wormed their way up to the front to ask for something got it. It was odd, but actually seemed to be working pretty good as far as getting a lot of milkshakes and hot chocolate sold. Tearei got a milkshake and we headed out.
As we were walking back up the strip, we had to kind of shove our way through this giant line of people, waiting to order drinks. As we were heading west, a group of people is shoving their way, single file, coming east. The guy at the front says, “OK everyone hold hands,” and they did so the could drag each other through the crowd. The guy at the front was my favorite Poker Player, Daniel Negreanu. I was bummed that I couldn’t get to him and get a picture with him or something.
It’s about 10:30pm and we start to contemplate if we should just watch the fireworks from our hotel parking lot. Both of us had sore feet from walking/standing on the cement.
Instead, we ducked into the part of Bally’s with the little restaurants. Here we were able to sit for a bit and rest our aching dogs. While siting and resting we saw Danielle from the CBS reality show, Big Brother. Ironically, it would have been super easy to go get an autograph/picture with her, but neither of us were too interested. It’s fun to see people in real life that you have only seen on TV, though.
We hung out for about an hour and then went back outside. We decided to go back to our van, and watch the fireworks from the van. This way we could beat the crowds leaving and get back at a reasonable hour. We sat and watched the fireworks for about 5 minutes (it was an eight minute show) and people were heading to the parking lot so we went ahead and took off.
The fireworks were pretty impressive. They lit off the same show over 4-5 different casinos simultaneously. While the shear volume and kinds of fireworks were more and better than I’ve seen before. I found the show to be a bit mechanical. It was just one after another. I didn’t realize how important the pauses are within a fireworks show. Music makes it better too. All and all I like the one they have on 4th of July in Seaside, OR. Here they probably lit off as many fireworks in 8 minutes, as the Seaside show has in 20-30 minutes, but it’s just not as good a show without the pauses. Of course this one wasn’t a 4th of July show, so who knows what they do for that.
We got home in about 5 minutes, and both crashed pretty quickly.