Monday, October 22, 2012

DAY 61 & 62- Laughlin - A Poor Man's Vegas...

DAY 61- On to Laughlin…
I wake up as a hint of light is coming through angled skylights in the vaulted ceiling of John’s spare bedroom.  The light slowly makes it way down into the room as I enjoyed a nice long hot shower that was not under a low-flow shower nozzle.  That’s what I really hate about staying at hotel/motels.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to get clean under a trickle of luke warm water.  That’s another reason I like to stay at a bed and breakfast or a friend’s place. 
Photo- The view from John's back patio area.  A very nice looking golf course.

I’m dressed and surfing the web as John finally wakes up and comes out of his room.  He’s especially happy to see that I already have a pot of coffee started and he asks how I slept.  It’s a comfortable bed I tell him.  I watch TV with him and kind of just hang out for a bit both of us drinking coffee.  But eventually I need to get packed up and get off on the road for Laughlin.  I call to make sure that the hotel in Laughlin still has me for a reservation for the 2nd night at the hotel.  I also mention that I want to stay an additional night too.  Yes, they have me for the night and say to just let the clerk at the hotel know when I check in about the additional night.

I’ve decided to take the longer version to get to Laughlin just in case I have any problems with the car.  I’ll be closer to towns and hopefully have more cell phone coverage too.  About 10:30Am I pack up my car and give John a hug.  I’m off heading east on I-10 after a quick fuel fill up.  It’s a two lane in each direction type of interstate and the traffic is rather heavy.  I really can’t put on my cruise control because the speeds vary from 55mph, the truck speed, to 70mph, the car speed.  It’s one of the major interstates in the area that goes towards Phoenix.

About a little over an hour later, I stop in Blythe, CA for another fuel stop and a bit of lunch at a local Burger King which has VERY slow service.  I get back onto I-10 and then get off at the next exit to head north on Hwy 95.  Periodically, there are small towns all along this route but for the most part you are in the middle of a dry arid bland landscape.  This landscape makes the flats of Nebraska and Kansas look interesting.  Shoot!  This area makes the Salt Flats look like a resort.  Okay, that might be pushing the envelope by saying that but you get the drift of my meaning.  It's the pure definition of bland.  The traffic is light and I can set the cruise control  for a few miles over the speed limit and just go.
Photo- The more interesting landscape as you get closer to Needles.

As I get closer to the town of Needles the landscape gets a little more interesting.  There are some rock formations and foothills.  There are also some green areas along the river.  In Needles I stop at a gas station and use the restroom.  I would’ve topped of the tank with more fuel but the price per gallon is $5.19 which I think is ridiculous!  I buy a soda instead and continue on Hwy 95.  Hwy 95 as it goes through Needles’ downtown area follows the old Route 66 and there are little signs on the side of the road letting you know.  I thought that was neat but it’s not a very scenic section of Route 66.  It follows the Route 66 for about ½ mile through town and then Hwy 95 turns left and goes north towards Bullhead City. 

Not even 8 miles down the road, I’ve crossed a river and I’m in Arizona.  The gas prices are hanging around $3.80/gal over here.  I’m sorry Californians but you really need to be looking at those gas prices in your state.  They are just terrible!  There’s a series of smaller towns one just after the other for the next 15 miles until I get into Bullhead City.  Off in the distance I can see across to the Nevada side of the river where the tall casinos dominate.  I’m almost to Laughlin.

Laughlin has been described to me as the Poor Man’s Vegas.  I had to laugh when I first heard that.  After living for over 20 years in Salt Lake City, I always thought that Wendover the border town closest to Salt Lake’s Nevada border was a cheap version of Vegas.  Though, most of us Utahans always referred to Wendover as “Bend Over”.  But I have to admit that the hotel rooms are cheap.  For less than $90, I’m staying in a nice room with a King size bed on the 18th floor for two nights.  OMG!  The view is amazing especially as the sun goes down and the lights of the Casinos go on.  I go downstairs to an Italian restaurant which I find out later is not cheap at all.  But I figure I’m saving quite a bit on the room so why not splurge here; and maybe that’s the general marketing ploy here.
Photo- The view from my 18th floor room. 
Note to self- Turn off the bathroom light when taking a night shot of the view
from the hotel window.

After dinner, I wander around the main casino floor area of the hotel.  I put $20 in a penny machine and it’s disappearing quite quickly down this drain.  I changed to another machine and the same thing happens.  Then, off I went to another and then another.  The $20 disappears REALLY quickly.  There’s no lose slots here!  I then go up to my room and just watch a little TV and enjoy the view.

DAY 62- A Day Off in Laughlin…
I figured I would stay one more day where the hotel room is cheap so that I could take a day off.  Yeah, I know some of you out there are like… she’s on vacation why does she need a day off.  But sometimes I need a break from driving the car and sightseeing.  I just need a day of “vegging out”.
Photo- The view with the sun just starting to rise.

I woke up early enough that I can watch the sunrise as the casino lights are still on.  It’s amazing to watch the sun as it rises and lights up the landscape.  I do this while lying in the King size bed and kind of watching the TV too.  Finally, about 10am I figure it’s time to get out of the pj’s and I take a shower.  I grab my laptop and head down to the Starbucks for coffee, a bit of scone, and free internet.  They charge for internet service in the rooms.  I forgo the $10/day charge and just go to Starbucks.
Photo- The sunrise about 10min. later....
then 20 min later....

Yummy!  It’s that time of year when Starbucks has my favorite coffee the pumpkin spice latte.  I surf the web and end up texting four friends simultaneously.   I head upstairs and decide to hang out and watch a movie; Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts in it.  I’m just being a total bum.  I was playing with the idea of a manicure but the nearest place is on the Arizona side of the river and I just don’t want to drive at all.  It’s my day off.  I figure I’ll get manicure another day down the road.

I start getting hungry at about 4Pm-ish and head down to the Outback Steakhouse that they have in back of the casino area.  I have a $25 gift card I can use and figure I might as well use it.  I sit at the bar and order a beer and ask for the menu.  The gal at the bar says her name and the other name of the bartender and then asks my name.  They are really nice and friendly.  I order steak and shrimp.

The steak is good but it’s a disappointment after the steak dinner I had with John.  The steak I had with him was juicier and had a slight crust with black pepper and sea salt.  This steak is just broiled and doesn’t have the crust. The coconut shrimp is good, though and they have one of my favorite beers on tap—Blue Moon.  Yeah! 

A baseball game of Cardinals and the Giants is on the Big TV and they have the Steelers vs. Bengals on the other.  This is wonderful!  I’m getting baseball and football.  I watch my Steelers in a pretty close game.  The bar area starts to fill up with a big group that just came back from playing golf.  On my other side a guy sits down and orders a soda.  A soda?  The bartender asks him what kind of soda.  The man gives a perplexed look like there’s choices?  Meanwhile, the other side of me is talking about the golf game of the day and who got the best shots in. 

The bar area fills up completely and the noise level is picking up.  I can’t hear the TV’s at all and I have to watch the Steelers game a little more closely.  The indecisive soda guy asks who I’m routing for.  The Steelers, I answer.  He throws a couple more questions at me but I’m more into watching the game and he soon stops talking.  I close my tab and Mr. Soda Guy is like you are not staying to watch the rest of the game?  I’m going to watch it in my room upstairs where its quieter I tell him.  His face seems to fall.  I say good night to him and thanked Brandy the bartender. 

I head up to my room where I try to find the game on the TV but it’s not on one of those channels.  I give up on the TV.  There just doesn’t seem to be much of anything on.  I grab my laptop and head down to Starbucks instead.  I surf the web while I enjoy a refillable black coffee.  After about 10pm I head upstairs to my room and decide to turn in early.  I fall asleep enjoying the view from my bed.  Sorry no photos of a night shot; it is after all my day off. :)

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