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The Vegas - L.A. - Palm Springs Loop
MojaveJohnny's Travel Blog
MojaveJohnny's Travel Blog

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Day One

Las Vegas, United States

Left Newark early - 7:30 AM - as usual, flew to Vegas.

permalink written by  MojaveJohnny on April 11, 2009 from Las Vegas, United States
from the travel blog: The Vegas - L.A. - Palm Springs Loop
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Las Vegas, United States

So the night before my trip, as usual, I am packing and cleaning and getting ready, while surfing the web. I'm too excited to sleep even though I'll be dead tired by 3 AM, but it will be time to leave by 4 AM.

By 3 AM - pretty much all packed, but dead tired... I wil be sleeping on the plane anyway, though. I set my alarm for one hour and I sleep sitting up with the TV on. In one hour and 5 minutes I wake up to my blaring alarm. I rise pretty quickly after a minute of sleepy waking, realizing my trip is on the line if I don't get going. I finish packing, try to check for everything, I make sure I'm as ready as possible, I organize, I prepare my bags to shift things to make "weight" for baggage limits... Finally I'm ready.

4:25 AM - I'm out the door and on the road. Departed home in Bergen County to the Air Brook shuttle just off Rt 17 in Ho-Ho-Kus/Ridgewood.

4:50 AM - I'm parked and paid at the shuttle.

5:00 AM - The shuttle arrives, the other passengers and I load up with our bags.

5:40 AM - Dropped off at Terminal C, Newark Airport. I check in with Continental, drop off my baggage, then hang around till about 6:45, which is when I head through security. I'm at my gate by 7:05 AM and boarding is beginning.

7:30 AM - Flight left on time, even pushed back from the gate a few minutes early. Finally I get to relax. While we're on the ground and taxying, I try to catch my last glimpses of NJ and NYC. I can see the skyline in the distance. The early morning haze is giving in to a somewhat sunny day with some clouds... It's cold, though. I think of the relatively warmer weather waiting in Vegas... It doesn't take long before we are ready to take off, and soon enough we are on the runway, and the pilots are pushing those accelerators up and we're zipping along, and then we float up, smoothly. I see the NYC skyline, Statue of Liberty, Staten Island (and wave to my friends there), and all of the NY/NJ metro area down to the Raritan bay and river and even my alma mater, Rutgers U. We climb and climb until we are above the clouds. Soon, as we get towards Pennsylvania, the clouds thicken into a blanket and I can no longer see any ground.

So at that point, I played some PSP, listened to some music, ate breakfast. Continental serves a good little breakfast in coach, it's just right - very satisfying and enjoyable. It's just a small container of Cheerios and a small milk, some OJ, a neat little banana (which I cut with my plastic spoon and put into the cereal) and a sweet banana muffin (which I save for my next day's breakfast in Vegas). I get some water also, and a Diet Coke. Had a whole row of seats to myself on the right side of the plane, towards the back! Awesome.

Fell asleep right after breakfast. I was watching the movie, it was OK, I think it was "August Rush" - it was kinda corny but interesting enough. Put me to sleep anyway. As is my custom, I woke up right before the Rockies and saw a whitened patchwork of farmland on the plains below. We then hit the Rockies - must have been a little lower than the Denver area because we weren't over the highest peaks as I've seen in the past, but still impressive to see. They jut right up to you in the plane, it is clear that they are almost halfway up from the ground to where you are. Eventually, the snow-capped mountains give way to light brown and beige and reddish-orange, and instead of mountains there are gulleys and canyons... Now I know we are in the desert area.

I sleep a little more, and then wake up again when I feel our initial descent. Now when I peer out my window I can see cloudless blue sky covering a beige desert with various shades of brown and orange and, if I look more closely, other colors as well, mixed into the landscape. And then I see the bright azure of a lake - Lake Mead. And I know we are close, and the plane is getting lower. We pass over the Hoover Dam and Boulder City and Lake Las Vegas, and come down pretty close to the last couple of little mountains that section off "the valley" of Las Vegas.

By 10:20 AM (Pacific Time) - we touch down at McCarran, and we are off the plane by 10:40. I make my way to baggage claim, pick up my bag, and then head to the rental car shuttle.

11:30 AM - I am in my rental car and out of the rental car center. And after a long morning and a tiring morning, it's the equivalent of 2:30 in the afternoon and I'm hungry, but I was waiting for this... In-N-Out Burger! I hit the one that's just off Tropicana, since they have the corporate store next to it where I can look for In-N-Out hats and shirts and other chochkes...

1:30 AM - After having eaten and driven down the strip, I arrive at the El Cortez, and check in to my room. I am trying the "pavillion" room finally... After checking in, I go back to the parking deck, up to the 5th level to my car, get my bags, and then in the same parking structure go up another two floors to the Pavillion rooms. They have outdoor "corridors" which run around the permiter of the structure. I am on the far side of the complex, and it is BRUTALLY windy, but I get to my room. It is a simple, but very clean and somewhat roomy 2-queen bedroom.

permalink written by  MojaveJohnny on December 14, 2008 from Las Vegas, United States
from the travel blog: The Vegas - L.A. - Palm Springs Loop
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