Last April, Dan and I spent two whole weeks in Las Vegas, while he was prepping and working the NAB convention. Two weeks is twice as long as I had ever previously spent in Las Vegas. Part of the trade-off for going so early, was we had to drive the rental truck with the show equipment, and check it into the convention center.
I'm not sure that I'd want to do it again, but the experience at the truck marshaling yard was fascinating.
We set off before dawn to start our long day. Of course, we made our customary breakfast stop at Peggy Sue's Diner. I've never seen Peggy Sue's so empty, there were just a couple of guys sitting at the counter.
Here's our truck.
Our truck was just a baby compared to the other trucks at the marshaling yard. The yard was just outside of the strip, and this being our first time, it was a little confusing. Dan took the truck to the scales, while I queued to get our number. Luckily, several of the truckers were very friendly and answered our questions about the process. Basically, it's a whole lot of waiting around for the union workers at the convention center to be ready to unload your truck. They unload in a way that makes sense for stuff entering the convention space based on your booth location.
We were given number 398, which didn't necessarily correspond to the order in which we arrived, as there were probably close to a thousand trucks in the yard ahead of us. We found a spot to park and placed the number on our dash, waiting to be called.
We knew the wait could be long, but we had no idea how long, so we came prepared with books and movies. This is going to sound unbelievable, but I had never seen Top Gun, so we watched it on Dan's iPhone. There was a food truck for coffee and snacks. The most amazing thing was watching the insane parking skills of big rig truckers, who maneuvered their enormous trucks into tight parking spaces. I was impressed!
Several hours later, we were called to head over to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Unfortunately, we arrived just as the union workers were heading on their lunch break, so we had to sit in the truck until they came back to unload everything. There was some good people watching at the convention center, and as someone who has never worked a trade show, it was cool to see the "behind the scenes" flurry.
The fun part was driving a now empty truck to our hotel, The Signature at MGM Grand. It's a bizarre thing to drive up to the valet with an UHaul. We got funny looks, but the valet staff was awesome. They found an out of the way place to park the truck, and they were very kind and helpful during our stay. In fact, all of the employees at The Signature, were rock stars.
The rooms are fabulous, especially for an extended stay, as they included a small kitchen. Two weeks is a long time to eat out every day, so we stocked up with groceries, and ate about half of our meals in the room. We loved staying at The Signature and would definitely stay here on future trips. It's entirely non-smoking and does not have a casino, yet it's a quick walk through a series of hallways, to reach the MGM Grand. The Signature has its own entrance and valet, which were a lot less crowded and easier to navigate than the MGM Grand.
The Signature towers at night.
While Dan was hard at work over at the convention center, I was working on our travel business ( Easy as Pie Travel) in the hotel room. We even brought our Mac, so that I could have a proper office. In the afternoons, I took a break and went swimming. Each of the three Signature towers, has its own pool and spa, but guests at The Signature also have access to the main pool at the MGM Grand. The towers also have a deli, Starbucks, and a gift shop.
There was only one negative about our stay: Our first week was at the same time as a big Arbonne Conference that was being held at the MGM Grand. Our hotel had several conference attendees, and the room across the hall was being used as a hospitality suite, with door kept wide open during parties. It was mostly women attending and they were LOUD! It was hard for me to get work done, because they were so incredibly loud, as if they were the only ones on the floor. It was inconsiderate. They were also very pushy; pretty much every time I got into the elevator or went to the pool, I was approached with a sales pitch for Arbonne products. This even happened while I was trying to work out in the gym! I complained to the front desk and they apologized, explaining that they had fielded a lot of complaints, including staff who were being harassed to buy Arbonne! I can tell you this much, Arbonne could be the best product on earth, but after dealing with the rude convention goers, there is no way that I'd ever buy it. When the convention ended, The Signature was peaceful and the perfect hotel.
We had a little bit of downtime for Vegas adventures. Since the truck was too huge to drive around, we had an additional rental car, and we took a drive to Mount Charleston, a mountain just a short distance from the strip. It reminded me of Big Bear, minus the lake.
Speaking of our travel agency, we found this very appropriate sign.
Vegas meals are always amazing and Fiamma is delicious.
Foxy and I are on our way to a cocktail party.
It was Dan's co-worker, Amanda's first trip to Vegas. We took her to Fremont Street for Jello shots, yard drinks, and cheap steak (not to be included in my declaration of amazing Vegas meals). Then we showed her the pretty side of Vegas, with a stop at the Bellagio Conservatory. The conservatory is beautiful in spring, bursting with pink cherry blossoms.
Dan's best mate, Paul, was also here for business, visiting from England. We spent a few days with him, which included The Pinball Hall of Fame and the Bass Pro Shop. Dan and I love the Bass Pro Shop, but every time we take someone there from Europe, they don't exactly share in the excitement. They always seem a tad horrified. Luckily, Paul has a great sense of humor. He's horrified and smiling.
Paul got us back by taking us to the worst show in Las Vegas - The Australian Bee Gees Show.
I'm not a fan of the Bee Gees, but I was quite surprised by how many songs I recognized -"Oh, that's a Bee Gees song? I never knew." The Australian Bee Gees Show has been at the Excalibur for years, and it's performed in the same small theater as the Thunder From Down Under show.
I'm unashamed to admit that on a girl's weekend in Vegas, I went with friends to see Thunder From Down Under, and although it wasn't sexy, it was hilarious and entertaining. The Australian Bee Gees Show wasn't sexy or very entertaining, however, it was hilarious due to the people watching. It was a bizarre thing, because although the performers lacked energy (I felt the thousands of shows that preceded this one: the same thing, every night), the audience had plenty of enthusiasm. Drunken, rowdy, middle-age/middle-America, enthusiasm. One guy in front of us stood up on a table to dance, and tried to get his mortified wife to join him, before security intervened. It was an awesome spectacle, far more entertaining than what was happening on the stage. Towards the end of the set, they shine a spotlight on a small dance floor. get a disco ball spinning, and invite everyone to join the disco. You can just imagine what that looked like, again, it was awesome. The performers can sing, and they do a fair job at recreating the sound and look of the Bee Gees, but they are clearly tired of their gimmick. Their boredom is infectious.
The show was lackluster, but we continued the fun with gambling and chicken wings at Hooters. A great way to end our final evening in Las Vegas.