Friday, September 21, 2007

To Las Vegas and back

Well, the trip for the truck was successful. At 4:30AM on Sept 14, we stumbled into the airport half asleep only to find out that customs didn't open until 1 hour before boarding. So we sat in a waiting area eating croissants and trying to maintain consciousness until shortly after 5 AM. A short explanation at customs and we were through.

While taking a last wander before boarding our plane, I noticed D waiting for another flight. Had a chat with him for a few minutes while J watched our luggage. He was off to Arizona to speak at a conference. Sheesh.

Anyway, the plane was much more comfy than a similar one that T and I took over a year ago. We had the exit row. J got the window though because there was no seat in the row in front of us so he could stretch out his legs. Must be tough being tall and all. I managed to catch a bit more sleep on the plane. Likely a total of 1 hour interrupted often by fears of loud snoring.

It's tough landing in Vegas then driving out. I should've known better. The strip is spitting distance from the airport so logically any drive out of there would involve many views of the strip. I'm happy to say it all seems to still be there. The new hotels are going up fast and I can't wait for the next trip down there.

Rob picked us up at the airport and whisked us off to the red rocks of Utah. A whirlwind tour of the dealership later and we were off in a used 2006 Nissan Titan. Most of the fears over the state of the truck were settled very quickly. It's in excellent shape!

The first day saw us through Utah. A quick stop at Cabela's in Lehi helped. We got to stretch our legs and spend our money. Thankfully the Cdn dollar is almost at par! I didn't find a whole lot though, with a big part of me not wanting to spend money until I drop some pounds. When in Vegas, I'll hit Bass Pro Shops anyway so it's not like I completely missed out. Not to mention the online shopping both offer.

Upon arriving in Pocatello, Idaho, we sought out a hotel. Our first stop was the Best Western. At 10pm, they're willing to give deals on their rooms and I got the king suite (sweet, sweet giant tub!) for only $5 more than a regular room. We had a short soak, then off to bed. Good thing too since I was wide awake at 6AM on Saturday.

I've gotta admit I was pretty impressed overall with the US. We had a continental breaky at the hotel and it was good. Eggs, biscuits and gravy, toast... a good selection of food, even if the selection of fruits could've been greater. At restaurants, the service puts many Cdn restaurants to shame. I'm sorry, but I don't know what's happened to our teenagers to make them sullen, rude individuals with no sense of customer service whatsoever. I expected things to be worse in the US, but I was wrong. Perhaps it's the stronger reliance on tips to make a living. Who knows.

We were back on the road by 8am. Our original intended stopping point was an hour up the road at Idaho Falls. We still stopped in for some pictures of the falls. They have a really nice looking quilt shop there, but we were far too early for it to be open yet.

Day two took us to Great Falls, Montana. Montana is an interesting place. It's my first time there in the daylight! Everything seemed to be a casino which was off-putting. We didn't realize until much later that many of the restaurants were connected to casinos, but not casinos. It was hard finding a lunch spot in Butte, but we ended up at the Perkins. When 2 people are trying to lose weight, a road trip like this doesn't make it easy, but we managed to avoid fast food for the most part.

The evening in Great falls was eventful. We again stayed in a best western complete with a Red Hat Convergence. Wonderful women, even if they know how to party late. J managed to give me a bit of a black eye. Complete accident. He was moving one way, I happened to think he was getting out of bed so I moved to readust my position and his elbow connected with my eye as he sat back. It hurt. A lot. Funny thing me laughing and crying all at once. Got that iced and headed to bed only to have one of my nightmares.

I was half out of bed when J woke up. He grabbed me to keep me from running into the hallway (snicker) and in my struggle against him while waking up, I managed to do something to my neck. It started to spasm - OW! But hey, my eye felt better. And I got a bit of a massage until it subsided enough for me to sleep. The next morning we hit a Walgreens before leaving town. Did you know they can't buy muscle relaxants without a prescription? No Robax for me. Had to settle for Ibuprofen gel caps and one of those self heating muscle wrap things. Worked well enough.

Crossing the border took an hour - including the duty free stop. We missed US customs on the first trip through (oops) and had to go back through a second time. At 10 am on a Sunday everyone is happy and telling jokes. It was almost surreal.

We made it back safe and sound. The truck had no problems at all. I don't suggest Salt Lake City at rush hour (yikes!) - they're insane! I have a ton of snapshots on my camera from the trip and I haven't even bothered to download them yet. Have to get to that soon.


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