October Trip Highlights and Photos

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Just a quick recap today, since I’m still freshly back from my Vegas trip and trying to readjust to East Coast time. I’ll post full reviews of everything later on, but for now, the quick-and-dirty recap. This was a trip of “firsts” for me.

First time staying at the Luxor. I have heard so many bad reviews of this place, I expected it to be a dump, and it certainly was not. In fact, my room (in the Tower) was nicer than my room at the Monte Carlo last year and you know how much I love the Monte Carlo. So I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll post a full review later, but the upshot is there’s no reason to avoid staying here.

Luxor Lobby

I only regret that I didn’t get a chance to ride the Inclinator, because my room wasn’t in the Pyramid.

First time using myVEGAS comps. I used 3 comps on this trip at the Luxor: One comped Saturday night stay, one breakfast buffet at MORE buffet, and a free margarita at Tacos & Tequila. Only one of these comps was worth the amount of time I spent on this stupid game to earn it. I’ll let you guess which one that was.

Luxor tables outside

My preferred reading spot outdoors at the Luxor.

First trip to Las Vegas during October. The weather was beautiful for walking around the Strip without getting heat exhaustion, but it wasn’t quite warm enough for me to break out the shorts, let alone sit by the pool in a swimsuit. So my dreams of whiling away my days in a pool lounger were dashed. Though I did do some outdoor reading in my jeans and sweatshirt.

Chocolate witch

Chocolate witch at Jean-Philippe Patisserie, Bellagio

I was also able to enjoy Halloween-themed decorations and entertainment on the Strip, on Fremont Street, and at Springs Preserve, which was decorated to the hilt for the holiday.

Scarecrow at Springs Preserve

They are wicked into Halloween at Springs Preserve

Halloween-themed Viva Vision

Halloween-themed Viva Vision

And I loved the Bellagio’s fall display so much more than their summer displays. Photo blog post to come!

Cornucopia

Cornucopia at the Bellagio’s fall display

First visit to Springs Preserve. Thanks to my local friend Brian, I made it out to Springs Preserve on this trip. What a lovely escape from the chaos of the Strip! They have beautiful walking paths, a great view of the Strip, some museums we didn’t have time to visit, and gorgeous desert flora.

Springs Preserve

Springs Preserve

First tour at The Neon Boneyard. I have been trying to get on a tour here for 3 years. Thankfully, they now have night tours, so I booked that one. I highly recommend this tour. I learned a lot that I didn’t already know about the history of Las Vegas, all through its neon signs. Most of my pictures kind of suck, because I’m lousy at taking night photos, but I’ve got a few I like.

Neon Boneyard Park

Neon Boneyard Park

Restaurant firsts included brunch at Border Grill, a drink at Rx Boiler Room, a stop at The Lady Silvia (a speakeasy on Hoover Ave), Five50 Pizza Bar, Tacos and Tequilas, Pyramid Cafe, breakfast at Ri Ra, Bacchanal Buffet, and the Burger Bar.

The winner of the “strangest thing I ate this trip” award goes to the Fried Green Tomato Stack at the Hash House a Go Go in the Plaza: A skewered stack of fried green tomatoes topped with homemade chicken salad, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. Sounds kind of disgusting, doesn’t it? But it was a delicious combination of flavors! It’s supposed to be an appetizer, but it was so huge I couldn’t finish it.

Fried Green Tomato Stack

The Fried Green Tomato Stack at Hash House a Go Go

Miscellaneous firsts:

  • My friend Joe got a strange, stalkerish phone call on the house phone while we were at Rx. We suspect it was someone following him on social media because he “checked in” at Rx. (This is why I never check into places on social media. Creepy.)
  • I’ve never seen a woman with tattoos running the full length of her arms before. But on this trip, I saw a different woman with this kind of tattooing every single day. Is this some new fad?
  • I used a mobile router for the first time on this trip to get in-room wifi (worked like a charm!). I’ll be writing about this on my SoloFriendly blog soon. Watch for it.
  • This was the first trip I can remember where I was actually able to get onto West Coast time immediately. I’m not sure why; I didn’t do anything different. But it certainly made things much easier.
  • For the first time, I did not like the vibe down on Fremont Street. It was too crowded, too loud, and there were way too many drunks. It just wasn’t enjoyable for me. I hate to say it, because overall, I like what’s happening down there in terms of development (hotels, restaurants, etc.), but too many people in such a confined area loses its appeal for me very quickly. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

 

NYNY Construction

Ongoing NYNY Construction

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that there is still much construction going on in Las Vegas right now. The Linq’s High Roller has made the most progress from when I was here in July. It looks almost ready for operation.

High Roller

The High Roller is one big ferris wheel.

Slotzilla is looking more and more like a finished product.

Slotzilla

Slotzilla zip line on Fremont Street

The New York-New York and Monte Carlo construction is deeply in progress (and rather noisy; when I walked through Monte Carlo on Thursday, the jackhammering out front set my teeth on edge).

Monte Carlo construction

Monte Carlo construction

And there’s something going on around the north side of MGM Grand, though I’m not sur what. (Anyone know?)

MGM Construction

MGM Construction

Of course, the highlight of the trip was the 3rd Annual Vegas Solo Meetup. It wasn’t a “first,” but important nonetheless. I was really pleased with the turnout. What a great group of people! We had bloggers galore, locals, first-time Vegas visitors and repeat Vegas visitors. Winner of the “longest distance traveled” award was Tracey from New Zealand. Thanks to Brian, Bryan, Delma, Pete, Scott, Tracey, and Troy for coming out for conversation and some laughs. And thanks to Scott for serving as our official photographer (though I suspect that’s because he didn’t want to be in the photo—next time, buddy, we’re using a self-timer to get you in the shot!).

Vegas Solo Meetup

3rd Annual Vegas Solo Meetup (l-r) Troy, Brian, Pete, Gray, Bryan, Delma, Tracey. (Photo by Scott Roeben, not pictured)

 

14 thoughts on “October Trip Highlights and Photos

  1. Donovan

    I stay at Luxor quite a bit because the host I have there. I always hear people say how bad Luxor is and I don’t see it. I will be there a week from tomorrow to celebrate my moms birthday. Time to use my $1,500 in express comps!!!! Lol.

  2. hardware

    Surprised by the weather report. Looking at the forecast for the next several days, upper 70s to 80 each day. I arrive a week from now, and hope for more of the same. How could was it last week?

    Average high on Nov. 1, 73F. Four years ago I was there for the first week of August. A couple of days hit the low 80s, and since it never hits 90F in November in Vegas, there was talk on the local newscasts that those highs in the low 80s weren’t far off a record.

    Halloween week two years ago: solo trip, so I didn’t spend any time at the pool, but I didn’t have an issue with going to the haunted houses one night with only a T-shirt.

    Last year’s Halloween trip: in the 70s a couple of days before Halloween, certainly warm enough to enjoy warm sunshine at the pool sans denim or a sweatshirt.

    I know not to expect it to be tropical, but I find it to be very pleasant during the day while I’m there in late October.

    I’ve read recent comments echoing your displeasure with downtown. I’ve read distaste with the space limitations created by the zip line, gripes about too many panhandlers and tipsters vying for real estate — and dollars — and complaints about the drunken scene on Fremont at night.

    Compared to 15 years ago, this is a nice problem to have, but it’s still a real problem that I hope there’s a solution to.

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      Hardware: Re the weather, it wasn’t “cold,” per se, but it was cooler than it needs to be for me to want to hang out half dressed by the pool. It was probably low to mid 70s every day, which in Vermont seems a lot warmer than it feels in Las Vegas, oddly enough. There were a couple of nights when I was walking outside and I was freezing. My friends who live there think 70s is “cold” because they’re used to 90s-100s. LOL. There were certainly plenty of other people out by the pool every day and wearing shorts all the time, so I guess it depends on how warm-blooded you are. I just couldn’t do it.

      Re Fremont Street – Yes, yes, and yes to all of those complaints. I bet there was one panhandler/costumed character for every 10 tourists Downtown–which is way too many, in my opinion. But mostly it just feels very cramped on Fremont Street now. As you say, too many people vying for real estate. Bars have been built on the street as outgrowths of the casinos, so they’re taking up space. There are all those stages at every cross-street, plus kiosks selling things, plus the zipline, etc. etc. On the one hand, this seems like a good idea–plenty of activities to keep tourists happy, right? But there isn’t enough space for reasonable foot traffic flow. It feels claustrophobic to me now. And I just had no idea when or if any of those drunks were going to do something stupid, and I might be in the wrong place at the wrong time. My taxi driver on the way back to the Strip noted that word has gotten out that Downtown is where you can drink cheaply, so anyone who comes to Vegas just to party and get drunk heads Downtown now. I’m pretty sure that’s not the customer base I would want if I were a Downtown business. But that’s just me.

    2. hardware

      reading this, i must have been drunk when i typed. typing could for cold, that happens. typing first week of August when i meant first week of November: i wish i could blame it on cold medicine. i’m afraid to read the final five paragraphs.

  3. Jeff @ Go Travelzing

    Sounds like a great trip. How much time did you have to spend playing that game to get the comps?

    Good to know about the Luxor. I will add it to the list of place that I still have to stay at.

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      A looooooong time, Jeff. I stopped counting after awhile, but I’m pretty sure I could have paid for the things that were comped out of my salary at least 20 times over based on what I earn per hour. :-/

  4. sharonuk

    Great blog Gray , looking forward to reading full review on Luxor, I am ashamed to say there are lots of hotels in Vegas that I knock of my possibilities straight away this being one and its always such a good price , hoping to be back to Vegas 2014 but may not be solo x

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      I wish you could have been there for the meetup, Sharon! You were the life of the party last year. 🙂 Yeah, Luxor was fine, in my opinion. (Granted, I stayed in a Tower room.) It benefits greatly from being attached to Mandalay Bay.

  5. Daryl Piner

    Glad to hear you had a great trip. We, too, have been talking about staying at Luxor, we just really like the Monte Carlo. Did you use a mobile hotspot off your phone for your mobile router, or did you bring your wireless unit from home? We’ve taken our home unit, plugged it in at the room and it works like a charm. Thanks for posting about your trip.

    1. Gray Cargill Post author

      Daryl, sorry for the late reply, your comment got caught in my spam filter (Bad Akismet!). Yeah, I like the Monte Carlo a lot too, but Luxor was cheaper for this trip and I figured it would give me another hotel to review. I just wrote a post about the mobile router on my SoloFriendly blog. It’s a small pocket-sized mobile router I bought specifically for travel. Worked like a charm and took up very little space in my luggage. http://solofriendly.com/using-mobile-router-hotel-room-wifi/

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