21.05.2010 - 24.05.2010 77 °F
Room 14223, Golden Nugget, 3.37pm, 25/05/10
Winding back to our trip from Savannah to Kansas City. First I wanted to outdo our friend Don Mc who sent me a video of his self-lowering toilet seat. Match this, Don:-
Enjoyed that car. But, boy did it drink gas, as we say here. No wonder American car manufacturers are in trouble when they are building cars with huge engines that have not moved on from the 50s. It's nice to have that roar and that huge reserve of power when you need it, but.... When we picked the car up the car computer was showing it had averaged 11.9 mpg. With fuel at around $2.69 per gallon on average, that was going to cost us a lot to get from Savannah to Kansas City. However, by driving a little more carefully, John eventually managed to get the consumption down to 18.9pmg.
But still loved it. All sorts of extras, like Satellite Radio (we were able to tune in to Elvis Radio as we drove to Memphis) and there are about 5 country stations on the system which kept us happy.
Another nice feature was, when you selected Reverse, the left third of the rearview mirror displayed the image from a camera fixed in the rear somewhere. Also a beeper to warn you when you were near any tree trunks that someone may have carelessly left lying around!
On the way through Arkansas, the endless tress parted to reveal fields of rice and corn (maize). But it was all very wet. Think we have been chasing the storms and have, luckily, been arriving in each place with the fine weather.
There are still tornadoes sucking up houses through Oklahoma and Kansas. The Weather Channel now seems to be given over to chasing tornadoes.
The hotel in Kansas City (a "Courtyard" which is one of the many new Marriott brands) was a conversion from a 1923 Service Apartments "hotel" which must have seen some very well healed ladies living there. We wondered how many were chucked out on the streets when it closed in the good-ole American way?
We were not aware that the car park was round the back (why don't they sign these things) and pulled up at the front of the hotel just as an old college bus blocked the way and loads of college students celebrating a wedding came out of the hotel. At the moment John tried to push the car through the crowd (to dirty looks) the bride emerged from the hotel and we were right in the middle of her big day! Not the dignified arrival we hoped for.
These hotels are good value, as slightly upmarket from "Motel" but not providing all the services of a hotel. We paid around $110 which is pretty good for being right in the centre of this posh area.
Next day: the somewhat nightmarish "drive" to KCI airport. Thank goodness we had a practice run the day before at it was like driving a helter skelter as we dived from freeway to Interstate having to cross about 15 lanes within 50 yards to exit.
Collected our upgrade as reported and got a good flight to DFW where the portly AA Captains had a sort of sewing-circle meeting at our gate:-
These old guys look as if they should be advertising Werthers Originals, not flying planes!
On arrival at LAS airport, what is one of the first things you see? Guess:-
Another advantage of the upgrade was our luggage got "Priority" tags and they were amongst the first onto the belt. All the car rental companies have now been concentrated into one centre and you have to get a free shuttle bus there.
But also so did around 500 others so there was a huge queue for the buses. But, as this is America, we only had to wait a couple of minutes before we were on the bus. A large queue at the Hertz desk was not a problem for us, either. A while back John asked for, and got, a Hertz#1 Gold card (like Bob's Hilton Gold VIP Card. If you don't ask....!). This means that at larger airports like LAS, this happens:-
So we just walk to our car and drive out. No waiting at all.
I already mentioned the somewhat fraught journey to the Golden Nugget and the problems with the room. But finally got the room we wanted in the new Rush Tower. We have the luxury of robes and "silk slippers". Luxurious. A flat screen HD TV (and US High Definition looks very good indeed). An enormous Bathroom etc etc.
Last night: a SMASHING meal in the revolving restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere (more tomorrow):-
Also, Arthur has said he is going to get out his Kodak Brownie and take a few snaps of the room for you tomorrow.
Bob won another $75 on Video Poker and John even managed a $20 win on a 5 cent machine today after our drive out of town and up snowy Mount Charleston, just 40 miles North of town. Breakfast was in a mountain lodge. Arthur was relieved they were open at this time of year as every effort to find breakfast on the way out had failed.