Step 1) Drop in on a high school girlfriend, now a professional actress living in Las Angeles, and kidnap her from work Friday evening. Drive straight to Las Vegas. Get lost only sort of and spend far too long driving through tiny desert towns on your way to Sin City.
Step 2) Roar into your hotel parking lot by 10:00 pm, check in, drop your bags, put on lipstick and high heels, and hit the casino floor for some free drinks and fun with the slot machines.
Step 3) Sufficiently buzzed, head to The Strip and take in the lights, sounds, and sights of Vegas at street level.
Step 4) Grudgingly, like kids at a sleepover, agree you should get some sleep. Crash into unnaturally soft and luxurious beds in a pitch black room and sleep far too late.
Step 5) If this is your first time in Las Vegas, as it was mine, pull yourself out of that bed at a somewhat reasonable hour for a chance to check out some of the most famous casinos.
– Walk the sidewalks and raised bridges of The Strip and snap a selfie in the center of Las Vegas Boulevard (from the elevated safety of a bridge of course).
– Watch the Fountains of Bellagio water show. Several times daily the outdoor fountains of The Bellagio Casino put on a beautifully orchestrated show incorporating music, lights, and dancing jets of water. Free and fantastic! A must see.
– Admire the grandeur of The Venetian. Eat some gelato on a bench beside the canals and watch the gondoliers ferry other guests around the opulent casino. Admit that you almost feel like you really are in a dreamy Italian city.
– Back outside, visit White Castle for some burgers and fries and remind your palate that you’re really still in America. Let the setting sun is encourage you to run back to your hotel to get dressed for another night on the town.
Step 6) If you’re only here for the weekend, this is your only full night of debauchery. Make the most of it! Start your evening at a concert or show. Whatever kind of entertainment you’re looking for, Vegas can deliver.
We went for a rock show, like any good punk rock princesses would. Since high school I had been trying to catch The Darkness live, and I was over the moon to find out they would be playing at the House of Blues that night. So, hair properly teased and full of enough hairspray to blast a new hole in the Ozone layer, we made our way to Mandalay Bay.
It. Was. Awesome! Worth the wait and just the kind of energy we needed to get our night started. In the crowd we met a group of English guys in the RAF (thats the Royal Air Force) stationed in Vegas for the summer. Which leads me to step 7.
Step 7) Make Friends!
Following the concert the British Guys recommended we check out this other club. “The best view in Vegas” they promised. With no further plans, and open to whatever the night might throw at us, we agreed. So we made our way to The VooDoo Nightclub at the top of Rio Las Vegas.
They were right about the amazing view. Situated slightly off The Strip, from the top of the Rio you can see all of Las Vegas laid out below you, fanning out in straight golden lines of light across the desert. It’s incredible.
Look closely and see the massive High Roller Ferris Wheel. At 550 feet tall, it currently stands as the world’s largest ferris wheel. And with an open bar “happy half-hour” ticket option, that’s one Las Vegas sight that I still need to conquer.
With hints of blue starting to thread their way into the star filled night sky, we knew it was time to call this night a success and head back to our hotel for some zzz’s. Though the next day would be the last day of our wild weekend retreat, we had plans to go out with a bang.
As a happy coincidence, the weekend we went to Vegas also happened to be Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, a massive Pin-Up and Rockabilly conference held at The Orleans Hotel every year in April.
Which is why Step 8 is…
Step 8) Make the most of every minute
Sure we stayed out until past 4:00 am the night before. And sure my girlfriend’s flight back to L.A. left the airport at 3:30 pm. But that is no reason not to pull out our peep-toe heels, don our cutest leopard print vintage ’20’s dresses, and twirl our hair into a Victory Roll or two for day of Rockabilly, classic cars, greasers, and pin-up girls.
So we made the most of every minute. We woke up. We chased our Advil with multivitamins and Smart Water. And we had a blast at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. The cars were incredible. The shopping prolific. The other attendees inspiring.
But all too soon it was time to take my partner in crime to the airport. With happy hugs and promises to see each other again soon, we closed the curtain on our Rockin’ Vegas Weekend.
After dropping her off I pointed my Jeep eastward and on towards Zion National Park; the next stop on my road road trip east, and an adventure of an entirely different sort.
Tune in next week for stories from Angel’s Landing Trail and Zion National Park in Utah.
See you down the road!
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Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.