Vegas Baby... Remind Me - Why Did We Come Here Again?
Anyone who has worked in the medical industry, like I did, knows Vegas. So many industry conferences take place here. I guess doctors like living it up in Vegas when someone else is footing the bill! I have been here for work more times than I can remember, and honestly I don't care if I never come again. And yet for some reason, that I am not sure we have really worked out, we were drawn to spending some time in Sin City.
We first spent a few enjoyable days at Lake Mead, boondocking at Govt Wash Road. I don't know if I can call it scenic, it's kind of barren and the lake is tragically low. But we kind of liked it out there. We paddled on the lake for a few hours, and hiked across rocks that would once have been underwater. We also celebrated our 20 year anniversary while there with a tasty Asian dinner at Lucky Foo's, a favorite with the locals in nearby Henderson, followed by chocolates and champagne back at the Airstream.
We decided to follow up with a couple of days actually at the famous LasVegas Strip, partly because we wanted to visit the Hofbrauhaus that our friends 2WanderAway had recommended to us which was awesome by the way. And partly because we wanted to experience the novelty of parking behind the casinos on the strip. An alternative way of doing Vegas.
Despite my misgivings about Vegas we were determined to give it a shot and see parts of the city we had neglected in the past. And with an open mind we took The Deuce bus service to Fremont Street and the old downtown area that we heard was undergoing some revitalization. The whole neighborhood is kind of skanky but we found a few redeeming landmarks that made the trip worthwhile. First was The Downtown Container Park. This is part of the Downtown Project that is seeking to revitalize the area. The development is actually really well done. Several small boutique vendors, nice bars and coffee shops all occupy recycled shipping containers. I love to see investment like this instead of continual urban sprawl. More cities should reinvest in their often neglected downtown areas.
From the Container Park it is just a block or two (regular block - not Vegas Strip block) to the Airstream park where residents rent a static Airstream or other tiny house. Unfortunately we couldn't get in - so no photos and the whole place was surrounded with a chain link barbed wire fence. It's a shame because it's a great idea and the intentions are honorable, but honestly I couldn't think of a less welcoming place to stay until the downtown project is further along.
Airstream 2 Go is also a block away, here non-Airstream owners can rent a shiny new trailer and tow vehicle and travel off to enjoy it in more scenic surroundings. The other redeeming spot we found in the area was a microbrewery called Banger Brewing. Despite it's location in the downtown "Fremont Street Experience" we found this to be an authentic business run by people who cared about beer! That also cheered us up about Vegas.
We stayed for two nights behind Bally's Casino, in their oversize parking lot. Unfortunately on our second night, while we were inside the trailer having just gone to bed, someone stole our bikes from our bike rack. We always knew that theft was a risk while on the road, and that is especially true in cities. We try and take a pragmatic approach to hurdles and mishaps, and this was no different. Even though we're insured ( update: actually it turned out we weren't see my slightly ranty post!), we will still be out of pocket because of our deductible. But at the end of the day it's just stuff. We accept that shit happens when you are on the road, and if that's the risk of getting out there and enjoying life, then so be it.
We have to return to Vegas at the beginning of May to get a flight back east for work, but we will not linger. We did ask ourselves again, why did we come to Vegas? We still don't have an answer. While a few crappy moments won't ruin our lifestyle of thousands of wonderful experiences, the same can't be said of Vegas where a few decent places doesn't make up for the rest of the city.