Leaving Las Vegas and #ROW80

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My one & only slot machine experience. I didn’t win.

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, when I throw out a thread of something I recently learned.

I visited Las Vegas for the first time ever a couple of weekends ago. I did a LOT of walking and taking in the atmosphere of this fascinating city–or rather, “the Strip.”

As I explored and experienced various places, I started taking mental notes. What would I do the same next time? What would I do differently? What would I do if time or money permitted that I didn’t get to do?

So as I’m leaving Las Vegas, I’m jotting down my takeaways and sharing them with you. Some of my points apply to a number of destinations, and a few are specific to Vegas.

  • Tour the hotel. When you arrive, take some time to explore the hotel and what it offers. The Las Vegas hotels in particular do not simply provide lodging. They also have casinos, restaurants, bars, shows, wedding chapels, conference centers, shopping centers, concierge service, and more. It wasn’t until the third day that I discovered where the second Starbucks in my hotel was located and where I could have gotten free WiFi. Had I taken the full tour on Day One, I would have known.
  • Set your expectations. Especially if you’re taking the trip with others, decide what your goals are and discuss them ahead of time. You don’t need an agenda, but know what your priorities are. I didn’t have any interest in gambling. Instead, I focused on exploring the art, architecture, and shops on the Strip (aka Las Vegas Boulevard). We also caught the amazing performance of Jersey Boys.
  • Download an app. I brought my Kindle Fire and downloaded the Las Vegas Trip Advisor app. It didn’t have everything I wanted, but it had quite a bit and I never felt lost. I was also able to tag some places I knew I wanted to see, like Bauman Rare Books which definitely ranks as a highlight of my trip. I stared with wonder and delight at first editions of Madame BovaryBreakfast at Tiffany’sHuckleberry Finn, Emily Dickinson’s Poems, and many more. Signed copies of books from Dr. Seuss and Milne (Pooh) also had me giddy.
  • Bring walking shoes. Whether you come to Vegas to gamble, shop, see shows, or whatever, you’ll likely have some walking to do. I saw a lot of women in stiletto heels, but I bet they were cursing under their breath or rubbing their feet later. I wore comfortable boots, but I could have used more cushioning inside. I walked miles and miles and miles.
  • Look up, down, and around. The architecture and decor of Strip hotels range from tacky to breathtaking. But if you don’t look, you’ll miss the amazing surroundings. Be sure to especially look up. If I hadn’t looked up, I would have missed these:

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And looking around, I saw these:

Drop a tip in the can and get your pic taken with Chewy.
Drop a tip in the can and get your pic taken with Chewy.
Donny Osmond's tuxedo from Dancing with the Stars.
Donny Osmond’s tuxedo from Dancing with the Stars.
The gondola oarsman stopped and sang an Italian song.
The gondola oarsman stopped and sang a beautiful Italian song.
  • Ask for advice. Other visitors in the elevators, store personnel, and the hotel’s concierge can all tip you off to what’s worth seeing or where to eat. I consulted with a close friend who had recently been to Las Vegas and with my husband’s co-workers about where to go and what to do.
  • Remember your undies. Funny story. As the mother of two, taking a weekend trip with the hubby means arranging care for my children as well. Since my boys were staying with other people, I gave them a packing list, supervised the process, and then double-checked their luggage. It wasn’t until we were on the airplane that I realized, I don’t recall packing my underwear. Sure enough, when we arrived in Las Vegas and I checked my suitcase, I was sans undies. While some might suggest this is a perfectly good way to experience “Sin City,” I went shopping. Next time, I will double-check my own luggage.

ROW Update

Editing

  • Complete full rewrite of SHARING HUNTER. Met with beta reader, got more notes, and started working through the first couple of chapters.
  • Work with editors on short story for Orange Karen Anthology. Heard from copy editor. Done.
  • Revisit GRACE & FIRE (1st novel) and run through one more round of edits. Two more chapters. About halfway through.

Writing

  • Write one full short story. Wrote 1566 words.
  • Write blog posts for Sundays (including ROW80 updates) and Wednesdays. Posted Scarlet Thread Sunday and #ROW80 on Sunday and Which, That, Who & Whom on Wednesday.
  • Start plotting sequel to GRACE & FIRE (working title: HOPE & ASHES). On hold.

Reading

Non-writing goals

  • Exercise twice a week. Only once, on Wednesday.
  • Take a true Sabbath–no working and time with God and family one day a week.  Doing better. I really need to give myself some downtime to rejuvenate.

Be sure to visit my fellow ROWers–an awesome group of writers! You can find a list of them HERE.

What are your tips for travel generally or Las Vegas specifically? And how was your week?