Now I have to give a huge nod to Derik. It was almost 11pm his very first night in Vegas, and it was 115 degrees, and he had been driving for hours. He didn’t even skip a beat, just started calling hotels and getting rates. Everything was booked. I gave up a few motels in and just cried in the car. But he found one, and it was only a few blocks away–still on the strip, but in that weird awkward purgatory that isn’t Fremont and isn’t the Strip, so it’s like where all the locals go. The room was definitely a downgrade, and 100 dollars more, but we didn’t complain. I did my habitual check-all-mattresses and they were spotless. The AC worked. That motel saved our butts. Thanks, Gateway Inn. And thanks, Derik. I’m sorry that your birthday was almost a disaster.
After booking our motel we went and ate at a diner on this purgatory side of the Strip, called Vickies Diner–BEST ham and cheese sandwich in the world. We were so pooped, we sat and ate in total silence, surrounded by drunk locals, ten different wedding chapels, and the dangerous and creepy noises of the non-Strip. And of course, the inside of the diner was run down, but clean, just like the room–and painted hot, Elvis-Cadillac pink. It was perfect.
The next morning was all for VEGAS! Unfortunately, Derik was sick for most of it. Still, we touristed. We rode the Deuce and saw the Strip, we had martinis at Planet Hollywood, we ate lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s BurgR, we went to the Mob Museum. If you’re in Vegas and wondering what to do I highly recommend this place. The history and exhibits were top notch. My personal favorite will always be the atomic museum, but that’s just because of the Fallout nerd in me–well, that, and the fact that the atom is AWESOME!
The one thing Derik requested for his birthday was “that feast where you eat with your hands and watch swordfighting.” When he said those exact words I was like “uhhhh” but then he explained what he’d seen on some travel show–the Tournament of Kings. And his description was spot-on accurate. Eating a personal feast with your greasy hams while cheering and jeering at a bunch of long haired men who ride around on horses and fight and do magic and stuff.