Sunday, September 19, 2010

no fear nor loathing

Despite the fact that we had no set destination and no real idea where we were going, we drove south from Los Angeles and managed to find a Motel 6 in Long Beach only 10 minutes from the airport. We bought some two for a dollar tacos from the adjacent Jack in the Box and watched the second half of "Rocky" on TBS before hitting the hay. The next morning, we finally succeeded in finding that elusive In & Out Burger for a hearty breakfast and caught our plane to Las Vegas with time to spare. A quick note about In & Out Burger: they are fucking amazing; clean, fast, friendly, and inexpensive. I counted fifteen people working with Swiss watch precision. It makes you wonder how the other fast food giants can do so much wrong and be so successful and why there aren't more In & Out Burgers around the country.

The hour-long plane ride to Vegas resembled a high school party bus on it's way to the State Championship and there was much hooting and hollering upon our arrival. We caught a tram to a shuttle bus and ended up far from the airport at a rental car place that informed us that the state of Nevada has all kinds of extra rules, regulations, and insurances required to rent a car. After panicking over the extra fees which more than doubled our quoted price and destroyed our carefully orchestrated budget, we calmly called my credit card company and found out that they did indeed cover some (if not all) of the extras.

Nevada has a "loss of use" rule that if you get into an accident of any kind and the car becomes unrentable, you must pay to rent the car for the duration of its repairs. We breathed a heavy sigh of relief and thanked the lady at the counter who must deal with customers experiencing this rollercoaster of emotions a dozen times a day. She couldn't have been nicer or more patient with our stages of disbelief, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. When it was all over I wanted to give her a big hug. It really goes to show how important the lost art of customer service truly is.

On the advice of another very friendly lady in the car rental check-out booth, we checked out The Orleans. It proved beyond our means, though it was fun to see the Vegas version of a city we'd visited only days before; it was bigger and brighter, but lacked a certain je ne c'est qua. We ended up at our originally intended destination at the far end of the strip: The Sahara. Former home of Elvis and Ann Margaret, Sinatra and Dino, and a bargain to boot. Originally, we'd planned to hit the road running and try to make the Grand Canyon by nightfall but it was getting late and we'd been pushing ourselves for days. We needed a good night's sleep and what better place to get one than a casino in Sin City.

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