Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weekend Off at Nevada

The hardest part of the trip was over we had made it to Las Vegas on time and with both aircraft working properly. No failures or unpleasant surprises took place and the Westbound leg of the journey had just gone perfect. After such an arrival to the "Sin City" (please refer to the previous post) we were of to a car rental to get a transportation for the next 2 days. It was a well deserved stop on the flying trip and we had a full agenda.

As we got to Hertz and since we were 5 guys with lots of bags we decided to get a big vehicle to cope with the requirements and after a long talk with the lady on the counter we settled on the Cadillac Escalade, the top american SUV. We jumped inside the Escalade and once aboard we set sail to the Cesar's Palace where we had a room waiting for us. As we drove up the Las Vegas Strip we were dazzled by all the light and glitz. We arrived on a Thursday and on Thanksgiving so our expectations were quite low, but we soon understood that the city never sleeps and there really is no difference between day and night, weekdays or weekends.

Once on the Ceasars Palace, our hotel for the nice we were given a suite instead of two separate rooms. So you have an idea, the suite they gave us had 4 bathrooms, 4 entrances, a piano, 1 roman statue, a bar and 2 floors! How nice is that?!

Ceasars Palace Casino & Hotel.

To enjoy the most of Las Vegas we had a quick snack decided to go out and stroll around "The Strip" going to the main casinos and points of interest. The most relevant places were the Bellagio (where we saw the well known water display) and the New York-New York Hotel & Casino where we rode the amazing Roller Coaster which is right outside and around the casino, with the city as scenery. To make things even nicer, this was done by night, which made the ride much more interesting.

After the nice tour it was time to hit the Ceasars' gambling rooms and do what one goes to Vegas for. We got back to the room at 4 in the morning after playing roulette, video poker, etc. and in fact we all made a few shy dollars.

On the next day we moved to the MGM Grand to know another hotel and experience a different atmosphere. Once we checked in we hit the streets once again and went straight to the Stratosphere and its well known attractions and views. We got over to the top and rode the 4 great rides they have there, at 350 meters above Las Vegas. To know more about the rides check out this link.

As the night came we went to The Venetian for dinner and then again back to gambling and night fun, this time at the MGM. I might had that the MGM is not as nice as the Ceasars Palace or the Bellagio but one can still have lots of fun and the next morning's breakfast was quite nice and really worth the money! En route to the airport we were still able to visit the famous "Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.

MGM Grand Casino & Hotel.

The Team at Las Vegas Sign.

We got our things together and started our planning for the next leg of the trip, this time we would start moving East back to our home in Florida but first would spend a night in Mesa, close to Phoenix, where we had plans to visit a friend.

Planes loaded, refueled and planning done we decided to get on our way as we had a few hours ahead and the weather during the flight was not all CAVOK (Ceiling and Visibility OK) and Sky Clear. As the Cessnas departed Southbound leaving Las Vegas behind the rain and high terrain came to increase the pilots' workload. Although the departure was under the hood (using the planes' instruments) after an hour or so under moderate rain and across high terrain we got past the clouds and bad weather into a nice, clear sky over Arizona. The team made a nice landing in Falcon Field right at dinner time and after leaving all our bags at the hotel there was only time to have dinner and go grab a beer (or two) at a nice local bar, full of nice young people, music and with a great atmosphere.

This would close the Las Vegas chapter but would certainly bring much more adventures on what we thought would be an easy ride back home.

Falcon Executive Aviation FBO on the day of our departure.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Arriving in Las Vegas

I know I've been failing on the blog and on you my dead readers but I must tell you I've been pretty busy since I've arrived in Portugal around a month ago. Only now things are getting on tracks and I'm getting back to my regular day by day routine and I shall now continue where I've stopped!
Since I've not yet posted my video regarding the arrival to Las Vegas I've decided to do it now on this shorter post, while I prepare the photos to include on the next posts.
Hope you all enjoy it, this is a video of a visual approach and landing at Las Vegas' runway 19R, for a better description please refer to the previous post.