We just got back from a trip up to Portland, celebrating our granddaughter E’s eighth birthday. Now I’ve got another camera full of photos to extract. We had a good time – which is really nice age for a pleasant kid. She was a joy to be around and we had a lot of fun, tons of giggles with Grammy. We also made both the Blond Duck’s peanut butter oatmeal cookies and the below pretzel butterscotch ones. E did a great job in smashing the peanuts and pretzels, and had a great time doing it. She is also great at mixing.
Warning: Rant ahead. The last time I went up to Portland we drove, which is basically a two day trip from Las Vegas. Well, it’s right on a thousand miles (1600km) which is a sixteen hour drive (plus stops), that’s a little too much for an old guy like me to handle in one go so we break it into two parts. There are a few routes up there, but we drove straight north through most of Nevada up to Twin Falls Idaho, spent a night in a hotel then turned left and drove west through most of Oregon over to Portland. I like driving, so the journey was part of the vacation as well as the destination. But this trip we didn’t have as much available time so we flew. I haven’t been on a commercial flight for several years and the experience is just as bad now as it was before. I really am offended by all of the security crap that the United States government makes everybody go through in order to fly. Come on, why the heck do I have to stand in line for an hour (or more), take off half my clothes and subject myself to all of the searches? Is it all just to make that stupid woman I was standing next to say ‘I feel so safe now’?
Back to this post – we tried something new this time and called a cab to take us from our house to the airport. The trip out went quickly; our cab driver was really friendly and talkative. On the return trip I was very impressed at how cab loading was handled at the airport. There is a line to get cabs with thirty marked spots on the curb in front of each terminal. A security person directs you to a spot, then calls enough cabs from the waiting group line to fill all of the spots; they load up and all leave at the same time as the next round of people are directed out. Then a new line of cabs pulls in to load. It went rather quickly, we arrived on a Monday afternoon which was relatively light and so only ten spots were used at a time. I imagine that Friday and Sunday afternoons are rather busy, hence the thirty spot marking out in front of terminal three.
The cab driver for our return was different than the earlier one; he did not talk, and did not appreciate my suggested route. Note for visitors: around 30% of cab rides in Las Vegas involve ‘long hauling’ or taking you on a route that causes a higher total charge. The favorite one from the airport is to take you via the freeway to your Strip hotel. This will add an additional $7 to your fair – instead of a $5 ride to the MGM it becomes a $13 ride. Anyway, our driver did take the route I wanted, and did not talk at all for the whole ride. This cab had a little drop down screen for the back seat, and played a continuous advertisement for the Wynn resort. Steve Wynn himself was doing the vocal pitch, so for twenty minutes I heard his loop about fifteen times. I know, it was made for the five minute ride between casinos, not for something longer, but I am sure glad it’s over (you can go hear him on the Wynn Resort website). And for some reason I want to have dinner at Andrea’s.
Steve Wynn is really the guy that created the current Vegas – he built (and sold) the Mirage, Treasure Island, and the Bellagio before building the Wynn. Most people admit that without him there would not be the huge resorts and casinos that we have now. I like his progression, gradually building up in class and style. The Bellagio to me is one of the prettiest properties (I do like the Palazzo a bit better though). The glass ceiling in their lobby is impressive, here’s B walking through it last Christmas.