Now that all the show stuff is out of the way, we can get to the good part of this whole trip...it should be noted that the show actually ran from wednesday through friday. I attended all day wednesday, a few hours on thursday, and was completely sick of it by friday. Anyway, there was actually an alleycat on the first day...thrown by Whitesnake (above right) and Dozr from NYC. Which is pretty crazy, because if ever there was a place to NOT ride a bike, it'd be Vegas. I think Jason Britton's bike almost got cut off of a railing....there's limos and cabs and traffic everywhere on the strip. Everything is designed to make it hard to even walk around...it's completely designed for automobiles. The start of the alleycat was right outside the main entrance doors to the show. There were actually about 30-40 people involved, i think....which is a pretty good amount given the venue.
Here's Kim from D.C. and Dozr. I'm not sure where all these cans of Bud came from, but they were pretty welcome. Inside the show, there were various beer giveaways at different booths every day. The show guide actually had a small section every day detailing said giveaways. This was the only real reason to pick up a guide, unless you were really into the business/financial side of the bike biz. Anyway, thanks to precise planning and the strength of our group (people tended to give us a good amount of space as we loudly approached booths), we managed to make the most of the festivities and avoid actually paying for beer.
Mike Dee (NYC) and Sheba (D.C.) waiting for the start. I was a little disappointed, because I'd recently purchased a Bilenky track frame with S+S couplers (chek the blog entry from a little while back), but hadn't had time to actually put it together and make the bag for it so I could bring it to Vegas without paying a plane fee. So Steve and I didn't ride in the alleycat. Turns out that that was a good choice, but still...would have been fun.
You'd figure in Vegas nobody would really care what was going on unless it reached such a level of absurdity about 25 times that of normalcy. Seriously, think about the stuff that must go on here on a daily basis. I don't think there is such thing as "too drunk"...matter of fact, when we first got to Vegas, I was checking in at the Luxor, and a guy was practically falling down checking out. This was at roughly noon. He was telling the receptionist he hadn't seen the friend he came with in two and a half days. Are some people sitting outside drinking beer really going to upset the delicate balance of this town? Still, the rent-a-cops outside the convention center seemed to be getting really nervous about all of us being right outside. We'd only been there for about 15 minutes when they came out to usher us across the road.
This is Jason from King Kog. The next time I'd see him would be from the window of our limo as we pulled up to the afterparty. Hey wait, isn't that a bit excessive....a limo?
Naw, not really...the thing is, taking a limo, given enough people, can actually be cheaper than an individual ride in a taxi. I had never thought about it before...but Reed and Scott (from Level Components) had been in Vegas for about five days already, and figured it out very early in the game. After the alleycat went off, everybody who wasn't racing walked up to their room to chill for a little bit. They were out of beer...but not out of hard alcohol. Hmmmm. Well, we hung out there and had a few drinks, and then went outside to grab a ride to the Palms (Kona was throwing a party there so Whitesnake figured he might as well make that the afterparty). Before we even got to the taxi line, Reed told us to hold up so he could hook up a limo. There's limo's for hire outside of any casino at almost any time, so it's pretty easy. Anyway, within two minutes we had our ride, we piled in and took off. That's Scott right there, probably talking about playing poker later.
Here's a horrible picture of the Mirage from the limo. Anyway, this small sequence of events (drinking in a patio of a suite in the Venetian, jumping in a limo, and arriving at the Palms and going out to the humongous pool/party space, where there was a stage complete with dancers, little streams of water with floating cushions for chairs, and general craziness) was probably the closest I've ever felt to being on MTV Cribs. That feeling died down pretty quickly, though, as more people (show attendees) began to crowd into the party and we realized that beers were $9.
The next night (I think), Chris Kim and Mike Dee set up goldsprints in the Level suite. The mere fact that they brought all their equipment to Vegas is amazing in itself. Truth be told, by the time I got there, the racing was over. Alex won. As usual.
We hung out outside a drank for a while. I think the toll of Vegas life got to everybody a little bit that night....people started slowly dropping out kinda early. Around one, I made my way back to the Luxor to do some gambling. All said, I actually did pretty well with a combination of roulette and slots. One word of advice: if your dealer mentions his/her birthday, or the birthday of any of their family members, PLAY THAT NUMBER.
I guess that's a good segway into the actual "Vegas" part of Las Vegas, which I've been sparing you through this whole thing. I stayed at the Luxor (pretty decent hotel/casino...not amazing, not budget). It's a glass pyramid. The whole theme is ancient Egypt, and there's a...well, I could call it a light, but that's an extreme understatement. It's actually the world's most powerful light, shining a beam directly up into the sky. Visible up to 250 miles away. Seems like a good use of energy to me. Interesting side note: Close to the hotel, if you look at the beam, it seems to be shimmering and sparkling. It's a very nice effect. What is really goign on, however, is hundreds of bats feasting on all of the insects that are attracted by the lights. Nice touch, Luxor.
***MORE TO COME!!!