On Tuesday morning (7/5), we flew to Las Vegas to start our road trip through some of the National Parks in Utah.
As you might recall, my Dad’s backpack got stolen in San Francisco and his passport with it. You might wonder what happened with the situation. Since the incident happened just before a (holiday) weekend, the German embassy in San Francisco was closed and even the German consulate’s emergency hotline, which I tried to call several times, went straight to the mailbox. So much for the EMERGENCY hotline! What if someone REALLY needed immediate help? “Sorry, just not on a holiday weekend”? I was a little bit disconcerted, to say the least.
Our biggest worry was that they wouldn’t let my Dad fly on a domestic flight without his passport. I had done some googling and had also called the airline (Southwest) and they assured me that my dad would be able to fly if he had another form of ID. Fortunately, he had his German ID card, his German driver’s license, and a credit card. I was still a little worried that there would be an issue when we got to the airport, but in the end, the TSA pulled him out at the security checkpoint for some questioning (he had to explain what happened) and then checked his carry-on (it seemed a little bit like showing off, but okay, I get it). In the end, the whole thing went smoothly (which we were really relieved about).
It’s only a 1.5-hour flight from Sacramento to Las Vegas and we arrived mid-afternoon. We first had to pick up our luggage and look for the car rental shuttle. Then there was another hiccup: my Dad had reserved two rental cars through a German travel website. But the rental car company refused to rent the cars to him because he couldn’t present a passport. They wanted two other people with passports and credit cards.
Ok, so my brother-in-law and I said we would rent the cars, but his card was declined because of the credit limit (German credit cards work a little differently than American credit cards and are most often associated with your bank.) The rental company lady suggested that he call his bank to increase the limit, but that was easier said than done, because it was the middle of the night in Germany.
It was also not possible to put both cars on my credit card, because allegedly one and the same person cannot rent two cars.
Long story short, the rental company lady took pity on us at some point, realizing that we simply had no solution, and eventually accepted my Dad’s credit card to pay for the booking that had been transferred to my brother-in-law. I thanked her profusely and then we were finally on our way. We had booked two SUVs, but I was asked if I would like to get a minivan, a Toyota Sienna, instead. The minivan actually suited us better because it fits 7 people and that meant that we could occasionally leave one car at the hotel and take shorter excursions in one car. So we said yes.
Of course, the whole ordeal took much longer than anticipated and by the time we made it to our hotel – the Paris, Paris on the Las Vegas Strip – it was already 6 pm.
We had planned to check out the Premium Outlets Las Vegas South in the afternoon. They are right next to the car rental place at the airport and it would have made sense to stop there first, but after the experience in San Francisco, we were not keen on leaving the cars in the parking lot with all our luggage. So we drove to the hotel first.
Anyone who has ever been to Las Vegas knows that checking into the hotels on the Strip is always a huge hassle. There are long walks through half the casino, a thousand people, long queues… and although we only wanted to quickly unload our luggage there, it took a long time and it was after 6 p.m. before we were finally in our rooms.
The outlets closed at 8 pm so we decided to take one car, drive back over, “speed shop” for an hour (which meant we split up and everyone went to the stores they were interested in), and then met back at the car at 8 pm.
It had been a long day already, we all hadn’t eaten lunch, we were hungry, tired, and thirsty, and not really in the mood to make decisions anymore, but we needed to eat.
(As previously mentioned, we didn’t plan this out in advance, but had to come up with dinner plans each night, which was always a bit stressful, especially when it was getting late and everyone was tired and hungry.)
Luckily, my Dad had done some research on restaurants in Las Vegas beforehand and unfortunately found that the Double Barrel Roadhouse, where we went the last time they were here, had closed down during the pandemic. Instead, he suggested that we try the Yard House, a sports bar with more than 100 draft beers on tap. That sounded like a good solution considering the restaurant was nearby and open late. Win-win!
The restaurant was big and we had no problem getting a table for a party of 7. We were really impressed by the atmosphere, food and drinks. A real highlight at the end of a long day!
On a side note, I found out that the Yard House is a chain restaurant and we have a (fairly new) location here in Sacramento. Who knew?
We made it back to the hotel around 9:30 p.m. and decided to at least take a quick stroll on the strip. None of us were really keen on walking or pushing our way through the crowds (although it has to be said that it was bearable at that time of the evening).
We looked at Paris, Paris from the outside, and admired the water feature at the Bellagio across the street, but the
kids teens were tired and ready for bed (or at least one of them was).
My parents ended up taking the kids upstairs while my sister, brother-in-law, and I walked two short blocks to the nearest Walgreens to buy some water and snacks, and then also made our way back to the hotel rooms as well. It had been a long day.