I had the day off yesterday. The flights BACK from Vegas were very empty. The flight to Vegas...not so much.
Kelli and I typically take the first flight out of DFW. Yesterday that was the ONLY flight that was even a little open. There were 30+ employee standbys going on that flight. In normal fashion I woke up 4 hours prior to departure and checked in. Getting a good spot on the standby list at my airline is solely based on check in time and priority status. We each have 4 high priority passes per year. We haven't had to use them yet. The flight left at 7:10AM. I started clicking on the "check in" button at 3:08AM. The system kept giving an error (because I can't check in prior to 4 hours from departure) until 3:10AM EXACTLY. Every other time I had done this I always landed in the top 2 or 3 on the list. Yesterday I was number 11! Seeesh.
There was no chance I would get First Class. Turns out no standbys got First Class. I did get an aisle seat. Done. Traveling with just my laptop bag was a nice change. No luggage to worry about finding a space for.
I rented a compact car from Alamo for $28 all in. As I walked down the compact aisle I saw a Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Cobalt, Kia Spectra and a Ford Focus. Initially I wanted to try the Versa....but something drew me to the Ford.
The Focus was a basic model. Nothing special. The interior quality is much better than the last Ford I drove (which was many years ago) and much better than my friends Ford Escape Hybrid. I attached my hand held navigation system and drove away.
I drove away thinking "this is a really nice car". I reached down to turn on the radio and thought, "doh I forgot my AUX input cable". I use the cable to plug my Zune MP3 player into the radio. I then looked down and saw a USB port....for the Ford/Microsoft SYNC system. Hmmmm.
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While driving I plugged in my Zune and thought for sure there would be some incompatibility. Nope. Right away the LED screen on the dashboard said "indexing". After a few minutes it was done. I pressed a button on the steering wheel and said "Play Artist Lily Allen". The car read back my command...and then began playing Lily Allen. The system played every artist I asked without having to repeat the command. I love the SYNC system! Not only does it allow a better qaulity audio connection than the AUX input cable, but it charges the Zune as well! Navigating the playlist and songs was very easy.
The car drove very nicely. According to the readout I was getting 38 MPG.
The drive to the slot machine vendors was longer than I expected. They were both near Laughlin, Arizona. After a little over 2 hours I arrived.
I compared slot machines at two different vendors. One dealt with slightly older unique machines (located across from many hotel/casinos in Laughlin) while the other had newer machines. The store with the older machines had prices waaaay higher than I thought they would be. The employee who greeted me was very nice and taught me a few things about slots. He also stated the other vendor might have better prices. After about 10 minutes I left.
The next stop was about 20 minutes away in Golden Valley, AZ. The Focus did very well climbing up the steep inclines. The scenery was a nice change as well.
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As I walked in I was happy to see the same slot machines I saw on their website (http://www.rockymountainslots.com/index.php ). Some slot machine vendors I contacted stated the photos online were not necessarily the same slot machines for sale. They were "representative". Hmmm yeah. Not so with Rocky Mountain Slots. I walked around the show room and played a few machines. I then found *my* machine.
The employees were very helpful. The machine I wanted was almost done being refurbished. The employees showed me the ins and outs of the machine. It was very, very, very clean inside and out. I decided to buy it. In addition they gave me a free slot stand. Slot machines are very heavy (200-225 pounds!). They can't sit on just any old table. Slot machine stands sell for $100-$250. I was getting a used (but good condition) stand for free. Here is my slot machine.
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That is the EXACT machine that will be on the way to our house Friday.
The drive back took me over Hoover Dam. I haven't been to the dam in years. They are building a new huge bridge to span the length of the dam. The new bridge will allow traffic to bypass the dam. Getting through the damn dam is a very slow process.
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While driving back to Vegas there was a guy in a golden Pontiac Grand Am speeding and weaving through traffic. He passed in no passing zones while going UP hill many times! Karma finally caught up with him.
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I wanted to stop by the strip for a little gambling. The traffic on the strip was moving slower than I have ever seen! Construction. I had to give up and head to the airport. After filling up with gas I was happy to calculate 34 MPG!!!! Nice!
After clearing security I saw a huge crowd of people standing around. After asking around I was told they were filming a new George Clooney movie! I left the crowded area and walked down the way a bit. I saw several people in black shirts and headsets standing around.
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Hmm....I started playing with my phone and then noticed several people dressed in American Airlines uniforms complete with AA ID cards. Something was fishy. Flight crew members don't normally just stand around airports together. They were actors!
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The movie is Up in the Air. I am guess that American Airlines is paying to be in the movie. The uniforms were actual AA uniforms and the badges were perfect copies (I walked close by an actor).
They did film a general terminal scene and I was able to walk right through. Maybe I will make the final cut. Ha!
For the first time ever I played a slot machine at the airport. What kind of machine? The same kind I bought....but with the addition of Wheel Of Fortune.
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I put in $5 and got to spin on my third pull. I won 100 quarters on the spin and cashed out. That win paid for the gas for the rental.
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The flight back was VERY empty. Only 60 of 188 seats were full. I picked First Class to get a meal and a few cocktails. There were movies shown each way. On the way there was He's Just Not That Into You. On the way back was Bride Wars. I have seen them both.