Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.
Been down, isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.
All around, people looking half dead,
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.
|Is this hell? No, just the temperature in Las Vegas the whole time we were there…|
Holy cow, that’s one appropriate oldie. I don’t know if this has been a fluke or Las Vegas summers are really this stinking hot. If it’s not a fluke, how can anyone live there year round? And survive? And why in heaven’s name would you? I grew up in Iowa. Without air conditioning. I know hot and humid. But Las Vegas in late July was almost unbearable. From Thursday evening through Monday morning, the temperature never dipped below 90. Ever. And that trend didn’t start when we arrived or stop when we left. Hoo-eee.
|They lie. Temperatures were hotter than this every stinking day…|
These impromptu adventures (for me) always start the same way. Shannon texted me a few weeks ago, “Mom, Tracey’s not able to go to Landon’s last tournament in Las Vegas. I already booked a fabulous room at The Venetian for 4 nights. All it’s gonna cost you is your flight and tickets to his games.” Man oh man, I knew immediately I wanted to go. Only thing causing me pause was not getting the days off work. I pretty much take off what and when I want but my boss strongly encourages everyone to give at least a 2 week notice when asking for time off. This would be a couple days shy of that. But one of those requested days is my normal day off, so I was only stretching it by 2 days. After a bit of maneuvering and moving around some workers, my request was granted. Maybe a tad grudgingly. But it’s rare for me to request time off without oodles of notice, or not zipping into work if they’re short of help or staying later. This works both ways, which is probably why I didn’t get the stink eye when pleading my case.
|Can’t say he’s really famous, but I did recognize him. Guy from the aquarium show called Tanked. Wade and his lovely wife…|
Last time Hubs and I were in Vegas was February of 2017. Twice. Neither stop was really for the whole Vegas experience. Saw no shows and didn’t gamble. We flew there with the sole purpose of driving to Yuma (we might not have fully realized exactly how far away Yuma was from Sin City) and made plans to see our niece Wendy and her family before we flew back to Detroit. The weather had been cool, cloudy with rain. Almost uncomfortably cool for what we had expected. And the clothes we had.
|View from our room on the 23rd floor at The Venetian…|
This recent trip was with mixed emotions where basketball was concerned. I think Landon (Drew to the rest of the world) has played AAU ball every spring and summer since 7th grade. But seniors can not compete in this league. And in less than one short month Landon will start his senior year. How is that even possible? Seems like he was just playing a game of H O R S E with me and won easily. Might add he was 3 at the time. And yes, it was a regulation basketball hoop.
|Landon, # 23. Went back to short hair. He’s so stinking cute…|
Before his regular basketball season this winter this will be the last time he’ll be playing in a tourney. Where have those years gone? And how come they seem to be going faster than ever lately? The tourney is called the Las Vegas Fab 48, meaning how many teams were invited. Landon was playing with a bunch of his buddies for this tournament. Guys who are Ann Arbor Pioneer rivals during basketball season, but they’re all good friends and this team needed a point guard for a couple weeks so duh, who ‘ya gonna call? One of Michigan’s 2019 best point guards in the state.
|Bringing it down court, setting up the play…|
Landon’s team flew to Las Vegas on Wednesday and was already knee deep in pool play (kind of seeding to get a good mixture of teams and talent in every bracket playing through to the finals. Like play offs, maybe. This is all kind of Greek to me, ask Tracey for details if you must). You can lose games in pool play, your team is then just seeded lower. But with all Landon’s years of summer league playing, once the tourney actually starts, (usually on a Saturday morning), you lose once and you’re done.
|Landon in Las Vegas, July, 2018…|
Shannon and I were landed on Thursday evening, so we missed a couple of their early pool play wins. His only game on Friday and our first to watch them play and they lost. That sucked. Thus, instead of being seeded first in their bracket and playing around noon, One Nation’s game would start at 8 a.m. And the high school was about half hour away. Just can’t get away from that crack of dawn wake up time. Appropriate for the city that never sleeps.
|Terrible shot, but every road leading to Las Vegas has these iron cutout animals. I love them…|
With 3 full days ahead of us in Vegas, and not a lot of time gobbled up with basketball, Shannon and I were trying to make tentative plans to fill the hours. We had hoped to see my niece (Shannon’s first cousin) and her family. But Wendy and Tom have lived in Nevada long enough to know spending much of their summer in Las Vegas is not conducive to their well being or all around good health. Hot damn! Exactly. It was just too hot to be outdoors. The extremes felt when exiting a casino, airport, gymnasium, car or restaurant sapped you immediately. It was impossible to catch your breath as the air you were sucking in was hotter than McDonald’s coffee. Take a few steps and your sandals melted right off. Along with your feet. And I’ve learned from experience, every single casino is way too cool. They certainly don’t want you getting drowsy and heading up to your room. Heck no, they don’t make and take your hard earned money that way. Keep it delightfully cool (I saw my breath a few times) and the folks will stay on the casino floor and keep giving up their money.
|One of the entrances to The Venetian, looks like Italy…|
So forget about enjoying the Strip for a few blocks. How about a show? One of the billboards were advertising the Donny and Marie Osmond Show. I thought Shannon would be thrilled. She grew up loving the duo and their variety show in the mid to late 70’s. (Cute little story about my brilliant pre-schooler back in the day). Shannon had the flu, diarrhea and was quite sick so I was taking her to our beloved pediatrician in Sioux City. As Dr. Stauch walked in, he said, “I hear you’re not feeling well Shannon. What’s wrong?” Precocious little twerp came right back with, “I have the donny-marie-a.” Doc laughed for 5 minutes, then had to apologize to Shannon because she wasn’t trying to be funny.
|Shannon, no jokes allowed when she’s suffering from ‘donny-marie-a,’ 1973…|
Nope, Shannon was no longer feeling the love for the Osmonds. She and Peyton had zip lined through downtown Las Vegas a couple of years ago, had a blast and she thought I might enjoy being literally scared to death. Let’s see, what exactly would that look like? Floating lazily through the air with temperatures hovering around 120. Trying to capture the city buzz while my face melts off. We decided it was just too hot to do anything outdoors.
|The ceiling at The Venetian, Las Vegas, 2018…|
Except for the Grand Canyon. It’s not that we didn’t believe in One Nation’s talent and ability. But with 48 teams, some who probably played together for several summers, we thought a game or 2 in on Saturday and we’d be knocked out. What better way to utilize the rental car than drive for 5 hours, spend a couple hours on the petrifying Skywalk and head back to Vegas?
Bright and early Saturday morning, One Nation’s squeaked out their first tournament victory against a Detroit team with a 2 point win. Landon played most of the game and had 11 points. Second game, late afternoon was easier and we won by 9. Landon scored 10. Too late now for a one way 5 hour trip, so the only way we could still visit the Grand Canyon was if One Nation lost early on Sunday. But we didn’t want them to lose. They were playing well as a team and looked as though they’d been playing together for a long time too. As with all his tournaments, you just get caught up and want them to do well. Pretty much let go of the notion that we’d be going any further out of Las Vegas than the next high school gym where One Nation was playing. Looks like we’re playing on Sunday!
|All the gyms are air conditioned. Duh, it’s 120 outdoors…|
Never crazy when Landon has to play at 8 am. High school boys in hotels results in little or no sleep. They look like hell in the morning. Haven’t eaten, or just had junk food, plus haven’t slept. But 8 am in Vegas is 11 am in Michigan, and they didn’t look too bad. Besides they’re very aware there’s only 8 teams left, and they’re one of them. They came out with golden arms. Won by 10, and our favorite hoopster had 24, including six layups and three, 3 pointers. A four hour break, another high school, another win in the semifinals.
The oddest thing occurred during this game. The gym wasn’t packed but there were probably 3 or 4 hundred watching, including some west coast coaches. All of a sudden at least 200 cell phones go off at the same time. With the same chirp. I immediately thought it had to be an Amber alert. Not so fast. It was a flash flood warning. No, I’m not kidding. Guess the 3 times a year they get rain, they don’t have anywhere to put it. And don’t know how to drive in it. Seems it doesn’t easily soak into the desert. By this time we were staying at this big Catholic high school because One Nation was headed for the finals in an hour. So we watched the wind whip the palm trees around, angry raindrops splat on the ground for 15 minutes and that was it. Major letdown from a midwestern gal, but they do things different in Vegas.
|My wrist bands from Landon’s tournament called Fab 48…|
Championship game was a good one. Lead changes several times. Landon was high scorer with 17, but we lost by 3 at the buzzer. So glad I went, so glad they kept winning. Whole weekend was really great, except for that relentless heat. I highly recommend staying at The Venetian. Reminded us both of Italy. Lots of marble, statues, even an outdoor gondola. Which was in danger of sinking since the water temperature was near boiling.
|Team pic after winning semis. Actually happier than after they lost the championship, Landon # 23…|
Restaurants were very good and we had lots of choices without leaving our mammoth structure. Very fancy shops, but we opted for a couple of high end outlet malls instead. Had a great time, good views of mountains from our room in the distance. Monday morning found us checking out, heading for the airport when we realized 2 things. We hadn’t gone to any shows and neither of us had dropped even a mere quarter in the slot machines. Like mother, like daughter…