Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Flashback post- Jasper Lake Hike

 Hike in Indian Peaks Wilderness this summer

VW rally to Film on the Rock- Rocky Horror Picture Show- retro post

Trying to get caught up on the postings!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Tripadvisor review of Harrah's Vegas...

This was from our road trip during spring break. Just wanted it out there....

“Pet Friendly floor but....”
3 of 5 starsReviewed April 6, 2013
While on a road trip we stayed at Harrah's for two nights. First off, I believe that their business model is volume based and not high end customer service. The line to check out was 25-30 minutes and it comes in big waves of check ins. I was lucky in that the woman who checked me in was extremely nice and friendly (when you have a dog, that tends to bring that out in folks). She however, was the bright spot in customer services on the main floor. when I noticed on my ipad that there were wifi signals, I stopped by the front desk and asked what the password was. I was informed that my floor doesn't have wifi. Only floors 30 and up do. When I point out that I am on the 3rd floor because that is the only floor that pets are allowed on, I was briskly referred to the manager. I learn during my stay that this is a common tactic. If you ask a question and it's answered, but you drill down a little farther, you have deviated from the script and then immediately referred to the manager.

I have to say, it was all I could do not to break out laughing when I spoke with the manager. And please allow me to add, I sincerely believe that they have a hard job. Everyone on the main floor deals with hundreds of people a day and not all of them I'm sure are always in a good mood or sober. But this manager had a tired of living look on his face. His soul was dead. Like he'd been chained to that desk for 24 years. He kept repeating the same sentence over and over again when i asked about wifi. "we don't advertise wifi for the rooms" "wifi is only for Floors 30 and up". I point out that I didn't have an option for floor 30 because of the dog... "we don't advertise wifi" over and over.

Perhaps he is an ex East German Border guard? Nothing phased him. He never changed expression. I think he is still coming to terms that the 2008 bust kept Harrah's from being blown up. He just stared through me waiting..and waiting... for something..anything...

The third floor.
To get to the Mardi Gras tower, we walked through the check in area, past the Starbucks counter, passed the Asian cafe and through the slot machine floor. My dog took it all in stride. However, I can see where some pets may be overwhelmed by the crowd, sounds and flashing lights. Or be tempted to hit the slots themselves. Why not? Who's to say they couldn't do better than you? If your pet gets seizures from watching Japanese anime then be forewarned. You may want to keep all this in mind for your pet.

Starbucks day one.... I discovered that this Starbucks won't take your commuter mugs and fill them up. I was informed that it was against county health codes to take it behind the counter. So i had two commuter mugs and two paper drinks. I apologize to the staff for being asleep and not knowing that rule. I deserved the glare and barks of shame. Forgive me..

Starbucks day two... no commuter mugs and the entirely different crew was very nice.

I played the Starbucks slot machine... you never know if it's cherries or lemons... !

The staff on the third floor was fabulous. Very pleasant and helpful... perhaps they are grateful that they only deal with a limited number of people on one floor and not the great mass from the Carnival Cruise Ship that beached on the drive way and belched out the throngs of frat boys carrying suit cases of Bud Lite, Sorority sisters clutching their own pillows and middle aged men in shorts and golf shirts not admitting to that extra 23pounds and focused on finding the buffet table..

Harrah's is part of the Pet Stay program in Vegas, so an employee brought dog bowls, mats for the bowls, treats and dog bags ( in a cool holder with Caesars on it) for you to keep (no additional charge). He later brought a dog crate to the room. There is a $25 deposit on the crate, but refunded if you leave the crate behind. It did take an hour for it to arrive after I ordered it, and that wasn't his fault, it was "dispatch". At minute 50, I called back saying that we were waiting to go to dinner, it arrived 10 mins later. Harrah's has an understandable policy that no dog can be left alone in the room uncrated.

Outside the main door... remember, through the slots, past Starbucks and the lost sheep of would-be check in tourists.... take a right and there is a fenced in dog area for bio breaks.

The Room
I was booked at Harrah’s through my Plat Amex service (TheHotel didn't have a pet room available) and i will admit, i was very not happy that first day. Let me be clear, I'm not whining about lack of 4 star service in a 2 star hotel. I recognize different levels of hotels/service at the appropriate price point. I was paying $50 a day for a Pet fee and I was surprised by the lack of wifi and quality of the room. In front of the side table was a large pink stain in the rug. in the hallway next to our door was a white bleach stain (it was coming from the vent in the wall.. on the other side was the ice machine). The tub kept clogging. I suspect someone gave their dog a bath in the tub.

The fees..oh the fees.... Here's what is perverse about the dog fee. It should be a deposit. that way if your dog does leave something behind, then you get dinged. If you have a hope of getting say your $100 deposit back, you would be more inclined to keep the room un- canine spoiled. Further, if there is a canine gift in the room, do you think room service gets a piece of that $50 a night? oh hells to the no.

Then there is the resort fee. funny, that was never mentioned when I booked the room (again.. thanks Amex). I found out when i arrived and it doesn't get you a chaise lounge pool side ($10 to the pool bartender for that) or access to the sauna in the spa. gotta pay more or book a treatment. And resort? guess the golf course was behind the HVAC system outside my window...

The first full day, Kala (wunderdawg) and I hiked at Red Rocks Canyon, had a wonderful 8 mile trip. After we got the crate, my wife and i headed down to Fremont Street and found a great, and I mean great hipster lesbian piano bar (yes, it was that cool) that the locals hang out. I think we were the only tourists. Damn you 3rd Martini... I can't remember the words to the dirty version of Hotel California from that night...

Got back late and left early. By that point, we were leaving and who cared about the stains and lack of wifi. It had a king size bed, So I had plenty of real estate without stepping on the carpet barefoot... I am still laughing at our view... the HVAC system and the beer cans/cigarette buds of the employees hidden break area.

Overall.. this is what road trips are all about. Adventures. Would I go back? Not in a million canine years... but it created a couple of fun stories to tell and they allowed Kala the wunderdawg to stay there. I give a big shout out to the staff of 3rd floor Mardi Gras tower and I left a fat tip in our room when we left.

Lastly... thank gawd we weren't at the Rivera....!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grandma Painting

The painting is of a tree she did in 1972. The Photo is from a tree I saw in Hell's Hole, Mt. Evans Wilderness last year. The painting is now in my office.

Eighty Eight....

From the State VFW, we got row 1 seats in our Season Ticket section.  Great views!

Joe Riggs and I at a Rockies game

Joe is a WWII and Korea Vet and a member of my VFW Post. He's a big fan of the Rockies, so we went together. he and I was impressed with the clouds that night.

Grandma in WY

Dad continued the photos after leaving Denver...

Fini flight for a United Pilot

When a Pilot retires without an accident, the airport FD does this. a fire truck on both sides.This was on our flight from Houston to Denver in June.

Denver Clouds

Roadtripping with Grandma

Twin Arrows, AZ

Kicking her kicks on Route 66

Grandma wants to sleep in a Wigwam (Sam and I did!)

Sorry Grandma  (she like me, loves Frybread)

In Colorado

Grandma with a Steam roller

Grandma in Denver with her lamp
Day after returning from Belize in May, I went to AZ to help the folks with Granddad's estate. Dad and I drove a Uhaul to Denver. Brought Grandma with us...

Flashback to March.. this is way there are STOP signs ..

I was biking to a VFW meeting and this came rolling towards me. I pried open the door and got two women out...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Listening to Rockies game on the internet

laying in the hammocks listening to hometown ball games..

Around the yard

crab fight over coconut

Full Moon

Full Moon at the Purple House

Just Chillin'

just reading

soon to be rum drinks

painting crabs and mangroves

had to add that Colorado touch...

Start of the rainy season... cistern is now full!

Sunsets at the Purple House

Scenes from Belize City