Monday, November 7, 2011
LAUGHLIN, NEVADA - Part 1
The hottest day in my life. On the border of Nevada and Arizona. 128 degrees farenheit (that’s a little north of 53 for my European friends).
We were lucky, we had a boat and could jump in the water at any given moment. The can of soda I left in the car wasn’t so lucky…it exploded and I had a sticky, sweet, gooey mess to clean up.
Fortunately, on this trip, the highest we’d see was 87. The weather was gorgeous the entire trip to Laughlin this time.
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Named after the owner of the Riverside Resort, Don Laughlin…who sparked a boom here back in the 60’s and 70’s, the town is like the little sister to Las Vegas and about 90 minutes away.
Not trading on the hedonistic reputation of that big city, instead, Laughlin portrays itself as a casual, laid back outpost along the Colorado River. A half-dozen casino resorts line the riverbanks with another, the Tropicana, across the street in the desert.
Our home for this trip would be the original resort, the recently mentioned Riverside Resort at the north end of town.
Laughlin got its start here with a small hotel and casino. There was no road access from the nearest town of any size, Bullhead City across the river, so Mr. Laughlin set up a free ferry service to bring gamblers across the river to his casino.
In the years since, he’s paid for a bridge to span the river next to his hotel making road access a breeze but, in a nod to the past, the ferries still run today. They make for quite a little thrill ride as the operators are intent on making the crossing as quickly as possible.
Today, the expanded resort has over 1,400 rooms and over 700 camping spaces. Along with three casinos (one non-smoking and another across the street), the complex features several restaurants ranging from fast food (Pizza Hut) to diner to buffet to gourmet (The Gourmet Room). There’s a bowling alley; a 6-screen movie theater; concert hall; nightclub; several bars; spa; dance studio; bingo hall; several shops; riverboat cruises; post office; two car museums; and two pools.
The rooms are pretty basic. Maybe just a notch above a TraveLodge. Ours was a two queen room…if those were queen size, I’m George Clooney…with an accessible bathroom featuring a roll-in shower. We had to call housekeeping to bring us soap and shampoo…asking other guests and seeing online reviews, this seems par for the course here. It took the bell service 40 minutes to bring our bags, which still beats the over-an-hour wait we had at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas.
Not the plushest room in the land but it would do. The rate was $69 which is a little more than usual in Laughlin, primarily because of the weekend’s headliner, Vince Gill, would be drawing in thousands of people.
Settled in (finally), we head downstairs where I ask a few shopkeepers and security guards where they like to eat around here. The consensus seems to be the diner, Riverview Café, so we head there and have a pretty darn good supper sitting in front of giant windows with spectacular river views. Prices were pretty reasonable too.
After dinner, we take a quick walk along the riverfront and explore the hotel. Past the bowling alley is a bridge across to the other casino across the street. Upstairs, we visit one of the two car museums here.
There are some very cool cars, motorcycles, and even some antiques gaming tables. A few are even for sale.
An AMX over there, a Studebaker here, and old Chrysler Imperial down that aisle…all stunningly restored.
They do have some competition the next morning when a car club mainly consisting of replica Cobras shows up in the parking lot.
Along with the snakes are a couple of Lamborghini Dinos, one of which followed us into Laughlin yesterday. A couple of owners show us around with pride.
We have a little shopping to do, not enough pillows in the room and we forgot to bring extras, so we’ll cross the river to WalMart, and then get ready for our big event of the weekend.
Stay tuned for that in part 2 of this report.
Copyright 2011 – Darryl MusickAll Rights Reserved