I began my Vacation Bicycling Las Vegas trip with an early morning flight out of Wichita. It was a direct flight to Las Vegas and I passed the time napping and watching TV via the inflight wifi. After arriving in Las Vegas I had time to kill at the airport while I waited for the hotel shuttle to arrive. The Country Music Association Awards show was scheduled to be broadcast from Las Vegas this weekend and there was a constant stream of limo drivers picking up people. Some were carrying instrument cases, so I assume they were part of a band. Since we live in an age of technology, the limo drivers stood holding iPads with the names of their customers displayed on the screen rather than paper signs.
After a short shuttle ride, we entered the city of Henderson. Henderson is the second largest city in Nevada (Las Vegas is the largest). One of the largest employers in Henderson is Zappos.com, one of my favorite online shopping sites. I saw numerous “Adopt-a-Highway” signs that were sponsored by Zappos. We arrived at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Spa and Resort. The hotel was originally a Ritz Carlton and it is still a very glamorous place. It sits on Lake Las Vegas, adjacent to a complex of shops and restaurants. There was a wake boarding competition taking place on the lake and there were a lot of people in attendance. Although it was early in the day, I was able to get checked into my room. After taking my luggage up, I went in search of my bike. I had shipped it out the previous week directly to the hotel. After about 20 minutes someone from security brought my shipping box up to the lobby. I unpacked everything, reassembled my bike and had them store my shipping box for the return trip. I changed into bike clothes and went out for a short ride to make sure my bike was in working order. Henderson has a very nice, paved bike trail system and I was able to get on a trail about a mile from the hotel. I rode out 4 miles and then turned around and went back the same way. The group met in the hotel lobby for a short meeting and then we walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner. This is the fourth trip I have done with Vacation Bicycling. They are a small company run by Joe and Chandra Fox from Athens, Georgia. They offer five or six trips a year. They offer some of the same locations every year, but also throw in a couple of new destinations as well. This is the first time they’ve done the Las Vegas area trip. They are such nice people, I feel more like they are friends rather than someone I’m paying for a service. Counting Joe and Chan, there are only eleven people in our group this time. I’ve been on their trips where the group numbered nearly 30. It was nice having fewer people. I felt like I got to know some of them better because you got to visit more at the group dinners. There was only one couple from Alabama that I had never met before. I’d been on two or three trips with the others. We had representatives from Alabama (Tom & Judy), Georgia (Joe & Chan), New Jersey (Wayne & Linda), Arizona (Roger), Thunder Bay, Ontario (Peter & Sophie), New York (Debbie), and of course Kansas (myself). Debbie from upstate New York who I’ve biked with many times is my roomie on this trip. She will be joining us late Monday afternoon though, so will miss the first couple of days.