A quick trip to Las Vegas, a (pleasant) experiment staying at the SpringHill Suites by the Convention Center (and very near the Renaissance, Marriott, etc.), and an epic cycling adventure (including the Red Rock Canyon (Scenic) Loop)!
What's not to like?
And, yes, I WAS just in Las Vegas last year, ... and that included my splendid, eye-candy-rich stop (with photo gear) at the Hoover Dam, which I strongly recommend. ... lengthy summary (with lots of pics) here: Hoover Dam (pics, plus the Las Vegas SPG-Westin) This was a(n iron) horse of a different color. (Alas, this time ... below ... only phone pics ... no heavy lenses for this kind of riding.)
OK, tourism first: WHAT A DAY OF CYCLING! OK, I'm totally smitten with the Red Rock Canyon (Scenic) Loop, which was the centerpiece of my far-better-than-very-enjoyable day!
My day got off to a great start picking up my (high-end) rental bike from Escape Adventures at Las Vegas Cyclery (where I enjoyed great service & chatting with TWO guys named Bruce, .... seriously).
Then I was off, heading uphill on the (wide, smooth, impressive) Western Beltway Trail, before heading out to the National Park.
A steady (but not daunting) incline brought me to the park entrance (only $5 for cyclists and hikers), and then it was off AND UP the 13-mile loop (although the lion's share of the climbing was in the first few miles, up to the High Point Overlook (elevation of 4,700+ feet) ....
followed by a hugely gratifying high-speed descent, and more scenic rolling to the park exit ... which, interestingly enough, is NOT at the start of the loop, which suggests to me that, if you want to do the loop twice, you might have to pay again (but I did NOT test this unsubstantiated theory)....
Hmmm.... I wonder why they call it Red Rock Canyon ... ????
Then it was off to (the very small town of) Blue Diamond, for lunch (grilled chicken & broccoli, plus a tasty americano coffee) at the splendid, comfortable, and, frankly, happy Cottonwood Station ... where I met a number of fellow cyclists.
... c'mon, you gotta love the fire pit ...
Then, it was back past the park, for the long, sustained downhill return to Vegas and the bike shop.
Overall, a day of smooth roads with wide, clean shoulders and polite drivers (except for one motorcyclist who buzzed me on his crotch rocket) ... and ... did I mention the sunshine (... and the fact that it was fully 20+ degrees warmer than DC) ... and the VIEWS!?!?! Oh my!
As for the SpringHill Suites, I'd definitely recommend it ... but not as alternative to the Cosmopolitan ... This is a (largely quiet,) non-casino, no-smoking, convenient-but-not-on-the-strip budget hotel that provides excellent value for money and more-than-sufficient comfort.
- I've stayed at (and enjoyed) the Renaissance by the Convention Center and the monorail - same basic area, but this was much cheaper;
- Also, the Westgate casino is (literally) across the street, so you can easily walk over there if you wanted to sample their selection of restaurants ... and I did so, enjoying their sushi bar (located inside of the casino's Benihana restaurant);
- VERY nice, friendly staff ... I chatted with a number of different folk at different times of day. (My hat's off to the manager! Well done!)
- Tall hotel, with some interesting views;
- Rooftop pool deck with lots of interesting views;
- Surprisingly large gym ... with lots of equipment ... and ... frankly, I hadn't seen this before ... a (real) Peleton bike (which is a nice touch);
- Large, comfortable suite room - great desk - full trundle bed (from West Elm) - comfortable bed, window-bench seating, etc.;
- Surprisingly full, free buffet breakfast included. No, no ... it's not in the same league with the Cosmopolitan's Wicked Spoon, but, again, this is a budget/value hotel;
- And ... a full-service restaurant and bar (that was quite active in the evenings).
A splendid, short trip!