I was reluctant to push the button on the vacation VLT at work and use up the few credits I earn. However, I decided to go big this year and spend six days in Las Vegas.
The primary purpose for my trip was to attend a friend’s wedding. I possess few of the human virtues Sin City can take advantage of. Like people who confess they read Playboy for the articles, I would suggest I went to Vegas for the shows. As a professed introvert, large crowds of people at public venues are not part of my usual comfort zone.
I did get into the game for three excursions. I signed up for a walking tour of the Hoover Dam. I then upped the ante by taking the opportunity to shoot a selection of firearms at a gun range. And finally, I got to be a passenger in a race car speeding around an asphalt track.
The shear scale of the Hoover Dam can only be realized by checking it out first-hand. Standing on an observation deck and leaning over the security barrier to peer down the drop to the gorge blow is the definition of vertigo. I don’t have a fear of heights, but looking down at the water and up to the new road bridge above overloaded my depth perception and taxed my sense of security.
Unfortunately, the tour of the inside of the dam was closed because of an elevator failure. We had to make do with videos and slide shows presented by bridge staff.
The gun range adventure was simple. I walked four miles through a paved desert to find the gun shop. I selected a handgun and an automatic weapon from an arsenal of choices for test firing.
My handgun choice was an attempt to recreate my short military reservist past. The automatic weapon choice was to live the quote Clint Eastwood made as Gunny in Heartbreak Ridge. "This is the AK-47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of our enemy. It makes a distinctive sound when fired. So remember it."
After choosing two targets — I avoided those selections that had human forms — I unloaded 45 rounds during my semi-private tutorial. My introverted personality cost me a few extra bucks but allowed me to avoid the public range.
The biggest payoff of my trip was sitting in the jump seat of a nitro-fueled race car, for three breathless minutes. While being pushed back into the aluminum-framed pocket seat by the g-force, the four-point harness kept me secured as we reached 167 mp/h down the straightaway.
Up into turn three and rocketing down and out of turn four, for a brief second every nerve in my body fired in sensory overload. Two feet from the wall blurred images flood past my peripheral vision.
I wouldn’t recommend everyone go to Vegas. However, I can suggest if you want to experience some visual highs and lows, or might enjoy the bang from gun powder exploding or the adrenalin rush of raw speed, it has plenty to offer.
I’m not much of a gambler, but I understand you can do that there as well.
Sean Conway is a River Park South-based writer.
Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Lance area and would like to contribute to this column, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.