Hartford to Las Vegas and Back in 43 Hours - The Full Recap


Back in August, I decided I had to be in the audience for Britney Spears’s final U.S. show on The Circus Tour, so I bought tickets and booked an overnight trip to Las Vegas. Sunday, the day finally came, so let’s recap the entire trip in super-long form, because it was half-awesome and half-ridiculous.

FLYING TO VEGAS

So the trip really started Saturday night, when I went to bed relatively early, because of my early flight. My alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. (playing “Make it Rain” by Fat Joe, which was a coincidence, I swear). As I walked out the door, I had a last-minute change of heart. I was wearing my Sean Taylor Redskins jersey, but I was pretty convinced the ‘Skins were going to lose and I didn’t feel like getting ridiculed all day, so I switched to my Champ Bailey Broncos jersey (Champ was one of my favorite ‘Skins back in the day).

After changing jerseys, I left the condo again, and decided to check my flight status on my iPhone. Unfortunately, it was delayed. My original flight plan was to fly down to Atlanta (leaving at 7:15), then catch a connecting flight an hour later to Las Vegas. I figured the delay would probably make that connection tight. Turns out, it would have made it impossible.

My flight was delayed two hours, which means I would have missed the Atlanta to Las Vegas flight completely. When I arrived at Bradley, Delta was already aware of the issue, and had me head straight over to customer service. When I got to the counter, the woman told me “You’ve been automatically rebooked on a flight to Las Vegas arriving at 5:15 p.m., but I’m gonna try to get you there earlier.” Truthfully, since the concert was at 8 p.m., I would have been OK arriving at 5:15, but after a couple minutes of typing away at the computer, she had me rebooked through Minneapolis and arriving in Vegas at 1:00 local time.

After the minor scheduling delay, my flights turned out to be relatively uneventful. I watched “The Hangover” on the flight to Minneapolis, then one of the “Hellboy” animated movies and last week’s episode of “The Vampire Diaries” on the second leg. I’d intended to do some writing, but small leg room+15-inch MacBook Pro+guy in front of me deciding to recline fully=no writing for Adam.

ARRIVING IN VEGAS

For some reason, we had to taxi on the runway once we landed for about half-an-hour, which is pretty standard fare in Las Vegas actually. Then the shuttle that I was taking from the airport to Mandalay Bay decided to make every single strip hotel stop before ending up at Mandalay Bay, so that trip actually took an hour (an hour during which I listened to Britney Spears’s “Circus” album).

My room at Mandalay Bay was phenomenal -- which was semi-useless since I wasn’t spending much time in it. I was thinking about taking a nap, but instead I took an incredibly relaxing bath while watching the Chargers-Dolphins game on the in-bathroom TV (a feature I really want in my own bathroom now).

THE SPORTS BOOK

After getting dressed and having a quick drink, I headed down to the Sports Book, rocking my Broncos jersey (they were killing the Raiders at the time, so I felt pretty safe in wearing it).

Now, a Sports Book is a pretty amazing place, but I forgot about one thing -- smoke. I’m pretty sensitive to cigarette smoke, but I haven’t had to deal with it in years, thanks to laws banning smoking in pretty much any building on the East Coast. But in Vegas, you can smoke almost wherever you want, which meant the Sports Book was a smoky mess. I dealt with it, though, because I really wanted to watch some football and place some bets.

Football was a good idea. Betting? Well, that could have gone better. I really wanted to bet on the Colts-Cardinals game, so I solicited some advice on the over/under. I had people telling me both sides, so I went with my gut and bet the over (48.5). The Colts won, 31-10. That adds up to 41. That’s under 48.5. Whoops. Fortunately, I did also bet on the Colts to win (I bet the money line, since for some retarded reason, Indy was actually giving 3.5 points to the Cards on the board).

I also placed the most important bet of the season:



Now, let’s see if things go better this postseason than they did last year.

DINNER WITH JEN

Now, if you’re a regular AdamReisinger.com reader, you know I bought an extra ticket for the concert and I was giving it away. A few days before the concert, my sister got in touch with me to let me know that her friend Jen, who now lives in L.A., wanted to go. Now, I hadn’t seen Jen since she was about 12 or 13, but any friend of my sister’s is a friend of mine, so she was good to go.

Jen got to Vegas about 20 minutes after the end of the afternoon NFL games, and after a few minutes of chatting and getting reacquainted, we decided to take advantage of the amazing dining choices at Mandalay Bay and have something to eat.

After walking around a little bit, we decided on Lupo, Wolfgang Puck’s Italian restaurant in the casino. Now, for those of you that know me well, you know I’m pretty much a low-key guy when it comes to dining, but I die for good Italian. I have to say, this was honestly the best I’ve ever had. I had the four-cheese ravioli with a Grey Goose martini (dry, dirty) and Jen had a green lasagna with Champagne. I’m not sure I can go back to average Italian food after eating that. Jen, being the sweetie that she is, offered to pay, but I have some sort of disorder that forces me to pay for dinner with a woman (I think they call it “chivalry”). We had a great time reminiscing about the old days in West Hartford, and she kept saying how excited she was about the concert.

That excitement was the main reason I wanted someone to attend the concert with me. It’s one thing to see Britney alone (something I’d done four times before on this tour), but it’s so much more fun when you’re there with someone, particularly someone who hasn’t seen Britney in years.

THE CONCERT

I already wrote about this yesterday (from the Las Vegas airport), but the show itself was incredible. The opening acts were cut by one-third (no more One Call, just Kristinia DeBarge and Jordin Sparks) and Britney herself did some costume changes from her last stop.

At the previous show I’d been to, in Boston, I spent literally the entire show taking video. I decided that I wasn’t going to do that for this show. I did take some video and some pictures, but I spent way more time just enjoying the experience. When I’m at a Britney Spears concert, and I’m not behind my camera, I have a tendency to turn into a “woo girl”. I screamed so much, my voice is still recovering.

If you want to know more about the concert, check out yesterday’s post, or my videos on YouTube. I’ll just wrap this section up, by saying it was incredible, and I’m happy Jen had as good a time as I did (at least, I think she did).

After the show, we had a quick drink (just Diet Coke this time, since she had a four-hour drive ahead and I had to get some sleep) at one of the casino bars, where there was a band playing. Then we called it a night.

I was still pretty wired from the show, so I didn’t get to sleep for awhile. I also had to wake up early to catch the shuttle back to the airport, so I only got four hours of sleep.

THE TRIP BACK

And this is where everything went to hell. First off, despite the lack of sleep, I couldn’t fall asleep on the plane. In fact, I’ve never been able to fall asleep on a plane. I think it’s mostly because I hate flying.

So the first leg of my trip was from Las Vegas to Los Angeles -- yes, fly me an hour in the wrong direction for some reason, stupid airlines. The wait in the Las Vegas airport wasn’t so bad, since they had free WiFi, allowing me to download a couple new games for my iPhone. The flight to L.A. wasn’t so bad, and I got to play some Tap Tap Revenge - Lady Gaga Edition on my iPhone (quick review: it’s fun and I’m not afraid to say I like her music).

Then, when I arrived in LA, I discovered I was arriving at Terminal 1, and my connecting flight was in Terminal 6. That meant I had to leave the terminal, take a shuttle to the other terminal and go back through security. The security line at Continental was insanely long, and I barely made my connecting flight. I almost wish I hadn’t.

The flight was from L.A. to Newark, which wasn’t completely awful, for the most part. I played some Madden ’10 for the iPhone (hey, and my Redskins are 3-0, 2 games better than the Zorn-led ‘Skins). Then we actually got to Newark. Only, we were about 40 minutes ahead of schedule, so we got put in a holding pattern -- in the middle of a storm. The turbulence was so absurd that they ended up sending us about 100 miles off course. When we did finally get cleared to land, we had to go back on course, and through the turbulence again. It was so bumpy that Diana, the NYU student sitting next to me, vomited twice. I felt so bad for her, and yet she was the one apologizing to me and the girl sitting in the window seat.

When we did finally land, it turned out that someone on the plane had suffered a serious medical issue and needed to be taken off the plane before anyone else could get off. I have no idea how bad the situation was, but it was a pretty dicey few moments there.

After that, I did manage to get off the plane, where I had to once again take a shuttle to a different terminal. At least Newark has an inter-terminal shuttle that doesn’t require a second security check. I figured things were getting better, but then I got to the gate. When the woman scanned my boarding pass, it came up with an alert that said I was already on board. Clearly I wasn’t.

Another agent took over and figured out it had to do with the rebooking of my original flight, but the original agent was still insistent that a woman with my name was already on the flight. I didn’t know whether to snap at the agent or feel sorry for the woman on board named Adam, but I just waited patiently as they figured it out and eventually they let me on board. Then I dealt with the crappy commuter jet on the 25-minute flight to Hartford. It was bumpy the whole way and felt like it was going to fall apart. I’m never flying on one of those things again.

I drove home and finally got in just before midnight, or about 43 hours after I’d left. In that time I flew across the country and back, made some legal bets on sports, had a great dinner with an amazing woman and saw one of the best concerts of my life. And somehow, I did it all with four hours of sleep.

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