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As we were leaving Las Vegas yesterday, I figured out that we missed the opening of a new museum by only four days. Boo hoo! Timing is everything, isn’t it? The museum intends to preserve one of the best parts of the city, the history behind Las Vegas’ iconic neon signs. I spent part of our trip photographing my favorites. I couldn’t bypass this giant 1950s vintage shoe from the now defunct Silver Slipper Gambling Hall. I guess I’ll have to save the Neon Sign Museum for our next visit. I wish I could share more favorites than I have, but I’m saving some of them for a guest post where the content must be original. I’ll be sure to pass that on when it’s published!

After lunch at Du-Pars, I felt like I might soon be eating free at this restaurant down the street. Only in America!
October is a great time to visit Las Vegas, with average daytime temperatures in the low 70s and 80s. We found plenty to love this past weekend.

Here are my Las Vegas favorites:

  • Golf at Rhodes Range and Stallion Mountain on cloudless days. At Stallion Mountain we were matched with a lovely Canadian couple who played the game just the way we like it–relaxed!
  • Watching people rappel down the side of the Stratosphere or zip line across the old Strip. HAIR RAISING! I thought I might need to skip dinner–and I was just observing.
  • A good steak at Binions.
  • Singing along to American Pie at the Fremont Street Experience Light Show. (I know every word because I listened to it ad nauseam when I was in high school.)
  • A parade of people to watch. It really doesn’t matter where you go. You’re assured of an eyeful.
  • Live concerts by great musicians like Carl “Safe Sax” Ferris. We purchased a CD as our one and only souvenir.
  • Lunch at Du-Pars.

I have to admit that I was unenthusiastic about hanging around after dinner one night for the Fremont Experience. Something about the cloud of cheap perfume and cigarette smoke we inhaled on the way to dinner made me yearn for more wholesome quarters. Jim finally had to twist my arm to get me to stay for the light show and stroll down Fremont. I’m glad we did, but as someone who is easily overstimulated, I gotta say my poor neurons were firing in every direction. They don’t call it the Fremont Street “Experience” for nothing!

Here’s the inside scoop on Vegas: it’s not what it used to be. Not that I would know; I got that from locals we met this week. Despite all the big names you see up in lights, the city’s golden age of nightclub acts and musicians ended about 25 years ago, according to a veteran hospitality professional who served us dinner one night. At a golf course, our starter summed it up this way: “The big crooks bought out the little crooks.”

I’m in no position to make before and after comparisons; my hunch is both men were telegraphing a theme in business today: big corporations are run by people with lots of education and very little experience to go with it. In Vegas and in life, the Almighty Dollar rules. That often leads to the dismantling lots of wonderful experiences, places, things and organizations, including parts of Las Vegas.

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share a couple of vintage sights we caught while visiting.

What’s your favorite neon sign anywhere in the world?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.