Las Vegas from a New Perspective

Written by Tamara Corrie.

My husband, Alan, and I love to go to Las Vegas. The food, the sights, the sounds, the games… everything! So, even though I severely broke my ankle and sprained my knee about 45 days prior to our scheduled trip with friends for Super Bowl weekend, we decided to still go.

This trip was with two other couples. One of which, Greg and Chris, go every Super Bowl weekend and stay at the Main Street Casino and Hotel which is located in downtown Las Vegas. The other couple, Viv and Rick, stayed at Four Queens the last time we did this trip and we stayed at Riviera Hotel and Casino. This time, Alan and I thought we would try staying downtown. Viv, Rick, Alan and I were able to get two rooms at a great rate at the 4-star Golden Nugget.

Since I was going to have to travel in a wheelchair (I was not able to put weight on my ankle until after our return), we were glad we had planned on a downtown hotel! I’m sure we would have enjoyed staying downtown as something new anyway, but it made it MUCH smoother to get to other casinos and restaurants since downtown is easier to navigate in a wheelchair than the strip. Everything is within a few blocks and main entrances are all at “street” level so I did not have to find elevators or ramps to enter. Although we now realize that both the strip (sure we still had to go to our favorite strip casinos!) and downtown do not always have smooth surfaces to roll a chair over, Las Vegas can be easily visited if you are confined to a wheelchair or scooter! Hotels, casinos, restaurants and public transportation were all very accommodating.

Our trip was booked as a Delta Vacations package and we purchased the transfers from the airport to the hotel. We have discovered this is a much better way to go than taxi or even other shuttle companies. Though I am sure a private limo would be even more special, ODS (On Demand Shuttle) took very good care of us. When I called to explain my situation, they actually had a regular cab with handicapped capabilities pick us up and take us back to the airport! I had thought I would need to use my crutches to get on and off a minibus, but no worries, I was just rolled right in the back of the taxi vans! By the way, ODS service with a Delta Vacations package is NONSTOP! That means unlike other shuttle companies you do not stop at several hotels enroute which can make the drive to your hotel take much longer than you would like. Because, let’s face it, when you arrive you simply cannot wait to start having fun and a long drive to your hotel can put a damper on that!

As I mentioned, Golden Nugget is a 4-star property located in downtown Las Vegas. Our rooms were in the Carson Tower. They were large and beautifully decorated and very comfortable. This tower was a bit far from the casino, but I may have noticed it more since I tried to “crutch it” the first day and quickly discovered I would have to use the chair or not have enough strength to get back to my room each day! The pool is very unique with a tube slide that goes through a shark tank! Unfortunately, due to my injury I was not able to experience it and hope to have a chance to stay at this hotel in the future and check it out. For a Valentine’s Day gift, Alan arranged a surprise visit to the Spa for a manicure and pedicure. It was wonderful! The lady that worked on me was a former nurse and was just fantastic! I was worried how the pedicure would go, but it was just wonderful. I do not remember her name, and I am sorry for that, but if you are able to use the Spa at the Golden Nugget they can probably figure out which is the former nurse! The Spa was beautiful and very relaxing and the staff took wonderful care of me and the other guests. Alan – THANK YOU for this thoughtful and wonderful gift!

To travel the length of the strip and to/from downtown, we have always used The Deuce which is a double-decker bus that travels along the strip to downtown and back with many stops offered. The bus runs 24-hours a day; 7 days a week and you can get a 24-hour pass for $7 or a 2-hour pass for $5. There are kiosks at many stops to purchase the 24-hour pass and even a 3-day pass, or you can pay when you board. BUT you must have exact change and the 3-day passes are not sold on board. Though it is not always the fastest way to travel the strip, it is the most economical and can be a sightseeing bonus (especially if you get a seat upstairs). Your pass also allows access to the faster SDX (Strip and Downtown express) as well as other city busses. The SDX does not have as many stops and leaves “the strip” during the trip downtown which is a faster way to travel especially certain times of day! It runs 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. approximately every 15 minutes. The SDX is a jointed bus and you have to look at the signs to verify if that stop services both the Deuce and the SDX. For this trip, both the Deuce and SDX were wonderful with their handicapped facilities and helping me to board and “lock in” my wheelchair. The drivers and staff were very accommodating to me and any others needing this service. It was great!

Now to the other reason for this trip – “The Big Game” aka The Super Bowl! Las Vegas does roll out a party for this event (any event really!) and most casinos have a party you can either buy tickets for or use your player points for. These parties include food, sometimes drinks and prizes and more. We have not done this yet, but hope to try it sometime. You can watch the game at a Sports Book, a bar or there are TV’s around the gaming tables of most casinos. Just people watching along the strip and downtown you see most every NFL jersey both old and new. It is a celebratory atmosphere everywhere. Some casinos even have special tables that sell NFL memorabilia and jerseys. Though it is a busy time, it has not seemed overwhelming when we have gone. We have been able to get around easy enough with the buses and play the games we prefer and show tickets have never been an issue either. Though the numbers may be down, they are growing each year and with many new sights and activities offered each year, I am sure it will continue to do so. Alan and our friends will continue to visit one of our favorite cities too. And whether we stay downtown or on the strip, with crutches, wheelchair, or sling, with friends, family or just the two of us – no matter what the circumstances – as Alan says “Las Vegas is OUR happiest place on earth.”

Although not everything was easy, Alan and I are very happy we kept to our plans and enjoyed this trip with our friends. Thank you to Alan for pushing me around everywhere and more! Thank you also to Viv, Rick, Greg and Chris for your patience and understanding of my situation. Next Super Bowl weekend, I hope to be on both feet and able to dance my way all around Las Vegas!

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