Monday, August 2, 2010

Florida: Planning for Vegas

With a lot of the trip planning done yesterday, it was time to get serious and make ready to leave this state of Florida – not to mention the state of passive stagnation that comes with this land of sunshine. I imagine it's this allure that drive seniors by the dying bus load down these parts in their twilight years.

Their elder years, not to be confused with years brought on by sparkling creatures of the – sometimes – night.

Our first, and really – only – step that we needed to take today was to head to the library and look at how much it was going to cost to spend a night in Las Vegas. Having a waypoint set (up until now it was Florida) where you have everything preset an taken care of is a great way to not get overloaded by travel. Even if you're just setting out day to day, it's important to have an anchor here or there.

We checked the prices of Vegas on the weekends – one hundred dollars for a Saturday night was good value. Then we checked just how much it would cost if we headed down during the week. While Vegas may seem pricey for weekend warriors, a night in a good hotel can cost as little as twenty dollars a night. Indeed these are the same rooms that quadruple in price for a Friday / Saturday stay. Clearly our next move was obvious. We would not be rolling up on a weekend, like suckers. Nay, we would come in on a Tuesday night, and be on our way Friday morning. Three nights for less than the price of one.

It wasn't enough to secure a hotel on The Strip. No – Vegas does not hold that much allure for me. I'm sure once I get there the coloured lights will hypnotize, while sparkling someone else's eyes, but now – over a thousand miles away – I just shrug my shoulders at the gambling capital.

What has us headed towards Vegas is a large man, with but one nail painted, and his cohort of lesser stature. These two have created a zombie short, and the most painful video game of all time – Desert Bus. They also work to educate the world through their television show Penn and Teller.

We are off to Vegas to see them live. Buying tickets for the VIP section (it's only ten bucks more, and comes with a colour book – ohh ahh – and lets us sit near the front... when will we get this opportunity again?) we cringed a little as each ticket was more than the combined price of our three night stay, but then – you know – we're going to see Penn and Teller. How cool is that?

That question, I will answer for you – very cool.

With tickets and hotel secured, there was but one small issue. We had now pushed back our Vegas date by three nights. Three fill in the blank days. What would we do with them? The obvious answer: stay in Florida and not pay rent. But how long could we stay sane under such 'domestic bliss'? We would have to get out.

A pen and paper were grabbed, dates re-planned, and everything made sense of. We would stay here two extra days, and then make our way with one buffer – just in case. Sure there are other buffers built into the plan, but to be honest – I just can't think of anything else to do here. Not without the proper time to get down to the Keys and back. Another time.

Before leaving the library, and the internet, there was one more thing to take care of. Something I'd been putting off for ten years. I needed to get my power boating license. Yes, a decade ago, it was put into action – but because of when I was born, I didn't need it until last September. Of course, last September, I left the country and there was still no real rush. Eleven years after I should have got it, I now find myself in front of the testing webpage, ready to pay my forty dollars and take the thirty six question test.

I have not had to take a test for some time, and even though you are allowed unlimited re-tries, an could theoretically cheat (you have forty five minutes to answer these questions, you could look up the answers whenever you wanted) it still made me a wee bit nervous. With the timer started, I looked at the first, then the second, having very little problems. You see – I actually read the forty five page manual earlier today. It seemed like the honest thing to do. And some of the questions were those hilarious random answers that your old history teacher may have been partial to adding. Q: When in limited visibility, what is the correct course of action? A. Slow down and change, adapting to conditions, B. Speed up and let everyone know you're coming through regardless.

With questions like this, it's hard to imagine anyone needing the retry – still it was a nice buffer. At the end of the test I had two wrong answers – one on a type of buoy not listed in the book, and the other on a part of a sail boat. Being allowed something like six wrong answers, this was not an issue.

With that done, I could step into the present, and never fear not being able to drive the boat again. All was once again right in the world.

Things being what they are, we got an incredible amount of things accomplished today.

I also shot off a few e-mails to those I know in California. After Las Vegas, that state won't be far away. No doubt we'll be there in no time.

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