Friday, July 15, 2005 - Knoxville to the West

In our minds it's settled: United/TED is the worst airline in the United States. Granted, we haven't flown with everyone, but we're satisfied our ruling is correct. No wonder these were the cheapest tickets we could find, and no wonder United is in bankruptcy. I have to wonder, where do they find the especially surly sky waitresses? The "flight attendant," Arrie, on our Knoxville to Chicago flight was especially mean, chastising Tom twice for trying to leave his seat to visit the restroom, once over the PA system. God forbid a person should have to pee. She made such a spectacle of herself, in fact, that fellow passengers commiserated with Tom once we reached Chicago. I had to admire Tom's restraint. If she had spoken to me in that manner, they would have kicked us off the flight. I could regale you with a series of United inadequacies and incompetencies, but let's move on.

Anyway, Knoxville to Chicago to Las Vegas, 5:05 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Of course the flight landed late.) There's a three-hour time change, so it was like midnight to us. In an amazing turn of events, my checked bag and I were reunited! I hate to check a bag, but since we'd be camping for a week, I wanted my pocket knife and Tom wanted his Leatherman, so we took the risk.

We found a great rate on a rental car through Payless Car Rental, so great that we actually (gasp) upgraded to one class up from the cheapest, which was a HUGE step up from the crappy little tin can we usually get. A Mitsubishi Gallant, a nice-sized four-dour sedan, for nine days ran only $214, including taxes and fees. I was expecting strong-arm tactics at the rental counter concerning the extra insurance and the collision-damage waiver, but I was pleasantly surprised. The last time we rented in Vegas (different company), the rental agent had to argue about it.

Our reservations for the night were in Mesquite, Nevada, at the Virgin River Resort and Casino, 80 miles from Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona border. We checked in at 12:15 a.m. That being 3:15 a.m. at home, I was starting to see spots in front of my eyes as I was driving across the desert with the big trucks. In spite of the late hour, it still took a couple of hours to wind down enough to go to sleep. We didn't do any gambling though - we'll just throw our money in the river later instead.


Virgin River Casino, Mesquite, Nevada


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