|Kitchens at Windows on the River buffet.|
The next morning we had dinner at the Windows on the River Buffet. We got there at 8:30, ahead of the long line of people who seemed to show up right at 9 a.m.
True to his word, the Aquarius hotel's food & beverage director Tim Abrams found Amy and me in the dining room and gave us a tour of the kitchens. I was impressed with the cleanliness and attention to food safety, because frankly, I have some bad memories of losing my appetite after peeking into some restaurant kitchens. This one looked pretty good.
|Overlooking the golf course at Laughlin Ranch.|
Amy and I were ushered into a luxurious changing room, where we changed into comfy robes and then went into the plush, peaceful waiting room for our massages. Mine was 50 minutes of absolute bliss, with all the kinks and knots in my neck getting worked out. The masseuse applied a menthol/camphor based Bio-Freeze to my knee injury, which helped loosen it up a little so that I could enjoy the rest of my day without pain. Relief!
|Colorado Belle hotel and casino in Laughlin, Nevada.|
|Celebration Cruise in Laughlin.|
After much wrangling, and price-raising, she finally settled for $2.5 million and a suite of rooms in their hotel so that she could still live near the water's edge. As the hotel was in the final stages, the elderly Mrs. Lafferty passed away. Maybe she should have settled sooner for a little less money, she might have had some time to enjoy it. Just sayin.'
|Electric Cowboy from Fremont Street|
We also saw the electric cowboy, River Rick, a clone of Vegas Vic that was on Fremont Street since the 1950s. That was something I remembered from my childhood when we'd go to Las Vegas with my Grandpa and Grandma Koyen, who lived in Tempiute, Nevada. That big giant, waving cowboy was a fixture that welcomed folks to the "old" Las Vegas before the mega-"resorts"took over on The Strip. And I think he has another twin brother in Wendover.
|Celebration Cruise on Colorado River, Laughlin.|
|Water taxi on the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada.|
But also, the free river taxis make it convenient to get from one place to another, and alleviate traffic congestion. It was soooo easy getting to a sold-out concert, compared with having to drive through gridlocked traffic and having to find parking at so many other concert venues where I've been.
|Reba McIntyre concert, with River Rick peering over the top of the stage.|
Reba McIntyre put on a great concert. She shared the back-story behind each song, so you felt familiar with them while she was singing. We didn't realize that her stepson, Brandon Blackstock, is engaged to Kelly Clarkson, until Reba told us so. Amy was happy that she sang the theme song of her old TV sitcom, as Amy and Kim used to watch it regularly.
I thought it was kinda cool that you could see the lit-up River Rick sign in the distance, and it seemed that he was peering over the top of the stage.
About halfway through the concert, we moved down to the standing area to watch the rest of the concert.. Our seats had grown a bit uncomfortable (especially because the people in front of us sat in stadium chairs that took up all our leg room).
We decided to take the riverwalk back to the Aquarius, as it was warm and breezy and we figured the river taxis would be full.
|Enjoying the riverwalk in Laughlin, Nevada.|
|Seafood on the Golden Nugget's brunch buffet in Laughlin.|
|Pool and tennis courts at the Aquarius, Laughlin, Nev.|
As we checked out of the hotel, the valet brought our car (did I mention they have free valet parking?). Then we mosied on over to the outlet mall across the street. There were some great bargains at the Dress Barn and the Bath & Bodyworks outlet. We could have stayed longer, but time was a wastin' and we had a long drive ahead of us.
Our stay wasn't complete without a drive across the river to Bullhead City, where Amy's eagle eyes had spotted a Maverik earlier. We filled up with drinks, gasoline and goodies and hit the road, fortified with Subway sandwiches and a CD of LDS General Conference to listen to.
We pulled in to Provo about 11:30 p.m., not bad for a 500-mile drive.
Although it's off the beaten path for most Utahans, Laughlin brings in Nevada's third-largest gaming revenue, behind Las Vegas and Reno. The inexpensive rooms, the great food and amenities are obviously subsidized by folks who spend their time at the slot machines and blackjack tables. But, Amy and I had a great time without spending a nickel in the casino.
If you like the excitement, the crowds and craziness of Las Vegas, then Laughlin might not be your destination choice. But I tend to like trips that more laid-back and relaxing.
"It's how Vegas used to be," is one of the town's slogans, and it's an apt one.