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Circus Xtreme Las Vegas - Non-Money Luck

The drive from CO Springs to Vegas would be long, so we hit the road Sunday night to get to Grand Junction (a popular halfway point). The next morning we had breakfast at a nearby Denny's, and made sure to pay for someone's breakfast in memory of the person who did this for us last year. It's always good to pay such things forward :)

We drove the remaining seven hours to Vegas and landed at the Rio hotel, exhausted. While checking in, the front desk gave us an upgrade. Still, we were surprised to see our room! It was gigantic!!!

Living room. There's a dining room behind it, and a bathroom off to the right.

The bathroom hallway. Standing shower and whirlpool tub!

With the windows open.

The view.

Feeling lucky, we went down to the casino to try our luck. Or rather to try Jameson's luck, as I don't find gambling fun :P Unfortunately we weren't as lucky as last year, but still had fun. We also enjoyed a delicious dinner at Guy Fieri's new restaurant, El Burro Borracho. The tacos were small, but that was a good thing...they were each a perfect bite. Mine had pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, avocado, pickled onions, and grilled tortillas. Yummy!

The next day we slept in. I was surprised to find that my sister Kayle was in town to visit her Dad! We planned to have dinner later on. During the day Jameson and I tried some gambling, and when we didn't have any luck we just strolled around and did some window shopping. Back at the Rio they've recently built a Monster Mini Golf, something we thoroughly enjoyed back in Miami at the beginning of the tour. They're a chain; this one is KISS themed! Perfect for Jameson and fun for me too! We had a blast!

Also, I BEAT JAMESON AT MINI GOLF!!!! There's a first time for everything!!!

We enjoyed some arcade games and won enough tickets for some dorky prizes. Then it was time to freshen up and meet with Kayle and her Dad for dinner at the Rio's famous seafood buffet! There was too much food, but it was delicious. I had a lot of dessert. Kayle is feeling a lot better (she had a medical scare a few weeks ago) and her dad is doing well also. I was so happy that we got to meet up like this!

On Wednesday it was time to get back to the train. We hit a grocery and spent some time just relaxing in our rooms. And then...we went to see Piff the Magic Dragon!!

Our seats were a little too good! I was worried about being pulled up on stage!

Thankfully there were hecklers who took most of the attention for the evening. Piff was hilarious, and the magic was fun to watch. His style is very different than Penn and Teller's (whom we got to see last year) but no less entertaining. It's definitely worth seeing Piff's show if you're in Vegas!

After the show we were surprised to find that Piff stayed in the lobby until literally everyone had a chance to get a photo with him. He also graciously signed merchandise and posters. I got a t-shirt and Jameson got a deck of Mr. Piffles-themed magic cards. We also got a photo of us "holding" Mr. Piffles (photoshopped) and Piff signed that. And while he was doing all of this signing...I got to hold Mr. Piffles for real!!!

We had a really wonderful time. Thanks Piff!

Thursday was opening day. Nothing exceptional happened, just a normal rehearsal and show.
Friday was a one-show day. Some of the band boys got up early for a morning poker tournament (they all did well though none finished in the top 5). I was up early too for some errands, then met our Union representative Michael Manley for lunch. He was in town for an AFM conference. We discussed the upcoming contract negotiations over a delicious meal of Latin food and gourmet coffee at Makers and Finders. Brett (my boss) joined us later. We had a really good talk and I'm excited for our negotiations to go well.

The La Paisa: marinated beef, egg, black beans, plantains, chicken skins, and avocado on sope.

Saturday was the usual three shows. It was VERY hot out! I almost didn't go to visit the animals because I figured they'd be sleeping or hiding. But I'm glad I did, because for once the tigers were fairly active. I arrived just as they were finishing splashing around in their four pools. After getting soaked, many of the tigers chose to rest in the shade.

But these two were pretty active, play-fighting around their sleeping buddies.

I enjoyed watching the tigers play. Hopefully I can catch them doing more fun things when we reach Texas!!

Sunday was pretty normal. Two shows. It was even hotter, with temperatures around 106F by 1pm. Good practice for Phoenix next week, where the daytime temp is expected to be over 110 every day. Yuck.

Other stuff:

Because there are no longer animals riding the train, the train is several cars shorter. This means that it's able to travel by routes we haven't normally been able to take up until now. On this run, the train followed the Colorado River through the mountains. Many people who rode the train have said this was one of the most scenic runs they've ever been on.

(photo courtesy Chaz)

(photos courtesy Chris K. That last one is of the end of our train going through a tunnel.)

(photo courtesy David S.)

This week we say "see you down the road" to Angela (floor crew). Angela is an awesome human being. I will miss her handing me props to play with, or the little trinkets she'd find on the floor. Wishing you the best in all that you do Angela!!! You're awesome!!!

(photo courtesy Angela L.)

My boss Brett and his family with the cast of Ka.

(photo courtesy Theresa B.)

Small elephant update: Adria, who used to be on Ringling's elephant crew, is now working for The Endangered Ark Foundation. This week she shared a lovely photo of a momma and baby enjoying a bath and a drink! <3

(photo courtesy Adria C.)