Day 1 : Flying to Las Vegas

It’s always exciting when it’s finally travel day, though no-one looks forward to the 14-15 hour flight ahead. This time Christy is joining us for our week in Las Vegas (where Kevin will attend the AWS (Amazon) conference) before she’s flies on to Iowa to be with her girlfriend.

We were up about 5am so we had plenty of time to get ready, finalize our packing and spend some time with the pups before it was time to leave at 7.30am. Athena was kind enough to drive us up to the airport. We had already checked in online but for some reason had to go to the desk – which I honestly think is nicer and easier than using the kiosks anyway.

Then it was time to head through security and immigration – which was straightforward and not too busy. We didn’t do any shopping but headed straight to Qantas Club where Kevin made friends with the guy sitting next to him (who worked for Amazon but wasn’t actually headed to the conference). We had some breakfast and relaxed before it was time to head to the boarding gate. I had bought my keep cup and water bottle with me so filled up both – the first with some tea (that Kevin was kind enough to get for me). I actually wasn’t feeling the best (more of upset stomach than fibro pain) but was doing okay.

The trip itself, despite none of sleeping too well, actually went okay. I was in a bit of pain but took the relevant pain meds and read and listened to relaxing music (to at least rest and get a bit of sleep). Christy was kind of fidgety and kept waking me up. And funnily enough she said the same of me !! So who knows ?!?

My vegan lunch was lovely. I just wish they would give us fresh bread like everyone else – no idea why they don’t. Kevin was kind enough to give me his.

I’m proud to say I didn’t use any plastic bottles/cups on this trip. I drank water from my bottle (which could be refilled at the snack station at the back of the plane) and tea in my keepcup (first time doing this on a flight). No, I lie, I did have a can of lemonade which came with a plastic cup. Opps, totally missed this one :-(.

Because of an expected fast trip to LA (14 instead of 15 hours) the pilot delayed our boarding and departure as apparently they can’t open their doors in LAX until 6am. Sadly our free middle seat was taken but the lady was rather happy when we offered for her to swap with Christy (who was going to sit across the aisle from us). It was worth a try to get some extra space :-). Christy (like me) likes an aisle but I sat in the middle this time. It was actually nice being able to hold hands with Kevin since we rarely sit together on planes.

Shortly before landing we were served breakfast. Again the vegan meal was so good. Much better than the vegetarian meals I feel. Oh, and I was also given a vegan burger during the night – which came the perfect time just as I was getting hungry – was, again, delicious.

Though the trip went by surprisingly fast we were all happy to arrive in LA. That was until we saw the craziness that was immigration. I have never seen it so busy. There were lines everywhere but the real problem was when Christy used a different kiosk to us (to practice doing things on her own) instead of us doing everything as a family. Her ticket got flagged and we had to get in another 40 minute line before we could clear immigration. Which kind of made us a bit worried about catching out next flight to Las Vegas. I have heard stories of LAX being like this but we had been lucky to never experience it before. I think it took us almost 2 hours between landing and collecting our luggage. We then had the rush (well as much as I could manage considering I was not feeling good) to get our bags checked in for flight to Las Vegas – we made the cut off by ONE MINUTE !!!. Then it was back through security – which was thankfully not busy – since we were towards the end of the big crowd. Then we could relax a little since boarding was not due to start for another 5 mins. This gave us time to go to the bathroom, refill our water bottles and for me to get my favourite wrap from Real Food Daily (which is expensive being airport food – but totally worth it since I only get it once a year).

Kevin got priority boarding so we were able to board right away so we made our flight in perfect time :-). It was good to be able to sit and rest and enjoy my wrap and the 40min very scenic flight to Las Vegas. I enjoyed having the window (since I only ever get it on short flights).

Finally we were in Vegas. This is Christy’s first time here and she was amazed to see the poker machines in the airport. After catching the monorail/shuttle to the baggage claim we had to wait some time for our luggage to appear – being last onto the plane also meant it was last off apparently.

We then got an uber to our accomodation at the Wyndham Desert Blue.

Staying off the strip this year meant we could get a 2 bedroom apartment for less money.

Sadly, since we were all feeling rather tired and yucky, our room was not yet ready. Although apparenlty we had been upgraded from a 2 bedroom unit to a 3 bedroom presidential apartment. Lovely, but I think we have happily taken our 2 bedroom if it had been ready to go into right away.

Having no choice (since our room might not be ready until 4pm) we left our luggage and got another uber over to Town Square.

First stop was AT&T to get sim cards for all our phones. Poor Christy was really tired and not doing too well. We had planned to do some shopping before going to Wholefoods, as we really enjoy the shopping experience here (even though as a minimalist I really do not enjoy shopping when I’m at home), but with everyone not feeling great due to tiredness, we decided to just get some lunch at Wholefoods and then buy enough groceries just for dinner & breakfast (since it can take us over an hour to do a proper explore/shop of Wholefoods).

Even though it was just 2pm we ubered back to the Wyndham to wait it out in the lobby. Didn’t take too long before Christy was fast asleep on the couch. Luckily it was quite and we were out of the way.

I’m really impressed with the feel of this place. So different to the noise and bustle of the Strip resorts, It definitely suits us.

Around 3pm (just as I was starting to nod off) our room was ready. Kevin had already collected our luggage so it was straight up to the 15th floor to see our BEAUTIFUL home for the next 7 nights. And I was thrilled to discover we also had a full kitchen complete with fridge with filtered water. The room is really something and the view (if you don’t look straight down) is great as well.

I decided not to have a nap so late in the day but Kevin and Christy promptly went to bed. I got things sorted in the kitchen and downloaded photos and video. It was definitely becoming a struggle to stay awake and I’d keep nodding off – even sitting on a stool while my laptop was charging. At 6pm we made some dinner. Vegan ravioli with marinara sauce for Kevin & myself and some mozerella sticks for Christy (she has food issues so even at 18 is a super picky & limited eater).

Kevin and I then enjoyed a nice soak in our huge spa bath before heading to bed. I did manage to read for a short time before it was lights out (I think around 8pm – which was a very effort indeed :-).

Recipe : Pumpkin Pasta Bake

This is something that I made up (which is very unusual for me) so there is no actual recipe. Instead I will let you know what I included and how I put it together and you can decide how much of each ingredient you want to use – there really is no right or wrong with this “recipe”.

What you will need :

Butternut Pumpkin (or any type of pumpkin) : Diced

Pasta : Any type and quantity (I used a whole packet of bow tie pasta)

Baby Spinach : Lots and lots and even more (as it wilts down to nothing)

Favourite Pasta Sauce : 1-2 jars depending on size

Grated Vegan Cheese (or whatever you prefer)

How to make :

Baked pumpkin (or cook the air fryer as I did). No need for any oil.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pan. Add baby spinach, mix through and put lid on to allow it to wilt.

Then add all other ingredients (except cheese) and mix well. Add more pasta sauce if desired.

Transfer to casserole dish or oven safe dish and top with vegan cheese.

Cook/bake in moderate oven (180C for about 20mins.

Serve and enjoy. And be sure to let me know if you like it.

*** Hubby always add extra cheese to his once served

***If doing as part of a meal prep I can leave the baking until the day of serving or I can cook and store in fridge to reheat in the microwave.

*** This freezes really well (at least when using white pasta)