Viva Las Vegas!

LAS VEGAS – I love the notion of an endless summer, and I had a break at work, so I came here for a few days to soak up the 80-plus degree weather and read a book next to a swimming pool.

I’m reading “Educated,” a coming-of-age memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge. It is a New York Times bestseller.

To clear the decks for this trip, I put the “fall-like” weather back home on hold. In the Sierra foothills I like this season best. The recent power outage forced us to crank up the big red Vermont Castings stove in the kitchen, a fall ritual for us.

“Fall Colors” is the theme of our magazine’s upcoming issue, now at the printer (leading to this short break). Our cover art is a painting of Fall Colors on Nevada St. in Nevada City by local artist Kathy Wronski. Like Kathy’s “dog art,” it is energizing. We love Kathy’s work; she exemplifies our local artistic talent.

I flew to Las Vegas on Spirit Airlines for less than $100 roundtrip, thanks to some fare wars out of Sacramento, and I’m using frequent traveler miles to stay at the Bellagio and Waldorf Astoria. It’s another “excellent adventure.”

Las Vegas is booming. I passed the new Oakland Raiders stadium – still under construction – on the Uber ride from the airport to the hotel. It is a gleaming, reflective structure. I like the Raiders team but am not a big fan of its “fairweather” management. Oakland got hosed.

Besides its new stadium, Las Vegas is benefiting from the vision of billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. Sir Richard’s plan is to build an all-electric train that will go from Vegas to Victorville and later, if all goes well, to Los Angeles.

We rode a Virgin train from London to the English countryside a few summers ago and loved the journey. Like Branson’s airline, the train offers great service at a reasonable price.

Vegas is coming of age, now generating a mix of ample entertainment besides gambling. I like playing card games and betting on sports (including horse racing), but this trip is more about reading a good book and relaxing by the pool.

My wife and son are holding down the fort, and I appreciate that. The “60-something” lifestyle isn’t that bad after all.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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