Vegas, Baby!


I love road trips! One of the reasons is because I am not limited to a suitcase to pack. 😉 I can take anything I want as long as I can fit it in to my car. Here is the packing list for my recent 3 night/4 day trip:


  • Front:  Cooler packed with seltzer water, protein shakes, coconut water and fruits
  • Back:  Xena’s space. She was temporarily moved for this photo; hence that disapproving face
  • Cargo:  A fold-able chair, Alcott explorer blanket, Xena’s sleeping bag, bottles of water, first aid kits, our suitcases and of course our hiking gear

There are 281 miles (452.23 km) between my house and Las Vegas, Nevada. Originally, I planned to make a stop at Mojave Desert on the way to stretch our legs and hike a sand dune but I ended up scrapping the plan at the last minute due to a rain storm. The storm brought a strong wind with it and it even created a 20-feet sinkhole in the L.A. area on Friday night so I was nervous about the road condition next day. It was the worst we had in like 10 years or something that crazy. Seriously, now?!!

Luckily, the rain stopped and the wind was gone too next morning. After our usual morning routine, I finished packing my car and off we went. It was cloudy but the road condition was great. After 130 miles, I stopped at Barstow for a break. It’s a great place to stop with a dog. There is a plenty of place to walk and stretch our legs and a bunch of fast food joints and regular restaurants too. I pulled in to the El Pollo Loco parking lot where I saw a huge lot next to it. It’s for trailers and big trucks but there was only one truck in the lot and it was far away from us. I grabbed a tennis ball and we walked over to the open space and played fetch until Xena wanted a break. There were tables outside of El Pollo Loco but it was too cold for me so we ate our lunch in the car.

It started to drizzle when we were near the Mojave Desert. As we got closer to the Nevada state line, it rained steadily. We must have caught up with the storm. I drove extra carefully leaving plenty of space between my car and the car in front of me. The soothing sound of raindrops against the car and my extra cautious driving put Xena to asleep. She never sleeps in the car. Ever! This was a record. I was happy to see Xena finally relaxing in the car after all these years.

We arrived at The Westin at 5 pm. Perfect timing, check in and rest a bit before dinner. Initially it appeared to be no line at the registration desks. Then, once my eyes settled in to the new environment, I noticed a crazy long line formed away from the registration desk to my left. That can’t be right. There were at least 30 people in the line! Yep, that was the line. Are you kidding me?! We got in the line and waited for our turn. It was about 5:30 when we got up to the desk. The room wasn’t ready and the wait was about an hour. Ugh. They would text me when the room was available. All of sudden, I felt tired from driving. I need a drink.

I walked over to the restaurant to order a drink so I can have it on one of the benches on the casino floor while waiting. Dogs are not allowed in the restaurants, fitness area, bars and casino at the hotel which is a usual dog-friendly hotel policy. I ordered a glass of wine. Then the waitress pulled me aside and whispered to me to go to the casino and order a drink from the cocktail waitress instead. If you are not familiar with casinos, you don’t pay for drinks on the casino floor, you just need to give the cocktail waitress a tip. I said, oh, but I have her pointing to Xena. She insisted in a quiet voice, it’s ok honey, I will call a cocktail waitress for you. So I walked over to the casino which wasn’t crowded and settled down in front of a machine. A few minutes later, the waitress came over and called a gentleman over who seemed to be the floorperson and explained to him that I was waiting for my room. I could pick up a hint of unspoken message to him “look after them” from her tone. She was motherly and kind. As she promised, a cocktail waitress showed up soon after to take my drink order. The floorperson checked in on us a few times and even hung out with us and chatted for a while. I found out that he is a huge dog lover.


Xena drew in dog lovers. Many people stopped by to talk to me and pet Xena. Xena did great even with occasional happy outbursts from the bar and lots of attention from passing by strangers. She even got pictures taken by a couple who said Xena looks like their puppy at home. My shy girl enjoyed hanging out and meeting people. Once an empty area, we drew in dog-loving gamers and all the machines nearby us were occupied while we were there.

Can I borrow some money?

The wait was actually a little longer than an hour but the kindness we received from the hotel staff made it all better and was very much appreciated. This totally could have been a boring tiring frustrating hour of wait but instead, we had a great time.

I wasn’t really hungry so I finished the leftover from lunch. After dinner, with happy full belly, Xena picked the bed with her toys. Shortly after, she drifted off to a puppy dream land. 🙂


I wasn’t ready to go to bed yet as I needed to prepare for the next day. Our first day of adventures. It may not be the usual Las Vegas scene you are used to but this is how We do Las Vegas. Stay tuned. 😉

Good to Know:

  • There is a $35 pet cleaning fee per stay at The Westin Las Vegas



11 comments on “Vegas, Baby!”

  1. Nice trip! But you were sooo close to several National Parks in southern Utah. Next time you feel like Vegas, try Zion or Bryce- you might need a tent, but I’m sure there is lodging somewhere nearby. Or get some friends and their dogs and try Arches and Canyonlands and you can bring the dogs to a doggy-party in Moab! Great town to visit! Just a suggestion. A few years ago, after backpacking in the Sierras, I met my wife in Vegas and we did Zion, Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands… then we headed south east to hike in Gila Wilderness- just N of Silver City, NM. We were using a tent and hiking the entire time. Great fun! Xena could even chase the javalinas in Gila Wilderness! 😉

    1. What a story!! Sounds like you met your soulmate! 🙂 I’d love to visit all those beautiful national parks but (very unfortunately) practically all national parks, including Zion and Bryce Canyon, are not pet-friendly. And most, if not all, state parks are not pet-friendly either. They don’t allow dogs on the hiking trails. They are allowed on paved roads and 100 feet from the parking lot. Hiking without Xena? What’s the point. Haha. I found some parks that are dog-friendly in Nevada though and we had a blast exploring new places!

      1. The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) along the North Shore of Lake Superior (about 250 mi. long) allows dogs, and you don’t even need a permit. There’s nearly 90 campsites along the Trail and many lodges/motels along the nearby Hwy 60 running from Duluth to the Canadian border. Shuttle services are also available. Granted, it’s a long way from southern CA. Take a vacation. [I should bill the SHT for this advertisement.]
        ps As for meeting my soulmate – We’ve been married almost 46 years! We’ve put on some miles together that’s for sure!

  2. awww! I’m glad the hotel was so pet friendly! That’s so awesome! 🙂 I have a funny video of JoJo in a hotel and she was sooo excited she kept jumping b/w the 2 beds like a little kid! LOL!

  3. The stay at the hotel could have been a disaster but it sounds like they saw the importance of good customer service with bending a few rules. And Xena at the machine is adorable!

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