Las Vegas, Nevada – otherwise known as Sin City. Best known for the Vegas Strip where casinos are open 24/7. Nightclubs, bars, pool parties, restaurants, and shows are always filled with people. But be warned that you’ll be welcomed with 100+℉ weather during the day and night. Welcome to Las Vegas! My third state out of my 50 state visit. (See http://bjjbug.net/journey/).
If you’re not a fan of driving long highway roads, I would suggest taking a flight instead into McCarran Airport. For this trip I decided to drive from Los Angeles which took approximately four hours (including two stops). Interstate 15 is a long road with very few stops so I suggest stopping whenever you can to grab water, gas, and to allow your car to cool down to prevent overheating. During my drive, temperatures reached up to 117℉. If you’re driving from Los Angeles, I would recommend stopping at Barstow, CA to stock up on water, food, and any other items you may need. Also, be sure to check the news for wildfires. So far, there have been two large wildfires that caused Interstate 15 to shut down temporarily.
- Invest in a water bottle (such as a Hydroflask) so you can stay hydrated in the heat. If you’re not used to high temperatures, you’ll most likely get dehydrated and light-heading quickly.
- Pack light clothing. Chances are you won’t need a jacket so just bring comfortable walking shoes/slippers, shorts, and t-shirts/tanks.
- Pick a hotel with a pool. It’ll be hot so you’ll want to consider spending a few hours in one to cool off. There are several hotels with pools, lazy rivers, spas, and much more.
- Utilize the monorail that takes you up and down the Vegas Strip. This is free if you take it from hotel to hotel. The one I took was from Monte Carlo to Bellagio.
- There aren’t many crosswalks on the Vegas Strip so figure out where you want to go and walk through casinos or across the various bridges to take advantage of the air conditioning.
- If you’re considering a buffet, get there early. Usually you can put down your name and phone number and they’ll call you when ready. Typical wait time around dinner is about two hours.
Places to Visit as a Tourist
If you’re in Vegas, the options typically involve casinos, nightclubs, concerts, restaurants, souvenir shops, or shows. Below are a few suggestions:
- Caesar’s Palace
- MGM Grand
- Fremont Street
- The Mirage
- The Linq
- Mandalay Bay
- New York-New York
- Planet Hollywood
- Circus Circus
- Treasure Island
- Monte Carlo
- Las Vegas Outlets
- M&M Store
- Hershey’s Chocolate Store
- Coca-Cola Store
- Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
On this trip, I was able to visit Simpson (Sim) Go at Cobra Kai Jiu Jitsu. Located at 1525 W Oakey Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89102 (http://www.ckjj.com/).
Prior to my trip, I sent a message to the gym via Facebook. I was able to get in contact with Sam, Sim Go’s father. He provided me with class schedules and was extremely helpful with answering questions.
The gym is located off Interstate 15, a few miles north of the Vegas Strip. Upon arrival, I was greeted by one of the students and then the owner/head instructor of the school, Sim Go. After signing a waiver and paying a small drop in fee I was directed to the changing room.
The facility itself is fairly large with a large mat space and changing room. Upon entering you’ll see the office area where you can sign up for class and buy apparel. The changing rooms are on your right. There are also showers if needed as well located by the mat area. I attended the Monday, 11am class which consisted of a good amount of students of various ranks. There were also students from another local gym in attendance.
The focus of the class was passing the De La Riva guard (http://www.bjjheroes.com/featured/the-de-la-riva-guard) and then finishing the combination with a bow and arrow choke. As an instructor, Sim Go is very detailed with his explanations. He doesn’t only cover the technique itself but also explains body mechanicals and setups. One small adjustment can make a huge difference to whether your technique will work or not.
The first half of class consisted of drilling the technique with a partner. I was partnered with Beth who came from another gym. She was there to prep for the World Master Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship. After drilling the sequence that we learned, Sim turned on some music and it was time to spar. I was able to get four rounds in with four different people ranging from blue to brown belts. Everyone I interacted with was very welcoming and we had some great conversations. This is definitely a gym that I would revisit if I were in the area again.
Buffets are your main go to while you’re in Vegas. If that’s not for you, there are several burger and barbecue spots worth checking out too:
- Bacchanal Buffet
- Wicked Spoon
- Buffet of Buffets
- Early of Sandwich
- Island Style
- Hobak Korean BBQ
- Shake Shack
- Rolling Smoke BBQ
I was able to try out as many food spots on this trip as I did on previous trips as I was only in the area for two days. However, if you have any recommendations please comment below so I can keep that in mind for next time.
Vegas is fun getaway type of city. Aside from the heat, I really enjoyed my time here and would definitely return. I feel that 2-3 days would make for a great trip. It’s enough time to enjoy both day and nightlife. Now time to prep for the next state to visit!
Las Vegas, Nevada – August 2016
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