When It Rains in Las Vegas!

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It may come to a surprise for some, but we do get rain in Las Vegas!! On a normal year, it will be between 4 to 5 inches and most of it will fall during one of two Monsoon seasons. One in Spring and the other in the fall.  Each lasting about a week.

Yesterday – Mother Nature decided that she wanted something different to start the new year. So she dumped 1.3 inches of rain on the Las Vegas Valley!  Making this the wettest January on record and making a mess of the valley while creating another spectacular river through the Linq Resort parking garage.

This was an interesting way to start the opening day of the CES Convention.  The consumer technology convention is the largest convention held in Las Vegas and this is what greeted the attendees on opening day!
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Happens Every Time

The Linq started out as the Imperial Palace and was built on top of the Flamingo Wash area.  The lowest point on the Las Vegas Strip and the Clark County flood channel is behind the parking garage.  So when it rains, all that water running down the Strip find its way into the garage before entering the channel.  The water, mixed with the waters of the rest of the flood channels around Clark County, eventually runs into Lake Mead.

So this is nothing new and is a popular place to get video of the floods.  The black lines on the poles indicate the high watermarks of previous floods.  The metal wall seen in the beginning are lock and dam style walls they slide into place to prevent the water from entering the hotel structures.

The hotel was built for this and no damage is done to the resort. The driveway reopens shortly after the rains stop and they clean up the mess left by the rushing waters!

The larger problem around Las Vegas that turns driving during a rainstorm, is that most of the Valley sits on a crust of Caliche, a natural cement rock material that makes water absorption almost impossible and since we only get rain a few days a year, we tend to build the roads to the curvature of the earth.  Drivers here forget or have never noticed the dips in the roads until it rains and they try to drive through them.  Only to learn their car doesn’t float and they get stranded.

So we get a lot of road closures and the local news is filled with stories, videos, and photos of rescues of drivers ignoring the signs and overhead freeway displays warning of impending floods, standing on top of their sunken vehicles in the middle of a flooded intersection, waiting for a rescue. Not to mention that the rainwater cools the pavement and draws the oil out of the asphalt.  Creating a desert version of what we former snow dwellers call “Black Ice” the roadway is like a sheet of ice you can’t really see until you are on top of it spinning out of control.

I know, slowing down your speed during a rainstorm would help, but drivers around here don’t know how to do that! Besides, what fun would that be?


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NASCAR Burnouts on the Strip 2017 (Video)

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NASCAR and Las Vegas, what a perfect match!  NASCAR Loves Las Vegas and NASCAR fans love to come to Las Vegas to see their favorite drivers.  So with the annual NASCAR Champions Week and Awards Banquet, comes the legion of fans to watch what has become a tradition, the “Victory Lap” down the Las Vegas Strip.

As always, fans of NASCAR show up early to stake their spot along the boulevard, I mean early.  The event was scheduled to start at 3 pm, but fans begin to show up around noon to get the best spots, usually the corner slots. I was there about 1:00 and had lunch, then grabbed a spot where others had been, but left for whatever reason.   NASCAR fans are always up for an interesting conversation while waiting for the smoke and smell of burned rubber. So its easy to kill an hour or two.

The Victory Lap is just that, the top 16 drivers do a “Victory Lap” down the Las Vegas Strip. Eight of them doing a burnout in front of the Wynn Resort and the other eight doing theirs in front of Planet Hollywood. From there, the relined back up and headed to The Park for fan Q & A and other events.

NASCAR Vicotry Lap Las Vegas 2017 Car #18

Photo: Tom Donoghue


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I was at the south end, by Planet Hollywood.  The crowds this year were a little small than previous years, yet still just as loud and colorful as always.  Not sure if the smaller crowds are because they moved it up a week from previous years or it’s because NASCAR has cut back on fan interaction.  The other reason may be that in past years, it was held at the same time as National Finals Rodeo (NFR) was in town. This year NFR was moved a week later than last year.  NASCAR and NFR share similar demographics.

In order of appearance (after the first 8 drive-by)

#31 – Ryan Newman
#42 – Kyle Larson
#1 – Jamie McMurray
#17 – Ricky Stenhouse
#3 – Austin Dillon
#5 – Kasey Kahne
#78 – Martin Truex Jr – NASCAR Cup championship
#41 – Kurt Busch (blown Tire)

NASCAR Victory Lap 2017 Car #48

Photo: Tom Donoghue

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NASCAR Doubles Up On Vegas

Next year, NASCAR will have two race weekends in Las Vegas. One in the Spring (daytime) and one in the fall (evening)

NASCAR Las Vegas 2018
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Friday, March 2, 2018
NASCAR X-Finity Series  Saturday, March 3, 2018
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Sunday, March 4, 2018

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Friday, September 4, 2018
NASCAR X-Finity Series  Saturday, September 5, 2018
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Sunday, September 6, 2018

Photo: Tom Donoghue

A Big Thank You to Tom Donoghue for the photos!

Get Your NASCAR Tickets

Planning for NASCAR 2017 Champs Week?

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The Vegas Planning Gods were screwing with us this year!! The PBR is earlier than in previous years.  The NFR is later and that confused NASCAR fans with the annual NASCAR Awards show as well as the always popular Victory Lap down the Las Vegas Strip!
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This year, the entire event has been downsized and made more compact.  Not sure if its the sponsors are getting more restrictive or the drivers getting too anxious to get on their winter vacation.  Whatever the reason, the amount of fan interaction with the drivers has been dramatically reduced and the number of events cut way back as well.  But at least the burnouts are still happening!

The entire Champions Week schedule of events can literally fit on a normal-sized sheet of paper.  NASCAR Champs Week link

Our main focus will be the Victory Lap and the Awards

NASCAR Victory Lap™ Fueled by Sunoco
LOCATION: Las Vegas Blvd /Toshiba Plaza at T-Mobile Arena
DATE: Wednesday, November 29th
TIME: 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM PST

(Map of Victory Lap)

If you plan to be here in Las Vegas for the burnouts, get your spot on the Strip early. I mean really early.  Arriving by noon is considered late!! The die-hard fans will be camping out along the famed boulevard for hours to get the best vantage points.
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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards
LOCATION: Wynn Las Vegas
DATE: Thursday, November 30th
TIME: Red Carpet – 4:00PM PST
Awards – 5:00 PM PST
Broadcast live on SiriusXM and MRN
Broadcast on NBCSN, 9:00PM EST/ 6:00PM PST

The awards are the toughest one because all the drivers get cleaned up, shaved, and wear real suits with ties.  You need a media guide to know who is who. Plus walking the Red Carpet, often with their significant others who are equally if not more stunningly dressed for the occasion.  It’s almost like the academy awards but with real people, you care about.

The Video
The video was from what I shot last year.  It wasn’t easy and if you ever want to do the same, may I suggest getting there really early.  I was in my spot by 12:30 and the friends we made from 2015 were already there, holding the corner down with snacks and drinks. Yu need to stake out your territory and defend t wisely! I love NASCAR fans!


Another Las Vegas Landmark Gone??

Am I missing a memo or is the corporate greed at Caesars Entertainment gone off the deep end and they really are trying to remove anything that makes their properties interesting and unique?? Serious. I realize I’ve been putting in a lot of hours on another project, but normally I am tuned into the major Vegas news about iconic landmarks being dismantled and replaced by more shopping.

Like the world famous Caesars Palace Fountains.

caesars fountains gone

Next door, they are recreating a $15 million shrine to the biggest most annoying celebrity chef in the business, Gordon Ramsey. Is this to be part of the infamous recreation of “Hell’s Kitchen”?? It doesn’t look temporary. But in Las Vegas, that can always be deceiving. And being Caesars, they never have to use permits or follow the customary rules of construction in Las Vegas. So the information can be buried on some desk of a former city or county worker’s desk. Like former mayor Jan Jone’s who thought to have the permits on her desk to remodel Rio was the same as having them filed with the county.

Caesars Palace, HELL’S KITCHEN restaurant

Kind of like when Caesars was called Harrah’s Entertainment and they remodeled the main tower of the Rio and forgot to file the proper permits.  Former Las Vegas Mayor and now Executive Vice President, Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility for Caesars Entertainment, Jan Jones (Blackhurst) reportedly said that the paperwork for the proper permits was on her desk.  So that should be good enough.

Anyway, it’s sad to see another bit of Las Vegas beauty go away and replaced by another shopping emporium….


Vegas Vickie’s Final Weekend

She came to life in 1980 in downtown Las Vegas.  She has lived her whole neon-lit life there.  Her nickname has always been Vegas Vickie.  Her friends always made sure that you knew her name  Vickie was spelled with an “ie not a y” to make herself stand out from all the rest of the scantily clad ladies gracing the famous Fremont Street.   As with most young women in the West who had no real future in head of them, she married young.  At the age of 14, she was married off to an old cowboy who lived across the street.

This weekend, after 37 years of overlooking the once wild and wonderful street she was born on, Vegas Vickie will light up her neon boots and cowgirl hat, give us that always gleaming white smile one last time. before riding off into the sunset on the back of some flatbed truck.  She will be heading for a long overdue and well-deserved beauty makeover and some R&R before searching out a new place to call home.  It won’t be easy to find a place that can properly take care of and show off such a unique beauty such as herself.  A nice place to hang her hat and still smile that neon smile to all her adoring fans when they visit.

Come Monday, she will ride off into the sunset on the back of some flatbed truck.  She will be heading for a long overdue and well-deserved beauty makeover along with some R&R before searching out a new place to call home.  It won’t be easy to find a place that can properly take care of and show off such a unique beauty such as herself.  A nice place to hang her hat and she can still smile that neon smile to all her adoring fans when they come to visit.


LAS VEGAS – Downtown Las Vegas’ beloved cowgirl, Vegas Vickie, will kick her legs one last time before being lowered from her perch overlooking Fremont Street Experience on Monday, June 12. An iconic piece of Las Vegas history, the neon sign will be taken down as part of the construction for the highly anticipated resort-casino slated to transform the space previously occupied by Las Vegas Club.

“I have always been a big fan of Vickie’s, but we know she’s ready for some much need rest and relaxation,” said Derek Stevens, CEO of the D Las Vegas, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and the upcoming resort project. “We are on the active hunt to find the best home possible for our girl, as she is truly a key part of the Las Vegas story.”

Originally dubbed Sassy Sally after a casino of that name, the sign was created in 1980 by Ad Art’s Jack Dubois and Charles Barnard for Bob Stupak’s Glitter Gulch. She was later called Vegas Vickie, and gained national attention in 1994 when she “married” her neighboring neon cowboy, Vegas Vic, who currently stands over the former Pioneer Club building.

Nevada Stupak, the son of Bob Stupak, said “Vegas Vickie has brought joy to so many people from around the world, and we hope locals and tourists alike will stop by to take a photo with her one last time.”

In 2016, Derek and Greg Stevens acquired three Granite Gaming Group properties, including Topless Girls of Glitter Gulch, Mermaids and La Bayou casinos. Glitter Gulch and Mermaids will be incorporated into their plans for the site of the Las Vegas Club, which will become a new resort-casino concept on the world-famous Fremont Street Experience.

Las Vegas residents are encouraged to pay homage to Vegas Vickie before she saddles up for her next adventure. Along with Vegas Vickie, the letters found in the Las Vegas Club signage will be removed Monday as well.