Through my work writing about events and travel and all sorts of lifestyle topics, I’ve had the chance to try many epic experiences. (And we well know from research that experiences are the true path to happiness — not material things.) Through work, I’ve had opportunities to visit many new cities and countries, flown a blimp over New York, ridden in a hot air balloon over Southern California, and in a race car on the German Porsche race track, for instance. These experiences — and memories — are my absolute favorite parts about my job in media.
Well, there are still plenty of things I have yet to try. And just this week, I checked another “first” off my bucket list: I rode in a helicopter over Las Vegas Strip!
In town for business, I was invited by the sightseeing outfit Sundance Helicopters to come for a nighttime ride over the Las Vegas Strip. And they would be sending a limo. So far, so good.
The ride was shortly after dinner time, but I neither ate nor drank beforehand. I get motion sick (not to mention anxious!) and I pictured open doors, intense noise, jerky movements, and wild banking. So I figured it would be better to have an empty stomach and be safe than sorry.
The stretch limo picked me up from the Bellagio. Pause here to note that because of an event conflict, I was late for my scheduled pickup time. That caused a mad dash through the casino, during which I somehow lost a shoe — one of my favorite Trina Turk sandals, which had been the spare pair I’d kept in my bag because everyone knows Vegas + heels = blister city. So I was like Cinderella who left the shoe at the ball. (Only when I went back to retrieve it later, it was a petite woman security guard to handed it back to me, and not Prince Charming.)
Back to the story. The limo dropped off at Sundance Helicopters’ terminal, which is a cheery, airy place to get excited for your flight.
When it was time to board, I stepped into the six-seater helicopter with two couples: one celebrating an anniversary, and one who would get engaged mid-flight! (I die for that stuff. #suckerforlove) The sixth seat belonged to the pilot. The first thing that struck me was just how beautiful a piece of machinery this helicopter was. The EC-130 had perfectly clear glass windows for observation all around (a far cry from the teeny, fuzzy windows on planes). In no time, we were in the air. The flight was perfectly smooth, barely jostle-y or noisy at all. (We wore headphones that played music.) In no time, we were soaring high over the Strip, catching rare views: the intricate layouts of the pools, the glittering marquees, the cars snaking down Las Vegas Boulevard.
In just 12 minutes, we were back on the ground… and I was hooked. I can’t wait to come back for Sundance’s Grand Canyon tour — apparently it takes just 45 miutes to get there, you land for a picnic in a specatcular spot, and then it’s back to the strip in time for dinner and a show. (This makes the Grand Canyon seem far less remote than it does in my memories of hiking to the bottom and back during 120-degree June heat, after a long road trip from Los Angeles!)
In short, if you have a chance to ride in a helicopter over Las Vegas Strip: do it! It’s way cheaper than 12 minutes at an unlucky craps table anyway.