I awoke Friday morning in what is becoming a familiar location, near Lake Las Vegas. We’re out here for a long weekend to visit family, and run a desert trail race on Saturday. Friday, however, was just for hanging out and exploring.
We started the day looking for some breakfast, and because everything around where were staying was closed, we ended up at a breakfast buffet at a nearby hotel. We then decided to check out a couple museums in town. The first place we hit was the Atomic Testing Museum, near the campus of University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
This museum displayed the history of the atomic era, and the development of America’s main testing site near Las Vegas. Despite living through the 1980s and the Cold War, there was much about the early history of the atomic era that I wasn’t aware of. In particular, the number of underground tests that continued until 1992. Overall, the museum was very educational and well worth stopping at. For many of us who lived in an era of nuclear weapons, it’s important to realize what those weapons took to create, and what they cost us as a society, and to the individual engineers involved.
As a bonus, this museum also had a side exhibit about Area 51. There wasn’t much to say about this particular exhibit. The “mystery” aspect was kinda cheesy, but overall it presented a mostly complete history of the Roswell incident as well as how the UFO culture developed in the 60s. Once we finished walking through the exhibit we headed for our second museum stop of the day.
That next stop was at the Pinball Museum, a large warehouse nearby FILLED with old pinball machines, and classic arcade games. We each grabbed a few bucks of quarters and played some great games. I even got to play some classic pinball machines unlike any I’d ever played before. In particular it was fascinating to see an old mechanical scoring mechanism that would advance as I got various bonuses.
Once we finished with our museum trips we headed to a running store where the packet pickup was for our race. Before that we stopped at a Whole Foods for a little light lunch, and I discovered that some Whole Foods have bars in them. For lunch I got to try a very nice saison from a California brewery.
We picked up a bit of nutrition for the race tomorrow at the running store, and then went out back to the packet pickup. As we got in line to pick up our bibs we quickly realized that this race company isn’t nearly as organized as other races we’re used to working with. There were a ton of issues with people getting their bibs, and 20-30 minutes later we still didn’t have everything we needed.
First, they never sent out bib numbers to participants, and the only thing the volunteers had were sheets that were in bib number order. So that meant they had to look for people’s names on multiple sheets to see what number they were. Then, they had to look through boxes of bags to find the correct bag with the bib number on it (instead of having a stack of bibs, and generic bags that you combine when the person shows up). Then they couldn’t find all the bibs, so my wife is having to wait until tomorrow, at the race start, to get her bib. Overall, the entire experience was frustrating and amateur. I’m hopeful that the experience at the race tomorrow will make up for the bad experience today.
At this point in the day it was time for a nap, before heading to a casino for some dinner. It was a nice first day in Vegas, and Saturday is going to be filled with running, beer, and then more running. All of which is taking place in much warmer conditions than back home in Minnesota.