California With The Pittsburgh Penguins 2020 (Day 6, 1st Mar 2020)

Last stage: Las Vegas! My duties supporting my Pittsburgh Penguins were done, time to enjoy… some more hockey. This stage of the trip was likely the one I struggled with most – I already booked flights and hotel for very reasonable prices way before the Vegas Golden Knights released their individual game tickets – with the result that I finally had to go for the 270 USD tickets for T-Mobile Arena. At least I checked another NHL arena with this detour to Los Angeles – and also had my second airline debut, Alaska Airlines.

Date Flight from to
Su 01.03.2020 AS 1902 San Francisco SFO Las Vegas LAS


Alaska Airline – My First Time – Domestic First

Another (too) early morning start. This time in San Mateo, California, heading the ten miles towards San Francisco Airport. I definitely underestimated the effect of jetlack paired with the late hockey matches and early morning flights.

At least, everything went smooth. Returned the car and took the AirTrain towards Terminal 2. Personal airline debut – my first flight with Alaska Airline was due to happen. My flight was scheduled at 7:20 hrs, I have been at the check in about 5:00. Bad news: the Alaska Airlines Lounge in San Francisco is still renovated upgraded. Good news: the check in agent offered me to take the earlier 6:00 a.m. flight. Lovely staff (on ground and in the air), a nearly empty Airbus A320 and a lovely Domestic First service (with sparkling wine on my debut) – good start of the day.


When in Vegas

I originally planned to work on the Day 5 trip report entry in the Alaska Airlines Lounge – but as I have been quite early now, I just did it in Vegas airport before I took the bus shuttle to the huge rental car facility. They already hat slot machines at the airport (as expected), airside and at the baggage claim. Third rental of the trip – this time I opted for a good old reliable, not too fancy Kia Optima. Solid.


A Ghost Town

I have to say that I am not the super-biggest fan of Vegas regarding downtown, the Strip, the casinos and all the stuff – but what I really love about the location is that you can use it as a travel hub for so many interesting natural sights. Not just the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam, but the Death Valley is close, I love the Red Rock Canyon and so many more places. This time I headed to the Eldorado Canyon Southeast of Las Vegas – a lovely drive.

My destination was the Ghost Town part of Nelson, NV. The place ran a gold mine in the past (the mine is available for tours, but I am afraid of these kind of things) and the ghost town is driven by a family. You can walk around and explore so many things. The store is also a great collection of things of all kinds. The place, by the way, is driven by the mining tours and by selling photography and filming concessions. Absolutely worth visiting!


A Famous House and A Waterpark

The bit of bad thing about the trip was that you more or less head the same route back (the last ten miles are a dead end road) – but you can for example combine it with the Hoover Dam.

I went to Henderson, NV, next. The city is directly next to Las Vegas on the Southeast side. I first of all went to a living area where a person built a house according to a very famous American TV family – I am sure you guess the architecture.

On the road back to Vegas, I stopped by the amazing (sometimes even a bit threatening feeling…) slides and rides of the Cowabunga Bay. The park is closed in the winter months. It came into the news in 2015, when a six year old boy had to suffer serious brain injuries after an accident in the park, leading to a 49m USD settlement by the park.


Pinball Hall of Fame

The next stop was the amazing Pinball Hall of Fame, which is not just having pinball machines, but also a lot of other ability-driven arcade machines. Could stay there a whole day! Lovely place!

After that, I had a short stop at the Southern Outlet in Vegas. Not a too good place to be at on Sunday noon. The place is quite crowded anyway and it is quite narrow as well. But: last shopping opportunity – had to take it!


It Used to be a Hooters

From the outlet to the hotel, it was just a short drive – and, hey, by chance I even passed the Las Vegas sign. Had to take a quick snap at least.

The hotel I chose was the OYO Hotel Las Vegas. At the time of booking, the hotel was still branded as the Hooters Hotel & Casino – there is still a Hooters inside. I majorly chose the hotel due to superbly low pricing, proximity to T-Mobile Arena and to the airport. Not the most fancy overnight of the trip – but it definitely suited my needs.


Vegas Golden Knights – L.A. Kings

Time for the last NHL match of that trip – and with that match-up, the Golden Knights hosting the L.A. Kings, also a match to relax, as I was very neutral about it. On the one side, there was Marc-Andre Fleury, our long-time Pens netminder and one of my all-time NHL favorites – on the other hand, Los Angeles had former Cologne player and German national coach Marco Sturm in the coaching staff. The quite new T-Mobile Arena was massive. I did not lake the comparably late entry, but the show they did, the quality of the logistics etc. was just impressive.

Like in the two matches before, I felt that I was really, really tired now. The match reminded me very much of the Pens game at the Kings on Day 2 of my travel. Finally, the Knights had a 43-17 shot statistic – but overall, they gave the very good Calvin Petersen a too easy time to have 42 saves in an NHL match. Los Angeles played just very solid and effective (again), while the Golden Knights felt the the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail – Let’s call it a draw! NO! The ticket behind the goal was 270 USD, by the way… Amazing!


Last, but not least…

… on my way to and from T-Mobile Arena, I did some random shots of the illuminated strip in that area.


California with the Pittsburgh Penguins – Day by Day

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