Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Then the rains came! (Or What a Difference a Day Makes!)

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

So there we were in Vegas, our first "out of town" vacation since we got married.

Our first night we saw Siegfried & Roy, thanks to Paige and Pat. The next day was the big wedding day. Thursday we had all to ourselves to explore Vegas before flying out on Friday.

We didn't have a lot we wanted to do. Walk the strip, watch the fountains....and because I am a Star Trek geek I wanted to do "The Star Trek Experience" at the Vegas Hilton.

We got an early start, bopped down to the lobby and asked the concierge about times and travel. She gave us the rundown, suggesting the free shuttle to the strip and catching a cab later to the Hilton.

"But you really shouldn't leave the hotel..." She said.

"Why not?" I asked perplexed.

"Well there's a flash flood advisory today!"

"Flash flood? We're in the desert!" I told her assuredly "Besides we get flash flood advisories at home all the time..."

She looked at me quizzically "Where are you from?!?"

"Michigan" I replied as we waved goodbye and set off on our adventure.

Per her instructions we hopped the free shuttle to the strip downtown. 

As we stood getting our bearings and deciding how we were going to attack Vegas in such a way as to see as much as possible, when the first raindrops began to fall.

Just a few drops, certainly nothing to prevent us walking the strip.

As we were standing in front of a souvenir shop, I popped in and bought a $3 sun visor to keep the rain off my glasses.

So we set off...

We had gone no more than a block when the sky opened up! Not a torrential downpour mind you, but a good hard Midwest summer rain shower.

Laughing at our luck we dashed into the lobby of some little hotel on the strip, it's name escapes me now.
We decided that we'd flip our plans, and go see the Star Trek Experience first. Let the rain run it's course and then come back and walk the strip, I mean how long could it last? It's Vegas BABY!!!

We called for a cab, and sat down to wait.

As we were waiting we couldn't help but notice how people were acting. Locals would come to the doors, look up at the sky in wonder, shake their heads and walk away with an "end of days" look on their faces.

Finally curiosity got the better of me...

"What's up? You guys act like you've never seen rain before!"

"Not like this!" the counter man said.

"Rains like this about once a week in Michigan." I told him.

"Well take it back to Michigan with you," he said "we're not used to it!"

Took about 40 mins. for our cab to arrive as they had suddenly became VERY busy!

We got to the Hilton and made our way to the Star Trek Experience. This took a couple hours to go through...then drinks at Quark's bar, even got the souvenir glasses from our Romulan Ale! Lol

So, all told about 3 hours since it had started to rain.
What we had no way of knowing was that while we immersed ourselves in intergalactic space travel, a full 4 inches of rain had fallen.

That in itself would be bad enough, but as was later explained to us Las Vegas sits at the bottom of a big rock bowl! Therefore everything that falls in the mountains around Vegas, flows downhill INTO Vegas! Hours after the initial rainfall, the waters continue to raise. This combined with the lack of storm drains meant that flash floods are serious business in Vegas!

The Hilton had sandbags set up at the front doors. At the time this seemed excessive seeing that it set up on a about a 10 foot high raised plateau.

When our cab arrived, our cabbie informed us we were lucky to get a cab. Dispatch had just stopped taking runs and was advising all their cabs to seek high ground!

On our way back to the Rió we couldn't believe how bad the flooding was already! At certain points the water was 3-4 foot deep!!! Our cabbie told us he'd lived in Vegas for 35 yrs. and had NEVER seen anything like this!!!

The Rió Suites Hotel just happened to be high ground, so our cabbie was more than happy to take us there!

Once back in our room we turned on the TV and watched the mayhem unfold, happy to be safe and dry. Paige and Pat had made it back much earlier than us so we were glad they too were safe.

At one point the waters were so high, there was an overpass near the hotel marked 14' 8" with 3 foot concrete barriers along the top. Water was flowing OVER those barriers!!!

We watched transfixed, as the waters overflowed the flood canals. Eroded the banks and sent hapless mobile homes downstream to be torn apart by the fury of the rapids.

We didn't realize we were making National news until Kathy's Boss Bob and his wife Cheryl called us from home. They were watching Princess Bear for us, and were hoping it wouldn't become a full time thing!!! Lol

Clip from the Today show the next day.

  So we remained trapped at our hotel until we headed to the airport the next day! The strip? Shut down, every casino flooded. By luck the airport was completely spared.

And people wonder why we don't travel much! 

You know you have bad luck when the place you visit experiences a "100 year" event as the News called it. We couldn't even say "It was hot, but it was a dry heat!" Lol

Only we could cause it to rain in the desert!!!

Well folks, there you have my final post of 2014.
Number 153!
I started with high hopes of doing a daily blog, over optimistic to be sure as I notice it's been 2 months since my last post. More like every OTHER day...on average.

To those of you that have read these, and maybe shared them with your friends I say a heartfelt "Thank you"!!!

I hope I've made you laugh a time or two, or at least entertained/informed you! 

Be Well Folks, and Best Wishes for 2015!!!

As Always,

Your Beastly Bear


  1. Happy New Year Joe. That's quite a story; I don't remember it at all but July of 99 I'd just moved to WA and was in the process of working at a new job and buying a house. Yeah they have some crazy flash floods in the Desert SW.

    1. Well JoJo we tend not to remember that which does not affect us personally, so I wouldn't expect you to remember... :-)
      Thanks for a years worth of reading and commenting!

  2. Thank you Dave! Happy New Year to you and your family as well!
    Thanks for reading!!!

  3. Great story Joe, and poor you two. I hope you've had the opportunity to get back over the years and enjoy it. And speaking of enjoy.. I have really enjoyed your blogging and I hope that you will get back into the swing of things and blog daily. Your stories are so interesting, and quite frankly, belong in a book.. Hint. In the meantime.. Blog damn it! ;) - Happy New Year to you and that beautiful family of yours!

  4. Thank you Karen, you are always so supportive!!! And thank you for the little kick in the ass...glad to see you back as well! <3

  5. OMG that is bizarre! I would have been just like you and marched right out devil be damned. We get rain in Indiana too. LOL Course...I have also out run tornadoes and took in a wax museum at the Wisconsin Dells with a tornado coming up the street. I tend to not over think things and live life on the edge...or with my head up my ass. Take your pick. Enjoyed this Joe! ♥

    1. Thank you Kathy! We Midwesterners tend to think within our own terms when we hear "flash flood", "Extreme thunderstorm", "Gale force winds"...we need to be mindful that what flash flood means in Michigan is VASTLY different from what they mean in Vegas!!!