Like most things in life I saw this park on Facebook and thought it would be a great trip for my dad and I to explore the beautiful red rocks of the Valley of Fire. I have driven by the entrance several times unknowingly on the way to Mesquite and Southern Utah in the past. This time however, was a full deep dive into one of Nevada’s hidden gems. Just off the 15 N interstate on the way to Salt Lake City from Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire exposes it’s magnificent landscape for park attendees. Admission is $10 or $9 with a veterans discount and the park closes at sundown. I got out of the car several times to take short hikes around the natural wonders and snap photos. I was fascinated by the red sand that is extremely fine like the white sand found at Pebble Beach located in and around the rock formations. The park also boasts ancient hieroglyphs from long lost tribes of the southwest and many unique rock figurations including an arch that is quite simply cool. My dad and I made the trip in late March and it wasn’t hot at all. After several hours in the park we decided to stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant named The Inside Scoop. The food portions were most generous and the milkshake was killer. I highly recommend this day trip for locals and tourists looking to get away from the strip. You can find the Valley of Fire at 29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040.
From June 1st to December 16th 2018(2 days after my birthday) I spared no calorie while I dined at amazing restaurants, spent time with lovely friends, and traveled to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and my first trip to Australia. During this duration I must have put on 30 pounds of blubber. When I got back from Australia I looked myself in the mirror and was like I have to do something drastic in order to regain my physique. I decided to kick off an intermittent fast and so far I am having amazing results. I’m now 2 weeks into this method and the last time I checked I had lost 8 pounds, but even more by now since I don’t weigh myself everyday. I now look into the mirror with more confidence knowing I am shedding pounds instead of gaining them. My pants fit better and I have more energy. The way the fast works is like this you don’t eat for 16 hours! That’s it… You still get to eat what you want from 12 pm to 8 pm and then nothing. You can have coffee, tea, or water to suppress your appetite, and I even enjoy alcohol like vodka soda water or red wine. I cut out beer from my choices and drinks loaded with sugar. The first day was rough, but now my mind set is on track and I see myself staying the course, with a special occasion meal from time to time that happens to fall outside of the 8 hour interval to accommodate my friend’s schedules. If you want to learn more check out this link. Also, don’t forget to exercise, run, lift, swim, stay active!
I realize as I travel to see old friends I find myself looking up words like wends. Some old friends appear and others remain at a distance, while others stay in far off places like France. The void is filled with new stories and experiences, while food and drink make their lovely appearances. I can see that I’m learning more as each day passes and forgetting things like always chasing asses. I make phone calls and send texts, sometimes just looking for sex . I stay single always ready to mingle. The life of a traveler, a foodie, and an alcoholic or maybe you might consider me hyperbolic. A good life filled with things to do as we talk about Democrats, Republicans and stir the pot full of political spew. I am happy to have been to the places I know, but I still have so much room to grow. I spread my love, and message of joy… for a man that is all work you will find difficult to enjoy.
When it comes to restaurants I like to go to places that are known for a particular dish, or a place that is putting on a promotion, or simply because I want to try it for myself so I can write about it. I love writing, I’m not the best at it, but I love to constantly work at perfecting my craft. When it comes to golf courses I want to go to the best of the best and I want a good deal. I’ll pay top dollar if it is worth it and I know it’s something to write home about. When it comes to traveling this is probably the thing I take most seriously in my investment in life. A lot of people just don’t understand the value in going to a new place that you have never been before and being able to tell others about what you experienced. That is why I cherish these moments and treat them like gold. Finally, when it comes to products I choose things that are low maintenance. I don’t like to buy things that are going to end up costing me a lot of money and that I become dependent on. Living in S. Korea, teaching English for a year, really taught me the beauty of living a minimalist life style and reducing my dependencies on “things” while also benefiting from being mobile.
You just got the bill now comes time to sign and tip. If you have ever been to Las Vegas, you’ll quickly learn that everyone will accept tips. Well most people that is. Some people will just outright beg. While others will expect nothing at all. However, for most practical purposes let’s answer a few basic questions. What percentage should you leave? Where does the tip go when you leave it?
As a customer you are ultimately in charge of whether you leave a tip or not. As you should be, after all you paid for a service and it’s up to you to give more if you feel the server deserved it. I will tell you though if you want to leave your server what is considered a “good tip” the industry standard in Las Vegas is 20% of your entire bill (and another 5 to 10% if the server has help). That is the magic number that most servers will strive for. However, that isn’t stopping you from leaving more or less, again I stress the importance of your own comfort levels on tipping, but so you know if you want to give your server a good tip remember the 20% mark, anything over that is greatly appreciated and should be given if well deserved and you can afford it. 15 to 20% is an okay tip, and anything below 15% will most likely get you a fake smile. Failing to tip means you were totally dissatisfied, and may lead to bad karma on your end so I would refrain from no tipping unless you feel you got totally ripped off.
That brings us to our second question. Where does the tip go when you leave it? Many establishments in Las Vegas pool their tips and later distribute an equal amount to all their servers, bussers, bartenders, barbacks, doormen, security or whatever. So to answer the question in a clear way is virtually impossible, because the tipping system can be totally different wherever you go. If you really want to know just ask and the staff or management and someone will explain the tipping procedures which as I mentioned can vary widely from place to place.
Finally, the people that work in the service industry in Las Vegas are very aware that in many customs around the world and even parts of the USA many people will simply not tip. However, that doesn’t mean you are going to get bad service if you don’t tip, just note that if you do tip especially up front you are more likely to get a better service experience had you not tipped.
I am really starting to feel my passion come out through my writing, photography, playing golf, and traveling. For years I have kept asking myself what I want to do with my life, and my internal voice keeps telling me to have fun and do what I love. 5 years ago I put my career in information technology on ice to explore new opportunities. I started teaching English of all things (my least favorite subject in school), and while I was overseas I started missing my father and the game of golf. When I returned to Las Vegas I got a job as a bartender at a golf course and I got to play a bunch of free golf. Then after a year of being back in the US, I started working at a Beach Club and that really brought back my social life. Meanwhile I have been taking trips to Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America capturing my experiences though photography, and writing reviews. These experiences led me to the creation of my blog, caseynolan.com. I finally feel like I’m doing what I want to do with my life and for this I’m thankful.