And so I'm back now at the communication center of Elisberg Inudstries, having driving back from Primm, Nevada, early this morning.
Primm, Nevada? I hear some of you cry. Primm is one of those teensy towns that people pass by on their drive through the desert to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, blink and are gone, recognized only for a couple of huge, garish signs for the Whiskey Pete and Buffalo Bill Hotel Casinos.
Buffalo Bill's has the addition of a roller coaster and fake mountain, and whatever other bits of folderol they can think of throwing in.
The reason for all this is that Primm (or it might be the town of Jean, it seems to go by both) is right smack on the stateline, the first thing you come to when you cross from California into Nevada. So, for people from Los Angeles taking Interstate 15 and can't wait to get their gambling fix -- or who don't want to drive the extra half hour to Las Vegas, they only have to pull off the road and there you are.
Whiskey Pete's is actually a bit more odd in its own way. When you hear the name, "Whiskey Pete," you likely think of the Old West. And that's what the decor is inside -- but the exterior looks instead like a castle from the days of King Arthur. I have absolutely no idea why. But it's definitely quite bizarre.
I mean, honestly, tell me -- does this below scream out to you "Whiskey Pete" and the Wild West? Unless, perhaps it's West Anglia.
The reason for mentioning all this and why I was in Primm is that I have a tradition for leaving CES. I check out of my hotel the last night, pack up my trunk and then go to the show for the day. Then, when I'm done, rather than heading back to my hotel in town, I drive instead to Primm, 30 minutes closer to Los Angeles, and stay there overnight, giving me a shorter drive the next day.
There's a third hotel casino in the complex, all owned by the same company, called the Primm Valley Resort. It's much more low-key than its two siblings, and a touch more expensive, though not much more, a few dollars. I've stayed at all three, and they're perfectly fine for the night. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the beds in the Primm Valley Resort are particularly nice, and the TVs are flat panel. (For all I know, they might be at the other two places now, though I wouldn't hold my breath.
(For all that, the TV last night at the Primm Valley Resort had an odd glitch. At odd times the picture would jump from whatever you were watching back to that "Menu start screen" that you get when turning on a hotel TV. Hardly a big deal, but annoying when you're hitting a plot point explanation in a show, or the basketball game is at a tense moment.)
There's also a really nice, huge outlet mall in the area. I hadn't gone to it before, what I didn't know until I stayed at the Primm Valley Resort for the first time is that the outlet ball is literally built into the Resort. You just walk through the casino, head down a short hall and then take an escalator down into it. Among the many factory outlet stores they have there are Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Lacoste, Williams-Sonoma, Banana Republic, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Neiman Marcus and much more.
By comparison to the other two places, the Primm Valley Resort is almost elegant. It's not, but least from the outside, there's a genuine sense of style. There are some nice places once you enter, including a spa and a nice oak/brass bar, though overall, the casino area is a bit low rent.
But one other thing I like in Primm, which is somewhat a new addition, is that they have a branch of the Mad Greek restaurant that's semi-famous for being in Baker, California, the gateway to Death Valley National Park. It's been in Baker for decades and was even featured on the Food Network. The place in Primm is tiny by comparison, but I've eaten there twice, and it's quite tasty. Not the best Greek food ever, but considering that you're in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the desert, it's good to have.
Also, inside the Resort they now have an Original Pancake House. This is a very small chain that has a few branches in Chicago, where it's known as Walker Bros. Original Pancake House. (Walker Bros. are local franchisees who had their own restaurants in Chicago and merged.) I love Walker Bros., and especially their German Pancake, which is more like a rich soufflé. I almost went there last night, but because I'm going to Chicago in few weeks, and there is a Walker Bros. about two miles from where my dad lives, I figured it was best to wait. Then again, there are great Greek places through Chicago, so it would have been fine either way.
By the way, for all the image of being in the desert, it can get quite nippy there at night and in the morning. Not the sub-arctic temperatures that much of the country is getting pounded by, of course, but not what you would expect for the middle of the desert. In fact, last year when I went to my car in the early morning to head out, the windows were covered by frost.
Anyway, the drive is over, and I'm back. And Elisberg Industries is almost up to speed.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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