Hello, Upper Bristlecone Trail at Mt. Charleston, and Zumo the Keeshond

During my routine once-every-two-months one-week-long air trip to Las Vegas to take care of all my errands all at once while road tripping across the country, I met up with two of my friends to go hiking at Mount Charleston, northwest of the Las Vegas Valley in Nevada. Also joining me this time around was Zumo, their Keeshond.

Before heading up to Mt. Charleston for our hike, we stopped by a gas station to get some beverages and snacks. Apparently there was a dog treat for sale at the gas station, so Zumo got a snack as well; if you look closely, you can see the small mess he left behind below his mouth.

As we got closer to the trailhead, we came across what appeared to be a wild horse. I’ve seen a ton of horses throughout my road trip, and even went to the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville to learn more about horses, but this is the first time that I saw a wild horse just roaming around out in the open.

Our trail of choice was Upper Bristlecone. We made it to the trailhead, which was right next to the Lee Canyon ski resort.

Near the trailhead was a large helicopter landing area. I walked over to the edge of the landing zone and snapped a photo of the mountains to the north­east.

The trail itself wasn’t too special for a majority of the hike—it was basically just a well-formed path cutting through forest. I did come across a few wild­flowers, like this red one.

Being a breed with a double-layer coat, Zumo got very warm very fast, and he had to take a lot of breaks to cool down.

In a sparse area of the forest, we found a little hut made out of branches and tree trunks. One of them even had a little entryway, so I climbed inside with Zumo for one of our breaks.

Eventually, we made it to the lookout point of the trail, which I guess you could consider the summit (there was no true “summit” because the trail con­tinued to an intersecting point of Upper and Lower Bristlecone, before turning into the regular Lower Bristlecone Trail). Immediately upon arrival, Zu­mo found some nice, cool rocks on which to lay down and cool down.

By this point, a thunderstorm had started to roll in. There was a decent amount of cloud coverage over by The Sisters…

… and clouds had completely engulfed Mummy Mountain.

The lookout point had a tree that was blossoming flowers with a very unique scent.

The storm clouds were rapidly approaching and it started drizzling, so we started making our way back down the mountain.

We arrived back at our vehicle just in time—with literally about half a minute to spare, it started pouring rain right as we got Zumo cleaned up and back in the car.

Unfortunately, my Fitbit activity tracker refuses to start tracking if I don’t have a data connection at the beginning of the hike (even if it can catch a GPS connection), so I wasn’t able to map this hike. However, based on other people’s maps on All Trails, it looks like our round-trip total was 3.2 miles (5.15 kilometers), with an elevation gain from base to lookout of 626 feet (191 meters).

Because the starting elevation was 8,692 feet (2,649 meters), the oxygen was sparse and it felt like much longer of a hike than it actually was. Even with the decent number of breaks we were taking to allow Zumo to rest up, I still got a little out-of-breath at times, and wished I had brought more than just a 28 fluid ounce (828 milliliter) bottle of Gatorade Zero.

There are a lot of great hikes at Mt. Charleston, and if it’s your first time, I’d recommend something like Cathedral Rock instead. Regardless, it was a good hike at Upper Bristlecone, and it was a nice opportunity to get away from the 100+°F (38+°C) heat of the Las Vegas Valley for a bit.




Hello Lake Las Vegas

If you read my most recent blog post, you know that I just left Southern California—specifically, Long Beach—where the temperature was in the upper 60s and lower 70s°F. It’s incredibly jarring when, after driving for just four hours, the temperature is in the low 110s. Yes, the Las Vegas heat doesn’t feel as bad as the heat in other areas because of how dry it is… but once you get past 110, you start feeling like you’re cooking, regardless of how dry it is.

As my final stop prior to heading out for the real portion of my extended road trip, I swung by downtown Las Vegas to check my PO box and deposit some belongings into storage for the final time prior to leaving the city for at least two months. For my last few days in the Valley, I decided to stay in Lake Las Vegas, an oasis resort built around an artificial lake in the far northeast corner of Henderson, NV.

Lake Las Vegas

A little-known fact about me, mainly because I never revealed this publicly, is that, at one point, I was planning on purchasing a property in Lake Las Vegas. I think this community is extremely underrated, and as long as you don’t need to commute to the main city for work, living in Lake Las Vegas allows you to live a luxurious, upscale, retiree lifestyle. Being both an independent entrepreneur as well as a remote worker for Tempo, I figured that I would fit in well in the Lake Las Vegas lifestyle.

I’m good at identifying undervalued properties listed at below market value, and I know this for a fact because most of the homes I’m interested in usu­ally get sold within one day. I found a new home community on the northern side of Lake Las Vegas, and I found a condo I liked with a price point of ~US$320,000.00. I went out with my real estate agent and was doing a final tour of the masterplan amenities… when we received a call from the sales cen­ter saying that someone else had contracted the property right before I was about to commit.

Needless to say, the homebuilder continued raising the price of the properties after this because they were selling so quickly, and as of today (just two months after this incident happened to me), the base price of the condo floor plan is now nearly US$370,000.00, $50k higher than when I orig­i­nal­ly wanted to se­cure it.

Seeing as I do have an interest in Lake Las Vegas real estate, I figured this stop in Las Vegas would be a good opportunity to immerse myself into the Lake Las Vegas lifestyle—at least for a few days—to get a preview of what it will be like living here.

The Westin at Lake Las Vegas

Unfortunately, that immersion aspect didn’t really happen.

My hotel of choice this time around was The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, which is a resort-style hotel with a resort fee that includes a bicycle rental. I was planning on using that perk and going biking around the community, but considering that it repeatedly reached highs of about 115°F and sustained triple-digit temperatures throughout the whole day, I mostly just stayed indoors because I didn’t want to risk getting heat stroke.

This hotel didn’t have covered parking, so the times that I did go out to get food, I would get in my furnace of a truck and drip sweat while watching my air conditioner struggle to keep up with the heat. By the time the air conditioner finally had an opportunity to catch up and cool down my cabin… e­nough time had passed that I had already finished the round trip to the restaurant and was back at the hotel.

The Westin at Lake Las Vegas

The Westin at Lake Las Vegas

Because of this, my visit to Lake Las Vegas wasn’t quite as eventful as I wanted it to be. I do want to make another trip back here at one point, but it’s def­i­nitely going to be in the spring or fall so I don’t melt every time I step outdoors.

And with that, the true “nomad” portion of my journey begins. Tomorrow, I depart for St. George, Utah, a little over two hours north of Lake Las Vegas. Un­fortunately, the current heat wave is affecting this entire area, so it’s also going to be debilitatingly hot in St. George, but hopefully I can either find some indoor activities or wake up early enough before it heats up too much to explore nature.




Hello, Marriott’s Grand Chateau

Last week, I wrote a blog post about how I’m going to be homeless for half a year. Besides the fact that people are accusing me of clickbait because, even though I’m literally going to be homeless, I will still always have a safe place to stay every day and night… my “homelessness” officially started on June 1.

My plan was to drive from Las Vegas to SoCal on June 1, but I ended up getting too busy with highly time-sensitive work and couldn’t spend the five or so hours needed for the trip that evening. Unfortunately, my bed and mattress were already tarped and deposited into storage, and my rental lease re­place­ment was already moved into my old condo, so this meant I had to find some alternative lodging. I browsed through Marriott’s website for a nice place to stay for a one-day staycation and found Marriott’s Grand Chateau.

That was a huge mistake.

Marriot's Grand Chateau

The room was fine; it wasn’t the nicest, but it was still fully functional. The problem, and why I consider this to be a huge mistake… is because Marriott’s Grand Chateau has mandatory valet parking.

So here I am, someone who hates other people touching my belongings in general, with a pickup truck loaded with all my stuff, driving up to the hotel en­trance and seeing that there is no self-parking garage. I thought it would be a bit ridiculous to actually carry all my stuff into the hotel, so I open my back seat doors and truck bed in the valet lane and start shuffling things around. I pull out only one night’s worth of my essential belongings out of all my boxes so I only need to bring one luggage bag’s worth of stuff into the hotel.

Later that evening, I decided to get some food. I went downstairs to summon my vehicle, but I didn’t realize that there was an automatic kiosk system that scans the barcode on your ticket, so I was instead waiting for a good six or so minutes at the valet desk to wait for someone to actually tell me that I just need to go to the kiosk. After scanning at the kiosk, it took another 15 minutes for my vehicle to arrive. The following morning when I was ready to leave after checking out, I scanned my ticket at the kiosk and had to wait 17 minutes for my vehicle to arrive.

I’d say that the only thing I truly liked about this hotel was the view of CityCenter (which I was lucky enough to get, because I had a west-facing room).



To be clear, I don’t think this hotel itself is actually really that terrible. But, if you just need a clean and safe place to spend the night in Las Vegas, there are tons of other options that don’t come with these inconveniences.

Just to add, mandatory valet parking wasn’t the only thing that was inconvenient—Grand Chateau doesn’t conform with the standard Marriott Bonvoy program, so they don’t honor the 2 PM late checkout for gold elite members, and actually have a relatively early 10 AM standard checkout time. That, mixed with the traffic on the Las Vegas Strip and the inflated prices of all food within walking distance, and after my tenth minute of waiting for my truck the first time I summoned it, I very much regretted not just staying at a Courtyard or Residence Inn.

That short leg of my journey is now over, and I made it to Long Beach in California. I’ll be spending the next few weeks in Southern California, and then my real journey begins.




Hello, Morimoto at MGM Grand in Las Vegas

As a Las Vegas local, I don’t frequent the Strip (even though I literally live directly on the Strip in a high-rise condo, and have been for over two years now). I haven’t been to all the hotels and casinos, and even for the ones that I have visited, I often don’t remember each one precisely off the top of my head. So, usually when I go to a hotel or casino, it ends up being an adventure.

Today’s dinner ended up being an adventure, as we went to Morimoto at the MGM Grand. Morimoto is named after Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto, best known for his appearance on the Japanese cooking television show Iron Chef. Today, he has 13 restaurants spread across the United States, Mexico, Japan, India, and Qatar.

The environment of the Las Vegas location was pleasant, and it didn’t overimpose a particular vibe; it had nice Japanese touches while maintaining a core feel of being a unique but straightforward restaurant. Today is Thursday, and we’re in the tail end of a pandemic, so the restaurant wasn’t very busy, but I feel like this is one of those places where a high amount of bustling clientele would enhance the mood.


First up was the toro tartare. “Toro” is the Japanese term for tuna belly, the fatty part of the tuna fish. It was spread out as a thin sheet on a ceramic plate topped with some sturgeon caviar, and we were provided with a spatula-like scraping tool to remove the toro from the dish. It came with six condiments: nori paste, wasabi, sour cream, chopped chives, guacamole, and what I believe was just toasted rice cracker balls. It also came with soy sauce on the side.

I thought this was fairly underwhelming, both in taste and in portion size. The fish was nice, but honestly, my favorite part of the dish was actually the nori paste. At US$29, I would’ve much rather just ordered some regular tuna belly sushi.

Toro tartare

Next up were market oysters. The oysters were tiny—about half the size of regular oysters you’d expect from a restaurant. They definitely tasted good though, and something I found very interesting about them was that they tasted much cleaner than usual. Usually, you’ll get at least a little bit of crunch from your oysters, but these almost seemed like they had been pre-shucked and purified, then replaced back into their shell. Half a dozen came in at US$24.

Market oysters

Our third dish was something a lot more simple: tuna pizza. It resembled a crunchy, hard-shell pizza, but instead of the tomato sauce, it was replaced with tuna. Toppings included red onions, tomatoes, olives, jalapeños, and something green that we for the life of us couldn’t figure out what it was, drizzled with some anchovy aïoli.

My impression of the dish was that it was extremely overwhelming in flavor. All the toppings—especially the raw red onions and olives—were fairly pun­gent and had piercing flavors, and it overwhelmed the taste of the tuna. After eating my share of two slices of the pizza, I felt as if, had the tuna been entirely missing, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. The tuna pizza cost US$25.

Tuna pizza

Our only hot dish was next: kakuni. Literally translating from Japanese as “square simmered,” our kakuni was a square of ten-hour pork belly atop some rice congee, driz­zled with soy scallion sauce. The pork belly was extremely salty and had a very strong flavor, but after mixing it in and eating it along with the rice congee, the saltiness was diluted a bit, which allowed the richness of the meat to come through. This was US$21.


With three cold appetizers and one hot appetizer out of the way, it was time for the main dish. Considering that this is a famous restaurant under the brand name of a famous chef, we figured that we would do a “chef’s choice” dish, so we ordered the chef’s sashimi combination. It was a 20-piece dish for US$110, so each cut came in at $5.50. The sashimi assortment had salmon, tuna, tuna belly, octopus, mackerel, flounder, scallop, and yellowtail, along with what I think might have been abalone.

As you can probably tell from the photo, needless to say, this dish was extremely underwhelming. No matter how nice the restaurant, there is no way that I can say each bite of fish was worth $5.50. Some of the sashimi cuts were unexpectedly thin. The sashimi was definitely high-quality fish… but it was nothing more than just high-quality fish. I wouldn’t say that any of this would particularly qualify as specialty fish that would warrant such a high price tag.

Chef's sashimi combination

We went to this restaurant as a group of three, and with the very small portion sizes, my companions weren’t yet satisfied, and I was personally just bare­ly getting started. So, we decided to give the chef another chance and ordered the chef’s sushi combination. At US$100, it was slightly cheaper than the sashimi com­bo.

This ended up being a far, far better selection. The rice was obviously much more filling than the fish, but the balance of rice and fish was good enough such that I feel like the fish quantity might’ve been just as much as the sashimi combo, so it’s as if we paid $10 less and got free rice to go along with all the fish. This was also a 20-piece dish, but it appears like each piece of nigiri counted as one piece and each set of six-piece cut roll counted as one piece.

The combo came with eel, shrimp, mackerel, salmon, squid, tuna belly, yellowtail, and tuna nigiri. There were two pieces of nigiri that I had trouble iden­ti­fying, but I’m thinking it might have been parrotfish. The two cut rolls we received were tuna and shrimp tempura.

Chef's sushi combination

As I’ve mentioned throughout the whole review, the prices were pretty steep. But, apart from the tragedy that was my roommate forgetting to bring her ID with her and not being able to enjoy some alcohol, I’d say the overall experience was pretty nice.

I think that, as a local, I was particularly critical of this restaurant because I know that there are plenty of restaurants across the Las Vegas Valley that will reach 95%+ of this quality and presentation for about 40% of the price. But, if you’re a tourist coming to Las Vegas and want to experience eating a meal at a Morimoto restaurant for a special event, or even just to treat yourself, I think that it could be reasonable.




Re: “Why do you think Las Vegas is the greatest city in the world?”

In March 2018, a little over a year after moving from the Chicagoland suburbs to Southern California, I moved, by myself, to Las Vegas. I rented a mini­van with lay-flat second and third row seating from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, packed it literally to the brim with my belongings, and drove from Corona, CA to my new apartment in Summerlin South, a census-designated place in the Las Vegas Valley.

Two months after I moved, I wrote a blog post titled “Re: ‘Why did you move to Las Vegas?'” where I addressed… you guessed it, why I moved to Las Vegas. In that post, I pointed out why I decided to relocate, then busted some myths about Las Vegas. A lot of what’s in that post still stands, but I decided to do a follow-up post, now that I’ve been living here for over two years.

In those two years, it’s become a meme among my friends and co-workers that I am one of the most avid proponents of the greatness of Las Vegas. To be clear, that being a meme is well-labeled. I definitely do not think that Las Vegas is objectively the greatest city in the world. In fact, I think it could very well be one of the worst cities for many, many people to live in. Obviously, the greatness of a city is highly subjective, and my belief of Las Vegas’ great­ness is subjective to my own unique situation.

With that being said, Las Vegas is what I believe to be my best place to live, and I decided to list off some of my personal favorite things about the city.

  • It’s the perfect combination of a city and a suburb.

    I hate the unnavigable congestion of packed cities, but I also don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere like the small village where I grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs. I don’t want to be in a bustling city of millions where I’m constantly shoulder-to-shoulder with other people and have to pay to park at the grocery store, but I also want things to be accessible.

    I think Las Vegas is a perfect combination of both a city and a suburb. There are no stretches of forest or empty land separating things, but things also aren’t so packed that it’s excessively dense. I value the fact that it feels like I can get from place to place without having to traverse through nothingness, while also feeling like I can drive somewhere and I can actually get there faster than just giving up and walking.

  • I can live in luxury without paying luxury prices.

    I currently live in a studio on one of the upper-most floors of a high-rise condo on the Las Vegas Strip. My building has dedicated security and all amenities you’d expect from a luxury hotel. Depending on your preference, this is basically one of two living situations that you could classify as the “best” in this city, the other being a mansion on the outskirts of the Valley by the mountains, if you like that over high-rise living.

    My housing expenses, including rent and all utilities, total less than US$1,500.00 per month. I personally have an unbelievably great deal, but literally anyone, even the worst negotiators, could live this lifestyle in Las Vegas for less than US$2,000.00 per month. Search for something com­pa­ra­ble in Los Angeles and you’re look­ing at an absolute minimum of US$4,000.00 per month.

    And it’s not like I have to make “sacrifices” for it being in Las Vegas. I live on the northern end of the Strip with a north-facing view, so I’m not constantly bombarded by the flashing lights and ground-shaking music of Las Vegas Boulevard. There’s occasionally a loud train horn, but other­wise, it’s just the basic hum that you’d expect from any bustling city.

  • A vast majority of anything that I would possibly want to do is within a half-hour drive.

    Las Vegas is built as a tourist hotspot, and as such, it has pretty much anything and everything you could possibly want to do. Of course, a lot of it feels forced or artificial (because a lot of it is), but I’m not too picky, and something that feels fake will still often meet my relatively low standards of satisfaction. (To be clear, I am known to have unrealistically high standards for things I truly care about, but for everything else, I’m mostly in­different because I take all the “care” that I would allocate to those “other things” and just hone them in on a few select important things.)

    There are also nature-y things to do in and around the Las Vegas Valley as well, with Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston, the Hoover Dam, available on the outskirts. A “desirable” thing that is obviously missing is the ocean, but I go to California enough already, and I personally am not really too compatible with big bodies of water anyway.

    In a similar vein, actually getting to all of these unique things you want to do isn’t a pain. My central location on the Strip means that everything is relatively close-by, but even if it wasn’t, Las Vegas traffic isn’t that terrible (at least not yet). Even when traffic gets “bad,” you still feel like you’re getting to your destination, albeit a bit slower; it’s not like California where you just feel stuck in an endless stretch of jammed freeway.

  • There is little to no risk of natural disaster.

    I’m a bit of a control freak. I like to account for everything that could go wrong and minimize any risks that could be a consequence of unattended or unexpected variables.

    As you can imagine, this means that I particularly do not get along well with natural disasters, and specifically, with earthquakes. It makes no sense to me that you would willingly put yourself in a scenario where your living situation could be thrown completely off balance by something you cannot predict and something you have no control over. I don’t think I will ever understand people who choose to move to Los Angeles voluntarily (meaning, they don’t already have family there and it’s not for work), then proceed to pay inflated prices to purchase real estate, only to be at per­pet­ual risk for your overpriced property to collapse without notice.

    Las Vegas occasionally gets earthquakes, but it’s only when the actual earthquake itself happens elsewhere, and the magnitude of said earthquake is high enough that Las Vegas is within the affected area. Las Vegas also takes the concept of avoiding natural disasters a step further by not really having natural disasters or severe weather effects in general.

    A lot of tech companies are moving their servers to Las Vegas to minimize the chances of their data being lost to something unexpected. I ob­vi­ous­ly value my own life more than tech companies value their data, so I think it’s only reasonable that I think the safety of the Las Vegas Valley is one of its big pros.

  • I save money by not paying state income tax.

    This one is pretty straightforward. The state of Nevada doesn’t have state income tax, so that is literally money that I pocket each tax year just because I decided to live in Las Vegas.

    The impact of this can be made a bit more obvious with a mathematical comparison. Someone filing taxes as a single individual living in California who has an annual salary of US$100,000.00 pays over $6,000 in state income tax. If that individual instead chose to live in Nevada, they would pay $0. That means that they would pocket an extra $6,000 every year.

    Of course, that’s oversimplified, because if they lived in Las Vegas (a city with a lower cost of living), then their annual salary might be adjusted down. Or, the same kind of high-paying Californian career opportunities might not even be offered in Nevada. However, for someone like me who works full-time remotely, this actually literally functionally becomes a “free” $6,000 every year.

  • McCarran International Airport provides great accessibility to the rest of the country for business travel.

    I travel for business quite a bit. If it isn’t going back and forth between Las Vegas and Los Angeles to take care of in-person work with Tempo, then it’s usually flying to random places across the country for events, conventions, and meetings.

    Because Las Vegas is a tourist hotspot, the airport has a great selection of affordable, non-stop flights from a lot of destinations to incentivize people to come visit. That’s obviously good for me as well, because those tourist flights can be the same flights that get me where I need to be for business.

  • I like the hot weather.

    I think snow is a magical thing. Waking up one day and seeing everything covered in a pretty blanket of white sets you up for a great day.

    That is, until the snow keeps falling, day after day, foot after foot, until you’re sick of seeing white everywhere and you can’t get where you need to be because everything is buried in snow. Living in the Chicagoland suburbs dumped too much of a good thing on me (often continuing on into the spring), and it took away the magic of snow.

    Ever since moving to the Pacific Coast, snow has become magical to me again. It’s so rare in the Las Vegas Valley that seeing it after waking up in the morning brings back that childhood awe and that feeling of knowing that it’s going to be a special day.

    Also, just in general, I prefer warmer and drier weather. I hate humidity because I feel like it makes the air feel heavier and more difficult to breathe, and it leaves an unsavory weight on your body where you always have an urge to shower throughout the whole day. The dry air in Las Vegas feels crisp and clean, and I never get that unsettling feeling on my skin.

  • Nuisances that I’ve had to deal with my whole life, like mosquitoes and allergies, are no longer a thing.

    This one is pretty self-explanatory. I can actually leave my sliding glass door open during the evenings without worrying about a swarm of mos­qui­toes leaving behind 50 red bumps on my skin. When I lived in the Chicagoland suburbs, I had the worst bout of seasonal allergies that would cripple me between August and October, but that’s completely gone in Las Vegas.

    There hasn’t really ever been a thing where I would look at it and think “wow, that’s annoying” that was exclusive to the Las Vegas Valley.

  • I feel like I’m “cheating” at real life.

    I have a stereotypical “ruthless businessman” kind of mentality. I have a strong foundation of morals and ethics, but as long as I believe I am abiding by those standards I have set for myself, I often do not show much mercy. This also means that I will do unusual things and employ non-traditional strategies—things and strategies that some people may consider questionable—in order to get ahead in life.

    By having a remote job with a company headquartered in Southern California, I almost feel like I’m “cheating” the system. A massive portion of Las Vegas revolves around the service industry, so the “health” of the city is based heavily on tourism. When the tourism industry is prospering, the city prospers; when the tourism industry suffers (like during the COVID-19 pandemic), the city also suffers.

    By maintaining a non-service job from outside of Las Vegas, I am able to remain completely financially stable, even through the ups and downs of Las Vegas. This means that when the city dips down to a low, it actually ends up serving as an opportunity for me to swoop in and take advantage of the situation. For example, if real estate prices go down because people are moving out after losing service-related employment, that’s a chance for me to come in and get a property at a great deal, even if I would’ve been able to afford it at the non-discounted price anyway.

    I am under the firm belief that you cannot become the top 0.1% in the United States by doing things the traditional, “normal” way. Making net-positive business decisions like this adds up, and with enough of them, I can get closer to joining America’s elite and setting myself and my family up for a great future.

As I said before, these are my reasons why Las Vegas is the best city for my situation. My situation is obviously very unique and unusual, so for the sake of providing clearer information catered towards the general public and presenting both sides of the argument, I’ll be covering the cons of Las Vegas as well in a future Q&A post.

If you’ve read this because you were one of the people who were just curious as to why I rave about Las Vegas so much, hopefully this was a satisfying-enough response. If you’re here because you’re seriously considering also moving to Las Vegas, be sure to keep an eye out for my cons post as well, in addition to doing additional research and collecting information from multiple reliable sources before making a final decision.




I watched a $7 million house on fire today

Is that a sensationalistic clickbait title? Yes.

But is it technically true? … Also yes.

Living in a high-rise on the Strip with a vast, unobstructed view of the city, suburbs, and mountains has its perks, one of which is the fact that I can always see what’s going on in almost a third of the Las Vegas Valley just by looking out my sliding glass door.

Today, the interesting event of the day was a house fire at 224 W Cincinnati Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102. This is a small, run-down house on the south side of the Gateway District, in an area formerly known as “Naked City” because it was the area where show girls would sunbathe naked in the 1950s. This blog post with a clip of a garbage truck accidentally dumping trash all over the road is dash cam footage from Naked City.

Today, Naked City is just a low-income neighborhood between the Strip and downtown, behind the Stratosphere. When I say “low income,” I mean that in the most extreme way possible—Naked City is often perceived to be the most dangerous place in Las Vegas, and rent prices for apartments in the neigh­bor­hood can be as low as US$500.00 per month for a unit.

Now, the perception of danger isn’t completely unfounded, but the area has gotten tre­men­dously better recently. This area was a hotspot for illicit drug transactions and prostitution, but with government assistance, the streets are much safer now.

This all probably sounds incredibly underwhelming. Why in the world would I be blogging about a random house catching on fire? … Well, it’s because this house is $7 million.

Something probably doesn’t add up in your head, and I don’t blame you. How can this house—a house that looks like it’s about to collapse—in an ap­par­ent­ly terrible neighborhood go for $7 million?

First, I guess it would be prudent for me to demonstrate that I’m not just making this up. ABC 13 KTNV Las Vegas ran a story almost four years ago about this property, and you can check for yourself in the price history on the Zillow page for 224 West Cincinnati Avenue that it was indeed on the mar­ket for US$7,000,000.00, originally listed by Simply Vegas, then later taken over by Keller Williams Marketplace, with momentary representation by Plat­i­num Real Estate Professionals.

So, why $7 million? The easy answer is that it’s not about the house; it’s about the land.

Remember how I said earlier that the government has been assisting with cleaning up Naked City? The downtown and northern side of the Strip is un­der rapid development right now, and many people are projecting that the area will flourish and prosper very soon. The owner of that plot of land is prob­a­bly expecting the area to explode in growth so much that there will be some entrepreneur who will want to snatch up that “premium” plot of land to get a head start.

There are some substantial flaws with that thought process:

  • The street leading into the entrance of the building is important. If this was a plot of land with a direct opening to Sahara Avenue or Las Vegas Boulevard, then it wouldn’t be as outlandish, but no matter how close this property is to the “busy area,” it still involves driving through shady-looking back streets to get there.
  • The neighborhood still matters. Even though the area is improving, it’s a slow and gradual process, and it’s still not at the “tipping point” where it’s worth it to get in on the redevelopment. There’s getting in early, then there’s getting in very early… and then there’s getting in too early. We’re still at the too early point right now.
  • That lot is zoned as residential. If an entrepreneur were to come along and purchase the plot of land to start a business to capitalize on the im­prov­ing conditions of the north Strip, they would have to petition and go through an excruciating approvals process with the city to convert the land into commercial zoning before they can get permits to begin construction.

With that being said, if it wasn’t already just about the land and location… now it definitely is. The Clark County Fire Department and the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Department responded today to 224 W Cincinnati Ave to reports of a fire. I observed the firefighters hard at work tackling the problem.

224 West Cincinnati Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89102

I guess they had trouble gaining access into the property, because they started climbing on the roof and bringing out what sounded like chainsaws. E­ven­tu­al­ly, they put a hole through the roof, and billows of smoke started coming out from the opening.

224 West Cincinnati Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89102

It reached 106°F (41°C) today, but this was captivating enough and standing in the shade of my balcony was tolerable enough that I watched for about half an hour. I was watching this from over 500 feet away, so I obviously couldn’t hear anything they were saying, but what I was able to make out just from my observations was that the house was vacant at the time of the fire, someone else called to report smoke coming from the house, and the fire­fighters had to force entry to ensure the property was clear.

Shortly after they put the hole through the roof, the smoke poured out then stopped, so I imagine they were probably also able to gain access through the back as well to extinguish the source of the blaze.