2012 Ultimate Guys weekend sponsored by Lexus!
One of the coolest things about being a freelance writer is, from time to time I get invited to some pretty cool events. I will honestly say I was a little shocked when I received an invitation from Lexus to join them in Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend.
If you happened to catch the big game, you might have noticed the all new 2013 Lexus GS and the very first Lexus Super Bowl commercial. So you are probably asking, “Why a gadget guy?” That is exactly what I asked myself, so stay tuned for the answer to that question! I am extremely thankful that they extended an invitation for me and a guest to join them!
The weekend started out on a good note for us, but a bad note for other Patriots fans. When I was asked how I wanted to fly out to Las Vegas, I told the travel agent if there were no direct flights so send me South first! So our flight went from Manchester, NH to Tampa, FL and then onto Las Vegas. While my brother and I were enjoying a beverage at the airport we learned the other flight through Denver was cancelled due to snow! It actually looked like I knew what I was doing as they had to wait another day, and then drive to Boston to catch a flight on Saturday. Our flight departed on time which was about 9:00am EST. I like flying on Southwest airlines, however it appears my brother and I might have been a little too loud on the plane. The sleeping baby next to us didn’t seem to mind our laughing and joking, however someone with a “C” boarding pass apparently felt they were in first class, when indeed they were closer to last class or some others around us joked, “NO” class. Here’s a tip, if you are flying Southwest and want to enjoy a beverage, hit up e-bay and buy some drink coupons. You can usually get 10 coupons worth about $50 for $10 or $20 depending on how lucky you are! Here’s hoping the young lady who drew the short straw and sat between my brother and I made her cruise in Tampa with her boy friend and we didn’t get her in too much trouble. The second leg of the trip was just as fun as we were lucky to have an older gentleman named Paul sitting with us, and he was just as willing to have fun on the way to Vegas!
We arrived in Vegas around 4:00pm and met the people from Lexus at the Palazzo hotel. Attention Palazzo hotel, if you leave the mini-bar open you give the impression we can help ourselves. It was like a scene from the Blues Brothers; well they didn’t charge us for the first round so we thought the drinks were free! No, no, no you boys owe us a lot of money! Note to Las Vegas, you may want to do a little research before you leave booze with the Conrad boys! Lexus picked the right hotel as all the rooms in the Palazzo are suites. I thought the hotel matched the Lexus reputation perfectly. The first night there was a welcome reception at the Venetian Hotel (which is connected to the Palazzo) at the Taqueria Cononita. I was a little surprised to see all the other gadget bloggers and their guests there; my theory of Lexus messing up and sending me an invitation went right out the windows. It was a nice way to start the weekend, meet other bloggers and people from Lexus. As we were enjoying some great food and margaritas, I was watching the gondola boats inside the hotel thinking this is pretty cool. If you have never been to Vegas, the Venetian is designed to give a classic Italian feel, complete with singing gondoliers. After a few beverages it was off to lose some money at the casinos! Heck Vegas was built on guys like me!
The real reason we were there came about on Saturday! After a breakfast buffet, our busses pulled up to take all the bloggers and their guests to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We were there to test drive the new 2013 Lexus GS. I’m not sure if the Lexus GS is a car or a gadget on wheels! Where do I start? There were two very different courses set up for us, one was about a 1.9 mile road course, and the other was a short course set-up with cones for more controlled driving. The 2013 Lexus GS is truly a thing of beauty. There were four vehicles lined up all with unique features. There were two all wheel drive cars and two rear wheel drive cars there for us to put to the test. For a guy who lives in New Hampshire, an all wheel drive is a must. You could feel the difference going into a corner at higher speeds of the all wheel drive gripping the track. One of the features I absolutely loved was the driving dial. There are four different driving settings for you to choose base on the performance you are looking for. There is Eco for the best gas mileage, Normal of course for normal, Sport S which would give you more power and Sports S+ which I call the “crap I told my wife I would be home an hour ago” mode. Speaking of my wife, I have always told her that if I hit powerball I want to become a “professional driver on closed course”. You know those guys or girls that get to drive in commercials at top speed and do all kinds of cool driving. Well Lexus gave us the opportunity to do just that. To be able to truly open up this car and feel it react to tight turns and wide open straight a ways was something I wish everyone could try. You can actually feel the engineering when you first sit in the driver’s seat and adjust the seat to your liking. Something I think every car should have is a seat and mirror memory feature. There is nothing worse than getting everything set perfectly only for someone else to jump in and change the seat! The Lexus GS has 3 different memory locations to save your set-up.
What makes the Lexus GS a “gadget on wheels” is the application suite. The application suite gives the driver apps like Pandora®, OpenTable®, Facebook Places and Yelp. So with a touch of a button, you can make dinner reservations, purchase movie theatre tickets, or get a review on the restaurant you are driving to. Remote Touch allows the driver to control available navigation functions and allowed me to take advantage of the 17 speaker sound system as I put on a little Elvis Radio on the Sirius Satellite Radio. With Lexus Enform® you can get directions downloaded right to the navigation system, but more importantly if your airbag is deployed, the Enform® system will dial 911 and send your location to the emergency crew.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, Lexus rolls out their LFA model which is the cream of the crop of sports cars! No, I did not get to drive it (which was smart on their part) but we did get to take a “hot lap” with NASCAR driver and road course specialist Scott Pruett. Now I thought I was putting down some pretty good laps until a REAL driver got in to show us how it is done. Scott was a great guy, one hell of a driver and took all the heckling this crew of writers could give him, so for that, I am going to give his winery a plug. You want to check out www.pruettvineyard.com as Scott is more than happy to talk about his vineyard and wines.
I would LOVE to see either one of these vehicles in my driveway. Unless I hit powerball soon, I very much doubt I will have a chance to drive the LFA, however the Lexus GS could be a reality. One of the great things about the 2013 Lexus GS is there are plenty of upgrades from previous models, but the pricing is the same! The 2013 Lexus GS is also available in a hybrid model. You have to check out these cars at www.lexus.com, the combination of technology with style and performance is what makes the Lexus name stand above the rest.
Just when you think the weekend couldn’t get any better, Saturday night we ate at TAO restaurant, and then hung out for a little while in the nightclub. Apparently this is a pretty hip place to be as the Kardashians are rumored to hang out there. Honestly one of them could have been standing next to me and I would have never known it. Heck, I might have even ordered a drink from one of them. Sunday it was all about the Super Bowl. Being a New England Patriots fan, I will not be discussing the game at all, but I will say we watched it at Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo. When the food came out, I went heavy on the buffalo wings and other Super Bowl food, only to be told they were truly appetizers. When the meal came out, my plate was full of steak, salmon and mashed potatoes. The food was everything I expected from a Lagasse restaurant. Oh, and there were a couple of beverages there too. Since the Pats didn’t win, the highlight of the game was Lexus’ first Super Bowl commercial. The tag line for the GS in their commercial is “this is just the beginning!” Well with all the great people I met from Lexus and Team One, I truly hope it is just the beginning of a great business relationship.
While at the track I made a reference to the movie “City Slickers”. During their journey they were talking about their “Best Day Ever” well not counting my wedding or kids being born, this entire weekend would rank right up there and have to get a mention! You can easily say this was an “Ultimate Guys Weekend!”