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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 2, 2010

Primm offers plenty of fun, but getting there can be tricky

By Rodney Lee

Last week I wrote about shopping malls in Las Vegas. But there is also an outlet mall just outside of Las Vegas that Hawaii folks know and shop one where I've run into acquaintances. It's the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas at Primm Valley.

Primm Valley, at the California-Nevada border, is about 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas (driving around 75 mph).

The mall, which we simply refer to as "Primm," has just about all the same outlet stores as the malls in Vegas with the exception of Williams Sonoma, Tommy Bahama and a few other stores.

After the long drive there, I always visit the Primm Valley Resort and Casino restrooms between the mall and the casino. In fact, the casino is connected to the mall. Lately I've been sucked into the casino to try my luck.

This set-up actually works well for guys who don't like to shop. While the women are shopping, the guys can slip into the casino and play. But the women should be prepared to be blamed when the guys come out with a little lighter wallet.

Driving to Primm is an adventure. As soon as I hit the I-15 from downtown, the stress level goes up tenfold. Driving the I-15 parallel to the strip can be crazy with taxis cutting in and out and 18-wheelers passing you by. Once I get close to the airport, the traffic thins out and I can relax a little.

Then it's a matter of keeping up with traffic. The speed limit there is 65 or 70 mph. But if you're keeping up with traffic, you'll be averaging 75 mph. If you drive at the speed limit, then expect 18-wheelers to pass you by.

Driving out to Primm once during heavy winds, tumbleweeds were blowing across the highway. This was the first time I'd seen tumbleweeds so I didn't know whether to avoid them or what. Then one came rolling right in front of the car and I just nailed it. Looking in the rear view mirror, I saw a big poof of dust. It exploded, just like when a car hits a bird and all you see is a trail of feathers.

Another time heading out there, all at once there was an awful smell in the car. I looked at Paula and she said, "Not me!" Then we came up behind an 18-wheeler hauling live pigs. OK, mystery solved.

Here's a tip for those heading to Primm: At the far end of the parking lot, there is a small store in the corner that sells lotto tickets. Technically, the store is on the California side of the border so it's legal. Since you've traveled all the way to Vegas, why not take a gamble with some lotto tickets?

After all, isn't that the whole reason we go to Vegas?