Weekend of Great Events United CA and NV LCOC Members

It was hard to know what to expect when LCOC members, family and friends converged on Las Vegas for a weekend of team building, fun and great food, but “Sin City” and its magic did not disappoint. Three days of special events and networking started out with some of us as strangers, but ended with all of us as friends and looking forward to more Nevada activities.

Our adventures began with a wonderful sunset dinner at the famed Top of the World restaurant, located 106 floors above street level at the Strat Hotel tower. where a combined group of 10 kicked the weekend off right. The slowly revolving restaurant gave everyone a spectacular and ever-changing view of Las Vegas’s man-made and natural wonders.

Although Elayne had to drop out at the last minute due to tummy trouble those who made it donned their glad rags and enjoyed upscale food to match. Weekend organizer LCOC Western Region Board Member Scott Balanda premised a memorable event and everyone agreed the Strat experience delivered.

Thanks to Jim Ayres for some representative photos of the facility and city lights. There was only one small mishap—Rose Ogletree set her purse down on a shelf by the window only to retrieve it later on the other side of the room as the whole facility slowly revolved during the dinner. She laughed about it the next day while telling the story, but it was probably a scare just for a moment at the time.

On Saturday morning our group arrived at the Fifties Diner, located on East Desert Inn Road in an unassuming strip mall some distance from the Vegas strip. It was the first time we viewed the LCOC Lincolns and the temptation to tire kick was very great, but we deferred until after breakfast. The diner was one of those places car clubs love for weekend Cars & Coffee meet-up events.

And they’re not the only ones. By the time we arrived at 10:30, the place was packed with locals and visitors alike looking for a great breakfast and some nostalgic atmosphere. ’50’s memorabilia adorned the walls and prices were very reasonable. Thanks to Scott’s advanced planning and reservation our table was ready and so was the wait staff. With amazing efficiency they brought water, coffee and custom-ordered breakfasts for all 12 of us.

We spent the time getting to know each other. CA attendees included Elayne Bendel, Jim Ayres, Scott Balanda and Marvin Bautista, Marv Wendt and Jan McNiel, plus Mike and Rose Ogletree, our friends from the Thunderbird Club who can claim dual citizenship with homes in both CA and NV. Rich Hall was part of the NV contingent along with locals Don, Charlie and Lee. What great folks!

The next activity in our action-packed day was our visit to the Gateway Classic Car Center. Gateway is a large climate controlled warehouse south of the International Airport, where classics and collectibles are stored and some offered for sale on consignment. Here we were able to view our own cars, plus tour the facility. We learned that three of the local LCOC members own beautiful Mark IIs. We also found out the owners did not know each other, so our event was a great way to kick start the networking process.

Scott had coordinated our visit and the Gateway folks could not have been nicer! They offered on-site parking for our Lincolns (see below) , refreshments, a special welcome sign and a goodie bag that included a Gateway T-shirt, tire gauge, pen, lanyard, company info and a document pouch. Several LCOC members not in this post’s lead photo dropped in during our time at Gateway and all expressed delight that we sponsored the event.

Inside, besides the welcome climate control, lots of collector cars were on view and even a peanut wagon! From Auburns to Model Ts and even a couple of custom Lincolns, there was lots to eyeball. See below for sample photos.

Our very busy Saturday ended with dinner at Battista’s Hole in the Wall, a local landmark famed for its Southern Italian specialties and the included white and red wines served in carafes. Five of us in very high spirits arrived in one car—Marvin B’s 2017 MKZ— cruising down the strip with the panoramic roof open. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Battista’s opens at 5 p.m. and already at that time a crowd was waiting. No wonder! The food and service were the best, portions large and I can still taste that wonderful garlic bread. About 10 of us were on hand as networking continued throughout the dinner and the evening ended with more new friendships and goodwill.

Our final event of the weekend was a Sunday a.m. visit to the Wynn Hotel for early buffet. And yes, if it feels like there was a lot of eating during the weekend you’d be right. But what better way to enjoy our beautiful Lincolns and the social aspects of our hobby than to break bread with fellow LCOC members? While anyone in LCOC can enjoy Las Vegas only we in the Western Region can claim it as our own! With smiling faces and happy tummies we headed for home looking ahead to more LCOC good times.

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