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7 Days in Vegas (really long report)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by doug, Jun 14, 2001.

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  1. Day 1:

    The night before our 6:45 am flight found us packing and planning. Next thing we knew it was 1 am and we planned on being at the airport by 5 am. It’s not unusual for us to lose track of time I’m afraid. We went to bed for a short nap then off to the airport.

    I had checked on our flight and had noted it was full in coach but there were empty seats available in first class. I planned on attempting to upgrade to first class but wasn’t willing to pay more than $100 each for the seats. My hopes were they were overbooked in coach. Wouldn’t you know that coach WAS overbooked by two seats but the dummy at the counter couldn’t understand what I was asking for. This is what one gets when you live near a small time airport like Wichita KS. Instead, we get to fly coach and two people who arrived late and couldn’t get their seat assignments together in coach got to ride first class…. FOR FREE. Oh well, maybe next time.

    At Phoenix we did have to opportunity to bump for $400 each. Unfortunately it would have meant staying in Phoenix for another 2 hours, flying to Orange County with a one hour layover, then on to Vegas where we would arrive (if all went correctly) at 2:45 in the afternoon. They wouldn’t give us a food voucher in Phoenix, but would give us one for Orange County. I figured we’d never have gotten to use that one as AW has this one time problem and I’d be running through the airport trying to catch my connecting flight.

    At any rate, we passed and it was on to Vegas for an on time arrival.

    Picked up our bags and caught the shuttle over to Alamo. Over to the quicksilver kiosk, swiped my credit card, receipt printed out, found the car and was out of there. Took maybe five minutes to get my receipt and find my car. I really love Quicksilver.

    First stop is the San Remo where we will be staying the next four nights. The rooms aren’t ready and I’m told I’ll have to come back after 4 PM, and stand in line, to pick up my keys. I’m not real happy about this as part of trying to get there early was to AVOID standing in the long lines that accumulate at check in time.

    Since we haven’t eaten since getting up, unless you count the snack mix you get from AW flights, we head over to the SR coffee shop. In the past we’ve always had decent service and good prime rib here. This had started to slide last trip (March) and the slide has continued. To many people, not enough servers, and the food continues on the decline. What should I expect for $5.95? At any rate it’s tolerable and we both get full.

    We walk over to the Tropicana and do the free spin thing. This is a pretty good deal if you’re like me and love coupons. They give you a free deck of cards, an entry into a drawing for up to $1,000 (50 names drawn daily), and a sheet of pretty decent coupon. Included on the coupons are a 2/4/1 burger at Calypso’s, 2/4/1 cocktail at any casino bar, $1 frozen margarita at any casino bar, free soft drink with sandwich at Legends Deli, $1 hot dog at Java Java, and a few others I don’t recall.

    We walk into the Trop and plunk down the $1 margarita, then check out the machines. Not much in the way of decent VP here so we won’t be playing. We walk down towards the Island tower to the bar there and catch the Birdman of Las Vegas show. This is a great “free†show and worth the stop if you like birds. He has a condor in the show and that alone is worth seeing. HUGE birds condors are and this one is just a baby with a 7 ft wing span.

    From the Trop we walk over to NYNY and toss a couple of dollars in the nickel slots. Then we notice they have FP JorB machines at the quarter level. This becomes our home for gambling this trip and will remain that way so long as they don’t change those machines out. We played for about an hour and ended up losing $10.

    At this point we go back over to SR and get our room keys. We’re given a room on the 16th floor of the silver tower, looking out towards the strip. It was really a nice view of the Trop, MB, MGM, Luxor, NYNY, and Excalibur, if your into to view from your room. The room was a basic, but very nice room. Probably a little over 400 sq ft., decent bathroom, separate makeup table with mirror and good lighting outside the bathroom, desk and chair. No safe in the room. Nothing fancy but livable. When we walked into the room it was stiffling. They had the AC in the OFF position. No problem, I just cranked it to high and we left for dinner.

    Dinner this evening would be at the Pasta Pirate. I had made reservations for 5:30 PM and we arrived at 5:15 hoping to be seated. On our last trip I had remembered they opened at 5:00. Either my memory is failing (probably) or they changed their time to 5:30. So we waited around 15 minutes for our seat.

    Again the food wasn’t as good as last trip but still very decent for $10.95. We had the steak and lobster special which includes soap or salad, fresh baked bread with herbed butter, glass of wine and of course dinner. Mine was fine but Shelley’s steak was medium instead of medium rare like she asked for.

    At this point we were both tired from lack of sleep the previous night so we headed back to San Remo. San Remo has a small parking garage that is really convenient if your staying there. Even if you park at the farthest point away from the elevators, it’s not much of a walk. Seems that not many people used it as we could always find a parking space close to the elevators. The elevators don’t have AC and were always warm. The hotel also seemed to be trying to save on the energy costs by keeping the AC set to high. Overall this made for an uncomfortable casino to be in for any length of time. The elevators to the room were always on the warm side as was the hallways. When we got to our room the AC had cooled it down nicely and it was very comfortable. I don’t think either of us had a problem falling asleep.

    DAY 2:

    Since we went to bed pretty early that first night, we were up by 7 AM. Even though we aren’t big buffet people Shelley wanted to try San Remo’s champagne brunch. We get down to the coffee shop and guess what? They don’t have it anymore. So instead we head over to NYNY for breakfast at Il Fornaio. Unfortunately they don’t open until 8:30 AM and it’s only 8:00 AM. So we plop ourselves down at some nickel Bonus Poker machines and toss in $5 each. For me I break even. On Shelley’s last hand she hits four deuces and ends up $5.

    For me breakfast was great. I love their version of eggs benedict. Shelley has an omlette that she’s not to thrilled with. While I love trying new things she’s basically a meat and potato’s girl. Try to fancy anything up and she’s just not to happy. After breakfast we take a crack at NYNY’s quarter Jacks or Better machines and end up down $27.50.

    From here we decide to walk off a little bit of breakfast and head up the strip. We walk across to MGM and up the street to Gameworks. We’ve never seen the inside of this place so we decide to spend a little time and check it out. Now if I were a kid I’d be in heaven here. They must have every hot game there is. If your towing you kids to Vegas, this is the place. They also have a nice little restaurant for munchies and a bar if you get bored watching the kids throw your money into the machines. Actually, they don’t throw money into them. You by cards and insert them into the machines for credit. As I understand it, they even have a restriction on some of the cards that won’t let kids play the violent games unless you sign a consent form. At any rate a pretty neat place but not one I’ll be hanging out in.

    From here we walk up to the Aladdin and take a stroll through the Desert Passage Mall. On the way we sign up to take one of those timeshare tour things for the $60 and two free nights at MGM they offered us.

    As for the Aladdin, my guess is they’re planning on making up their cash shortfall by cutting back on the AC. It was fine if you were standing still but got pretty warm walking through. So much so that it had me looking for the door. We did stop in the Thomas Kincaid gallery and learned a lot about his paintings from one of the saleswomen there. I’m so stupid I didn’t realize all they sell are lithographs of his paintings. Originals are not longer for sale as he keeps them himself for his children’s inheritance. There’s also several different levels of lithographs that one can collect. All of which are out of my price range. I might gamble $1,000 but I don’t feel like hanging it on my wall.

    By now it’s afternoon and Shelley’s feet are tired and I’m a little warm from the AC being set to high so we decide to grab a drink at the Roc Nest Bar in the Aladdin’s casino. The Roc Nest bar is up a level and looks out over the casino which is kind of cool. There’s only one problem with my plan. There’s no bartender up there and the bar is basically closed. We sit on one of the couch’s up there and rest for a while though.

    From here we head over to the Trop and do the free spin thing. Shelley wins a ticket to see Rick Thomas, I get bubkis. We take some of our coupons and grab one of the $1 frozen margarita’s, then head over to Calypso’s (the Trop’s coffee shop) to use the 2/4/1 hamburger. I thought the burgers were great but Shelley, being the picky one, didn’t feel they were seasoned well enough. All in all I thought it was a great bargain for $7.50.

    From here we head back to San Remo. Shelley’s tired and wants to take a nap. It’s 2:30 when we get to the room and the maid hasn’t cleaned it yet. Oh well, just saves me the tip I left on the bed. We hang the do not disturb sign on the door and try to catch a few winks. Just as I fall asleep the phone rings. It’s house keeping wanting to know if we need their services today. I thought about asking them if they could read and if so, why the hell were they calling me? Instead I just said no, we were resting and thank you for waking me up.

    After a brief nap we hit the San Remo coffee shop to try the prime rib again. This time we tell the waiter we want it as rare as possible and it comes out pretty decent. Not great but decent. At least we’re both full and don’t feel as if we’ve wasted any money.

    We decide it’s time for a little more gambling and walk over to NYNY to hit the VP again. I had quit a good run, turning $20 into $100 on a quarter machine. In a time frame of about an hour I hit 4 quads. Shelley didn’t fare as well but only lost $20 in the same time frame.

    After this we walked back to the Trop via MGM where we dropped $20 into the Megabucks machine. Dam! No winner, looks like we’ll be going back to work at the end of the week.

    We finish the day by cashing in a couple of those 2/4/1 drinks in the Trop’s celebration lounge. Pretty decent lounge act doing 70’s disco tunes. Two girls dressed in tight pants and skimpy tops didn’t hurt things for me. The talent wasn’t anything that would stop traffic but after the first martini, who cares. The bartender this night made a killer basic martini using Bombay Sapphire gin. The price was right as well at $5.50 for two drinks. I forget what it was Shelley had for her first drink but the second one was a pretty good mud slide.

    At this point it’s almost 1 AM and we decide to call it a night.

    DAY 3

    Day 3 starts out mid morning. I’m noticing that the room at San Remo just isn’t cooling down all that well anymore. The AC is one of those old wall units you see in your finer cheap motels like Motel 6. I go over to see if the maid has messed with the controls and she hasn’t. However I do notice that the coils are frozen over and not much air is moving. I cut the AC back some to see what happens. When we return to our room later, the frost is off the coils and air is moving freely again. I turn it up and the room cools down nicely. However, I find I have to repeat this little routine daily or the room gets to hot to sleep in.

    Lunch today is going to be over at the Orleans. We haven’t spent much time here so we arrive a little early to check the place out. Fairly large, open, well lit casino. To be honest I’m not all the turned on by the VP selection. I’m not a double bonus player and it seems to me that every 9/6 jacks or better machine has a catch in the pay table somewhere. To be honest I didn’t pay all that much attention to them since I understand the Coast awards points on cash out rather than cash in. It’s also not one of the casino’s that’s on our “to stay at list†for the immediate future so we bypassed gaming here. They do have several interesting looking restaurants though. One of which is an Irish Pub, Brenndans, I think, that we decide to return too later.

    We are to meet Cabby from the Hack Attack at the buffet for lunch. Did you ever have one of those days were you just can’t get things right? Well, I thought we were supposed to meet at the buffet entrance. Oops, I forgot we decided to meet at the reservations desk. At any rate Cabby figured out my brain wasn’t with me and found us sitting outside the buffet.

    After hearing how great this buffet was from other posts, I must say it seemed rather average to me. They did have boiled shrimp and crawfish, something you just don’t get in Kansas. I loaded up on those and was just fine. We must have spent at least 3 hours talking with Cabby, which I always enjoy.

    After brunch we headed back to San Remo to check on the room temp. The coils were free of frost and this is when I turned the thermostat back down. Shelley wanted to take a nap so I left here there to go down and tackle the lone 9/6 jacks or better machine I had spotted in the casino. It’s so old it doesn’t have a bill acceptor on it so I had to feed it quarters. I fed it $20 in quarters and messed around with it for about 30 or 45 minutes, cashing out even but tossing some points on the Money Club card they have. It’s not paradise but for the rates they offer, I’d like to keep on their mailing list.

    After the short VP session I head back up to the room where Shelley is pissed. Seems she hasn’t had a chance to get any sleep because the bathtub didn’t drain. When she got into the room, housekeeping was just finishing up (this must have been around 4 PM). The bathtub hadn’t drained so she had notified maintenance and they had come up to unclog it. Then the housekeeping supervisor came up to check the bathtub and finally the maid had come back to clean the bathtub. The last two parts happened after I had returned to the room.

    Unable to sleep, Shelley figures we might as well go out for awhile. We decide to head over to Key Largo the check it out. This would be the only new slot club card I would add to my collection this trip. I was pleasantly surprised by this place. Not a huge, fancy casino but still nice. They even have a bank of 6 full pay nickel jacks or better machines. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw these. We pick up are card and start playing. Today is triple point’s day so the points added up pretty quickly. However, playing nickels, even at triple points, doesn’t get you anywhere quickly. We play for the better part of an hour and only have something over 100 points combined. I think it takes over 1,000 points to get into comp territory. Still, they at least know we were there.

    Most of the other machines we saw were full pay so this holds some promise if I can’t find what I want on the strip. It is a local’s joint and you see all kinds in the casino. Most of the gamblers and the staff knew each other. I also noticed a lot of military staying here. The coffee shop looks pretty decent and has some good specials. None of these turn Shelley on so we decide to head out to find something else to eat.

    After a little discussion, we decide to use our entertainment card and try Chin Chin’s in NYNY. Besides, we want to hit the machines there again. Chin Chin’s turns out to be a good place to eat that we will return too another time. We order the velvet corn soup and it is excellent. There’s enough served for 4 people as we both had two full bowls. Shelley had the orange chicken and I had the spicy seafood noodles. When they say spicy they really mean it great flavor but after about ¾ of the way through I couldn’t take any more. Shelley tried a drink called the humming bird and I tried a mandarin martini. Both of which were good but we’ll both probably order something else next time.

    After dinner we once again hit the VP machines. I don’t do so hot and lose my stake for this session ($50) rather quickly. Shelley’s doing all right and wants to continue playing. Since she can’t ride the coaster (if it goes upside down she gets sick) I head off to give it a shot. After dining at Chin Chin’s I’m given some coupons, one of which is a $3 off coupon. This makes the $10 cost more tolerable by brining it down to $7. The best part about the coaster is the view. Otherwise it’s just a coaster. One thing about this one is it is ROUGH. This sucker will bounce you around quit a bit. I had read this before and was prepared for it. Nice ride for one time. I’ll only do it again if we’re out with friends who want to ride it.

    Afterwards I go find Shelley and she’s done pretty well. When she quits she almost has my loss covered and we end up only $19 down.

    This time we decide skip the drinks and head back to the room. AHHHHH, it’s nice and cool now. Just the way I like it.

    DAY 4

    Again we don’t get a real early start on the day. Oh well, we’re not really big breakfast people anyway. After getting around it’s closer to lunch time than breakfast. We have an entertainment book that includes a 2/4/1 at the Nascar Café. We haven’t been North on the strip yet so we head that direction.

    Self park at the Sahara and head through the casino. I felt like I was in a war zone. Everywhere we stepped was like stepping on a land mine. They have all these Preferred Equity solicitors hanging out bothering anyone who gets within striking distance. In the walk from the lobby to Nascar Café we’re hit on THREE times. These people don’t take no for an answer either. By the time the third one hit on me, I was about ready to hit back. Even the smut peddlers aren’t as bothersome.

    When we get to the café it’s almost empty. There’s only the bartender, a few other people, and us. Not seeing a waitress I had to ask her. Yes they were serving lunch and she got us a couple of menu’s and our drinks. Now the menu they have is a lot more than I thought it would be. Stupid names for the food like what you get at a theme restaurant but a really decent selection. I decided on the collision chicken dish and Shelley decided on the Filet. No baked potato’s so we both went with the mashed. The quality of the food was nothing short of amazing. The chicken was grilled, covered with sliced ham and cheese. Shelley’s filet was a large filet, cooked perfectly, seasoned well and tender enough you could almost cut it with a fork. Who would have thought we’d get one of the best meal of our trip here? Certainly not many other people judging by the fact we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

    Today’s the day for the timeshare pitch so we need to get moving. Same thing going back through the Sahara. At least this time I know where they are stationed and plot my way around the pests using other unsuspecting guest to block out the salespeople. The last one was rather humorous. As we approached, I put an elderly couple between the pest and ourselves. She was confused and for a moment couldn’t decide which one to go after. The elderly couple was closer so they one. Unfortunately, this guy had experience at blowing these people off. We had to hurry to get out of striking range before she redirected her attack. We made it, but just barely. If this is how it’s going to be at the Sahara they can bet that I won’t be dropping any coins there.

    Now when we signed up for this 90 minutes of fun, the guy tried to convince us that we needed to ride the shuttle over to their offices. I insisted that I had a car and knew my way around. Besides, I don’t like riding those things and being dependant on their schedule. He wouldn’t tell us were the office was, just that it would be hard to find. He suggested we drive to the Walgreens on the south end of the strip, where his little stand was and follow the shuttle. On the back of the reservation card he gave us was the address and a map. To heck with him, I’m driving. Besides, how hard can it be to find a place on Paradise?

    It turns out to be real easy to find and we get there a little early. Well, make that a LOT early. He told us 1 PM so we arrive at 1 PM. Once there we’re told that 1 PM was the shuttle pick up time and the presentation doesn’t start until 1:30 PM. Great, more time wasted. After about 15 minutes of sitting around they have a salesman come out and he takes us back for coffee and donuts. Not wanting my bladder to get the best of me I pass. Turns out this isn’t about timeshare after all but is a travel club. We talk for a little while before the presentation starts and everything seems low pressure enough.

    Now comes out the big boss and here we go I think. The presentation is straight forward, direct, and to the point. He explains the program, it’s benefits, then hangs two big signs up. He says we’re not here to pressure you, this is the price I’ve told you the benefits, if you have questions, ask the salesman. That’s it? No high pressure, no arm twisting? I’m shocked but that’s how it was.

    It looked interesting and I did have a few questions. For some time we had been looking at buying another weeks timeshare and this looked like an inexpensive way to get that extra week. However, the price quoted by the big boss was to high and involved 4 weeks vacation. That was a lot more than we could use. Of course they have less weeks available but still, the price was higher than I was willing to pay right now.

    IMO, this is really a good deal and if you like to travel, stay in condo’s but don’t want to pay the price for timeshare, it’s worth a look. We collect our $60 plus the $20 deposit, pick up a flyer for mini-vacations for 2 nights lodging in Vegas and move on. The flyer says to activate the mini-vacation and receive your reservation form you need to call a number for the automated answering service which is answered 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. I guess that doesn’t include yesterday because I tried to call twice and no one or any machine answered. The $60 they gave us spent just fine though. I’m going to continue to try the number for the free nights. We have a trip in September and I’d like to use them. The Guy on the street said it would be good for either Bally’s or MGM. The salesman said most people were being booked into Paris. Any of them would be fine by us. We’d really like to try MGM or Paris though. We’ll see how it goes.

    After all of this we decide to head over to the Gold Coast to see what’s happening. I’m still not very impressed by this place and it just seems less than clean to me for some reason. We decide to try out there coffee shop for the $7.95 T-bone steak dinner. Shelley takes one look at the place after we sit down and says pass. The T-bone isn’t served the way she likes it (with baked potato). It is served with a side of beans, a 12 oz beer (or soda which I had), salad, and some sort of unimpressive potato’s that I don’t recall. This was a totally forgetable meal that I won’t be repeating. Service was fine but the steak, while large enough, just wasn’t very good. What do I expect for $7.95 right?

    We head over to NYNY after this to try the VP again. This time the machines just weren’t to good to us and we end up down $60. Shelley has become fond of this drink at the Tropicana called a Green Parrot. It’s served in a large, heavy duty glass shaped like a parrot that you get to take home with you. The previous bartender let us use one of the 2/4/1 drink coupons the last time. This time they won’t. The band they have on stage is really BAD this time (it’s early evening) so we decide to hit the gift shop to see if they have any of the glasses. They tell us they are only available at the bars so we head over to the bar that’s kind of blue and has all the fake fishes hanging around. Here the bartender tells us the glass is $12 with our without the drink. Huh? There’s a menu in the Celebration lounge that lists the drink as $10.25? Must be a mistake he says, it’s $12. To heck with this. We leave a little disgusted with the Trop this time.

    At this point we decide to drive up to the Stratosphere to see what’s happening. They have a new coffee shop I want to check out. Since building the new tower they change things around. You no longer valet and enter from the front. That area is now Taxi’s, shuttles, and limo’s only. Instead you drive around back were they have a new valet stand and entrance. This is the same area you now enter the self parking garage at. The last time we self parked here I didn’t car for it. Small parking spaces and darker than I car for. Since it’s night we use the valet.

    Lucky’s (the new coffee shop) is right there at the entrance. Very nice looking design to the place. I ask the hostess if they have any specials and I wasn’t impressed with her answer. Essentially, she didn’t know squat about the menu or the place. I’ll wait till the get the bugs worked out. We walk around the casino some and I notice they have some new video poker machines. These are 10 pay machines in the multiple pay scales of nickel, quarter, and half dollar. They are also the multi game variety. What amazes me is they are FULL PAY and the nickel level. I can’t help my self and sit down to play awhile. I really like the 10 pay game using nickels. I do pretty well for a while before it eats my $20. We go up to the tower shops and check them out. Nothing special here but a nice little walk just the same.

    Since Shelley hasn’t eaten since lunch she decides she want’s to give the San Remo prime rib another try. This time she gets ticked off. We get there to find today is the day they close the kitchen for cleaning and they’re not serving anything but the buffet. That’s it for her, she’s ready to call it a night and head up to bed.

    I’m not so tired and tell her I think I’ll walk over to the Trop for a drink, then maybe play a little VP on that one full pay machine if it’s open. Walk over to the Trop and it’s the same act that we’ve seen before playing the exact same songs. While 70’s music doesn’t bother me it just doesn’t fit the bill so I leave without having a drink.

    Back over at San Remo my machine sits unused. This amazes me as I see several people playing games that have less than full pay schedules. Oh well, all the better for me. I feed it $20 one hand at a time, 5 quarters per hand until I have $20 dollars in the machine. This time I walk away after 45 minutes with an extra $7.50. Still a losing day but at least I can end it on a positive note.

    DAY 5

    Day five starts out getting up early enough to pack our stuff up to check out of San Remo. Check out time is noon so we don’t have to get up to early. Observations about San Remo. Basic Hotel room that’s maybe a little oversized. Overall AC needs updating. Those old wall units don’t cut it in the hallways or the rooms. We frequently had to turn ours off as the coils kept freezing over and would allow for air flow. Overall customer service was friendly and we were treated well by the staff. They have a decent selection of restaurants but know really looked interesting enough for us to try. Show offerings didn’t do a thing for us. Casino is on the small side and, at least for us, they need more full pay machines to attract decent play from us. Table limits were generally low and the dealers and players always seemed to be having a good time. This in contrast to what we witnessed two years ago when the dealers seemed more like zombies. Appeared to now be a good place for low limit table games. The coffee shop has gone down hill and is no longer the attraction it once was for us. The pool is nothing to write home about but it is a place to lay out and get some sun if your into that. For the price and location, it remains a great deal. We only paid $49 for the weekend nights and $39 for the weeknights. I will continue to consider San Remo for future visits so long as the price is right. If the get too much higher though, there’s to many other choices. Before I forget, we were NOT charge a daily energy charge here. That’s one thing that’s important to me. I hate hidden charges.

    After checking out we decide to hit the coffee shop one last time. I’m not in the mood for Prime rib at this hour and the last time I tried the steak and eggs I wasn’t satisfied. Therefore I went for the dreaded buffet and Shelley gave the prime rib one last shot. This time service was exceptionally poor. Rather than bring her a salad, the waitress told her to fix her own at the buffet (it was a brunch). What kind of service is that? To top it off, the prime rib she brought was cold. Refills on drinks were none existant. The buffet was standard breakfast fare. The scrambled eggs were cold but the bacon, sausage, and baked ham were fine. I loaded up on artery hardening fried fat enough for the rest of the year. I usually tip pretty decent on the cheap meals figuring the wait staff doesn’t get treated real well but not this time. Only 20% of the discounted meal price which came to about $3. I don’t mind tipping over 20% on those cheapo meals but not if the waitress make my wife make her own salad, doesn’t check on refills, and basically just throws the plate on the table at her. I’m sorry if she was having a bad day but that’s no reason to take it out on us.

    Before leaving we toss some nickels in the deuces wild machines by the door. We have some pretty good luck and both of us play for over 1 hr on a total of $8.

    It’s getting toward noon so we head on up to Caesers to see if we can check in early. When we get there, they have us down for the $59/night rate but forget about the $50 dining credit. This makes the 3rd time I’ve had to remind them of that one. When she pulls up the info on the screen, she sees the credit and says no problem. When she hands me the paperwork, it says $25 food credit at any Caesers restaurant excluding the forum shops. Here we go again. I remind her that it’s $50, not $25. She looks it up and says I’m right. It still won’t come up as $50 when she tries to enter it though. After a couple of phone calls to I don’t know where and maybe 15 to 20 minutes of standing there she gets it corrected. Our room, however, isn’t ready. The room will be in the forum tower. I thought about bluffing for the Palace tower but it goes against my thinking and besides, I want to see what the low rung on Caesers ladder will bring. After all, I am a confirmed cheapo on the price of a room. We’re told to check back at the Keys/mail window later to see if our room is ready. They guarantee it to be ready by 3.

    We’ve valet parked the car since I made a wrong turn trying to get to the self parking garage so we decide to check out the casino. Thank God the gave us a map. This can be one confusing place if you haven’t been around it some. It winds all over the place and they play hide the elevators on you. We finally locate the Forum tower elevators and I note that they’re not to far from the self parking garage. Hmmmmm, the cheap room elevators are close to the entrance to the self parking area. I wonder if they planned it that way? We also walk by the gourmet rooms and locate Café Lago, Caesers coffee shop. This isn’t just another coffee shop. Like everything else in Caesers it’s fancied up a bit. All this high brow stuff makes me a little uncomfortable since I don’t dress up on vacations in the desert. It’s the first time I’ve felt underdressed while in Vegas and it makes me somewhat uncomfortable.

    Having not had the best of experience with the SR coffee shop, we head into the Forum shops and head down to the Cheesecake factory for a snack. Even though it’s Tuesday this place is hopping. No chance to get a seat out on the patio as it’s packed so we opt for first available. Others who were being picky were being handed those little pagers. We got right in. Shelley has a slice of peanut butter/chocolate cheesecake and I have a piece of cherry vanilla. Shelley goes for the Carmel café mocha and I opt for the tropical paradise tea. The cheesecake pieces here are to big and rich for either of us to complete but we enjoy getting to sit down and rest for awhile.

    Afterwards we walk though the shops and do some window shopping. I notice an Ethyl M’s store and go in. A friend at work has asked if I will pick her up some of their Crème De Mint candies for her. She’s brought me lunch a couple of time and saved me from eating hospital food at 3 am so I figure this would be a good thing to do. I stop in just to check and see what the price is and if I can get it packaged the way I want. It’s not a problem so I tell them I’ll come back in a couple of days to pick it up. I don’t want to have that temptation hanging around the room. They might never make it home.

    We head back to the front desk to check on our room. I’m encouraged by the fact that everyone in front of us is getting there keys. It’s not to be for us though. Disappointed, we decide to get the car and head out for awhile.

    Shelley has two roles of film that need developing so we head down Tropicana to find a Walgreens. I know there are two of them on the strip but the last time we used their one hour photo, they lost a roll of film. I figure they have to many tourists dropping of film and they don’t pay their help enough to be as careful as I’d like them to be. I had thought there was a walgreens at Tropicana and Maryland parkway but I was wrong. I must have been thinking of one on Flamingo. We finally find one that’s almost all the way out to Boulder highway. On the way back to the strip, I notice that I had passed one that was on the North side of the road. Oh well, this store wasn’t to busy and promised the pics would be ready in an hour.

    We’ve never been out to Vacation Village so we head out that way. One of these days I’m going to have to stop in for their spin for airfare promotion. It’s not a bad casino but not one I’ll be going out of my way to play in. The first thing I noticed was the lack of a slot club. Since almost every game is a negative expectation game, I want those comps. I don’t see how I could get that here if they don’t have a slot club. We don’t ask anybody but there isn’t a club card reader on any of the machines we look at. After about 15 minutes I’m done looking over the casino and head for the car. I notice that there is a CAT bus stop at the corner of the casino with a group of people standing in the 105 degree heat waiting on it. No shaded bus stop, just people standing on the corner of the sidewalk that goes around the casino. Before leaving for good I drive back to take a look at the rooms. They appear to be standard hotel rooms. Nothing to write home about but not run down or scary looking. If I were on a tight budget, this place might do fine.

    By now the pictures should be done so we head back to Walgreens, pick them up, then go over to Caesers to get our room key. By the time we get there it will be long after 3 pm. Now comes my biggest complaint about Caesers. Whoever designed that parking gargage should be shot. This is the biggest mass I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never been in it, plan on taking 15 or 20 minutes to figure it out. I finally find a place to park but not understanding were the doors to the casino are, I’m 15 or 20 miles out. Takes us forever walking in a hot garage to find the doors.

    We get our keys and head up to the room. I’m starting to remember were things are and certain landmarks to help me get around. We get up to the room and all I can say is WOW. And to think this is the bottom tier room. Nice carpeting and drapes done in reds, king sized bed with mirrored ceiling (I make note I need to start on a diet thanks to this), large roman style tub (no jacuzzi jets) to one corner of the room with a heavy curtain to pull around it for privacy, well lighted mirror in the bathroom, and of course a toilet with a door for privacy (some things just aren’t meant to be shared). There’s even a phone with a note pad and pencil by the toilet. The closet is more of a walk in type of closet without a door. There’s a large safe in the corner of this area that can be used without charge. Overall this is an excellent room by my meager standards. Caesers is looking up, even if their parking garage was designed by Mickey Mouse. Even the elevator lobby is done in lush dark green marble and mirrors. Man am I out of my league in my old T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes. One last thing about our room, the view. It’s a great view of a roof with AC units on it and another tower. If we really strain, we can see between the towers and get a glimpse of the Flamingo. Oh well, we don’t spend much time in our room anyway.

    Now comes the tough part. Getting the suitcases packed with a weeks worth of clothing up to the room. I get lost trying to get to the parking garage but find my way shortly. I’m still working on those landmarks. After moving the car closer to the door so I start lugging the luggage up. Again I’m thinking of the proximity of the self parking area to the forum tower elevators. After a couple of trips I’ve got the elevator location down pat.

    We’ve already checked out the VP and have found they don’t offer anything at the quarter level but they do have full pay jacks or better at the 50 cent level. This holds at least some promise for us. They have a bank of 50 cent full pay jacks or better and bonus poker machines across from Cleopatra’s barge in an area called the banks of the nile. A little further down from that there are some new 50 play machines with multiple denomination play that are full pay. These machines offer 50 cent, $1, or $2 play. You don’t have to play 50 hands at once. They give you the option to play anywhere from one hand to fifty hands. Again this hold some promise for us.

    As it is we decide to keep it cheap and head down to the Trop for the 2/4/1 drinks. I’ve been getting some good martini’s here for $5.50 so why mess with a good thing. The band is the same so it doesn’t hold us there. Besides, we really haven’t done any gambling today so we head back over to NYNY for their quarter machines. Again I’m thinking about the proximity of Caesers self parking garage to the Forum towers. LOL

    Tonight’s a better night and we play for quit a while, finishing up $20 between the two of us. I silently thank the people who’ve provided us with Bob Dancers Win Poker as it has improved Shelley’s play dramatically. We still make the occasional mistake but were not giving up near as much to the casino’s this time. Before heading back to Caesers we decide to walk down to San Remo. I’ve still got a roll of nickels in my pocket and we decide to dump them in the nickel deuces wild machines. We get a little play out of them but they’re not as generous as they were earlier. For the second time this trip I witness something that stuns me. A couple walks up to one of the VP machines in the bank we’re playing and puts in one nickel. The card backs show and they stand there and stare at them for a moment, then read the machine, then just walk away. This just proves to me that there are some people who really shouldn’t be gambling. I don’t care how you play your game but these people didn’t even PLAY the game. They just put money in, looked blankly at the machine for a few moments and walked off. If you reading this and are new to Vegas, please, please, please do yourself a favor and take a moment to learn the games. Don’t let the casino’s steal your money from you. In most cases, the casino’s even offer classes on how to play the games. After they left I reached over to play their hand. I got 3 of a kind so I played it again. Next hand was a full house. I cashed it out since I didn’t want to be reaching over 3 machines to play less than full coin in.

    We head back to the room were that mirror reminds me of my need to eat less food or exercise more and turn in. As nice as this room is, it looks the same as the San Remo when my eyes are closed. If I had my choice between the two, I’d choose Caesers though. <g>

    Day 6

    Since we have this $50 dining credit we decide to try breakfast/lunch in Café Lago. Now I’ve noted that the original offer say credit in one of their gourmet restaurants but the slip I was handed said any Caesers restaurant. Still, I have this feeling this will come back to haunt me. Unfortunately the only menu that did anything for us from the gourmet restaurants was Nero’s. At $32 for an ala cart steak, that $50 wasn’t going very far in there anyway so we opted to skip it. Besides, it’s been to darn hot to get dressed up.

    Café Lago isn’t bad. Prices are a little high but reasonable. I can’t remember what it was Shelley had but I had the ruebin (sp?) sandwich. Nothing to write home about but it was fine for a quick bite. The atmosphere in Café Lago is pleasant enough done in blue’s and gray’s with water flowing everywhere. There were smart enough to put restrooms pretty close to the place. With the sound of running water, this is important.

    Again we’re getting something of a late start and there’s a small meet with some of the folks from Las Vegas Talk at 1 PM in the sports book lounge at the Golden Nugget. We head downtown and I have the best of intentions to valet park in the Golden Nugget but somehow get turned around and miss it. Instead we Valet in Binnion’s Gargage. Sort of an odd setup as the valet is up on the 2nd or 3rd level. It’s easy enough to navigate our way in, though, and across the street to the GN though.

    Now to find the sports book lounge. We haven’t been in the GN all that much and even though it’s not a huge casino, I’m running just a little bit late and don’t want to waste time looking around. I grab the first employee I see and ask directions. I thought Shelley was going to faint on the spot. A man actually ASKING for directions. LOL

    We find it easy enough but my blind eyes don’t notice that Dusty has put up a small yellow sign that says LVTalk. Since Gary hasn’t arrived yet and I don’t recognize anyone yet, we sit down to wait. Gary arrives shortly thereafter and we head over to the table full of people already there. THEN I notice the sign. DUH!
    We have a good time talking with Jerry and NkinNY and jlpb of TX, Dusty, Gary and Frank. Time flies and the nest thing you know a couple of hours have passed.

    After leaving the meet we decide to walk around the second floor of Binnion’s some. I hadn’t ever been up here. Becky has closed the Bingo parlor and I get to talking with a local who isn’t to happy with her. She hadn’t been to Binnion’s in a long time but thought she’d come down to check out the Bingo hall today, only to find it closed. She complains that you never know what Becky’s going to do from day to day and that she’ll make changes on a whim, then reverse them just to show she’s the boss. It seems to me that if your making both the local and tourist groups upset, your not going to do the business that you ought to be. Still, she owns a casino and I don’t so who am I to say, right? For the first time I locate the coffee shop/ buffet, home of that famous late night gamblers steak special. I don’t take time to ask about it though as I doubt I’ll be down there often enough to catch it any time soon. We walk though the tiny gift shop were they have some nice, heavy suede jackets on sale for $59.95. These are really nice jackets with either red lettering saying Binnion’s Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas or a really ugly emblem for the world series of poker 2001. I try to find one with just Binnion’s on it in my size but to no avail. Shelley finds one in her size but doesn’t care for it. Time to move on. Picking up the car is no problem and we’re out of there.

    We have tickets tonight to see Louie Anderson at the Top of the Riv so I figure we’ll hang around on the North end of the strip. This will also give me time to locate this showroom and where to pick up our tickets. We valet the car and go in the convention area entrance. There’s supposed to be a box office in this area but it’s not well marked and we miss it. Since we’re several hours early I decide to go to the front box office to see if they still have our tickets there.

    Now I’ve never cared for the Riv’s box office and today is no exception. They only have two people at the window and a line has formed. The reason I don’t care for it really isn’t there fault at all. It’s because there is always some inconsiderate jerk who manages to occupy at least on clerk forever. Today is no exception. There’s one guy who is asking every imaginable question about every show they could possibly have and every tour they offer for sale. He’s there so long that the other teller is having to service all the other customers. Then she closes her window. AHHHHHHHH. Somebody get me a pellet gun. I’ll get this jerk to move. Unfortunately he is oblivious to all the rest of the world and stands there talking to the clerk as if they’re long lost friends and they have to catch up on an entire lifetime of happenings. Finally another clerk comes along and the line starts to slowly move forward again. At last Mr. I-have-to-tell-my-life-story leaves, without buying a ticket to anything of course and now the line really starts to move. Guess what? They don’t have our tickets. They’ll be at the convention center box office in the back. At least I get directions (what? Twice in one day? Must be a record) and we find it easily. Of course it’s not open yet so we decide to check out the casino.

    Now while I like the Riv I must say that I’m entirely disappointed in their offerings for VP. Not even a full pay machine at the dollar level. Hard to believe for a casino so far North when I can easily find full pay machines at the 25 cent, 50 cent, and $1 levels everywhere else on the strip. We’ve even seen 10 pay nickel machines with full pay schedules. Very disappointing. Until they get better pay tables in, the Riv won’t see any of my gambling money. Since the location isn’t so great it’s doubtful they’ll see us staying with them again anytime soon either.

    We decide to cross the street to get one of those $1 Margaritas from the Ho. They’re not bad but I still say they just show the tequila bottle to the glass. We’re between performers in the lounge and decide to walk around a bit. I’m a little hungry so I make a fateful decision. I decide that I want to see what the ¾ pound monster hot dog looks like. This thing has go to be the brunt of so many sex jokes it’s not funny. It’s HUGE. It looks like some kind of monster on a bun. Do your self a favor, get a fork. I slap some mustard and relish on this……thing for lack of a better word and start biting. It’s not bad as hot dogs go but you’d better be hungry. I get about half way through it and can’t eat anymore. I wish I’d brought some alka seltzer with me because this thing bites back. I was belching that monster for the better part of the nest couple of hours.

    I don’t really check out the VP here much because I take the time to look out back to see what to rooms look like. Think roadside motel from the 50’s and 60’s and you have a pretty good idea. It’s just not a place I’m interested in staying and I don’t think they’re going to have any comps I’m really interested in. Since even full pay jacks or better is a negative expectation game I really look towards comps to even it out a little more. I know some of you are thinking, “but what about a hot dog comp.†Sorry, it’s just not appealing when your still belching the only one you’ve ever eaten. I do locate nickel nicks, home of the 5 cent cup of coffee and 5 cent donuts so I’ll keep this in mind to try some early morning. Yea, like I ever see early morning in Vegas unless I have a plane to catch.

    We still have some time before the show and we’re running out of things to do. I refuse to play inferior machines and neither of us are thrilled with the Ho’s casino so we head back across the street. We end up playing some bonus poker in Nickel heaven and have a decent run that keeps us entertained for awhile. Wind up losing $10. This will be the only time we play without players club cards in the machine. Our feet are just to tired to locate the Rivs players club and neither of us brought our cards with us.

    We decide to check on the box office again and it’s just now opening up. We pick up our tickets and head over to stand in line to get in. It’s now 6:30 and seating starts at 7:00 PM. The Top of the Riv is on the penthouse level of the Monaco Tower at the Riv. When it’s time to start seating, security has taken over one of the elevators and takes us up in groups of 8 to 10. When we get to the room I’m glad I paid the extra $8 for VIP seating. We’re seated 3rd row back from the stage. If you can call it that. Basically, the Top of the Riv is just a large meeting room with a 1 foot platform riser and chairs arranged around that. The seating area is flat with no slope like you find in a normal theater. If your in the back or have someone who’s tall in front of you, you won’t be able to see all that well. It does provide for a spectacular view of the strip if you want to get up to look out the windows. In either corner is a stocked bar. Since we still have an hour before the show I decide to check that out. Hang onto your wallets if you go here. It’s $1.75 for a 12 oz glass of soda. With ice you maybe get 6 oz to drink. Mixed drinks (in the same plastic cup) are around $5 to $6, a can of beer is $3.75. I’ll take the Pepsi and look out the window for awhile.

    The warm up comedian bombs on this night. Nice guy with some good lines but needs serious work on his delivery. Louie comes on and is really a very funny guy. Great delivery and stage presence. He manages to keep the room in stitches for about an hour and a half before leaving. This is truly one of the best bargains of the trip. Tickets were only $30, $38.50 for VIP seating (well worth the money). It’s also a show you can take the whole family to. There were even a few children in the audience. The show really isn’t geared for the kids though and, while not vulgar, most of the jokes went over their heads and you could tell they were bored.

    After the show Shelley’s hungry and most of the monster dog the bit back has worn off. I have our entertainment card with us and Kady’s, the Rivs coffee shop is on it so we head down there. Tonight the have a 1 lb snow crab leg special for $9.95 so we both decide on that. All I can say is you get what you pay for. They come out already split which is convenient but they’re not really very high quality. Still, they’re edible and the service was good. For $9.95 for two, who can really complain.

    To this point we haven’t done much gambling today and I don’t really consider that $10 nickels gambling so we head down to NYNY to tackle their VP again. We play for quit awhile and Shelley breaks even while lose $30.

    Feeling a little guilty about taking Caesers up on their offer and not gambling there, we decide to try our luck on the 50 cent machines. The machines at the banks of the nile are full so we walk over to the 50 play machines. These are really nice new machines. It takes me a little time to learn who they work but I figure it out and explain them to Shelley. Although they are 50 play machines, they have an option that allow you to choose how many hands you want to play. You can play anywhere from 1 hand to 50 (so long as you have enough money). They’ll also allow you to select what denomination you wish to play. On these machines it’s either 50 cents, $1, or $2. I start in and manage to lose another $30 all to fast. I walk around to see how Shelley’s doing and she’s having a tough time with the machine. She hasn’t mastered the single line part. She’s so used to hitting max play that I witness her hit it and have 14 hands come up. I almost fill my pants as our budget won’t handle that type of play. She gets lucky and has a decent hand. She breaks even on it. I then take the time to show her how to play only one line at a time. This is when the Gods of irony have one of their finest moments with me. As I make sure she ONLY plays one line, she hits the deal button. Up come 4 deuces. AAAARRRRRRHHHHGGGGGGGGGG. If I had left her alone and she had hit max play, that hand was worth $875. If she had played all 50 hands it would have been worth $3,375. NUTS! Oh well, who would have known. She continues to play for awhile and has a pretty good run, ending up $60 which is what I’ve lost today. Again, we break even. All in all we haven’t done to bad this trip

    DAY 7

    Today Shelley wants to do a little shopping. She saw a top in the Aladdin’s Desert Passage shops she wants to price. We had also noticed a hand painted genie bottle, like the one from I Dream of Jennie, that she wants to pick up for her daughter. The problem is she’s not 100% sure which shop it’s in. I bet we must have walk 3 miles in that mall looking for that top. We weren’t having any luck finding it.

    By now we’re both hungry since we once again passed on breakfast. We’ve never eaten in the Aladdin so we decide to find their coffee shop. It didn’t take long as the signs they put up in the casino make life pretty easy. I didn’t even have to ask for directions this time.

    Zanzibar is a nice coffee shop that was fairly busy at lunch time. Like everywhere else, they don’t have enough employee’s to run the place. There were several tables that stood empty because they didn’t have enough wait staff.

    The menu was varied with the typical theme names and twists on the food. Shelley stuck with a simple hamburger and I tried the Salmon burger with a special dill sauce (I think it was a dill sauce). Both were decent but this isn’t a place we’ll go out of our way to frequent. On the plus side the $12 bottle we were looking for was only $10 if you purchase an entrée.

    Afterwards we spent some time wandering back through the mall. I was determined to find this top. We inally found it. It was in a corner shop and they had moved it from one window, around the corner to another window. This was one of those sparkly sequin tops. When they told us the price was $185, we both almost passed out. For what? I mean it was a nice enough blouse but there wasn’t that much to it. She decided she could get a nice complete outfit back home for that much money.

    I also noticed that they have a food court that might be a better fit for us if we are in the area and want just a quick bite. I’d try to describe where it is but by this time I was so turned around I can’t really tell you how to get to it. The food court is in an area of the mall that opens up. There is a small fountain and a more upscale restaurant or two there also.

    Time to leave. Since we’re in the neighborhood, we walk South to M&M World were Shelley wants to pick up an M&M calculator for a friend back home. Our friend had wanted to pick it up in March when she was there with us but somehow we never made it to the store. While there we picked up a pound of very expensive ($8 per pound), multicolored M&M’s for our flight home. AW just doesn’t give you much of a snack on their flights. They had it pretty hot in the stores so we decided to head downstairs to Game Works for a soda. We sit in there restaurant (I thought it was only a snack bar) for a while, then head out.

    A little tired from the heat we head back to the room to rest up a little. I decide to attack the 50 cent machines in the banks of the Nile area before hitting the room. Bad idea as the machine eats my $50 like it was nothing. Shelley has better luck but only breaks even. At least we have enough points to get our Caesers medallion for accumulating at least 10 points (we have 22 now). We head up to the room for a little rest after taking my beating.

    After resting for about an hour we head out for dinner. Since it’s our last night in town I want to take Shelley somewhere I know she’ll eat. Since the filet at Nascar Café was so good, we head back there. The timeshare people aren’t as aggressive this time and we don’t have to do he bob and weave move to avoid them. Service tonight absolutely sucks. I spot only the guy behind the bad and I swear the only way we would get service is if we suddenly become 20 years younger, get slightly drunk, and grow some huge boobs that almost hang out of the skimpy top we would have to wear. At least that’s who he was spending all his time waiting on, virtually ignoring everyone else that came up to the bar. He would serve the occasional drink to someone else, then head straight back to the boobs……er…..I mean young ladies.

    After about 15 minutes I overhear someone commenting on the fact they had closed early. HUH? It’s only 8:45 PM. They don’t even close the restaurants in Wichita KS that early. Not even on the weeknights. Not even on Sunday nights. Then Shelley overhears the bartender say they even had to call him into work tonight. How can you staff a restaurant or bar in Vegas like that and plan on staying in business? What moron is running this place.

    Needless to say we leave in a huff. We have an entertainment book and I had heard some decent things about a place on Tropicana called Jerhimia’s Steak House so we head that direction. This place is next door to Carrow’s and by the Motel 6 on Tropicana. When we walk in it’s like old home week for me. This place is just like the old time steak houses my parents used to take too when I was a child. Shelley decides on the prime rib with king crab legs. I go for the prime rib and shrimp scampi. Both come with an all you can eat salad bar and baked potato. The prime rib is fare, the scampi is good but not the best I’ve ever had, and Shelley falls in love with the king crab legs. Overall this is a decent restaurant with an atmosphere that I feel at home in. It will definitely be put on our A list of places to eat. Anytime I find a place Shelley likes it goes on the A list.

    Afterwards we head over to NYNY for a little play at the quarter level. Finally we both manage to hit a winning streak at the same time. After playing for awhile I quit up $57.50. That covers my earlier loss and leaves me up $7.50. Shelley ends up by $30. Since we’re leaving the next morning we head over to the slot club booth to cash out our points. We get $16 cash back plus a NYNY hat (they were out of the bronx cheer mugs).

    We decide to have one more drink and head over to the Trop with our 2/4/1 coupons. Shelley wants one more of their green parrot drinks. More inconsistantcy here. The bartender says the coupon can’t be used with the green parrot drink. What’s up with this? I’m not asking for two of these things. Why can’t I buy one expensive drink that I get to keep the glass for my wife and get a regular priced drink with the coupon? Basically, I don’t think any of them know what the heck they’re doing and it’s ticking me off. So I buy Shelley her drink and I order two martini’s for myself. Up until this point all the drinks we’ve had at this bar have been good. Not tonight. It’s obvious this guy doesn’t give a darn about the customer and is just slinging booze into a glass. I end up leaving one martini on the bar for him to pitch and we take Shelley’s drink to the bathroom for disposal. At least she has the glass she wants. These really are nice glasses. Large, heavy clear glass in the shape of a parrot. we have two parrot’s at home so this is why she wants them.

    By now it’s getting close to midnight and I want to be at the airport early to attempt to bump. We end up getting into bed around 1 AM and we need to be up by 5 AM in order to drop the car off 2 hours before our flight. It doesn’t matter to me as I figure I can catch a nap on the plane.

    At check out they give me the total. It doesn’t sound correct so I ask about the charges. I’m told about the charges at Café Lago. I point out the $50 dining credit and am told that was only for the gourmet rooms. I countered with the slip of paper given at check in which clearly says any Caesers restaurant. She points out that the offer I received says gourmet rooms only and names the restaurants I can use it in. I give up as it’s only around $30 in charges. While the offer does clearly name the 4 restaurants I can use it in, what they handed me at check in clearly states ANY Caesers restaurant. For such a large corporation based on customer service, they really should get the bugs worked out of this. So far I’ve had to remind them no less than 3 times of the food credit, then have to haggle with them at check in as it prints out $25 instead of $50, then have them confuse me even further by handing me a slip that says I can use it in any Caesers restaurant which contradicts what the offer says. Minor point that won’t push me away from recommending Caesers but one which will cause me to tell people to have ALL their paperwork with them.

    Off to the airport to check in. Dropping the car off at Alamo is no problem. Not much of a line at check in. The girl at the counter confirms that our departure is full so I’m hopeful. Of course our flight is at the end of the B gates so it’s a five mile hike back there. Now about security. They say they have these random checks when you go through the security check point. I’m not sure what their profile is but we must match it pretty darn close. For the last couple of years we’ve had at least one of our bags checked 9 out of 10 times we walk through one of these. Random my butt, It would be random if it only happened once in a while. I talking 90% of the time. Don’t tell me it’s my camera or batteries. They don’t check those. Most of the time they wipe my bag with this little cloth, then put it in a machine. Every once in a while they ask to do a complete hand check of the bag. I’m an overweight, middle aged white guy in shorts and a T-shirt. What kind of profile do I fit? Maybe that of a slob but that’s not against any law I know of.

    At any rate we hit the gate about 90 minutes ahead of our departure time. A little earlier than I had planned but that’s O.K. Now normally the gate agents get to the gate 60 minutes before departure time. Not today though. Finally one shows up about 40 minutes before departure, looking as though she’s just run a marathon to get there. She’s the only one. At this point I step up and volunteer to bump. She checks the computer and says she doubts they’ll need anyone but thanks for volunteering. RATS! Oh well, at least I don’t have to drive home from the Kansas City airport this time and I should be home in time to mow the lawn (yipee).

    Now for the fun part. The line gets really long and this girl can’t keep up. Finally another one shows up about the same time our flight arrives. One runs down the jet way to move it over to the jet. After a few moments she comes running back down it, says something to the other girl, and they both go running down the jet way. Then the jet way lurches forward, then backwards, the forwards again. This is beginning to look like the keystone cops are running this airline. Next a guy comes running over, one of the girls goes back to the counter, and there’s more fun with moving the jet way. They finally get it to work right and the passengers start to deplane. We now have about 30 minutes before departure. We should be boarding the plane by now. The line has really become very long with all this activity. Then it happens. One of the girls behind the counter announces that we will begin boarding shortly and everyone who’s on this flight should already have their boarding pass. Those who don’t risk losing their seat. If I were standing in that line I would have had a comment to make. First they’re late getting to the gate, then they have to leave the desk because they can’t make the jet way work, they can’t get people taken care of in a timely manner, and now they say if you don’t already have your boarding pass, your seat could be given away to someone else? Give me a break will you. They caused the problem of the mile long line. By not being on time, then not being able to handle it. No wonder people get fed up with the airlines.

    So we already have our boarding passes and it’s no big deal to me. Just seems a little odd to treat your customers like cattle. The flight to Phoenix, then home is no problem and I manage to get the yard mowed. It was a nice trip. All in all we ended up $33 down from gambling. I’m not 100% sure I have all our wins and losses in the trip report, I’m going by my what I had in my little gambling ledger. $20 of that loss was money tossed into a Megabucks machine in MGM. I almost don’t count that as gambling but if we had won a hundred bucks, I surely would have counted that into my totals.

    This has been a good trip for us. My gambling budget didn’t take a hit so I’ll have even more saved up for next time, we had some good food, found some interesting places to hang out, and had a couple of nice rooms to stay in. I’m looking forward to our next trip in September and hoping the timeshare company comes through with it’s promise of two free nights. If they do, that offer combined with the comped rooms at the Stratosphere mean that the total for our hotel bill in September will be $38 plus taxes for 7 nights. You almost can’t beat that. We already have a full sized car reserved through Alamo for $94. Should be a good trip.
  2. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Nov 28, 1999
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    GREAT trip report! Long, but worth every minute I spent reading it.

    I find the writing a trip report is always a little bittersweet, but having plans for another trip must make it a little easier. [​IMG]

    I've never been really impressed with San Remo and your accounting of the AC in the room makes me glad I don't stay there. Have you checked out Terribles? I hear about great rates there, even for weekends. Maybe it's worth staying there for a little nicer room, especially if you have the car.

    Thanks so much for sharing your TR. I love reading them!

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