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An Unexpected Journey

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mdlee3_46041, Mar 28, 2015.

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  1. mdlee3_46041

    mdlee3_46041 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    Background

    For a few years now, I've been trying to talk a friend and his wife into going to Vegas either with me or as part of their own trip. My friend, Scott, has been willing to go, but his wife, Kristlyn, refuses to fly under any circumstances so it's been an issue getting them to go. They finally decided around Christmas to go, but their plan to was to drive the 1,880 miles. A week before they left, they asked me if I wanted to go. I had the money, but wasn't sure if I wanted to drive so my plan was to hopefully find some cheap airfare, which I knew was unlikely since it was so close to the trip, and have fun while they made the drive. Unfortunately, due to it being so close to the trip and it being spring break, cheap airfare was impossible to find. Delta was running about $620, Southwest was almost $800. So I was kind of leaning against going even though I really wanted to go. Two days before the trip, Scott called me to see what I had decided and even though I hadn't officially decided yet, I blurted out, "Yes, I'll go." Since I'd made the decision, I had a lot to do in a very short period of time. I wasn't even approved for time off work yet, but I know my coworker wasn't scheduled off so I should be ok. I went into work that night and put in my vacation request to take 2 weeks off work. I apologized to my boss for the short notice, but didn't give him an explanation for why I needed off. He looked in his date book and saw that nobody was scheduled off and approved me so I was good there. The next day, instead of sleeping like I needed to do, I had to go to the bank and get out my money. I also needed to pack since I wouldn't really have time to do it the next day before leaving since I would get home from work at about 7:45am and S & K were picking me up at 10:00am. I also needed to make sure that my GPS was updated, which ended up taking all day for it to finish, but only required a few minutes of my time. By the time I got everything done that I needed to do, I finally got to sleep about 7pm and was able to get a couple hours of sleep before I had to be at work at 11pm.

    The Drive Out

    Scott picked me up about 9:45am on Friday morning and said that Kristlyn was doing some last minute packing and should have everything ready to get in the car by the time he got back with me. We got to Scott's house and Kristlyn was waiting in the driveway with all of their bags. I won't go into too much of the drive, but did want to say a little bit about it at least. The plan was to drive about 630 miles a day. With 3 of us, we potentially could have drove straight through, but we didn't want to be exhausted when we arrived so we decided to stop each night. Our first night, we stopped in Salina, KS, which is approximately 680 miles from our town. The 2nd night, we stopped in Grand Junction, CO and that was even after having to change a flat tire. The final day of driving, we finally made it to Vegas. We arrived about 3pm on Sunday. I was driving at the time and we stopped at the Vegas sign for a group picture. I have like 25 pictures at the Vegas sign, but I had to make sure to get one with my good friend that I never thought I'd be out there with. While we were at the sign, I couldn't help watching them as they were seeing Vegas for the first time and the look on their faces was priceless. It also brought back memories of how I felt when I saw Vegas for the first time. After pics, we got back in the car and I let Scott drive. I as staying at Harrah's and they were staying at Flamingo. I got checked in quickly enough and after putting my things in my room and checking out the view of the High Roller, I went and put $100 in a machine, which I lost real quick, and then walked down to Flamingo to meet them, but they gambled before checking in so they were still in line when I showed up.

    Some side notes about the rest of the report

    In previous trip reports I've done, I've done a day by day account of what happened. For this one, I'm going to categorize things as dining, nightlife, entertainment, gambling, transportation, and sightseeing. Also, I should point out that none of us are really into big expensive meals so you'll see that a lot of our meals are at places like Del Taco, McDonald's, a breakfast at Denny's, places like that.

    So here we go:

    Dining

    The Yard House: This was our first meal. Actually, it's always my first meal in Vegas so it's nice that there is one on the strip now instead of having to go to Town Square to get it. There is one thing that always happens here when I have a manager serving me that annoys me. I'm aware that they have 150 beers on tap or however many they have, but I know what I like and my friends know what they like. So we walk in and sit down and I order a Miller Lite and Scott orders one also. Kristlyn is just drinking Coke because she's still convinced that we'll be driving someplace later that day lol. The manager, instead of just saying, "Ok, I'll be right back with your beers," starts trying to sell us on other beers they have that are "similar" to Miller Lite. I understand that they want to push certain product, but if somebody knows what they want, just get them that product. Plus, if I wanted something that was "similar" to Miller Lite, why wouldn't I just get Miller Lite instead? This only happens to me here when a manager serves me. If I have a regular employee as my server, they just get me my Miller Lite with no hassle. I had boneless firecracker wings and deviled eggs to eat. Scott had some steak and Krystin had a salad and a burger. We paid separately and my bill came to $32 before tip. Scott and Kristlyn's bill came to right at $50 I believe.

    Secret Pizza: I actually got Secret Pizza twice, but S & K only got it once as far as I know. I don't go to Vegas for pizza, but this place reminds me of a place that was in my town when I was little. That placed closed down when the national chains started coming to town so I have to enjoy this pizza when I go to Vegas. A lot of people say this pizza is too greasy, but I think it's just right.

    Del Taco and Denny's: Typical food from these 2 chains, but I love them both from time to time.

    Wynn Buffet: This is really the only buffet I eat and only for breakfast. I got 3 plates here. One had scrambled eggs, bacon, jalapeƱo hash browns, and sausage links. Then, I had a plate of fruit: honey dew, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple. Then I had a desert plate which consisted of a cherry Danish and an Oreo cake thing.

    Harrah's Buffet: This trip, I had a 2nd buffet, but mainly because I was hungry and didn't want to go far for my breakfast. The food was pretty good, but there wasn't a very large selection and the fruit wasn't as fresh as I get when I go to the Wynn Buffet. It's not a bad choice though if you're at Harrah's and are hungry, but don't go out of your way for it.

    The Peppermill: I love this place. I've gotten it every time I've ever been in Vegas except for 1 time and I only missed it that time because they were remodeling. For just the 2nd time ever, I finished all the food I got here, which was the country style ham and eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast. Scott had the same thing, minus the bacon, and finished his. Kristlyn had some omelet and finished about 3/4 of it. My bill was $20 before tip.

    Central (Caesars): I'd never eaten here before, but after drinking one night, I was hungry and decided to try it out. I was there during the late night menu and ordered the All-American Breakfast, which consisted of eggs, toast, and my choice of bacon or sausage, which I chose bacon. The bacon was the best I've had in a long time. Maybe it's because I was drunk, but I don't think so. That came to $25 before tip.

    Gambling

    This trip, gambling was better for me than it had been it recent trips. Even if I lost, the machines let me play a bit before taking all my money. The only one that didn't let me play a bit was the very first one I played at Harrah's. I played that machine later in the trip and won $1072 on it. I also had a win of $1008 at MGM Grand, a win of $495, $582, and $700 at Wynn, and $990 at Caesars along with several wins of $100-200 at other properties. I had the best week overall when it came to gambling, but Kristlyn had the best win of the week with a $4200 win at Golden Nugget. Scott was up and down all week, but ended up about $300 ahead if you're just counting his money.

    Nightlife

    We did the vast majority of our drinking in the casinos while gambling, but there are 2 places that I ended up at. The first one I did during the day while Scott and Kristlyn went to a movie. I've become friends with one of the bartenders at Bond at Cosmo so I went there and spend close to 2 hours in there talking to him and drinking beer. Between tips and beers, I spent almost $200 in there, but it was worth it to me. I'm also friends with 2 of the girls that work at Coyote Ugly so I make it there at least once a trip. I always go for happy hour with the intention of leaving once happy hour is over, but it never works out that way. It's hard to say how much we spent there. I believe I only spent about $80, but one of my friends was giving me free shots and the other one was giving me free beers even after happy hour ended.

    Entertainment

    We didn't go see any shows, but we did go downtown and saw the light shows and concerts down on Fremont. The last several times I've been down there, they've had 80's cover bands that were really good and made it a lot of fun. This time, they had some band that thought they were some death metal band and I think their only purpose in life is to be as loud as humanly possible. It was still a decent atmosphere with the crowd, but I didn't care for the music on this particular trip.

    Transportation

    Even though we drove there and Kristlyn rarely drank, we used taxis, buses, and the monorail for the entire trip. It was mostly the bus since it was their first trip and they wanted to be able to get out if they saw something without having to go too far. All the cabbies were extremely courteous when we did use them. They only used the monorail once, but I used it several times as I have on my last 3 or 4 trips. Basically, if I was going someplace by myself, I used the monorail or got on the other side of the street and used the free trams.

    Sightseeing

    As you probably figured, since it was Scott and Kristlyn's first time, they wanted to see everything. That meant the Vegas sign, the Bellagio Fountains, the Fremont Street Experience, the Mirage volcano. You name it, they had to see it. I do believe their favorite was the Bellagio Fountains, especially since Kristlyn's brother was in the military and the first one they saw was the 4:00pm show with the National Anthem and the other song that they do with that one.

    The drive home

    This was the part I dreaded the most. I knew the drive out would be brutal because I was going to be excited to get there, but I also knew the drive home was going to be worse because we were going to be tired and probably not real thrilled to be leaving. We didn't make it a point to rush on the way home. We stopped more to stretch or get snacks. We didn't care if we drove 300 miles in a day or 600 miles in a day. We did stop for some pictures on the way home. I mean, we got a few on the way out, but the main plan on the way out was to just get there and enjoy Vegas.

    The final breakdown

    When you factor in everything (gas both ways, hotels both ways, drinks and meals and the few shirts I bought for myself), I spent a grand total of $8. I'm not sure of Scott and Kristlyn's final bankroll, but I think they ended up winning like $700 for the week. I had a blast and from everything they've told me, they had a blast also. I do think that Scott wishes that Kristlyn was willing to fly. We spent 7 days on the road that we wouldn't have had to spend on the road.

    Would I do this type of trip again? I'm all for last minute plans to go places. A last minute plan to drive basically 3,800 round trip may be a bit too much. I would still probably do it again though with the right group of people. In my opinion, if you're on a long road trip, the people in your group need to have a common goal. I mean, if you have 1 person that's in a hurry to get someplace and 2 that are taking their time, it won't work out so well. This group worked out perfectly going both ways. I've always felt that there is no such thing as a bad Vegas trip, but an unexpected journey is by far the best.
     
  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report! I don't like to fly, but I'm sorry your friend's wife insisted on NOT flying!
     
  3. mdlee3_46041

    mdlee3_46041 Low-Roller

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    Thanks. It was an experience that I can now say I've done. Honestly, I think I finally agreed to do it because of the experience. I mean, I could have shelled out the extra cash and still flown and then had a longer trip, but I didn't.

    She won't fly anywhere for any reason. She has never flown before so she can't say that she won't like it, but she still has the fear. They once drove 17 or 18 hours straight to go to a relative's funeral in Midland, TX I believe. They are trying to have their first child now so maybe that will convince her to fly if they want to go someplace. 4 or 5 hours in a plane with a kid is a lot better than 18 hours in a car lol
     
  4. WestTexas

    WestTexas Low-Roller

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    I hated flying at first, but I love to go to vegas. The first 2 times we drove 980 miles. It was ok, but you are correct the dive home sucks.

    We fly now and I get very nervous, but I have learned to deal with it. we fly southwest and I set as close to front as possible. We the plane lands and the door opens I get off as fast as I can. LOL

    Maybe she could try short trips to get use to it.
     
  5. Paul_376

    Paul_376 Tourist

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    Great report.
     
  6. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    I always feel badly for people who won't fly.......they miss so much of this big, beautiful world. That is a long drive but broken down as you did, it doesn't sound too bad. Congrats on all the slot hits! Sorry if I missed it; did you spend a week in Vegas?
     
  7. TomTWI

    TomTWI High-Roller

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    I don't like flying the way planes are so cramped today and I hate the whole motel and food on the road thing also. Now retired we have the time to take road trips and it works out cheaper also. Vegas from home is approx 1,900 it's a piece of cake with more than one driver to do it in two days. Normally I do it as only driver in three days but i have done it in two long days.

    Glad your friends liked Vegas are they planning trip 2 yet?

    TomTWI
     
  8. mdlee3_46041

    mdlee3_46041 Low-Roller

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    She absolutely won't fly at all so she won't even give a short trip a chance. I had another friend that was kind of the same way. He wanted to go with me one year and I told him he'd have to fly because I wasn't driving. This was a different situation because this guy would get nervous about driving on ANY roads he hadn't been on before so he would have done his best to try to make me drive the entire way. So he agreed to fly and was freaking out about it. Luckily, the first flight was a very short hop from Indy to Cincinnati and he handled it fine. He ended up having I believe 2 beers in Cincinnati and ate a lot because we ended up being delayed for 3 hours, but he slept pretty much the entire flight from Cincinnati to Vegas and then both flights home. So he has handled flying well and I think she would too, but she won't give it a chance.

    Sorry about that. We were in Vegas for 5. The Vegas portion of the trip was 3/8-3/12. The trip, including driving, was 3/6-3/15. It was nice being able to hit. Obviously, I like to win, but I'm generally happy as long as I get some play for my money.

    Like I said, we could have made it quicker, but we didn't want to be completely exhausted when we arrived either so that's why we broke it down the way we did. Basically, we each drove 200 miles a day, which worked out nicely because when we stopped to switch drivers, that is also when we would take the time to stretch our legs, get beverages and snack, or find a restaurant and eat an actual meal. Every 2nd stop, so basically every 400 miles, we would get gas.

    They are not planning anything yet. I do believe Scott would love to go back, but I do think he would prefer to fly. He hasn't flown before either, but he is at least willing to try it. With Kristlyn, I know she had fun, but I can't tell if she'd be considering a return trip or if she's just happy that she had the experience and now she doesn't have to worry about it anymore. Hopefully, since she won't even think about flying someplace, she'll allow Scott to go without her every once in awhile. Personally, I would love for them both to go again, but if I have the chance to find decent airfare, I will be flying and waiting on them out there while they drive if that's the only way she'll travel.
     
  9. IWannaBeInVegas

    IWannaBeInVegas VIP Whale

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    Iv wanted to do the drive one more time for old times sake, we use to do it when I was a kid and teenager and my dad would drive from Columbus OH to Vegas in 36-40 hours, only stopping when needed or to take a two hour nap.

    Iv driven as far as Dallas from Columbus in 19 hours straight through, its rough.

    Sounds like a great trip.
     
    Tentative Arrival
  10. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the great report!! Driving to Vegas for 3 days, wow that is nuts. You really need to take 2 weeks off from work to be able to do that. My girlfriend is terrified of flying also, but she still goes with me to Vegas or anywhere else we need to fly. I told her that if you want to go with me, you will have to fly. We are flying out again Friday morning to Vegas, and all she keeps talking about in the days leading up to the trip, is how she is afraid to fly. She actually went to her doctor and got some pills that make her sleep through the flight. Hope they work!! Otherwise she will drive me crazy the whole flight, every time there is a little turbulence.:cry:
     
  11. mdlee3_46041

    mdlee3_46041 Low-Roller

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    Thanks. It was a great trip and the drive out there I loved, even though I still would have preferred to fly and be there in 4 hours. Since they asked me, and I really wanted to go, I couldn't very easily demand that they fly if they wanted to go, especially on short notice. Remember, they just asked me a week before the trip and I finally agreed 2 days before the trip. If it would have been my trip and I asked them to join, I'd hope they'd fly with me, but I honestly wouldn't care how they got there, but I would have been flying myself either way if it was my plans. While I love all of my trips to Vegas, I do think that the long drive to get there helped make this trip a little more enjoyable than the others, but it may have been the fact that I just didn't expect to be going.

    I hope your girlfriend's pills work also. Personally, I enjoy the actual flight, especially to Vegas. I drink, look out the window, watch movies on my laptop, do crosswords or a word search to pass the time. Once the announcement is made that we've begun our decent into Las Vegas, I put everything up and stare out the window looking for that first glimpse of Vegas. I can't imagine being that afraid of flying that I'd have to be in a drug induced sleep for the entire flight, but I know a lot of people are that way.
     
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