been trying for a few days to come up with some exciting story, but just have to face up to not being able to compete with some of the latest trip reports in the titallation department. this trip was actually my fourth trip since last december, with december being a leisure trip for the rodeo, and feb.(solo), may and this one being for wholesale market buying trips. this trip came on fairly suddenly, our usual buying trip much closer to home had conflicts with the markets in las vegas, as well as with markets in seattle and denver, so many of our usual sales reps were not in attendence in billings, we knew we would not get enough unique items bought, either in terms of quality or in dollar amount, so looked for alternatives. this set of las vegas shows are big, and a small store like ours can get lost in the shuffle, but found airfare for 300 each, and the rio had sent us an offer for 49 dollars the first night, and free for the next two, so the trip got set up fast. enough on the market, other than to say that because we had serious business to do each day, and had to leave our home at 3:30 am the first day to get to the airport, it was pretty much early to bed for the first two nights. i know there are harrahs haters out there, and for the second straight trip at the rio, did not play one dollar at their tables.6/5 everywhere with continuous shufflers, but i have to say their tables were crowded, even at 9 am. did play some video poker, under harrahs system if i thought i was playing for comps i would be stupid, but feel that i was comped in advance with those room rates. all the personnel we encountered at the rio were great, checkin was handled by a checkout person who motioned us over, our room was in the older ipanema tower, which i expected given the rate, but was ready when we arrived about 9 am, and met all our needs and expectations. went directly to our market, found many appropriate things, wrote some orders and made some notes for the next day, finally burned out, and went and got some rest. had reservations at the RANGE at harrahs for 7:30 that evening, took the shuttle over about 6, played for a few minutes, there is a 50 play nickel vp machine there we always try once a trip. was ahead but frittered it away, and went up to the range about 6:30 to get a drink, checked in and were seated right away for dinner. both had steak, my porterhouse, we call it a T-bone here in montana, was slightly better than my wifes bone in ribeye, but both were very tasty, cooked right, with wonderful service from the whole range of servers who attended us. had a french onion soup, wife lobster bisque, both so good we should have shared with each other, but did not. bottle of fess parker pinot noir, priced very reasonably i thouhgt for the venue. did compliment the manager later when he checked our table. the wine list wasnt the 500 percent markup type you usually see, and instead had many recognizable names on it with prices 2.5-3 times the wine shop, which while still high enough, can be stood for a special night out. i think these restaurants would make more money on their wine lists with this type of a structure. no room for dessert, though the atmosphere with the warm woods and the copper, made us want to linger. we try to do a nice steakhouse each trip, this was so much more to our liking than the cold, loud atmosphere at nine at the palms we experienced last trip. this place was much more old school than that, suited us fine, would rank it in the same category as the steakhouse at Circus Circus, but just a little better in terms of food and atmosphere. second day was just a hard day of business, the market actually fed us a sandwich-chips-soda lunch, and a continental breakfast. with all the tenptations of vegas, i think they realize they need to keep their shoppers on site, or they will lose a bunch at noon hour. got back to the room, put away invoices, starving, decided to try the seafood buffet at the rio, had never done it, my wife said later how she had always wanted to try it, i am usually the restaurant picker! i think for two of us it was 75 dollars with tax for this buffet, and the nicest thing i can say is that we did not leave stuffed. cold, tasteless, gross, all of the above, could describe just about everything in and about the place. major disappointment. saw a group of young ladies at the bar outside that buffet entrance, i am going to guess they were a wedding party, dressed up, though not in fashion i recognized, and while in the buffet line observed the two most obese of this group do a dance resembling cattle breeding, these two were dogs . so, buffet did not get off to a good start, and the food took it downhill from there. third day took me to the hilton where i played the horses a little while my bride attended the show at the convention center, we met up, played for the million at the hiltons promotion, left the t shirt we won there, did not want to pack it. went to the monorail, of course found it closed, so set off on the walk we have done before up the strip. found the greek isles, had a nice chat with the security guard there, found out about the debbie reynolds history there, now i know where it is! if i was in a pinch for a place to stay, it would be ok, expecially for its convenience to the lv convention center. made our way up to the strip, popped in the frontier for the .99 margarita, played a little vp and cashed out ahead, up the strip to the venetian. one of our favorite places for lunch in las vegas is at the taqueria canonita, we always ask for one of the canal side tables. non-smoking section. as we have lunch, the gondolas go right by, get to hear the singers and watch the passengers. saw one gondolier give a tug of the ring finger signal to a passing boat, think there was a proposal going on. ok lunch, nice place to rest. made our way up the strip, in one corner of a casino, out the other, played at the flamingo, the paris, MGM Grand a little, though mostly just toured through there, had always gotten lost in there before. made our way across to the nyny. wife went and bought ESPN stuff for our quarterback and for his point guard sister, and we met back at the bar in times square for the dueling pianos. for the eight oclock show, you almost have to have a table by 7:15. so i held the table, she foraged and brought back some food, and we ate until the music started. just planned on staying for one set, but again stayed for two. the music is fun, even when you have seen this before, and the people watching is great fun. lets just say that the girls who were dancing together here made the whole concept of that OK again. anyway. lots of fun, more than enough to drink, took a cab back to the rio. if you havent stayed at the rio, palms or gold coast, let me let you know how fast the cabs and shuttles get there, compared to deliveries either on the strip or downtown. i think our cab fare from nyny to rio was 6.80, and our shuttle trip from the airport was at most 10 minutes. very convenient. back at the rio, should have went to the tilted kilt, but instead went to the sao paulo restaurant, coffee shop type place, food took plenty long to arrive, it had been a long night, and we needed something to eat, had enough of it, just very ordinary. turned in. last day, slept in, very leisurely morning, were the first to eat at the newly opened all american grill at the rio. gourmet burgers, steak sandwich for lunch, pushing steaks and signature drinks, which will be fine for dinner, but was not what we wanted for an early lunch, first day bugs in service, music too loud, food was good, will give them another try if we ever stay at the rio again, probably would not make a special trip for it. went over and played at the gold coast, hopping place for a early friday afternoon, the line at the cashiers cage was 200 people long. some kind of cash your paycheck, win 250000 promo. these were the working people of las vegas, the cocktail servers were serving them while they were in line to cash their checks, and it looked like most of them were staying to play and party a little. great atmosphere, we didnt have any luck at the vp or at the blackjack table, still had fun, could have gotten many drinks fast there, but had to fly, so behaved. ok flight home, delay of an hour in salt lake, so an hour late picking up our kids, espn gear was a good choice for little jocks. had a nice dinner with some friends yesterday, they havent been to vegas for twenty years, so are almost virgins again. think we have the hook set, now we just need to find the right timing for everybody, but four trip in 9 months is just over the top for us, so probably next may is the earliest i could hope for. so keep your trip reports coming, its how i get through withdrawal!