I usually don't do trip reports because for 30 years of going to Vegas, i mainly go solo, i don't really drink, i don't smoke cigs, i don't do the "fine" dining thing, i no longer see shows, i primarily play certain slots, but occasionally hit the electronic BJ tables......if you're still with me, congrats, and hope you enjoy my "dry" sense of humor. I must say that up until May 2011 at Bally's, everything was going fine. I was working in LA for 25+ years at a job i liked and made pretty good money allowing me to hop in my car and drive to Vegas in less than 5 hours on a Sunday morning for a week for about 3 times a year. Then in June 2011, i had a "mild" stroke. Perhaps the stress or diet contributed to it, like i said i don't smoke or really drink. My weight has always been the same, 32" waist. My "stroke" just happened briefly but to make a long story short, my brain had a brief lock down. Thanks to therapy, i was able to get back to the "Oasis" in the Desert in Nov. 2012. In Feb.2013, i booked the Rio (for May) and Bally's (in Nov) comped and NO resort fees. Then i find out Caesars was comped the first week in August, so i took it, yes, i do have to pay $125 for the week in resort fees, because it was after March 1st. But that's still only about $30 per night........i used to pay $75 per night at the old Marina Hotel and La Quinta Motel on the Strip (for those that don't know, the Marina was on the MGM lot, and La Quinta was next to where Monte Carlo sits today). Since i can't drive right now, i decided to take the LUX Bus America to Vegas instead of the plane (my balance is still not where it needs to be). There's a thread up above the Strip Forum. I actually used it in May 2011 before my health issues (in June 2011). So using the LUX bus from LA to Vegas was and is a nice alternative to driving/flying from LA. I always stay on the Strip, and then venture out to the wilderness like Red Rock Canyon which i still haven't been able to do since 2011. But i decided to book RIO, which i never stayed at (i went to Rio to see the Titanic Exhibition (way back in 1912......OK, in the 80's., so sue me). The LUX bus drops you off at Harrah's and California downtown. I was able to catch the RIO shuttle quickly, also, they don't allow luggage but do allow a carry on over the shoulder. Upon entering the Rio (about 2 pm) i decided to check my bags in to the bellman( no problem) and walk across the street to Gold Coast. I signed up for a card and had lunch at Ports O' Call buffet (this will be a recurring theme throughout the week). The food was nothing to write home about, but it was good enough and about a million dollars cheaper than Rio and most of the Strip hotels. DINING...........consisted mostly of alternating Lunch/Dinner at Gold Coast on separate days. When on the Strip, i went to Earl of Sandwich at the HO, the Greek Cafe at Fashion Show Mall, IN n OUT on Tropicana, and the Deli in Mirage. I kept some Gatorade and water in the free fridge at RIO as well as some snacks to hold me over/after until i retired to the room for the night. THE ROOM.........my room was comped, a standard deluxe, but used the $20 trick (i feel so dirty, lol), and upgraded to the Ipinema Tower with a Strip/Pool view. I knew about this per VMB. The lovely young lady (of course she wouldn't be lovely if i didn't get what i wanted) could give me an 8th floor Strip/Pool view in the Premium Suite in Ipinema Tower. I took it and "VOILA"......perfect. The room looked like it had new carpets and sofa, a panoramic view of the Strip from Wynn all the way out to South Point (with a brief stoppage looking at the Masquarade Tower), and being on the 8th floor allowed me to observe the 4 pools. The reason why i wanted a pool view at Rio, and in August at Caesars, is because of the babes in bikini's, OK, that's not entirely true, because of my stroke, i needed to be close to the pool when getting off the elevator. In fact, the Ipinema Tower is close to the pool, close to the shuttles, right down the hallway is Starbucks and a Rio gift shop/snacks/soda/booze etc. The suite had a 42" flat screen TV, a swiveling desk, a lounge chair, a sofa, a coffee table, the bathroom has a separate room to play "craps" and shower, as well as a small marble top sink. Then the main bathroom had the full spectrum of riches including a full closet, iron/board, safe, coffee maker (which i chose not to use), a blower, and the main sink. The only thing it didn't have is a magnified makeup mirror. I know what your thinking, why would a 50ish guy need a magnified makeup mirror? Does he transform into Madonna ala Frank Marino? Sorry, but i need it to put my contacts in. I didn't bring my own mirror thinking most hotel rooms had one (like Caesars in August), but i eventually got them in and all is well. Anyways, the Premium room was more than what i expected. THE POOL............now this was one of my favorite things at RIO. And it didn't hurt that the temps bordered on ridiculous. High 90's to 102 during the week. My plan was to wake up at 9 am, hit the pool at 9:30 am, catch the shuttle about 1 pm, travel back to Rio to change, shower, relax for about an hour, then catch the shuttle to the Strip about 6:30 pm until about 11-12 am then head back to Rio for about an hour before returning to the room. The Rio Pool has 4 pools, a sandy beach for the kids and adults, 2 regular pools, and an Adult pool. Because of my room view i knew that 9:30 am would be good to go, still not crowded and plenty of lounge chairs. I followed this pattern from Sun-Wed., on Thursday about 12 noon, the Adult pool opened. So i ventured over to the adult pool about 12:01 LOL. By the way, all the pools look great with waterfalls, cliffs, whirlpools, a view of Caesars, a message therapist, a bar, a seafood oasis bar (inside joke), and also "tot a saw a puddy cat" up over the whirlpool. Maybe i was seeing things but i have never seen a wild feline venturing around a pool in Vegas. He/she just hung around the waterfall, maybe the puddy cat liked the loud DJ music. The Adult pool was much better because even though i'm 50ish, i like the live DJ playing music, the young and old dancing to the beats, and.........what i forgot to mention is that before 2011 i used to surf and swim in the ocean, but that has ended, at least for now. I have to use the stairs in the pool wisely and be close enough to grab onto the edge of the pool. I can't "swim" because of my limited mobility of my right arm and left leg. But it's still allowed me to wade in the water per say, so i'm not complaining. The spot i picked out was actually next to the "stage" (which i didn't know at the time). Then the DJ introduces the two bikini clad dancers that would be our entertainment for the afternoon. THE STRIP........has of course changed over the years. Good and bad. The Strip has and will always change both inside and out. Take it for what it is and enjoy it. The good thing is the porn slappers are few and far between, there is an ordinance regarding the cleanliness of the Strip. At one time the Strip would be one big trash can, now you won't hardly see overflowing trash cans messing up the Strip. The bums/homeless people usually spend their time on the overhead walkways. They've been replaced by dudes in costumes trying to make a buck on the Strip. This is much better than the homeless, people actually working for the money, and YOU can put money into their piggy bank for a pic. The brick building in front of the Linq has the long awaited O'Shea's sign up. O'Shea's was one of my favorite casinos on the Strip......glad that eventually it will return in one form or another. The view of Eiffel Tower and Paris from the upper deck behind the fountains at Bellagio can't be beat. GAMBLING...........mostly consisted of certain slot machines and electronic BJ. Although i did spend my time at most casinos on the Strip, i gambled primarily at CET......Caesars, Bally's, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Margaritaville, and Rio. My bankroll for gambling per night was about $400 for 5 nights. As it turned out, my gambling bankroll hardly moved. I gambled for about 5 hours per night and basically my action was perfect for acquiring points per day. I would increase/decrease my bankroll but at the end of the day my wallet would still weigh the same. Money Management is the key.........i put a lot of money (for a Gold card holder), into the machines, about 5 hours worth every day, and not winning or losing huge amounts. My favorite machine was at Paris, they also have them at numerous hotels on the Strip. The Blazing 7's......the one that has the sevens on the first 2 reels and the 3rd reel would signify "7", 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The machine i used would only go up to 125 coins (pennies) so i played the max. Needless to say i would camp out on these machines and get a drink (i don't really drink but had Strawberry Daqs and Sprite/water......OK, don't laugh. I also played quarter machines, the ones with the 2x 3x 4x 5x. I am an LA Kings fan and Bruins fan and enjoyed Tuesday and Thursday at Paris with the wins. I love Margaritaville. The Cocktail Waitresses wear bikinis with a sash around their waist. I would order water just to cool off.....he he. In August i will be at Caesars. I'm booked for a Forum Tower, which is nice (i'm comped as well), but will probably do the sandwich and ask for the Palace Tower, which is near the pool. My final remarks are i thought i was immortal. I played ice hockey in high school (i was born and raised in Boston (Boston Strong), then moved to LA and learned how to Surf. I have climbed mountains (Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, rock climb at Red Rock Canyon, climbed Yosemite), i never smoked or drank, i never had a broken finger, broken hand and leg, could and did the stairs at the Empire State Bldg, etc. but that all changed in June 2011. But i'm fortunate because my stroke, even though i have some limited mobility, could have been a lot worse, even death. There used to be a gentleman just after Monte Carlo opened in 1995, in one of these Vegas forums, that mentioned he only had a few weeks or a couple of months to live. He loved Vegas and decided to spend a week in his favorite place even though he was tired and worn out from his disease, that it wouldn't stop him from enjoying Vegas for the last time. He passed away a few weeks later. I will always remember that. As long as i'm able, i will keep enjoying Vegas for as long as possible.......another 30 years would be nice.