Trip started with the drive from Ramona (San Diego area) to Vegas. When I hit Barstow I was getting a little low on gas but was thinking there was a travel stop after Barstow with cheaper gas. Oops. That's heading the other way. I check the mileage and figure that I can't quite make it to Vegas so I'll just stop in Primm. Well, I didn't quite figure how much extra gas I would be using climbing the long grade before Primm with the A/C running (temps were 105+). I'm still thinking that there is a long downhill into Primm so as long as I make it that far... and I am heading to Vegas so why not start pushing my luck, eh? By the time I start downhill I'm reading 5 miles to empty and it's a lot longer than that to Primm. About 10 miles out, I get a 0 miles to empty on the display and I shut off the A/C. Now I'm ready to shift into neutral and coast as far as possible if needed. I start estimating how long it will take me to walk to Primm and return with some gas. 1 hour... 45 minutes... 1/2 hour... when I got to 15 minutes I finally felt some relief and as I entered the Primm offramp I turned the A/C back on. I put 14.68 gallons in my tank that has a 14.5 gallon capacity. El Cortez - Tower Room: A lot bigger than I expected. Nice furnishings... entering the bathroom... holy, mother of.... what is this putrid looking tub/shower and matching toilet? Apparently they remodeled everything except this. You step in the shower and the bottom just gives way under your weight. I guess too many people who eat free at the Heart Attack Grill have crushed the cheap styrofoam underlayment over the years. It's a shame because it would be such a [STRIKE]wonderful[/STRIKE] above average room otherwise. But it was clean, quiet, and no smoking was a pleasant plus. Food MSS - 777 Brewpub. I had the western bacon cheeseburger. In a word... excellent. When the waitress asked how I wanted it cooked I hesitated. I like my meat to be a solid medium. No blood oozing out and not burnt to a crisp. At a fine steakhouse I order medium and usually get exactly what I want. At less reputable places I order medium-well because I would prefer to err on the side of well done rather than rare. So I finally decide to base my decision on the positive recommendations of this place and order medium. The burger was perfectly medium. Thick slab of bacon, all the usual condiments, nice pickle spear, and really good BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce was smoky and sweet, the way I like it, but if you don't dig that style you may want to steer away from this burger. A good, honest burger and a good price. Golden Gate - Du-Pars. Had to try the recommended pancakes. They were definitely good. Probably in my top 5. Had better in Mexico. Not sure what they put in them down there but twice I had excellent pancakes down there. I just had the short stack of 2 pancakes and could not get through half of them. I'm a light eater but I think these would easily fill up a person with a normal appetite too. Cosmo - Hidden Pizza Place. Really good crispy pizza. Reminded me of Zachary's in Berkeley. Top 3 crispy pizza for me but not in my top 10 overall because I'm more of a Chicago style pizza guy. Crust can't be too thick and you can't have too much sauce or cheese. Best crispy pizza I had was 25 years ago on Kauai. The place grew the spices and herbs for the pizza behind the shop! Mermaids - Deep Fried Oreas. Had to give this a shot but almost chickened out after seeing the place on a busy Saturday night. The "kitchen" looked like the aftermath of an art class for kindegarteners. I bet they don't have the grease the mechanisms on the slot machines in the vicinity of this place! I reasoned with myself that a great many others were eating at this fine dining establishment with no apparent ill effects. Although this crowd looks like their primary source of fiber is from twinkies. I braced myself and took a bite. MMmmm. Sweet, gooey, goodness. El Cortez - Flame Steakhouse. My oh my, what a fancy, shmancy place we have in the old smEll Cortez. I saw the "appropriate attire" sign and popped up to my room to change out of my shorts and into my fanciest clothes (New-ish jeans). Of course the people sitting next to me were wearing shorts so I'm not sure what appropriate attire is supposed to mean. So I ordered Filet Mignon and a side of garlic mashed taters. Fancy place so I order the steak medium. The steak wound up being on the border between rare and medium. But it was a very high grade cut of beef so it was pretty good overall. Garlic potatoes were excellent, which is a good thing because the slices of potatoe that came with the steak were well seasoned but on the cool side. I would have been disappointed if I was paying full price but I had 50% off and a $5 discount (coupon book from check-in), so the meal with an Iced Tea came to $14. Service was good though so $20 took care of the bill and tip. Luv-It Frozen Custard. A little hole-in-wall place near the Strat. Literally a hole in the wall. Just a solid building with a window to place your order. But they serve up a healthy sized dose of really good frozen custard. The Plaza - Not Oscars. Oscars is not my thing. I'll eat a high end steak joint for a special occasion but I invariably ask myself, "would I prefer a carne asada burrito at the local taco shop instead and keep the difference in price?" My answer is always yes. But I did stop by the cupcake place in the front late at night. Really good stuff and here's a secret... Everything is 2 for 1 if it's within an hour of their closing time. Coke Store. Okay, it's not really food. Well... I did have a float so ice cream counts, right? Cherry coke float with extra shot of cherry. Too strong at first but let it melt and mix the ice cream in and it's an amazing cherry-coke creamsicle shake. The samplers looked awesome, but too much for one person. Heart Attack Grill. I missed it! Just never the right timing to eat there. Another short trip coming up in September with the wife and daughter (17 years old). Daughter is eager to try it. Wife is waiting to see the menu. She doesn't believe me that they don't have a salad or something else like a baked potato on the menu. I told her that if they had a baked potato it would be marinated in butter, injected with lard, deep fried, and topped with whipped cream. She thinks I'm exagerating. Downtown Casinos: Golden Nugget/The D/Binions/Plaza/Fremont. These places are all pretty much the same to me. Crummy games, no "feel" to them, and nobody seems too friendly on either side of the table. Exept the players are Fremont always seem a little more friendly than at the other places. Golden Gate: Soooo disappointed. This has been my favorite place on previous trips. Now the $5 tables are all CSM and the shoe games are $10. The snack bar being gone leave a big empty place, in more ways then one. Music used to be an okay mix of pop but now it's just teeny bopper dance craze junk, which does not fit in with the clientele. I asked the cashier for a hand wipe and she says that the new management got rid of them to save money and she rolls her eyes. At Du-Pars I asked the waiter if he heard anything about the snack bar coming back and he says they keep changing what they say and he wishes they would just settle it and say whether it's gone for good or not. He said they have the shrimp cocktail there at Du-Pars but it's just not the same. HE is the one who said it's just not the same! Las Vegas Club: Wait... they're Las Vegas Club again??? They suddenly became Vegas Club one day, without changing the signage, and now they're back?!? I also saw signs calling themselves LVC. Gee, just going by your initials is sooo innovative. Same crummy games and crummy dancer. Gold Spike: I always picture the CheapoVegas casino boy with the spike through his head. I walked into this tiny pigsty of a casino many years ago and never felt the slightest urge to return... not even my morbid curiosity could get me to return. But I had to see their new "resort". Well, I guess you can put lipstick on a pig to improve its looks. I watched as the obviously newbie dealer attempted to deal. Not a single hand went by without the dealer behind her having to correct her. The player left and my morbid curiosity got the best of me so I laid down $40 to play. I wanted to clean out the bills from my front pocket so I had a twenty, a ten, and two fives. The dealer laid out the bills, declared $40, and proceeded to put $30 of chips on the table. After again being corrected by the person behind her she put out another $5 in chips. Third times the charm and she finally got $40 in chips on the table. The person behind looked greatly relieved when another dealer came up to relieve this [STRIKE]loser[/STRIKE] novice. So with all the money and chips on the table the dealer claps her hands, holds her palms up, and turns to leave the table. They had to stop her and make her finish changing the chips. New dealer was okay and even had a decent conversation for a little while. El Cortez: Only place I found an okay shoe game of BJ for $5. Single deck sucked because you can't double after split. For the most part, a good crowd and decent vibe. Glad I picked this place to stay. Other Pinball Museum: Pretty cool seeing the old games I had played as well as seeing the old old games from before my time. I was more of a video game player though and they had lots of classic video games as well. I played Joust for a few hours. In the arcade where I would hang out there were three Joe's. We all picked up nick names eventually so there was Little Joe, Jap Joe, and me, White Boy Joe. I think that's pretty self explanatory. So my initials wound up being WBJ. I quit at 8 million. I think EPS might be a little ticked off at me. Insert Coins: Another chance to get my video game fix. I got there early and walked straight in without being carded. I guess I should color the gray in my beard. I was in there for 2 1/2 hours and spent more money than I've spent in a bar in the last two decades... 50 cents on a game of Joust. I stopped at 5 million this time. The place started getting crowded as night approached. Looked like a lot of locals. Only in Vegas... They have street signs warning you to look out for drunks falling down in the street: The Great Vegas Strip Walk! Well, that's how I like to think of it. I had been training for this for months. My goal was to go from one end of the strip to the other and back, passing through every hotel and shopping mall along the way. I had done this many times when the South of of the strip was not quite so far South and when my belly wasn't hanging quite so far South as well. So this was my big "I can still do it" moment. I parked at the Strat, applied a liberal coating of SPF 50, and walked straight through the casino and into the late morning sun of a June day. It was sad seeing the Sahara being stripped bare of all the signs advertising their latest attempt at making themselves relevant. At least the Strat went big or went home. The Sahara went mediocre and everyone stayed home. The concrete and rusting steel sculpture on the East side was an interesting statement on the condition of the North end of the strip. First stop was Circus-Circus. Had to play the free money deal while here. I've done very well on this during previous trips since they don't take the promo chips when you win. This trip I lost every hand until I was down to the last chip. Finally won and stuck around until I got back to even. Circus-Circus always drives me crazy with their failure to capitalize on their potential. They have so many rooms now and so much traffic but the same crummy casino. All they did was add that no-mans land casino area on the second floor. This place has the best theme on the Strip! It should be FUN! Have a guy in a Jester outfit giving out surprise bonuses to players! Put a mime up on a stage to distract the players and give them something to make fun of. There's so much potential! The rest of the casinos are mostly a blur. I went out a back entrance to the mall at Caesars and had to go down one of those back-lot streets with no room for pedestrians. I got turned around in Aria and think I looped the place twice. Seems like the theme of every new hotel is "We're the mostest, ultra-luxuriestest, stuck-upetiest place on earth!" Meh. Nice to look around for 10 minutes, I suppose. Although the Bellagio seems to have got it right with some class to go with the luxury. The newer places just seem to be trying too hard. I did the new player deal at Cosmo and quit when I was up $50. They also gave me $5 for new sign up and spun some prize wheel for another $5 to play but lost all of that. I got to Mandalay Bay and walked back to the Shark touristy thingy. Found another unintentional exit and after going down some alley that felt like I was behind the scenes at Disneyland I found myself walking across a large and mostly empty parking lot. Then I remembered a discussion on this board about the Welcome to Las Vegas sign being a little ways down the road from here. At first I think that my feet hurt, I'm only half way through, and it's hot enough to melt the soles of my shoes if I don't keep moving. Then I think that if I take the slightest shortcut or limit the trip in any way I will have failed in my quest. So... Now I'm on the "downhill" leg of the journey. More casinos and shopping malls. I miss the arcade by MGM. M&M and Coke store is still cool. Always annoyed by that lame little shopping mall that diverts the sidewalk traffic away from the Strip. Hate the way the new Walgreens corner walkthrough leads across the street but not back down to the Strip. When I'm approaching the Rivieria I realize that one of my shoes has worked loose and I didn't notice so I've developed a large blister on the bottom of my foot. I ignore the pain and keep walking. I get to one of those bump grids they have on the corner of the sidewalk right before the street. I guess they are for all the blind people that are walking by themselves up and down the street. Anyway, I happen to hit one of the bumps square on the blister and it stops me dead in my tracks. I saw stars and it wasn't just the guy dressed as fat Elvis. I wasn't going to stop now. I was determined to make it all the way and I also didn't want to make the last leg of the trip in the dark. I carefully avoided anything other than flat surfaces for my blister foot and tried not to limp too much. Heading down this last leg to the Strat you don't want to show any sign of injury or you may be singled out by some of the predators in the area. Although the worst would probably be some addict wanting to buy any pain meds you may have. So I make it back to the Strat with some blue still in the Western sky. Just to put the nail in the coffin, so to speak, I walk the length of the little mall on the way to the tower to prove I went to every casino and shopping mall on the strip. OMG was I tired. I had a GPS tracker running in my phone and it skipped some of the indoor travel but the total distance at the end was 17.33 miles. Anybody still here? A little bit long, eh? Sorry, but if you haven't figured it out yet most trip reports are not written for the readers enjoyment but for the writers enjoyment of re-living the trip. So I made it back home and back to the daily grind. Kinda nice to return to a routine but I've still got Vegas on the brain with another trip coming in September.