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feb 9-13

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by chef, Feb 21, 2014.

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  1. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    My Trip Report

    It's been a long time since I've delivered a TR, but with a new travel partner along, why not.
    Departed Rockford, IL on Allegiant and the flight was even on time.
    For first time and with trepidation, gave Fox Rental a try. The price of $16/day with all fees got me to bite. Like others have said in reviews, the wait to get a car can be long and this was the case.
    Arriving at Sunday nite at 10:00 pm, I thought it would be slow. It wasn't. It was nearly an hour before we got out of there, so the price savings might not be worth it. Plus, taking not just one shuttle, but two to get to Fox was time consuming, likewise with the return.
    We only used the car for two days so it really wasn't worth the hassle, but for a week or longer, I would rent from Fox for the cost savings. No other problems, such as upselling, at all.
    First two nights were at the Quad ($19) and final two at the Rio ($30), plus resorts fees. Quite satisfied, especially with the Rio.
    It had been several years since staying there and room was as good as I remember - spacious, comfortable beds and quiet.
    Staff at the Rio also do an excellent job with customer service, from check in, spa, gift shop, poker room, etc.
    Even with $20 resort fee, it seemed to be worth it to use the spa and fitness center. Again, the customer service by spa attendent Joey, who's logged 18 years with the company, was outstanding. You couldn't go anywhere without him bringing you an ice bucket, orange slices, juices, slippers, robe and anything else.
    My traveling companion dreams of playing in the WSOP so that is why we stayed at the Rio. He spent most of his time playing poker at various sites around town, often until late in the morning.
    That was a blessing for me, as the man snores like a freight train. Neither noise-cancelling head phones or ear plugs helped.
    If we go again, it will have to be separate rooms, that's for sure.
    I did get him out of the casinos long enough to walk the new bridge over the Black Canyon and get a close up view of Hoover Dam. Pretty cool. I did want to hike the old railroad trail from the Hacienda casino to the dam, but the 6-mile round trip wasn't in the cards for him.
    Glad to see that the traffic congestion, from when the bridge was first opened, has been alleviated. Or, maybe going at a slow time helped out.
    If you have wheels and free time, the walk across the bridge is a nice break from the casino life. There is a parking lot at base of bridge and it's an easy walk and plenty of informational kiosks along the way.
    I began to understand a little more how all these stores and shops make a profit by watching my friend in action. Unlike myself, he had no problem parting with cash, be it buying overpriced clothing, gifts, haircut at the Riv, etc. As long as there are tourists like him, these places will have plenty of business and that's fine. But, it isn't my thing.
    The man likes to eat, so we checked out a few mid-level buffets, such as Red Rock, GVR, Main Street, Silverton and Silver Sevens, all using the LVA 2-1 coupons. A few thoughts:
    When Red Rock first opened, I thought highly of it. The last couple times I've been there, it's a different story. It's not worth the drive out anymore.
    GVR remains one of my favorites, though we had to fight through a crowd of about 50 school children who were eating there about 10:30 am. Must have been some kind of field trip.
    Actually, it was kinda fun to see the kids go through the line.
    The reason we did Main Street is because we were DT for FSE and the price was right. And, MSS is a neat casino to walk through, as is there buffet dining room. However, I am still not sold on their food and probably never will be. It's adequate at best.
    I hadn't been to Silverton for a few years and it was time to check it out again and go through Bass Pro Shop. It's okay.
    Silver Sevens (formerly Terribles) is used by me as a stop on the way to the airport for breakfast. Enough said.
    We only used the car for a couple days, so I walked from the Rio to the airport to check into my flight home. I love to throw the backpack on and make that hike in good weather, and the weather from Feb 9-13 was fantastic.
    Hardly anybody does this and it was a complete surprise when I ran into a friend of mine from Illinois and his wife a couple years ago doing the same thing. I was walking there and he was coming in the opposite direction. What a coincidence.
    Anyway, I'm on Paradise between Tropicana and the airport and see two people in the distance headed my way. As they got closer, it was the same two people that I bumped into two years before. We both about fell over from the surprise of having a another chance meeting in the unlikeliest of places.
    When I get to the airport, my plan is to head up to Utah before returning to Illinois. My SWA flight was overbooked and I took a $349 bump and decided to head back to the Rio for another day in beautiful Vegas.
    My friend, who wasn't leaving until the next day, still had the room, so it worked out perfect.
    As I walked back from the airport, I heard someone call my name in front of the Paris casino. It was the guy and his wife, who I just saw on the airport walk. They had already checked into the Platinum and were dining at Mon Ami Gabi. Weird coincidences, that's for sure.
    Hooked back up at the Rio with my buddy and decided to show him downtown and how the CAT bus system works. The Duece is one of my least favorites things to do, but once in a great while it's doable.
    The next day, caught a plane up to Salt Lake City and returned a few days after that to Midway, where my friend picked me up and we drove the 110 miles back home.
    A sidenote to my return flt from Utah to Illinois. It included a 3-hour layover in Vegas, plenty of time for me to walk to Hard Rock and lose a little money at video poker and enjoy some good lamb stew at the Cottage Cafe, a little Ethiopian restaurant on Paradise Rd, between Trop and Harmon. It was my first time there and worth a trip back.
     
  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice TR!

    I also had a random chance meeting this trip believe it or not. And could have stayed at extra day too. Still kicking myself a bit for not doing it.
     
  3. Jimbucc

    Jimbucc VIP Whale

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    Unreal how you ran into those people. So 3 hours was plenty of time to walk to the Hard Rock. That's pretty cool. I remember one of your TR's when you went into detail about how to walk from the airport. How's your friend in the wheel chair that used to go to Vegas with you?

    I agree with your buffet reviews. Sometimes the Station buffets need a rest for a while. Then when you come back to them they are again appealing. :thumbsup:
     
  4. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

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    $349 voucher and one additional unexpected day in Vegas = WIN!
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  5. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Obviously those two people make that walk every day.

    Thanks for sharing, enjoyed it!
     
  6. joshrocker

    joshrocker VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the quick buffet reviews!

    Glad you had a great trip.
     
  7. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Jim,
    Thanks for asking about my wheelchair friend. His health has been on the decline the last couple years and has yet to make it back to Vegas. Certainly, the bottom line at the Olympic Gardens has probably taken a hit from his absence.
    Maybe summer of 2015 a trip for him. He still has a couple of "Show The Cripple Some Nipple" shirts to wear.
     
  8. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Thanks for posting Chef! You have inspired my brother and I a few years back to take the walk to McCarran from TI (traveling light on a short trip) and we still laugh about it. It's not that far and I regularly walk 5 miles in 1:20 during the non winter months. Vegas has excellent conditions for walking / hiking during the non summer months. My brother puts in decent walks in Summerlin and at Red Rock SP.

    Hope your friend is able to go out next year and I look forward to reading that trip report. I'll try to hit the HD bridge during my next trip.
     
  9. wpete

    wpete High-Roller

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    "so I walked from the Rio to the airport to check into my flight home."

    Okay, so I check Google maps, walking....Rio to mccarraon....4.2 miles each way....1 hr 26 mins....ARE YOU INSANE? :faint:
     
  10. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Wow, I missed that too. I thought Rio to Bally's was bad enough with rollerbags. :eek: Took at least 30 minutes to go that far.
     
  11. TomTWI

    TomTWI High-Roller

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    I can walk 4 miles in cool weather that's not the problem to me it's the traffic around the airport. Are there even walkable paths (that won't get you killed) to get into the terminal?

    TomTWI
     
  12. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    There is a sidewalk the entire way with the exception of a short area near the old terminal one, and you walk through a large employee parking lot approaching ground zero.
     
  13. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    The walk to the airport seems crazy to me but you obviously enjoy doing it so more power to ya! I'm always surprised when I run into some random person I know in Vegas and really enjoy it when I do. How funny you ran into the same two people....I can just imagine the reaction you all must have had. Congrats on the bonus day!
     
  14. TheCanoe

    TheCanoe Low-Roller

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    I need to know more about this walk.

    How? Why?

    We're you a local before who knew this was possible? I've taken plenty of cab rides from the airport to he strip, but I never looked out the car window and thought "meh, I could've walked this"

    What would you estimate was the time from terminal to hard rock (or Rio)?

    For the record, I think it's awesome. I'm only asking questions because I want to do it now
     
  15. acehigh

    acehigh Tourist

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    Walk to Airport Continued

    I actually walked one time to the airport as well about 10 years ago or so. I left Paris with a small carry on with wheels. I had plenty of time and at the point of nothing left to do in vegas. I lived in Chicago at the time and just went for it. I made it no problem. Tropicana and where the airport meets you want to stay towards the right as the side walk continues on that side. There were some art pieces to walk by. This was before T 3 was up and running so I know those side walks are still there but there may be a few changes. I told my Brother Viva Las Vegas about it and he then tried it 1 time too. My only recommendation is to change your shirt when you get to the airport. I remember being cold on the plane as my shirt was a little moist and the air made it colder. They should make it better but the cabbies would lose out...
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
  16. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    No I'm not a local, just some guy who has always been intrigued by airports. A few years ago, I wondered if it was possible to leave McCarran on foot, especially since the Strip is so close.
    After some investigation, I discovered the seldom-used sidewalk leaving Terminal 1. It took some digging around on my part, as airports don't seem to publicize the use of sidewalks for human transportation.
    I wonder if city/county codes mandate that a sidewalk be made available for foot traffic. The time from Rio to McCarran was about an hour and 15 minutes. The time to Hard Rock was close to a half hour.
    Even if you didn't make the full walk to your hotel, but got as far as the Hard Rock, you could jump in a cab there.
    The best part of the walk is the area from McCarran to the Paradise-Tropicana intersection. Often, I'll arrive early and sit out on the grassy area with my shoes off and relax, watching the traffic go by and planes flying overhead. Remember, I'm an airport geek.
    For someone staying at a close-by place like Hooters, MGM, the Trop, the walk is something to consider.
     
  17. LV_Bound

    LV_Bound VIP Whale

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    If you were walking a few days later you would met us too, but walking the strip of course not to/from the airport. :peace:

    Get a wife that packs like mine does and you will know why. :wink2:
     
  18. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Thanks for posting. That was a fine tip on the Ethiopian place. I'd like to try it.
     
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