Feb 26 - Day 1 - The Departure Me and my wife T headed out to Vegas late on a Tuesday night. This is our 3rd trip to Vegas and everything at the airport went smooth as silk. Breezed through TSA and even bagged the best seat on the plane (the seat in the exit row with no seat in front of it!). Can you say “legroom?” YES! Usually Southwest planes are always full. Luckily this wasn’t the case. Once the entire plane boarded we had 3 seats for the two of us. Stretching out on a flight is so freaking nice when you can. Only took us 3 hours or so to get from Houston to Vegas. Slept most of the flight as I had just pulled a double shift the same day. Slammed a 5-hour energy drink after landing as we made our way to collect our bags. Our bags were the first one out the chute. We kept saying that our trip so far has been so smooth that this HAS to be a sign of good things to come. Hopped on the rental-car bus to go get our car. Bus left as soon as we got on it (another sign?). No line at the Advantage rental desk (make that yet another sign). No I don’t want your insurance, no I don’t want to prepay for gas, for the love of God I don’t need a drop top convertible mustang, just give me the quoted price so I can get my Nissan Versa and get out of here. The guy realized the upsell wasn’t working with me so I get my keys and we pack up the car. Tip: Always bring a flashlight with you when renting a car. For some unknown reason the lights suck in the parking garage and you don’t want to miss a scratch or ding upon the initial inspection. Inspection done. Onward to Silverton! Yeah you heard me right. The Silverton. This place has been our home base for the last 2 trips or so. The hotel and casino is spotless clean. It’s just far enough off the strip to get away from the craziness but not so far you can’t get to where you need to be when needed. It’s a good fit for us. Every employee we have ever come across from the handyman to the casino dealers are all extremely nice and helpful. We check into our room and we got the room right next to the elevator. This is a good thing because the hotel hallways wrap all the way around in a 360 until it dead ends. God help you if you forget something in your room and have to walk all the way back to get it. We went to the casino watering hole called the “Flare Bar” to play a short session of bar-top slots. This will be a recurring theme during this trip. Our motive for this trip was to see how many bar-tops we could play and what kind of drinks can get comped. I asked the nice lady bartender if she had any IPA’s on draft and she said she did not but she could get me fairly close. I got to try a beer called Anchor Steam. Good stuff. I think T opted for vanilla vodka with Diet Coke. We both liked that one. Nothing memorable came out of the slots and we broke even for the most part apart from tipping for our comped drinks. Remember folks, take care of your bartenders and they will take care of you! We are starving at this point so we go to the Sundance Grill tucked in the back of the establishment and grab a late night bite to eat. Their “Wildcard Special” hit the spot. 2 eggs, sausage, a mound of hash browns, and toast (sourdough!) and jelly rounded out this meal for only $2.99! T had the chili and she said it was tasty. I remember having the chili on my eggs in the past at this place and it was good back then too. I know, chili on your eggs? It’s a Texas thing I suppose – why am I the only one that likes it that way? Fully satiated and with the 5 hour energy feeling more like a 2 hour energy we both crash and try to get a few hours sleep till our trip REALLY begins.