Trip Report 6/7/15-6/12/15 Preface: I have not been to Vegas since 2011, I have been wanting to make it a yearly event but life got in the way, finances were not great and so I just never had a chance. In January my oldest son turned 18 and is no longer in school so child support stopped for him (I still pay for twins) and so that gave me some extra money I could save. I decided I had not used that money in 17 years (he lived with me for a year) and so I was going to take some of it and have some fun for once. I started planning this trip back in Feb or early March. The last few trips I have done in March, I love the weather but being a single parent, I had to plan around when I could have someone care for my son. So, the plan was to book this trip to coincide with him going to his mothers for his summer visit and that is where the dates came. Originally I had booked the trip for 4 nights but I decided to add a night, was back on forth on where I was staying and finally made it happen. This trip was planned totally as a low roller trip, no big playing, small bank roll and the chance to take many photos. For photos of my trip you can visit my Flicker: Strip/Downtown (these are the edited photos, I will be adding more as I can) https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157654276587331 Strip/Downtown unedited taken with my DSLR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157654134550206 Strip/Downtown taken with my iPhone: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157654178874202 Valley of Fire edited: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157654261372806 Valley of Fire unedited taken with DSLR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157652004465464 Valley of Fire iPhone pics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157653924093870 TRAVEL: This trip started out early. I was hardly able to sleep the past two days and today being departure day was no different. I had set my alarm to awake at 3am in order to shower, finishing a few last minute things and grab a bite to eat. I awoke around 11pm and did not fall back to sleep until around 2am with the alarm going off at 3, left me for little rest. Took a shower and just was not feeling like eating, so i drove on over to the airport. My departure was scheduled for 740am via Southwest flight 1877, non-stop from CMH-LAS. I paid $458 for the ticket plus $25 for EB check-in. Flight was a full flight but they were offering upgraded boarding for $40 but I declined, my A22 pass was good enough to get me a window emergency exit row seat on a 737-800 series plane. I prefer the right side of the plane but for the prized seat I had to settle for the left. My seat mates consisted of a guy on the isle and a MILF between us, she was flying with her friends but with her late boarding number, they could not get any seats together, thank god because the other option was some rather large guy. I think I was most impressed with the on-time departure plus we had a good captain who would keep us updated and gave is info when something scenic came up, We landed on time and baggage was a bit slow but it did arrive. I arrived at the Las Vegas Airport at 950am for my noon flight. Was going to check my bags with the Southwest desk but the line was a mile long and the skycap just had few minute wait so I went back out to the Skycap and checked my bag. I used Bell Trans VIP service for a cost of $28 round trip to go to/from the airport. When I arrived at LAS I went to door 9 and checked in at the desk, they asked me for my paper and he quickly put me into a SUV, I think a Ford, he took me to Downtown Grand and I gave him a $10 tip. I had a pick up at Mandalay Bay to the airport for a 930, I got an email around 900 saying my driver had been dispatched, it said I had a stretch and my drivers name. When she arrived a few minutes later I was waiting on her and she loaded my bags, offered me a bottle of water and drove me to the airport. She was friendly and offered to take my pic with the limo but I declined, I do not like my pic taken and forgot to pack my razor and did not want to buy one so I am a bit scruffy. I tipped her $15 for the ride, was going to give her $20 but had no $20s left in my wallet. I had a rental car from Avis for a day, plan was for a Valley of Fire trip. I reserved a economy and they gave me a Ford Taurus Limited with 6900 miles. Nice car, rode nice and had every feature one could imagine. They did not try to upsell me anything and the only issue I had was later in the day after returning it, I had a text from my bank about a charge to my card without the card being present. I look it up an it was Avis for an additional $26 and some change. I walked over to the counter, he at first thought it was for gas, but I filled it up, so he pulled my paperwork and could not see it, made a call and they had me only driving the car a few miles and they charge a surcharge for that but they quickly returned the money after I told him how much driving I had done. Return flight departed on time. Originally they had an over sell, I offered to take a later flight if needed which would have gotten me $528 in compensation but they ended up with a couple no-shows. I ended up with a rude lesbian sitting next to me, kept huffing and puffing because her girlfriend was sitting in the row across from us and she was not happy. She just had an attitude the whole flight. We arrived in Columbus on time, and sat on the plane for nearly an hour because of no gates, guess a bunch of delays occurred due to some storms. Hotels: Downtown Grand: I really like this property but to me the bed was uncomfortable. Small, easy to navigate, very friendly staff and located just enough off Fremont St that you do not have to hear the stage shows or the sound system when they have the light show. I was upgraded upon check in due to the clerk “pushing a wrong button” so that was a bonus. I was in the casino tower room 809. I really enjoyed the pool here, I spent only about 45 minutes or so here but it was very nice, water was the perfect temp and depth and the eye candy was amazing. Planet Hollywood: Arrived via taxi for a cost of $29 ($21.50 plus $8.50 tip). I waited in line for about 15 minutes or so, saw several people try to cut the line and get put back in place by the staff. I smiled and asked if I could check in since it was around 11-1130 and she said sure, I asked for a high floor with a view, she wanted to charge me $30 extra per night for the view so I declined and took the room assigned. The room is nice, bed is comfortable, tub will fit two people. As long as I stayed out of the mall it was very easy to navigate. The pool here is horrible. They have two on the 6th floor. One is for all ages and has a Jacuzzi, cabanas and lounge chairs. The other pools is for 21 and over and has the flow rider. There if you want to sit down, you have to pay for a lounger or cabana. In between the two pools they have a large sun deck with lots of loungers. I originally went to the all ages pool and found a lounger, got in the water which was not bad, then got in the hot-tub mainly to soak my ankle. Got out, because there were way to many kids, moved to the adults pool only to find I had no place to sit my stuff or sit, so I came back to my room. I think it took me longer to walk to/from the pool than I spent there. One things to note, the walls here are paper thin and with the large tubs big enough for two, the plumbing for them are loud. I was able to hear my neighbors filling theirs at 3am when I was sleeping, it woke me up for 20 minutes or so while they filled it. The first night someone tried to get into my room, they tried to just open the door, it did not work, they tried their key, it did not work, they then started to knock loudly and I yelled back to them they had the wrong room, they finally left. Mandalay Bay: After checking out of PH I drove the rental to get gas and return it to Avis at MB. I arrived around 830am (car was due back by 9) and asked if they had any rooms available and she went ahead and checked me in. I could have taken an available room but it was on the 9th floor and I wanted higher, she then told me I could have a strip view on the 17th floor or a pool view on either the 30 or 32 floor. I opted for the pool view so I could be up higher. She gave me my keys and about 1130-12pm I received a text with my room number. I was in room 32214 and had a view of the pool and some of the airport. I live near an airport so I am use to hearing planes which was good thing because it would have been bothersome otherwise. What was really bothersome was the neighbors to my room, both nights they were playing their TV rather loudly, it almost sounded like they had a surround sound. I put up with it the first night but the second, I was trying to sleep and really did not want to hear it, called security and they came up after about 20 minutes and asked them to turn it down, they did but I could hear them complaining that I had the nerve to call. Not sure if all the rooms have thin walls there or if it was because I had an adjoining room with the door. The room itself was nice, large with a safe. Bathtub big enough to soak in and a separate shower and toilet room. Hopefully who ever your with your comfortable around because they had a window at the bathtub looking into the foyer of the room, it did have a blind but one could peek very easy if they so desired. Gambling: I wanted to give a variety of games a try. While downtown I played mostly blackjack and did okay at it, it was fun and had some great tables. When some of the people saw I knew what I was doing they were asking me for advice, kinda felt like I was at work. I noticed most of the dealers I ran into (downtown) seems to be break in dealers. They were very slow at dealing and math was not coming to them too easy on it either, a few times I had to correct them on like 6 card 20s and such. Guess it pays to know how to count the cards fast, guess I could not leave work at home. I hit quads three times at the Grand including one quad 2’s with the kicker, best part of that was it was on the $10 free play they gave me and on the first hand. I almost played just one credit but decided to max bet and I sure am glad I did. Speaking of free play, Downtown Grand gives you coupon book at check-in that includes a $25 match play, a $10 free bet (could have been a match play) plus $5 in free slot play. I had the ACG free bet/match plays as well. When I left downtown I was up around $250-350 from what I arrived with. I ended up playing Blackjack downtown at The Grand ($3 table shoe 3:2), Vegas Club ($5 table show 3:2), The D ($5 table shoe forget payouts), Fremont ($3 table CSM 6:5 I think), Binions ($3 shoe 6:5) El Cortez ($3 shoe 3:2) and the only one I did not break even or win at was Vegas Club Planet Hollywood not so kind. I play some Three Card (up $70), UTH (lost $50) and Mississippi Stud (Lost 30). Video poker was not so kind to me either here. By the time 6pm came on my second day I had lost $300 and decided to call it quits. I grabbed $50 and brought it with me on a walk to see the Volcano at the Mirage, Google lied, said it started at 7pm and so I arrived at 645 after a long and very painful walk (arthritis). I was not too happy when I found out it started at 8 and walked into the casino, used the restroom and sat at the Lobby Bar, popped $20 into the machine and about 10 minutes later when I was down to my last couple hands, I hit quad 3’s with the kicker for $207.50. I cashed the ticket out, put another $20 in and played for about 45 minutes and lost it, but I had no complaints. Even at the end of the third day, I will still up 50 for the trip The last couple days the results were mixed. I was up and down and the tables were not so kind to me. I played multiple games, and almost had a straight flush on 3 Card poker, would have had it if the girl who sat down would have sat to my left instead of my right or waited for the next hand to join the table. Had a guy at Luxor playing stupid, I made a comment along the lines of WTF is he doing (under my breath to myself) and he got mad and got up and left the table, then a few minutes later an Asian lady who had a strong accent started yelling at the dealer, called the floor boss over and started compiling about the dealer and I just shook my head, told her if she did not like the dealer they had other tables, and told the floor supervisor the dealer was doing nothing wrong. The asian lady just wanted a reason to bitch. Video poker seemed to by my game of luck. I hit quads I think six or seven times, twice with the kicker for 207.50 each. I played some Freebet at NYNY and she had me up but I ended up leaving even. Total for the trip is not bad. I took $1300 for a five night trip, i budgeted $200 a day with the plan to bring $300 home, I am bringing home $970 give or take a few bucks, that is a win in my book. Shows: I had a My Vegas comp for premium seat to see Zumanity. I had Sec 103, Row A Seat 1 which was right next to the stage behind the love couches. The show starts out with a warm up which was to funny, and it moves into the main show which had some singing, dancing, acrobatics and comedy. As everyone knows, its a raunchy show, lots of perverted humor and you do see boobies. I think my favorite part, other than the warm up was the girls in the fish bowl it, it was very well choreographed, the girls were attractive and it was very sensual. I would see the show again but now I want to see some others. The studio is small and there is not a bad seat to be had. I did the CBS viewing experience. The show we viewed was called Angel From Hell and was not very good. It had some comical things in it but is not something I would watch. In the past they gave you $25 cash for participating which honestly is the only reason I did it, I only got an envelop with coupons and I gave it away Dining: Day 1. PizzaRock: Not bad pizza, filling and the staff was friendly. I walked in and just ate at the counter from the pick up window. Day 2. Wicked Spoon: Was not thrilled this time around. It was Brunch and there really was nothing there that looked too good, I tired a few things and left, felt cheated money wise. Pinup Pizza: Average at best, I think it caused my acid reflux to act up. Will pass on eating it again. Day 3 . Spice Market: I did not mind this buffet, a bit expensive than I anticipated but it was tasty, the food was more comfort type food and filling. Day 4. Got a slice of pizza from the upper level of NYNY and it was just blah, same with a place in the walk way from Mandalay Bay to Luxor. Also had Mcdonalds in the Excalibur Food Court. Went to Shake Shack and got a shake, not bad but small. What surprised me was they actually had them made and sitting under what I hope was a cooler. Day 5. Had a banana from one of the stores here in MB for breakfast and then later on, after playing awhile at NYNY, I asked the pit boss about a food comp, he said they do not normally write them, look at my play and told me I had only a couple bucks in express comps. He then asked what i was wanting and I told him just something small, and he said he would go ahead and issue me a $20 food credit to America. I had a burger, fries and a donut plus a Mt Dew and the bill came to $17.80, I guess I should have gotten another donut but the waitress I had sucked, I did leave her $5 tip because I felt on a free meal she deserved something. Day 6. Had Popeyes at the airport. MISC: This is the longest trip I have had since I was a kid when we would come out for a couple weeks at a time. I had fun, it was productive and did what I was needing, helped me destress. I will be honest, the casinos really do not excite me like they use to nor does the sound of the machines, maybe I am numb from working in a casino. I had some friendly dealers and some not so friendly. Surprisingly the best dealers when it came to being friendly I had were two different guys at Excalibur. They talked, joked and knew what it was about. Quite a few of the dealers I ran into did not talk, did not tell the counts in Blackjack and seemed annoyed. i tipped everyone accordingly but never left a table without tipping even if I was losing. Fremont Street was not as exciting to me. I think one day is enough for me. I may stay down there if I get some offers but I honestly got bored once it was daytime. I had a great photoshoot down there, the girl I worked with was great and had fun, she lived in Vegas all her life and i was her first time on Fremont St. I really did not expect to see so many bums and freaks on Fremont St. I don't remember it being like that in 2011 when I was there last. The strip also seemed to have more bums but they did not bother anyone, well until I was down by Stratosphere . I took the monorail to SLS from MGM and then walked to the Strat to take photos off the observation deck. The same bum asked me for money twice, once going in and once going out and every bum I ran into asked for just a few cents, one older lady with no teeth, weighing around 90lbs and about 60 asked me for 72 cents and told me she would give me a blowjob for it. I passed. I did not contribute to any of their habits. I follow some cabbies on twitter and sent out a mass tweet to them that I needed a ride from SLS to MB. One messaged me back he was available, at that point I was past SLS still walking and we met at McDonalds by Circus Circus which was all the farther I was going to walk. Cost was $15 plus I gave him a $10 tip for taking care of me, the entertainment Iv had following him on Twitter and for not forcing me to take one of the less than honest drivers. Lots of kids and lots of strollers this trip. I seen a few parents who must have been shocked at what they saw ushering their kids past the half naked people. I drove out to the Valley of Fire and the day I went they were calling for rain and it was cloudy, temp never went above 85 but it was a bit humid, I did not mind, being from Ohio I am use to it but hearing the people here in Vegas complain about it was funny. After the Valley of Fire, I exited the east entrance and made the drive to Hoover Dam. To me that was a waste of time, there was some good scenery on that road but the dam itself was not interesting like it use to be when I was younger. I other than bringing home most of my money, I did something else this trip that I have not done in most others, I went to bed at a normal time, well a normal time in Vegas time. Typically I was in bed no later than 11-1230 or so. I know I missed some prime people watching but it felt good getting some sleep and not being a zombie. I think the length of this trip made it possible to not feel rushed. Most other trips, that were shorter I would have stayed up until I could not stay up any more and then crashed. Not this time. One issue I had was my arthritis was really bugging me from all the walking. My ankles were swollen most of the trip and I was in pain most of the time. I did as much as I could but just slower than I would have liked, but that made it possible to see things I may not have. One thing I think I will remember is the guy proposing to his girlfriend on top of the stratosphere. She was totally in shock, crying and very emotional, I was very happy for them. In closing this was a good trip. I want to go back and as much as we talk about kids not belonging in Vegas, I may take my 14 year old with me next time, if anything so I am not alone and he also really wants to go. That is up in the air of course because I do like doing what I want when I want plus if I decided to have some female company it would be awkward. Next time I will try not to stay at so many different places, seemed once I was comfortable with one place, I was moving. I think all the construction on the strip since my last couple visits has really destroyed the view that we use to get, I know its not the same from atop the Strat. If you made it this far thank you for reading this, and have an questions or comments feel free to leave them in a reply and I will answer them as best I can as I time allows.