It was back in last November... SOUTHWEST extended their calendar to March and... without even my last trip of 2009 under my belt, I was ready to start a new year...2010. It was probably Thanksgiving dinner's fault. The over indulgence of eating, the intoxicated, drowsy state of mind that said..."BOOK MARCH TRIP" caused me to hastily 'click' my From/ To destinations, dates, and time of flights. Mind you, I've done this a few times and...at the time, a 'Direct' flight from Oakland to Las Vegas seemed to be the correct choice and I booked it up! FAST FORWARD to March 6th, 2010. While checking (one last time) my flight itinerary... the 7:05am ETD...YES. The 10:45am ETA in Las Vegas ??? Nooooooooo! This is an hour and twenty minute flight, not three hours and fourty five minutes ??? (must be misprint, check SOUTHWEST website again) Hmmm, no other stops shown on the flight schedule page, Hmmm, (lol, maybe SOUTHWEST is tryin' to save fuel and flying 'a bit' slower)...DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. 'Basil', my faithful cab driver was here...just GO and check it out at the airport. I always use curbside check in, both in Oakland and at McCarren. I asked if my flight is direct from Oakland to LV?...."YES" I'm told and he had no idea why the flight was so long. ("pilot must be trying to save gas"...no shit, that's what he said, LOL!) I buzz through Security and get to my gate. (one last opinion)...I go up to the attendant at the gate check in counter and ask..."is this a direct flight to LV?" "YES" she says..."it's a DIRECT flight to Las Vegas via Orange County". "BUT...I THOUGHT..." "No" she says...a NONSTOP flight goes DIRECT to Las Vegas. A DIRECT flight goes to Las Vegas via one other stop...Sirrrr". LOL!, well...this was and economy trip, smaller bankroll, need to save money, and...I JUST SAVED TWO HOURS of playin' time at the RIO! Besides, I haven't been to Southern California in 30 years. AND...above the clouds, it looks just like Northern California. Once below however, it was kinda pretty. Lots of long, sandy beaches, island and small bays surrounded by blue water. There were only 19 of us in the plane prior to Orange County. Lots of folks boarded heading to Las Vegas and other points East. THEN CAME THE ANNOUNCEMENT... Due to a power outage at McCarren, they weren't letting any more planes land. It could be up to 1hr. 20min. delay. ...they'd keep us posted. YA KNOW...I TELL YA...SOME MORNINGS...KNOW WHAT I MEAN !?! We sat for 45min. Then McCarren gave us a landing window and we had to GO!...QUICKLY!...NOW! or we'd get stuck in the air waiting for another opening in the flight traffic BUT...we couldn't. Some littl' ol' lady was in the bathroom! Poor thing, when she finally finished takin' care of business and opened the door, she received a round of applause, lol. "never have BURGER KING for breakfast" she said, LOL! It was close to noon when I checked in. NASCAR was over and the RIO was pretty empty. I got my favorite, small, corner room at the very end of the hallway, 15th floor, pool/Strip view. I don't have much of a trip report (obviously...) It was a pretty quiet, uneventful trip. (save for getting there) The pools were closed. Crews were busy cleaning and re painting the whole deck area.(they'd re done the pools while I was there in December) All the restaurants, cafe, and buffet were open and on normal schedules. The buffet was still offering a $25.00 ALL DAY pass which I used every day. The buzz about Penn National's offer to Harrah's to buy the RIO was everywhere. Supervisors would only tell the employees that BIG changes were coming to the RIO soon. My sources thought the bid had been accepted and some kind of announcement would be made by the end of March. Until I see it in print or hear it on the news, it's still just a rumor, but...it sounds like...Harrah's has let it go. Because of the possible new owners, I was reluctant to put in a lot of 'play'. Normally, I can make 1000 tier points per trip...4 trips a year = 4000 tier points by the end of the year to stay Platinum but...I only ran up a little over 500 points. Until I know who owns what and how Total Rewards points are going to roll with Penn's system, I thought it safer to hold on to my money (for now...). Wednesday morning I picked up my HERTZ rental and headed out to MResort for the rest of the week. I've said it before, I really like this place. The location doesn't bother me a bit...I have very little interest in the Strip except for my Shows. Restaurant choices are great, the buffet is certainly as good as the RIO's (i like M's better)...gaming is good, customer service is excellent, and the rooms are wonderful. After the very first time I visited M...just to get my 'iMagine' players card and play a bit...they started sending me offers. 1 FREE night w/ a good casino rate for the other nights if I wished...I didn't put even $200. through their SLOT and VP machines...This stay was FREE both nights, 1 VIP line pass with a free buffet coupon and they gave me another one when I got there... My offer was for a mountain view room. I like the (off in the distance) Strip view. It's twenty five bucks a night extra, but I'd already run up almost $90. in $points, so that easily paid for my view upgrade. Like my RIO view...looking down on the pools with the Strip out in front of you, I get M's version when I'm staying out there (except the Strip is just 'a bit' further away, lol) They even had 'their car' take me to McCarren this time. I usually use their FREE shuttle. Nothing BIG to report on gaming. Slots were Slots, no big hits but they kept me playing and ran up points for my history at both properties. I had one quad during my Double Bonus sessions for $500. but everything else were just teasers. Lots of 3 of a kind, but just couldn't pull up that 4th one for a quad. ...had 4 to a Royal, but was denied the grand prize. I saw 6 Shows this time. MANILOW, Carrot Top , FANTASY, HUMAN NATURE, ZUMANITY, and VOICES. I should have some thoughts on them in Shows/Entertainment around this coming weekend. I took 4k for cabs and gaming...brought $1,300. home. Next trip June 27-July 2....OVER AND OUT! P.S. I 'clicked' the right 'click' for my return flight... 1hr. 20min. Basil was waiting for me.