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Is this Heaven? No, its a a bunch of IOWANS in Vegas

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Wanger1969, Jun 8, 2012.

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  1. Wanger1969

    Wanger1969 High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Iowa
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    This is long, but I hope enjoyable......Friday June 1st - Monday June 4th - Imperial Palace

    I’d like to say that this trip started out like many Vegas trips before them, but there was NOTHING in this trip that resembled any trip I’ve ever made before.

    You see, I’ve always gone to Vegas with friends. I’ve always centered the trip around how much fun I was going to have and things I wanted to do. It was always selfish. This trip was much different, but no less enjoyable. In fact, I found some things out about myself that will make me re-think future trips.

    This time around, the trip planning started as a mother-daughter romp in Sin City just following her 21st birthday. About a year prior to the event, I gave my daughter the option of choosing where she’d like to go for a trip to celebrate her march into “grown up world”. I mentioned Mexico, she insisted on Vegas. (I’ve never been prouder) In mentioning my plan to a few family members, they expressed some interest in joining us for this trip. Well, why not? I generally like my family, although I haven’t traveled extensively with most of them. So, LETS DO IT! Lets take the entire family to Vegas for Allysons 21st birthday! Plans set in stone.

    We ended up with 14 in our group. There was myself and my newly legal daughter Allyson. I arranged for her to bring her bestie Tyler. My brother and his wife committed, as did my sister and her future daughter in law. There, we have a group already! Add in two of my besties, Maggie and Troy, and we’ve got a nicely rounded group. What? My other sister and her family of five can swing it? They are driving? From IOWA? OK!

    Those of us flying left the Des Moines airport via Allegiant at 8:20pm on Friday, June 1st. I could go on and on about how ridiculous it was working with Allegiant for a large group, about the two changes to our flight and eventual change from the Cedar Rapids to Des Moines Airport, but why dwell. They got us all there, safely, and almost on time. That’s really in the end all that matters. We arrived in Vegas around 9pm and proceeded to the taxi stand. 20 minutes or so later, all 9 of us were in taxi’s en route to the Imperial Palace.

    I’ve never stayed at the IP before, and after this trip, I’m guessing I may again. (if the rooms are priced right) I don’t have any specific complaints. In fact, once we made it through the check in, everything else was pretty smooth. Check in was long and the check in counter people seemed less about service and more about moving cattle through a line. Generally I don’t need to be hand held, but I did need to insure everyone was in the same general area. (had they explained up front that everything except Pagoda were literally all together, that would have solved everything) We’d registered our room with 3 people staying in there. (there ended up being 4, which I declared) We proceeded to our room, which contained one King Size Bed. Yep. My friend, who got a room to himself, had two beds. Yep. A short trip back to the front desk (at IP, yea right) and all was resolved. I still find it odd that they thought 3, let alone 4, grown adults would all sleep in one King size bed. Maybe in someone else’s fantasy, but not mine.

    Everyone got checked in and settled in, and it was probably about Midnight. Everyone met at my room, 8031, which ended up being the centralized hub for the weekend. We met up with the crazy bastards that drove from Iowa, shared our hugs, and then decided we were all starving. It being late night, I knew a good deal was to be had. We took our group of 14 and headed over to the Victorian Cafe at Bills. I can honestly say that in my 6 trips to Vegas, this is a guaranteed stop for me at least once every trip. This is a just a solid place to eat. Not to mention late at night, a great deal, with their 4.99 3 egg breakfast and 7.99 steak and eggs. Everyone enjoyed a nice supper/breakfast and most decided it was time to check in for the night. (granted, it was now 2am) We were going to the Hoover Dam in the 8am, and we needed to catch the bus at Caesars at 9:20am. While most retired, myself and my bestie Troy decided the Craps table needed our full attention. I will give IP a little credit here. I had a BLAST playing Craps all weekend. A fun table, fun people, low rollers to high rollers, and the pit guys were just great. I’m not a craps pro, but I learned a lot in my hours here. And the drink service at IP is FANTASTIC. We blew some money and found our way to bed around 5am.

    We were all on our own for breakfast Saturday AM, but the plan was to meet at the hub (aka 8031) no later than 8:45. Knowing my family, I had little faith that this weekend would go by without someone being late. Well, they all made it on time this morning, so maybe they will prove me wrong. We made the trek over to Caesars and awaited our bus transport to Planet Hollywood via the Grand Canyon Tour Company for the Mini Dam Tour. Leo was our tour host. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about Leo. Interesting stories, generally funny guy. Yes, he did shush me once, but I probably deserved it. For $30/person, this was the way to go. It certainly beat the hassle of renting something and driving ourselves. Everyone had a great time. Even me. I will state for the record that I was one of those “why would you waste precious time in Vegas visiting the stupid Hoover Dam” people. Not anymore. Everyone should see it once in their life. Its truly something you have to experience LIVE. We arrived back at Caesars around 2:30. This gave everyone a few hours to freshen up for supper. (which was at 5pm at Harrahs)

    I had asked everyone to meet at the Hub at 4:45 to make the walk over the Harrahs. What the heck? Once again, EVERY member of my family was ON TIME, and we proceeded to the DIAMOND check in. That’s right homies, I got to enter the SNOB line and walk RIGHT PAST THE REGULAR FOLK. It will probably be the first and last time, but DAMN it felt good. The buffet was great AS ALWAYS and the family thoroughly enjoyed their supper. We finished supper around 7pm. At the end, we had about $60 left in our liquor budget, so we walked out with 5 bottles of champagne. PERFECT. That fit into our next activity, which I had kept secret from everyone.

    I asked everyone to meet at the Hub by 7:45, dress casual, as we had an activity planned at 8pm. I had rented a stretch Ford Excursion from NTS for a 2 hour drive up and down the strip. (hit the Vegas sign, you know how it works) Edward from NTS called, and he was parked out in the shuttle bay, as the vehicle couldn’t get into the maze that was IP. This was about 7:45. Was everyone at the HUB. NO. We had one missing. A call to his cell AND to his room, no answer. They broke their perfect record. As we proceeded to walk down to the room of the “one who shall remain nameless”, he called. He had fallen asleep, but was ready to go. We went through the maze that they call IP, and eventually found the taxi stand. To the right was a long driveway to walk out to the shuttle bay. I took up the rear and let everyone else take the lead. I heard screams as they turned the corner, and I knew at that point I was now the coolest Mom/Aunt/Sister/Friend they all had. But to my surprise, NTS had NOT brought the 16 passenger Ford Excursion for our trip. They had brought the 30 Passenger YELLOW STRETCH HUMMER. The WORLDS LARGEST. At this point, even I thought I was the worlds coolest everything.

    Everyone piled into the Hummer and cranked the tunes. For the next two hours, we proceeded to drink, scream, dance, and frankly just have a GREAT time. We had ages 18 to 52, and EVERYONE loved the ride. (it is one cool vehicle) Edward was great, and told me that anytime they have it available, they are going to bring it out if someone didn’t request it special. (it sells itself if you’ve seen it on the Strip) So, if you were out walking or driving on the Strip between 8pm and 10pm on Saturday, June 2nd, if you saw the yellow stretch Hummer with some obnoxious kids screaming out the windows, that was us. Hey. We know how to party in Iowa. Word.

    We had Edward drop us off downtown just in time to see the light show at 10pm. At that point, we were all exhausted. It had been ONE LONG DAY. We walked over to the Deuce and everyone bought their 24 hour pass and took the long ride back to the IP. The craps table was calling us once again, but unfortunately, whoever was supposed to text whoever never did, and BOTH of us ended up falling asleep. At midnight on a Saturday in Vegas. I’m so disappointed, but we probably needed the sleep.

    Sunday was a free day for everyone with no pre-arranged plans. My daughter and her bestie wanted to do the wax museum and do the rides at the Strat. My brother and his wife have a friend who they were meeting up with and who was going to drive them around Vegas to see the sights. My sister and her family wanted to see the sights and eat at the Heart Attach Grill. I wanted to check out a few of the new Casinos since my last visit, so I rounded up my two besties and we checked out City Center.

    Honestly, the buildings are beautiful, but I cannot see myself gambling or shopping or spending any time in Cosmo, Aria, or the Mandarin. Just not my speed. I hate walking into places that I feel out of place in. We proceeded to walk down to Mandalay through every casino on the way. We threw some money in here and there, drank about a thousand bottles of water, and made our dogs bark. At that point, I mentioned I had never been to the Stratosphere . On the bus we went and off to the Strat we traveled.

    Now, I’m going to be honest here. I never considered the Strat worthy of a visit. Its SO far down the Strip, and I’m a mid strip girl. I’m above “that end”. Not anymore. I found the Strat casino to feel like home. I LOVE the poker room. And this place is clean and modern, more so than I expected for a casino of its age. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I could see myself staying there. Yep, I said it. I like the place. A girl can change.

    We checked out what there was to see, rode some rides, and then proceeded back to the IP. There was an 8pm tournament we had an interest in. We bought in and then headed to the Craps table for another roll or two. Or 50. We jumped in on an AMAZING roll. I tripled my stack in 20 minutes, lost a bit, and then decided to take the money and run. WOW. I’ve never been a part of such an epic roll. This was my first extended craps play in Vegas, and I’m hooked. I finally get why everyone loves this game SO much.

    After walking away from the table tripling our money and our blood alcohol level, we decided we better eat. Hash House was calling our name. We each ordered a burger, which means they delivered 3 pounds of meat to our table. Who can eat this much food? NOT me, but apparently Troy found his way around it. (which the waiter said was a rarity) I told him I’d buy him supper if he could get his mouth around the whole burger. Needless to say, his mouth is huge and my wallet is slimmer.

    After eating 1/3 of my supper, we headed over to the tournament. 7 entrants. Really? It was disappointing, but most disappointing was all the name dropping and who’s who we had to listen to. Um, guys, you do realize you are at the IP, right? No one here cares who you know. I tanked out quick, which meant I got to spend EXTRA time at the craps table. Neither of us made it to the money, which is pathetic. However, being out early allowed us to grab a cab to the Strat to get into their 11pm tournament. 33 entrants, which is what I’m used to at our local casino. I made it to the top 9 and got a bad beat, but hey, that’s poker. I played well and enjoyed my time there. Drink service at the Strat poker room could be better, but I have a feeling me being a girl got me passed over a few times. Hello boys. I can drink. Probably more than most of you.

    Being bummed about our lack of cashing in the tournaments, we decided to try and cash at craps, which we both did. No mega rolls, but some fun. We closed out the table with just the two of us. Once we each crapped out, we closed it down for the night, around 4:30 am. It was Monday, and we were leaving.

    I woke up at 8am, packed, and we all met at Hash House for breakfast. Needless to say, I ate supper there the night before, so I wasn’t even remotely hungry. But I ate. The food is good, but the portion sizes are ridiculous. Even the two Iowa Farm Boys we brought with couldn’t finish the meal.

    We all said our goodbyes and headed our various directions. (9 to the airport, 5 to the rental car for their 24 hour straight drive home, BRUTAL)

    My observations on this trip:
    The Hoover Dam is a great trip – it should be on everyones bucket list
    The Stratosphere is a nice casino and can be a fun place to play, maybe even stay
    The IP, while cheap, is confusing as hell. It took a day to figure it out. The back elevators were a GODSEND. (thanks to this board) The rooms are fine, the service was great (minus the check in desk) I’d stay here again for the right price
    The Heart Attach Grill DOES have good food
    Riding in a Stretch Hummer DOES make you feel like a Rock Star
    I love my family, and it was great for them to all share this trip with us. NOW LEAVE ME ALONE BECAUSE I NEED TO GAMBLE

    Thanks for reading my trip report, I hope you enjoyed it!
     
  2. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    I enjoyed reading your report. Thanks for the taking the time to write and post it.
    It's nice that you were able to have fun with your family on the trip. I would abhorrently despise doing something similar. :evillaugh
     
  3. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Thanks for posting Kay...great report! The limo ride sounds perfect - bet they all loved it :)
     
  4. bigmoneyvic

    bigmoneyvic Tourist

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    Great report! I too like the Strat. Always have a great time when we stop in there. Sounds like the Limo was awesome!!! You did a great job putting everything together for the group.
     
  5. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Understand totally your feelings for City Center. As a homegrown rural (non-city) Wisconsin girl I am pushing my limit even going to Bellagio. I do not have a 'comfort zone' there at all. Give me Flamingo with some bright neon, lower ceilings, smoke (and I don't smoke) and I feel relaxed.

    I use my example of the one store at Forum where the employees wouldn't even acknowledge me - evidently I looked like I had no money! I told my daughter I was literally in tears when I left & she grounded me by saying 'Duh, do you think if they had any money they would be working there? You probably make more an hour than they do'. Good logic kid!
     
  6. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Sounds like a great trip, especially the Limo ride!!

    I have an inexplicable dislike of all things City Center, so I am totally with you on that point.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your TR, I enjoyed it!
     
    Vegas Just Because...
  7. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    I was wondering who this trip was going to turn out for the Iowa clan. Glad it met your expectations. I would have felt right at home with you guys.
     
  8. travelfiend

    travelfiend High-Roller

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    Loved the report. Years ago, I went to Tahoe with all my brothers and sisters and inlaws, we had a blast taking over a blackjack table. A trip to Las Vegas with them all now would be a hoot, thanks for giving me the idea. And thanks for posting the report, sounds like you had a blast!
     
  9. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    That was a fun read! So cool that you had so many of the family on board and they all got along so well.

    Congrats on the craps wins. I experienced my first hot craps table at IP as well and had that exact same "ohhh, now I get it" moment. :drunk:

    Thanks for sharing. Good stuff. :thumbsup:
     
    Number 50!
  10. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    sounds like a great trip! glad to hear NTS worked out for you; i'm considering them for my wedding.

    i love the hoover dam; i think i've gone there on every vegas trip (my upcoming one will probably be the first time i am not going there). and i've heard great things about the strat, but i just love being center strip (for now).

    thanks for posting, happy to hear the trip worked out with the large group!
     
  11. denluvslv

    denluvslv Low-Roller

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    Thank you for your report. It sounds like my husband and I will have to visit the Strat again. We haven't since 2005. We might even stop at the dam on the way to LV. We drive to LV, so we've driven over it a lot. I am so glad the trip was great for everyone. :beer::beer::beer: I'm glad they had a blast with the limo.:thumbsup: I would love to be able to do that with my family.
     
  12. oldcrabtom

    oldcrabtom Low-Roller

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    Great report, yhNKS FOR POSTING........:nworthy:
     
  13. Sue24

    Sue24 High-Roller

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    Glad you did not have any other issues with Allegiant. That would have been a nightmare if they had been late, late as we experienced in April.

    I'm encouraged to try a Hoover Dam trip after reading your report. I'm like you.... "Oh I've seen it from the plane, so that is enough." Maybe next time, although, I'm not sure I want to give 1/2 a day.

    Thanks for writing!
     
  14. NurseLisa

    NurseLisa High-Roller

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    Nice report. I was thinking of Hash House but wasn't sure what sort of state IP is in with the LINQ remodel. If we can get there we'll probably eat a meal there on our trip next week. I've never done Hoover Dam, but i'm putting it on my list now. My husband bought me tickets to the grand Canyon for our first anniversary and we had a really nice time.
     
  15. AliGee

    AliGee Low-Roller

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    I am astounded at how little sleep y'all survived on. Epic! You all sound like a lot of fun. Can I join your family? :nworthy:
     
  16. Kobra2848

    Kobra2848 Low-Roller

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    Great job being able to get everyone together. Last year we had ten family
    members meet in Vegas for my brothers son who turned 21 and I swear it was like herding cats to get everyone to meet at one place at a set time.
     
  17. VegasGroove

    VegasGroove VIP Whale

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    Yes, this report was indeed enjoyable - had me laughing out loud more than once! I appreciated it for the Vegas, of course. But also for the memories you rekindled for me of the Cedar Rapids airport. I spent many trips flying into and out of it during my college years in Iowa City (Go Hawkeyes!). I used to work part time in Coralville at the UPS there. Tell me, is the Iowa River Power Company restaurant still there? Aaaah, the college years!

    Thanks for posting, it was a fun read. Word. (LOLOL!)
     
  18. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    Funny trip report...word...!! Great read. Great family vacation!!
     
  19. Tree DA

    Tree DA High-Roller

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    Sorry, but the irony of this was too good to pass up.

    :poke:
     
  20. Leeza14

    Leeza14 VIP Whale

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    How fun! Glad it all went well out of Des Moines (I really do like flying out of there -- CR is OK, too).

    Iowa does it right -- and you are proof! :) So glad you guys had such a great time.

    VegasGroove, yes, the IRPC is still up and running! Great place... and absolutely yes: Go Hawks! :)
     
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