Tried a new airport - Milwaukee. It's about same distance from my home in Illlinois as OHare and Midway. $5 parking and no lines at security. Nice. Upon arrival at McCarran, wanted to check out new Westcliff route to DT. Unfortunately, a bus just left as I got to Ground Zero. Instead of waiting 30-40 minutes for another one, I hopped aboard a much slower 109. Still, it would get me the El Cortez quicker than waiting for Westcliff. The 109 used to drop off a block from the ElCo. With different routing now, I had to get off several blocks south of the hotel and walk the remainder of the way up 8th St. Not the best neighborhood, but I felt safe, even after dark. This was a huge convention weekend with inflated room prices and felt fortunate to get a Tower room at the ElCo for $131 total for three nights on Hotels.com . The ElCo continues to impress me more and more with its old school feel, customer service, value based room quality, favorable BJ rules and cheap eats. Upon check-in, received two funbooks, each with $5 MP, $5 free dining, $5 free slot play and free drink. The expected value of these two funbooks potentially cuts my room bill down from $131 to about $100. Main reason for coming to Vegas was NFL and college football watching with my son, some hiking and buffeting. And escape the cold midwestern weather of course. He was flying in the next day. I took advantage of Enterprise's $9.99 daily weekend rate (at non airport locales) and picked a car up by Sahara and Valley View. What's nice about renting off site is one can return the car to different Enterprise locales throughout the area. Since, I would be staying at the Orelans the final two days, I returned it to a spot on Trop. Upon picking my son up Friday, we went to the South Point to check out the seafood buffet with LVA 2fer. It was okay, but like most other Vegas seafood spreads, the quality was so-so. Good value for 2-1 price, though. Prior to 1:30 Seattle-NO kickoff on Saturday, we headed a few miles northeast of town and hiked to the top of Frenchman Mountain, a 4,000-ft peak. It's a steep climb, but rewards are outstanding views and decent cardio workout. On way back to ElCo, took it the Boulder Station (LVA 2-1) buffet and were satisfied. This year, all Station's buffet coupons in the LVA are 7 days a week instead of Sun-Thurs. Sweet. Since only one FB game was being played at a time, we opted to watch in our room instead of fighting crowds at sportsbook. However, during regular season when multiple games are on, the sportsbook is the place to be. I did take a break between games on Saturday to get a 15-minute chair massage ($20) from ElCo's on site masseuse. On a related note, the day before, I stumbled upon a barbershop further down (past the Western) on Fremont that offers $7 haircuts. Sam, the proprietor is from Fiji, and did me up as well as anyone. Sunday was moving day from ElCo to Orleans (two nites free with players card and e-mail address). After freebie breakfast (food coupons) in ElCo coffee shop, it was time for kickoff of first Sunday playoff game. ElCo allowed late check-out so that we were able to see entire game and drive over to Orleans in time for start of second game. It's been many years since we've stayed at the Orleans and things haven't changed much. Like the ElCo, a lot of value to be had staying at this property. Even though the room was free, they did get their money back and then some via my craps and BJ losses. Since Palms was nearby, did their buffet Sunday night with LVA coupon. Nice-sized steamed crab legs and med-rare prime rib were highlights. However, lunch is a better value play at this buffet. Final buffet was a Monday lunch at Green Valley. This was always one of my faves and I was curious to check it out after a 2-year absence and also hearing of a few gripes on declining quality. As far as I'm concerned, it is it as good as ever and the price ($6.99) is a steal. We used the 2-1 and actually ate for half $6.99. I've always felt crab legs and shrimp are overrated buffet fare, but I appreciate a nice piece of fish. I found one of the best ever at the GVR. It was an oven or pan-fried sea bass with a lemon caper sauce. The combination of the sauce and flavor of the fish was such a treat that I had eight pieces. Other than a slow, cranky Mongolian grill cook, the eating experience was quite favorable. Ended the trip with more gambling and the BCS game in the room Monday night. One perk of Orleans was 10 minutes free internet a day, more than enough time to check e-mail and check in to SWA flt. Took the Trop CAT bus to Paradise and walked rest of way (about 20 minutes) to McCarran for flts home.