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Jimbo and Frugal Fun #1

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Jimbo338, Mar 19, 2004.

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  1. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Well, it has taken me long enough but work just piled up on me when I was in LV for a week so I have been playing catch-up. In addition, I can't get over how many posts that I have missed being gone a week. I guess that the chatroom has grown so large that we will have to stop going to LV so that we don't miss any messages here, right?

    Learning from experience, I am writing this message and will cut and paste so I don't screw up and type for an hour and lose it when I do something stupid like hit the wrong button. This may be longer than my usual post so I will probably do it in installments so that I can get something online soon.

    JIMBO 'S TRIP (2-28 to 3-6-04)


    Normally I am not one for long trip reports but this one may be the exception. My only regret is that I didn't keep notes so that I would be more organized and I wouldn't have to rely on memory. This trip was to a trade show and I believe it is trip #9. My show is really 3 days and a half, but I always go for a week and make it a working vacation. Networking has shown me how to have a good time, offset the cost, and then write most of it off. For the self-employed write-offs are one of the few bennies that we can enjoy but, of course, we have to make it before we can write it off.

    I was able to do more and enjoy more this year due to having done my homework here in travel2vegas. Yes, I have followed the posts here, writing down many "tips" bookmarking links and reading people's likes and dislikes and experiences. Having my dates for the show, I monitored Southwest's rates and schedules until my dates became available. Jumping at their nationwide sale I booked my flight in November for $215.00, roundtrip and chose their new non-stop flight. Starting 9-14-03 SW does one non-stop a day. Having enlarged the runway carriers are able to take on more fuel and fly further from Manchester NH so now you don't have to travel to Logan in Boston for a direct, non-stop flight. What could be better? I'll tell you what, SW's new online boarding passes. I stayed late here in my office the night before my flight and at 12:01 and printed out my boarding pass. It took 4 tries; the first three times I got some kind of error message and thought perhaps it wasn't working. The fourth try was the charmer and out comes my Boarding Pass,........and it was an A. Yippee, I thought, since I heard that the non-stop flight was usually sold out.

    As soon as I had my flight booked, I booked my accomodations. My show was at the LVCC so I stayed again for the 4th year at the Somerset House Motel across from Greek Isles (The Old Debbie Reynolds hotel/casino). While far from luxurious, and modern, it is very homey and everyone is very friendly. Several people that attend my show stay there since it is a 10 minute walk to the convention center and five mintes to the strip and Walgrens. All but a few of the units have a kitchenette and I appreciate being able to keep milk, soda, juice and munchies in the fridge although the thought of cooking anything will in LV is repulsive to me!!!!!!I prefer the third floor......no one above me but was unable to get a non smoking unit, so I opted to take a smoking unit rather than first or second floors. It was fine. Although I looked extensively there were no great deal since this week ended with the Nascar races and most hotels were very pricy towards the end of the week due to the races. They held their prices the same as they have been for the last 4 years and I got their weekly rate. The room was clean, comfortable and roomy with lots of storage and closet space and a comfy bed. I don't care about a room much since I only use it to hang my clothes, keep my drinks cold, sleep 6 hours, and shower. I know most of your require more. Since they have a washer and dryer for guests, I cut down on the stuff that I bring and run down mid week and do a load of wash. There is a couple of nice places now enroute to the LVCC for those of you who may be going there. There is a Marriot Suites and the Royal Resorts.

    Well with a place to stay and a way to get there I ordered my CAT 30 day pass online and received it promptly via mail in a couple of days. Having gone last year with my son and relying on the always present free coupons, to find that they were hard to find I prepared this year by buying the American Casion Guide, the Las Vegas Advisor POV, and a bunch of stuff from Billhere.com. I also downloaded a couple of coupons that were mentioned by folks in the chatroom. The POV is perforated and easy to carry around. The ACG is larger (about 5x9 or so) and someone recommended cutting out all the info and coupons from other parts of the country leaving only the LV coupons now in a lighter easier to handle book. I didn;t do that but I did take a razor blade and cut the coupons (3 to a page) horizontally from the binding to almost the edge to make them easy and neat to remove (good tip). I found that no one really required seeing you remove the coupons but I'm sure that some do. I have a checklist of things that I bring so at the beginning of the week I lugged out the suitcase and started packing.....unusually early for me. From experience no matter when you go on vacation, for some reason business gets hectic. Since I work alone I notified my biggest customers that I would be away the shop closed. It was busy but I planned not to work the friday before cause I was sick of traveling as in the past with 10 hours sleep in 3 nights! It would have worked but I got sick and slept 3 hours on thursday night and didn't finish tying up loose ends friday night and ended up with 2.5 hours. Damn! We left for the airport late and I hoped that with my boarding pass that I would hve plenty of tme.

    I drove down and my wife didn't want to go in this year so I got out in the drop off area and walked in to find that the lines at Sw were small. I took out my license and boarding pass and when it was my turn I dropped my suitcase on the platform and handed the gal my BP and license. She handed me a matching sticker for my luggage and said to have a nice flight. I asked is that all there is to it? She responded, "Nice isn't it?" referring to online registration. I guess!!! I walked up to the gates and had time to buy a couple of doughnuts and a coffee to drink in line but the line moved quickly and I ended up carrying both right thru security. Now that there are more security workers and everyone is accustomed to the system, including me, I put my carryon on the belt with my coat on top of it, cell phone inside and walked thru without any bells or whistles and off into the A line. I was pretty far back but found my isle seat 8 rows back from the door. A guy and his wife were to my right and he told me that he flys to LV about 6-9 times a year and has taken this flight many times since it started and that it was usually about 6 hours out and 5-1/2 back (it's downhill coming home). My only mistake so far was not carrying a sandwich. I had a carryon full of munchies but after a couple of hours in flight with little breakfast I could have gone for a sandwich or grinder or something. I will never make that mistake again. The plane was immaculate, a newer version of their 737 fleet with comfortable leather seats and planty of legroom for my short 5'8" statue. The flight was awesome, smooth sailing and half way or so I adjusted my watch. Just as I checked my watch and thought, wow just another hour or so, the pilote come on the intercome to announce that we were 40 minutes ahead of schedule! Wow, is his my day or what? The guy next to me said that this sometimes happens but then there is no gate available and you end up waiting in the tarmack. That wasn't the case however, and we arrived and deboarded early. It was nice to stretch and the luggage came up in short order. I walked out the the LVL booth and bought my Rountrip shuttle trip on ALC. I watched my watch because of discussions and my wait was 10 minutes. Off we went and I was the third stop arriving at my room at about 11:30 or so. Room was ready and I was able to unpack, take care of business and relax for a few minutes.

    Bear in mind that I am currently starving to death so I decided to venture out. First I walked to LV Boulevard to Walgren's to get milk, OJ, soda, cookies and other necessities of life. (Dr. Atkins, forgive me). In the fridge and I was out the door. My plan was to take the bus south to Tropicana and have a prime rib dinner at San Remo. It is their 24/7 special as is steak and eggs for 5.95. Now it was just $4.95 last year. I tried it then and it was a bit tough. I wasn't sure if it was just my piece or if they were using an inferior cut or whatever; I figured that I would give them a second chance. When I got there I was seated in no time and was torn between steak and eggs or the prime rib but decided on the latter. I kind of dislike it when you have 8 people doing different things. One guy buses the tables, someone else sets the placemats, then someone comes over and askes what you want to drink, and then there is a waitress or waiter. It confuses me being used to my neighborhood diner where not only do you deal with the same ONE person but they even know what you have before you decide. Well anyway, this guy comes over and askes what I want to drink. I always drink water with my meals but since I hadn't had my complete dose of caffeine, I ordered my water and a coffee. I was shocked to find that they charge 1.75 for coffee......got to pay for the prime rib somehow. Waitress came in due time to take my order and returned with a nice salad absolutely drenched in dressing, and walked away leaving me with no silverware (not her job, remember). I got up and told her when I saw her again, and she then sought out the proper silverware person who then brought me my tools. Dinner arrived and to my pleasant surprise, the prime rib was cooked as ordered and was delicious. Coffee refills were slow in coming but overall the food was good and the service fair. I vowed to return in quest of frugality, to try the steak and eggs to comment on my thread. I was full, felt much better and walked back to the NYNY to catch a bus west.

    I walked to the corner an caught the monorail to MB to see abaout tickets to Mamma Mia. I am returning in april with my son and that is going to be the big show. I was unable to buy tickets online cause they only sell tickets for 2 months in advance and I figured that I would pick them up in person and choose my seats. I got to the ticket booth and was told that they were selling up to April 24th. I was looking for the 28, 29, or 30th. They said to come back in a week, but, of course I thought in a week I'll be home. Then I thought if they move ahead one day at a time, thursday or friday I'd be able to get them before I head home. My son is active in drama as well as sports and is getting excited about seeing it, and has even familiarized himself with ABBA's music. I left.

    For the rest of the day I thought I would visit ORLEANS, GOLD COAST, and the RIO, and PALMS. I had only been to the Gold Coast last year with my son but had only had the buffet and left. My big reason for visiting was to scope out the facilities and to see how easy access is if I were to get a great deal and stay there. All are about a mile from the strip. I took the bus out and my findings on the next installment.

    Jimbo
     
  2. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Waiting with bated breath, Jimbo... [​IMG]

    You missed the Frugal Bonus Point for not taking CAT out of the airport, though. [​IMG] ;)

    [ March 19, 2004, 11:05 AM: Message edited by: doctor_al ]
     
  3. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    My friends took the non-stop from MHT to LAS back last September. One of them was actually on a later flight but managed to get on the non-stop as there were several empty seats.

    Oh, and since I'm a native New Englander I understood you perfectly, but I've had people look at me with a "HUH?" expression when I've used it, so I'll translate. Grinder = sub = hoagie.

    Kitty
     
  4. neonmama

    neonmama Tourist

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    Anxiously awaiting the next installment. I leave a next week...whooooo hooooo. Keep it coming Jimbo [​IMG]
     
  5. rje

    rje High-Roller

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    so far so good...
    since you mentioned mama mia...
    great show! i saw it here in chicago a few months ago and loved it.
     
  6. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    Coaster Kikky:

    For any linguist interested:

    a Connecticut milk shake = a NH Frappe
    a NH milkshake has no ice cream in it!

    A western pop = a Connecticut soda = a NH tonic

    Jimbo
     
  7. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    doctor_al:

    I didn't miss the point about taking the CAT out of the airport.......it's great if you have just a carryon bag but with heavy suitcases it would be a hassle, both getting on and off the bus, and getting from the bus stop to the hotel.

    Jimbo
     
  8. GNH2000

    GNH2000 Low-Roller

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    Jimbo-
    Great report so far. [​IMG]

    Isn't that non-stop flight from Manchester great!

    It's so easy now-the Southwest people and TSA group are doing a great job at this airport,and you get through very quickly.

    I check the Southwest website daily to see if they're booking beyond August 7th yet so I can get our September flight booked.

    Looking forward to your next installment! [​IMG]

    Gary in NH
     
  9. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Right you are, Jimbo. Sorry, from the text I thought you only had carry-on.
     
  10. bigdogmom

    bigdogmom VIP Whale

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    And while we're on the topic of regional lingo:

    pocketbook = purse
    dungarees = jeans

    I could probably come up with some others if I really tried... :D

    [ March 20, 2004, 07:14 AM: Message edited by: bigdogmom ]
     
  11. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Completely off-topic threadjacking: Harvard linguists did a dialect survey. They're done collecting data now but you can look at the maps & results online:

    http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~golder/dialect/index.html

    I had the pleasure of participating in the data collection phase, and I'm going to bias their results. Alas, having lived in Illinois, Connecticut, Washington DC, Utah, and North Carolina, my dialect is a MESS--I don't do anything consistently. Had a TON of fun with the questions they asked!!
     
  12. Rhodeguy

    Rhodeguy Tourist

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    Jimbo,
    I read in your report that you printed a boarding pass and then checked a bag. The website says you can only print one out if you are not checking a bag.
    If they didn't give you a hassle about it, then I guess I will try it. At 6'5" I really need an exit row. I wish they had direct flights from Providence.
     
  13. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    Rhodeguy:

    I think that you might be confusing printing a boarding pass at a kiosk with printing your boarding pass for an online ticket.

    Check and bookmark this address:

    http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/retrieveCheckinDoc.html

    There is nothing mentioned about baggage but I seem to recall (but can't find at the moment) that boarding passes can only be printed out at a kiosk if you do not have luggage to check in.

    That's what may have confused you :

    Southwest Airlines Ticketless Customers, who are not checking luggage, may now check in for their flight and receive their boarding pass and Rapid Rewards credit at the Skycap Podium, Ticket Counter, Gate or new RAPID CHECK-IN Kiosk

    Problem solved! you can print your boarding pass at home after 12:01. It took me a couple of trys so don't give up if you don't get it on the first try. Also keep in mind that you cannot print your boarding pass if there is more than one name on your confirmation number. Some sort of a security problem I guess. I made my reservations early for my april trip with my son and both our names were on that confirmation. At someone's suggestion here on the board I called SW Customer Service and told them and she split the names and issued separate confirmation numbers. Now I can print them both. When you arrive at the airport you need only hand them your ID (license) and your printed boarding pass. If you change planes but do not claim luggage you can print your next boarding pass at a kiosk.

    Jimbo
     
  14. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

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    I also forgot to mention the lady in customer service told me that SW shuts down its computers nightly for an hour and a half or so for updating and maintenance and I believe she said abaout 1:30am Central time.

    Jimbo
     
  15. Rhodeguy

    Rhodeguy Tourist

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    Thanks for all the info
     
  16. KathyinNY

    KathyinNY Tourist

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    When I stayed at the Tropicana we went to San Remo's for breakfast everyday and had their steak and eggs, which I thought were very good.
     
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