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July 21-24: Mirage, Ballers, Deja Vu, and Boys will be Boys

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by cam9219, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. cam9219

    cam9219 Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    7

    My Trip Report

    Hi all!

    These trip reports were everything to me when I was counting down to my own Vegas trip so thank you to all who have posted here. It’s only right if I recap my own Vegas adventure (could never do a live report so admire those that do). This report may be a tad different than most you read since the characters are only two years removed from college so we can get a little lively. My group of college friends put our heads together shortly after graduation in 2014 and agreed that we would try to at least take a summer trip every year. Typically we will plan the friends coming west in the summer since I take a yearly pilgrimage to the East Coast from Arizona. Last summer we decided on Vegas and we had 6 of our college buddies attend. This summer it was looking bleak that we would do another big trip but somehow I salvaged the tradition (only a year after it started mind you so I use tradition loosely) and rallied a group of 4 for yet another Vegas trip.

    Characters:

    Chili- from Boston and lives in Boston
    DRo- from Philly and lives in Milwaukee
    JMac- from Boston and lives in Boston
    GOAT- My dad who decided to go the same weekend with stepmom and stay at the same hotel

    I apologize in advance if I am on the long-winded side and next trip i'm absolutely snapping more pictures for my report.

    Wednesday July 20th

    So when looking into the trip back in the Spring, we quickly found that flights to Phoenix instead of Las Vegas were about $100 cheaper from Boston so in came Chili and JMac to Phoenix the night before driving out to Vegas in the morning. They got in at 9 pm and we grabbed a quick bite and hit the pillow for tomorrow the adrenaline would be pumping and would need a good night’s rest in preparation for little to no sleep through the weekend.

    Thursday July 21st

    As the alarm rang at 8:00 AM the excitement was palpable - we would be in Sin City in a few hours yes yes yes. After a quick homemade egg sandwich, a stop at the bank for cash, and a stop for coffee we were on the road at 9:15 AM. The playlist was bumping and all the desert that lies in between Phoenix and Vegas awaited us. GOAT and stepmom left a bit ahead of us so we had a carrot dangling in front of us in trying to catch them.

    We made swell time into Vegas even though I am admittedly no speed demon on the highway. We finally caught up with GOAT at the usual stop of the Hoover Dam Hotel & Casino. A perfect little stop before taking on the last 45 minutes of the drive into Sin City. I know a good majority at VMB fly into Vegas from all around the world and know the feeling of seeing the strip out the plane window. I can attest to that same feeling on a drive in after getting over the hills near the Hoover Dam and seeing the strip rise up like the Emerald City.

    As we continued our trek into Paradise, we made our way to our long planned lunch stop at In-N-Out on Dean Martin Drive just behind Excalibur. For me this is nothing out of the ordinary since we have plenty of In-N-Outs in the Phoenix area, but it’s nice to enjoy it with the east coasters. It’s impressive how quick they get food out with the amount of people in the joint. Seating was full so we opted to sit outside in the 105 degree weather. We snarfed our double-doubles and Animal Style fries with delight. Chili wanted to stop at the Vegas sign and I had never been so we cruised over there. Upon arrival, it was of course blistering hot and we were stuck behind a wedding party taking 5,000 pictures so eventually we folded shop and went with the resident sign employee to the side of the sign and he took a couple pictures of Chili, JMac, and I. Threw him a few bucks and we were off to the highway to get to our weekend home of The Mirage.

    Struggled for a hot minute to find The Mirage self-park, but a quick U-Turn before hitting the nightmare of driving on Las Vegas Blvd. (never done it and don’t really wish to) and we were facing the newly much hated parking ticket dispenser and gate. Found a great spot right next to the elevators and we were quickly unloading the car. GOAT had previously reported that the check-in line was long and a zoo, but luckily it had died down around the 3 pm check-in time when we arrived. GOAT had already checked in (Gold mlife lane came in clutch for him) and was settled into his room, but came down to chat it up with us as we checked in.

    We had a normal resort room booked with 2 queens with a $150 resort credit through a Royal Caribbean Yacht Club offer. I have had pretty good success in $20 trick situations, but this was a big letdown on that front. I did my usual extra friendly and charming check-in desk persona which was going extremely well. The girl was just about to give us our room assignment when I interjected and asked if she had anything with a high floor and strip view since I had some Vegas Virgins in the group (yes a lie, but all is fair in love and war and hotel check-ins, right?). She went back into the computer and quickly was happy to give us something on a floor lower than she was originally going to assign us, but with a view of the pools and Caesar’s to the south. Pumped! I slipped her a $20 afterwards and we were on our way. Before checking out our great strip view room, we start lugging our belongings towards the elevators and are waved down by GOAT at the lobby bar who just had bought a bucket beers. This move is why he has earned the GOAT nickname among my friends. GOAT stands for Greatest of All-Time. He’s had zero qualms about it. We each enjoy a nice cold beer and THEN we are on our way up to the room.

    Here comes the first loss of the trip; sadness. As we enter our room (19100), we quickly head to the window to check out the great view the front desk girl described. Welp. The view is of Trump Tower and the north. Sort of a letdown, but we are in Vegas and nothing should be able to bring us down. We relax for a bit and settle in as we wait for the yet mentioned character DRo to arrive from Milwaukee. His flight had been delayed a bit due to the Southwest troubles. DRo is the sparkplug of the group so we wanted to wait for him before cracking into the alcohol. During the wait, I decide to head downstairs to grab my $50 Freeplay courtesy of MyVegas. Pick it up and immediately start eying non-progressive slots where I can unload my slot fury of free dollars. A machine called Wine Country catches my eye and I head straight to it until JMac points out the machine next to it called Princess of something or other. I slide over to that machine trusting his slot sense and throw in a $20 and go to work. I’m max betting all the way and my machine is hitting hitting hitting. I’m whooping it up thanks to JMac’s slot spidey sense. I cash out with a $125 profit. Can’t be mad at that to start off the gambling portion of the trip. The only downside - Chili had a $25 MyVegas Freeplay and sat down at the Wine Country machine and got zilch. He was a bit salty to say the least.

    We head back upstairs to our lovely room with the Trump view and a few minutes later in comes DRo. Now the anarchy can begin. We all pour ourselves a strong captain and coke and head downstairs so Chili and I can smoke a cigar with GOAT. We end up at the center bar for a quick cigar session and some good conversation as time was getting away from us and a 7pm dinner reservation. We freshen up in the room before starting our walk over to the Venetian and Canonita.

    Canonita review - food good, margarita very very good, but service a bit on the slower side. It was right in our wheelhouse in terms of price though which is why we picked it in the first place. After dinner we ended up in the Palazzo for another one of our casino traditions which is all throwing $20 in on black. $80 in and a win. Being the degenerates we are, we go for double or nothing. Nothing reigns supreme and we send Chili to the cage to get the original $80. He gets carded at the cage which earns some well-deserved ribbing by DRo, JMac, and I.

    Back at the Mirage we sit down for some $10 minimum Blackjack and play a decent 20-minute session where we are all even or better. Quick side note, first dealer was the pits. Very quiet aka downer and got on me while we were waiting for chips for looking at my cell way under the table and even twisted a bit behind me. That stuff always irks me. Whatever. We start our pregame in the room for a night at Tao Nightclub at the Venetian. I am the designated “ironer” as on most trips with our crew and get us all looking wrinkle-free. We were headed to Tao on $20 pre-sale tickets for a special after party for a charity ping pong tournament put on by LA Clippers guard Chris Paul. We were not only excited for a Vegas nightclub, but also to catch a glimpse of some NBA stars.

    We pour a drink for the road and head over around 11:45 pm. Presale was a great plan as we skip a pretty lengthy line to get in and are ushered in within minutes. This is my second night i’ve spent at Tao and I think it is such a beautiful club despite it’s rap as a lower second tier club. We grab drinks and push our way across the dance floor closest to the balcony. We find a nice pocket of space and decide to post up there for awhile to bust some moves. The table behind us is empty, but looks like it’s set up for some high rollers. Some ladies start walking into the table area and DRo leans over to me and says “I think this is Chris Paul’s table”. Well that would be interesting - we definitely are hunkering down now. About 20 minutes later, Chris Paul makes his as expected flashy club entrance right into the table behind us. We are amped to have prime territory close to him and his crew. We continue on having a really great night as other NBA guys end up making their way to CP3’s table including Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Marcus Smart made his own flashy entrance to another table that night as well. We had a blast and end up leaving around 2:30 am to walk back to The Mirage.


    [​IMG]
    Westbrook and CP3 (he's in the hat)

    [​IMG]
    Paul George, USA team had an exhibition at T-Mobile Arena the next evening


    We were all really buzzing to have been partying next to some big time NBA players all night, a bit of a feeling of probably irrational euphoria. We decide it’s a non-Vegas move to head straight up to the room and hit the pillow so we stop off at a relatively empty craps $10 min craps table. Long story short we all go down in flames, I drunkenly lose somewhere around $300 in about half an hour and then we sulk up to the room. That loss takes a bit of the shine off a great night, but we still have two prime Vegas days left.

    To be continued…

    Friday - Deja Vu Pool Party, an American Flag, Fremont Fun, and Boys will be boys
     
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  2. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    331
    Location:
    Abilene, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Sounds like you are off to a great start.
    Always fun to be in Vegas with good friends having
    a great time. Looking forward to the rest of the report.
     
  3. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

    Joined:
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    Wisconsin
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    Awesome start. I love the GOAT acronym for your dad. I'll have to steal that nickname to give my dad, too!
    Can't wait to see how the rest of your trip went! Thank you!

    RICHARD
     
  4. cam9219

    cam9219 Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    7
    Friday July 22nd

    After a hearty five hours of shuteye we all start to rise at 9 AM. I quickly check my phone (not out of the ordinary for any 24 year old) and see a text awaiting from GOAT. He had called into the VIP Services about a week before the trip and got on a list for a cabana at The Mirage pool. Well he had let me know that we got the cabana, SCORE! That got us all moving quickly to get down to the pool for a 10 AM meeting at Cabana 16. Now before I go into the day at the cabana, i’ll fill you all in on a personal Vegas tradition that I have started. Before every trip I hit a local Goodwill and find a new Hawaiian shirt to wear on the Friday of the trip. Once the shirt goes on, it’s instant magic and I am ready to party on for the first full day in Vegas.

    On the way down, we were chatting about typical 24-year old single guy stuff like being on tinder in Vegas and how everyone was faring. Well somehow I came up with calling the Mirage Pool the Deja Vu Pool Party and it stuck instantly. If we were in any conversation with anyone at all we would say we were hanging out at Deja Vu. Sounds like a ripper of a pool party, right?

    Our cabana was in the back of the pool area and was outstanding. I never would have thought of doing a cabana at a normal hotel pool before, but now it will definitely be under consideration on future trips. It came with a fruit plate and a ton of sodas and water bottles. I started off the morning with a great bloody mary and we just hung out in the cabana area relaxing. We took a couple dips in the pool and my only warning is the pool deck gets extremely hot through the course of the day. The pool water temperature was perfect though, not too warm but just right. A few bucket of beers and a great lunch later it was mid-afternoon and we were ready to close up shop. We had already previously planned to use our resort credit on drinks and lunch at Deja Vu and I think we ended up spending about $230 amongst the four of us. Of course being the penny pinching youngsters we are, we cleared out the mini-fridge before heading upstairs. The boys and I quickly made a plan with GOAT to go up and change quick and meet downstairs to head over to Caesar’s.

    [​IMG]
    A cool shot I grabbed from the Cabana in the morning

    [​IMG]
    GOAT hanging out

    [​IMG]
    Chili feeding JMac grapes from the fruit plate - yeah they are strange

    The main goal at Caesar’s was to hit the Fat Tuesday’s in the Forum Shoppes which is an every trip must. I have never gotten one from anywhere else - I am stubborn by nature. We treated GOAT to a half yard for taking care of the cabana. I grabbed a half yard of a “Miami Vice” which is a mix of Pina Colada and Strawberry. I will never go back to any other flavor, it was so good (and can’t forget the extra shot for a $1). We headed to the Caesar’s casino floor afterwards all having a healthy buzz going at this point. We eventually park in front of the Big Wheel game, a GOAT favorite. He hands each of us a $20 and we fill all five seats at the wheel. We play for a good 25 minutes with varying degrees of success. I end up cashing out at $7 and handing it over to GOAT. They decide to go for one more spin and what do you freakin’ know - AMERICAN FLAG for $50. GOAT has $1 on it, JMac has a $1 on it, and DRo has $2 on it. You can bet there was some yelling, high fives, and stares from others on the floor. Great ending to the afternoon. They give GOAT back the $20 plus some interest and we head back to The Mirage.

    [​IMG]
    An Afternoon Snack

    We freshen up and meet downstairs after 30 minutes to catch a lyft down to New York New York for a dinner at Nine Fine Irishmen. Chili, GOAT, and I all have two-for-one entrees from MyVegas which is actually a $35 credit. To me, it’s one of the best rewards left in the game. We do an XL lyft to New York New York, but with the Team USA exhibition game going on the driver talks us into dropping us off at the Excalibur since the area around The Park is a zoo. We walk over the bridge to New York New York and head to the mLife desk to grab our rewards.

    We end up with a great private area table upstairs at Nine Fine Irishmen. We shared two appetizers and we all had entrees. I thought the food earned an above average rating. I had the Shepard’s Pie which even for me was too much to finish. Chili’s steak was under cooked, but the server made it right straight away. Service was solid and we were all content.

    From there, it was time for a trip downtown. Grabbed a Lyft from in front of the NY/NY and we were on our way. GOAT stayed at The D last year and really enjoyed his stay so it’s our first stop of the evening. We belly up to the long bar and all grab a drink before heading upstairs for a major milestone of the evening. Sigma. Derby. We grab quarters from the change machine and luckily there were seats for the four college buddies (GOAT went into spectator mode). This was the first time any of us had ever played Sigma, but we had a blast. JMac was far and away the winner of the group winning over $20 in the session. I lost $20, but had fun doing it. We decided to start walking down Fremont and popping in and out of the other casinos along the way. We stop at an outside bar right near one of the stages and grab another drink for the stroll. It’s crazy the pours they gave us in our drinks. I could have sworn my Crown and 7 had almost half a bottle in it, but that could have just been the blurred vision.

    [​IMG]
    Sigma Derby, from left to right, JMac, Chili, DRo, and myself

    We ended up catching the midnight light show before settling down at Binon’s to play some Blackjack. It was a $5 table and it wasn’t very kind to me as I blew through my $100. The nice thing was that we played for quite awhile before bowing out. At this point we had been down on Fremont for a few hours and were ready to head back to the home base of The Mirage. We cabbed it back this time since there were cab’s available and Lyft was surging a tad.

    [​IMG]
    BJ at Binion's

    Upon arrival back at The Mirage, we say our farewells to GOAT (he still keeps a normal dad bedtime of midnight on most Vegas nights so even this was pushing it) and prepare for the evening’s next move. Back to the room we go to get re-energized, have a drink or two, and altogether regroup. This is where everything starts to go a little off the rails as DRo and I start drinking jager from the bottle. Chili calls us a limo to get Minty and earn some horns if you catch my drift. The night gets away from us a bit quickly while inside and we head back to The Mirage around 4:30am. In my drunken state as we are walking towards the elevators I apparently find something that fancies my interest aka a lightly attended Craps table. The rest of the boys go up and I proceed to lose somewhere in between $150 and $250. I think I have officially learned my lesson about drunk craps playing. I decide to head outside to grab some fresh air outside the hotel lobby before heading up to the room for some sleep and see that the sun is starting to rise behind the Wynn. That’s a clear sign I need to get to bed ASAP. A busy Friday in Vegas in the books.

    To be continued….

    Saturday - Greenberg’s, Calvin, Fedoras, Sinbad, ugly naps, and Tiesto
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
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  5. cam9219

    cam9219 Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    7
    Finally finishing this trip report off, maybe live is easier than the post-trip recap.....eh probably not.

    Saturday July 23rd

    Our final day in Vegas. Time to rally after a late night and make the most of our last day and night in Paradise. We start to rustle around 11 AM and sort of go into a rushed get ready mode. We have pre-sale tickets to Calvin Harris at Wet Republic and guaranteed entry is only until 1. On last year’s trip we also saw Calvin at Wet on a sort of last minute decision (bought tickets about two weeks out) and it was the highlight of the trip for all of us. An absolute blast and totally worth the price of the tickets, drinks, stupidly priced locker, etc. So for this year’s trip we specifically looked for weekends that he would be on at Wet.

    Before heading off, we make night plans to hit Hakkassan on pre-sale tickets for Tiesto after a table at Marquee fell through (my AZ roommate was in Vegas with a big group but they decided to go a different direction). I was shocked to still see Tiesto pre-sales there for only $30. I had never been to Hak on my Vegas trips so this made too much sense and we pulled the trigger. We jump in a lyft around noon to New York New York to grab lunch at Greenberg’s Deli and then make the walk over to MGM. Have had a few lunch meals at Greenberg’s over the past few years and they never disappoint. This time I opted for a roast beef sandwich that was excellent and perfect fuel for the madness of Wet Republic.

    Last year, we arrived around 11:45 and grabbed some prime pool real estate towards the back of the pool with a ledge to put some of our stuff on. This year we were running well behind that schedule and after about 20-25 minutes of being in line to get in we immediately could see how packed the entire place was. There was going to be no finagling a ledge spot. We hurry over to the lockers to grab one worrying that they may be all taken. My biggest tip if ever going to Wet doing GA is 100% grab one of the lockers despite the price tag. It makes the whole experience so much better. I laugh at the people I see with their cell phone in 10 ziploc bags so the water doesn’t get to it, but I guess you have to do what you have to do.

    Last year we went for buckets of beer as the drink of the day since it worked out well having all six of us buy a six beer bucket, but we shifted gears this year and went for the big souvenir cup drinks. The pours were great so even though it’s no joke spending $40+ on a mixed drink at least there was a decent amount of booze in each drink. DRo and I went to the bar first to quench our thirst. He ordered his drink first, then I grab my captain and coke. When I turn around I already can’t find him and have no idea where he went and Chili & JMac are in the pool already. This could be disastrous. Luckily I wade back to where we were last year and pick out Chili’s fedora. Now JMac has extremely fair skin so we brought a TON OF sunscreen to Wet including a spray bottle to keep in the pool with us. This single sunscreen bottle ended up being our biggest asset. Quickly, we made friends at the ledge with a bachelorette party who had the deck table behind the ledge they were sitting on. They let us place our sunscreen bottle and a drink or two on the ledge and boom we became quick friends with the crew. It became a community sunscreen bottle throughout the day which was fine by us as we strengthened our friendships over protecting our skin from the UV rays.

    Calvin was awesome once again. He doesn’t disappoint, plays all his hits plus some. I felt like the pool atmosphere wasn’t as much of a party scene (splashing water, etc.) as last time but we still were going nuts. DRo ended up standing up on the ledge where the tables are since of course our friends connection let him be up there and he was breaking it down the whole afternoon. Chili ended up making out with two girls during the course of the day and all I can chalk it up to is the fedora. Last year we dipped Wet before Calvin had finished his set, but this year we didn’t leave until around 5:15 PM. We actually didn’t even realize Calvin had already finished his set and another DJ was on until we were grabbing our belongings from the locker to head out. Another great day at Wet. Most I read is that Encore Beach Club is even better than Wet and I am hoping I get over there on one of my next few trips, but Calvin at Wet is a big event to turn down.

    [​IMG]
    Just before leaving Wet Republic

    We are all pretty sauced at this point and began a long trek back to The Mirage. We made a stop at Monte Carlo since it was where we stayed last year and wanted to catch the tram to Bellagio to shorten the trip. We visited our favorite Sinbad slot at Monte Carlo before boarding the tram. Once back at The Mirage we were starving and decided to hit The Pantry. I ordered the Brisket Cheesesteak and it was fair, but we were all just happy to get nutrients back in our bodies.

    We headed up to the room and immediately passed out. We were looking for a nap of the shorter variety, but ended up sleeping from 8:30-11:15 PM. It was a tough rally, but we were making it happen somehow someway. I truly admire the people that can go dayclub to nightclub full marathon - that’s just hardcore grit. As we were getting ready to head out, DRo started waving the white flag saying he couldn’t make it. We all accepted the answer and kept getting ready. As we start to leave the hotel room DRo hops up and says he’s going to power through which puts a quick extra wind in our sails. We hop in a Lyft and are on to the MGM Grand.

    It was an absolute zoo outside of Hakkasan. As I mentioned before I had never been to Hak, but never walked by on a late night either. Luckily the pre-sale line moved pretty quickly, but I was still amazed how many people were lined up outside. We headed up the stairs and found ourselves grabbing a drink in the Ling Ling room before continuing up to the main club. The main room was already packed when we finally made it up the stairs so we veered right into a not as busy area to wait it out until Tiesto went on. We all were drinking slowly and it was pretty clear the desert sun had gotten the complete best of us. We hung around for about an hour and change of Tiesto’s set. It was my first time seeing him and I thought he was solid. Now I am here to confirm that everything i’ve ever heard about Hakkasan and doing GA there is totally fact. It sucks trying to navigate around in the main room because there are so many people and I feel like the walkways are too narrow to accommodate such large crowds. A table is definitely the only way to really be comfortable in the place. We even tried to push into the dance floor at one point, but there was zero chance of that happening. Chili made it in solo for a little bit before we headed out. I won’t be rushing to go back unless it was a DJ I was dying to see.

    We were all beat and ready to call it a night. We grab our last Lyft back to The Mirage and head straight up to the room to pass out and officially close the book on our most recent Vegas Adventure.


    Final Thoughts

    Another great Vegas trip in the books for the boys and I. Having GOAT there was awesome. We probably won’t return as an entire crew to Vegas for at least a few years as we have a couple other summer trip destinations that we are interested in, mostly San Diego and New Orleans at the moment. The gambling end of the trip definitely did not go in my favor, but that’s mostly due to the late night Craps table follies which won’t happen on future trips. We had a whale of a time at the cabana at The Mirage aka Deja Vu Pool Party. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip right behind seeing Calvin at Wet Republic again.

    Luckily for me I have another trip planned for the weekend of September 24th for a quick arrive Saturday midday and leave Sunday night trip. Can’t wait to experience an NFL Sunday in Vegas for the first time. Chewing on a possible New Years trip (unlikely) or a March Madness trip (possible) so it's safe to say i'm hooked on Vegas.

    Thanks for reading!
     
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  6. boxofbirds

    boxofbirds High-Roller

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
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    Seattle
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    Thanks for the report!
     
    Trip #12
  7. NancyA

    NancyA Tourist

    Joined:
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    loved your report! Thanks for taking the time to give us all the details! We're doing a cabana for the first time--really looking forward to it after your report!!
     
  8. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Abilene, Texas
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    Great report. Sounds like you
    and your friends had a great time.
    Thanks for sharing.
     
  9. livala

    livala Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
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    SW Florida
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    Thanks for the great trip report!
     
  10. D in the D

    D in the D Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Canton, MI
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    Thanks for sharing this great report. Very nice!
     
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