BACKGROUND: I began planning this trip and purchased airline tickets way back in February. This would be my 17th trip to Vegas, but first in 5 years. My sister and her family live in the glittery desert. My 25 year old son accompanied me so it would be the first time he was legal to gamble in Vegas. This trip went through about 100 different versions with multiple dates and hotel changes. I asked a lot of questions on this board and I thank you for your help. This was going to be a budget trip since my job situation took a turn for the worse shortly after I booked the plane tickets. I finally decided to spend the first two nights downtown at The D and the next three nights at Bill’s Gambling Hall. I had previously stayed at Bills…well, the Barbary Coast…in ’04. GETTING THERE: Wow, those airline tickets were expensive…almost a grand for the two of us…but hey, no baggage fees with Southwest, right?! Our flight from Cleveland took 4 hours and 5 minutes, which was 25 minutes ahead of schedule. It arrived at 10:40 a.m. on Sat., Aug 18. Upon reading advice from Dewey and jimbo, we decided to give the Wax bus a try. We sprinted through the airport and were able to make the 11:05 bus with ease. For a measly $4.00, we rode downtown in an ice cold bus with a very friendly driver and were on 4th & Carson a half hour later. The $25.00 we saved by not taking a taxi could be put toward meals. THE D: We arrived at The D at 11:40 a.m. to find no check-in line and the nice clerk handed us keys to Room 2816. I had booked one of the remodeled rooms for Saturday and Sunday nights for just under $100.00, including tax. It had two very comfortable beds, a flat screen, and lots of vanity/counter space in the bathroom. (I told my son to expect a much smaller bathroom at Bill’s.) If you’re a light sleeper, be aware that you can still hear the outside music even in the remodeled rooms. We’re the type that if we’re tired we can fall asleep with background noise, so it didn’t bother us. DOWNTOWN EXPERIENCE: We picked up B Connected cards at Main Street Station and used our buy 1/get 1 coupon for Saturday champagne brunch. It was only around $12.00 for the two of us. I had eaten their dinner buffet years back and I know the MSS buffet continues to get very good reviews. The hot food was decent. Our favorite item was the enchilada. We both have a sweet tooth and there was a very large dessert selection so we were excited. We tried blueberry pie, cherry pie, pecan pie, cheesecake, carrot cake, etc. It was as if the flavors were screaming to come out but something was holding it back. Nothing tasted bad, but it wasn’t delicious either. However, the service, coffee, and mimosas were very good. The waitress even encouraged us to take mimosas to go and I was too happy to do that. My son doesn’t like them but I made him take one for me. We played a few machines and went on our way. From there we walked over to The Mob Museum. I got a yearly membership for me for $25.00 and my son was able to get in at the locals price of $10.00. It was as good as I heard it was, interactive with lots of things to look at. We spent two enjoyable hours. Walking back toward the canopy we came upon The Gold Spike. I hadn’t been in that dump for about 20 years and wanted to see it since it was remodeled. When we stepped inside, a clean smell hit us, not the usual beer and stale cigarettes. It looked much better. We played a machine for a little bit and was not winning, nor were we offered a drink, so we left. The pool at The D is open until 11:00 p.m. so we went down there later that night. We fell asleep around midnight, which was really 3:00 a.m. to us. The bedding was cozy but there was a thicker comforter on the bed than I use in January, so I actually woke up too warm a couple of times. I’m an early bird and by 5:30 a.m. I had enough shut eye. I let my son sleep and got ready quietly. We knew we didn’t want another buffet early in the morning so I went to the Dunkin Donuts at Fremont. They were washing the streets at 6:30 a.m. Four donuts and an iced coffee came to $7.97 and it hit the spot. We left the room about 8:00 a.m. and headed out getting free drinks and playing penny slots all over downtown. We started at the Plaza and worked our way back under the canopy. Passed by the Heart Attack Grill and stepped on their big scale outside. I had only been in Vegas 24 hours and already gained two pounds. It had also been quite a few years since I stepped inside El Cortez. For some reason my son likes Aliens and he discovered a penny alien machine. He put $1.00 in and bet one penny at a time. A short time later he had an $18.00 voucher - not bad! We went directly back to the Plaza and played some more. I’m sure it was in the 90’s but it only felt like the 80’s. Later that afternoon my sister and her oldest daughter met us under the canopy. With our B Connected cards, this time we got buy 1 get 1 free buffets at the Fremont, so the four of us were able to have dinner for about $25.00. I remember the Fremont having good food in the past and it did not disappoint. It was better than the MSS buffet. The selection wasn’t as big, but it tasted better, particularly the desserts. After we ate we spent a couple hours playing in the Fremont. OMG, it was so smoky in there and really burning the eyes. I did discover the penny Jackpot Party machine and had a lot of fun with it. We watched light shows and listened to bands. It was busier than Grand Central Station. After a fun evening we were all tired so we parted ways at 11:00 p.m. On Monday morning we went back to MSS to use yet another buy 1 get 1 buffet coupon. We figured that even if it wasn’t great, it’s hard for two people to eat breakfast for under $10.00. Well, breakfast turned out to be better than dinner. You can’t go wrong with a made to order omelette. The waffles were good as well. It was time to gather our belongings and take a taxi to Bill’s. To be continued….