THE SETUP Itâ€™s me and the Hubs. It is our 4th/17th anniversary on Friday and the season finale Supercross on Saturday. Itâ€™s our first time staying at the Rio. Itâ€™s also our first trip of this year, which is unusual. We havenâ€™t been to Vegas since last November (Thanksgiving). We normally go one time between then and now, but there just wasnâ€™t the chance this year. We have been in withdrawal and really need a vacation. We are only Gold Total Rewards members, but the room was comped for Thursday through Saturday night. We did take advantage of the e-mail offer to upgrade to a Strip-view room for $10. THE ARRIVAL We both work early, so weâ€™re up at 0430 on Thursday to work half a day and then hit the road. We were on the road by noon. The drive was great. I really love the drive through the desert. You can almost feel all the stress blowing back off of you as you leave Los Angeles behind and head out into the hinterlands between these two metropolises. I think itâ€™s a beautiful drive and by the time we get close to Vegas, I am completely decompressed and excited as we round that last bend and the strip comes into view. We make it into town by around 1600. THE RIO We followed the signs to the self park, which takes you to the Masquerade garage, which is about a 10 mile walk from the front desk. We later discovered the much closer Carnival garage, the entrance to which is cleverly hidden on the far side of the hotel. You have to drive past the main entrance, turn right on the next street and then right again into that garage, but it is much closer to the main part of the casino, the lobby and the Ipanema tower elevators. The check in line was pretty long for a Thursday, I would think, but our clerk was really friendly. He was from LA and knew our neighborhood very well. We chatted while he confirmed our reservation and everything. We ended up in room 1035 in the Ipanema tower. We found the room to be very clean and seemed to have been recently updated. We had a very nice view of Caesarâ€™s and the Bellagio over the pool area. The dÃ©cor was relatively modern, muted browns and nice white, simple bedding. The bathroom area is large with a sink and vanity across from a large closet with a mini-fridge and safe in it. There is a second sink in the room with the toilet and a combo tub/shower. The water pressure and temperature control were good. The room had a CRT TV and a couch that had a pull out bed (which we didnâ€™t need, but in case anyone was wondering). After my thread last week, I was happy to find that there was an envelope provided for us to leave a tip for the housekeeper, which we did on the last day, as we did not have housekeeping into our room during our stay. There was a minibar in the armoire under the TV, but we didnâ€™t open it. The casino is very long and narrow, so walking from one end to the other takes some time. We spent most of our time in the main area, not in the Masquerade area as we found the Show In The Sky to be very loud and the slot machine offerings to be less attractive. We never caught the entire Show In The Sky show, although it was going on a few times as we were passing through. We did like how the CWs would periodically get up on these little stages and do a song or dance periodically throughout the day. Very entertaining. THE FOOD We hadnâ€™t eaten much on Thursday, so when we arrived and got checked in, it was definitely time for something to eat. We ended up at McFaddenâ€™s. We had a few beers. I had fish and chips and the Hubs had sliders. Both were very good. The French fries were excellent. It was pretty empty when we were in there, but I got the impression that it can get wild later and on the weekends. Each morning, we would hit up the Starbucks, which was conveniently located at the foot of the Ipanema tower elevator banks. We find it very difficult to adjust our body clocks, so we tended to be up by 0800 every morning, which saw very short lines for Starbucks. The drinks are just Starbucks drinks, but I would say the pastries were not the usual for a Starbucks. I had one of the best croissant of my life and the Hubs had a blueberry Danish which he loved. We had lunch on Saturday at the deli by the sports book. We split a Â½ lb. hotdog and some fries. The dog was great. For our anniversary dinner on Friday night we had reservations at Voodoo on the roof of the Masquerade tower. We went up at about 1830 got a drink and sat out on the patio for a bit. The view was great. It was pretty windy while we were there, but the building seemed to block some of it up there. We sat down for dinner just past 1900 on the side of the restaurant with a great view of the south strip. The sun went down over the course of our meal and the lights came up and it was really something to see. We had a good waiter who didnâ€™t rush us, so our meal took about 2 Â½ hours. We ordered the crab and artichoke dip appetizer. This was great, a warm, cheesy dip with seasoned pita. We both really enjoyed it and ate the whole thing. The waiter recommended the rib eye, which we both ordered (the Rio Reserve, less expensive, not the Rio Prime) medium rare. They were huge 20 oz. steaks, bone in and served with an end cut of bone and a little spoon for the marrow. They were perfectly cooked and very flavorful and tender. We also ordered three side dishes â€“ the sautÃ©ed wild mushrooms, the purÃ©ed potatoes and the truffle mac and cheese. This was a lot of food, as the sides are served family style and our steaks were already massive, but we managed to do some damage. The mushrooms were very good and complemented the steaks well. As did the potatoes, which I didnâ€™t initially like. They had a sort of smoky flavor, but when scooped up with a piece of steak or mushrooms they were very good. We could have done without the mac and cheese. It was good, but not so good that I would order again and we had too much food as it was. We finished off with a trio of mini-desserts â€“ a crÃ¨me brule, a raspberry tart and a black and white moose. None of these was outstanding. With all this, drinks and tip, the bill was $180.00 charged to our room for the points. On Saturday night, we order a bit of late room service. Just chicken strips and some fries. Both of which were good and delivered very quickly. $25.00 with tip. THE GAMBLING I had brought $1,000 figuring we really only had about 2 days to gamble â€“ Thursday night, all day Friday and Saturday morning before the race. I unintentionally came home with $400 left. Thursday night was a crisis as we searched the entire Rio casino and could not locate our beloved Star Trek slot machines. We momentarily considered getting back in the car and driving home right then and there, but cooler heads prevailed. We â€˜knewâ€™ they had them at Harrahâ€™s and IP and we needed to drive down to the strip anyway (the top I brought to wear for our big dinner on Friday requires a strapless bra, which I forgot to pack, necessitating a trip to Vickyâ€™s Secret at the Forum Shoppes). So into the car, to the strip, park at IP search the entire place, no Star Trek, next door to Harrahâ€™s, no Star Trek, completely distraught we make our way to the Shoppes, obtain the required infrastructure and head back to IP. Not very helpful slot attendant informs us they donâ€™t have the Star Trek machines anymore. Yes, we know. Back to Rio. We ended up playing a Wheel of Fortune machine for a few hours near the Flair bar in the Masquerade section of the casino. It ate $100.00 each of our money pretty fast, we werenâ€™t feelinâ€™ it and it was late by this point (remember, up at 0430) so we went to bed. Also, we like to play sitting next to each other and this was a round set of machines, which made conversation and canoodling very difficult. The next day we sent an e-mail to Harrahâ€™s lamenting the loss of the Star Trek machines. More on this later. Up at 0800, Starbucks, then hit the games. We walked around looking for something to take the place of Star Trek. We eased into side by side seats at a Gold Fish Race game and slipped in $100 each. We had a great CW, Jenn. She took care of us there for the next 3 Â½ hours. We had several Sugar Free Rockstar/Vodkas and Tomato Juice/Vodkas each and cashed out exactly even in time to go swipe our Total Rewards cards at the desk to activate our entries into the prize drawings they were having this weekend. Nothing more to say about that because we didnâ€™t win anything. Anyway, someone took our Goldfish so we sat at machines called Fireball. These were fun, but not nearly as rewarding as the Goldfish. We were there for several more hours (same great CW, bringing beer this time) and cashed out down by half of our $100 each buy-in. Then it was time to get cleaned up for dinner. We didnâ€™t have all day to play on Saturday, because we wanted to leave for the race at about 1500. We got started at our usual early hour, but had no luck getting in on the Goldfish or the Fireball seats. People were planted. We ended up trying some Wizard of Oz machines. These were very fun with several good bonus games. I won $38 or so a few times. Several hours spent at these with another good CW (male, this time). It took him a little while to find us initially, but a tip and a smile kept him coming back regularly. Then, an e-mail reply from Harrahâ€™s made our day! They do still have Star Trek at Ballyâ€™s and Paris! Off to the car, down to the strip, into Ballyâ€™s. There are two machines and a guy is sitting at one of them. Drat! I sit down and start to play hoping this guy is going to leave soon and the Hubs can sit next to me. I blow through $100 in about 20 minutes. The guy is completely harshing my gig. I switch with Hubs so he can play for a while. The guy keeps playing through $20 and then takes another $20 out of his wallet and starts again. Why not just put in more than one $20 at a time?! Ugh. He is not leaving. Hubs is down $50. We are not feelinâ€™ it. Over to Paris. Yes! Two machines, both open. Sit down, $100 in each. Few hours of play, few beers, cash out making back what we lost at Ballyâ€™s after my biggest single hit ever, $150. Yay! Off to the race. The Supercross is held at Sam Boyd stadium way out on Tropicana. It was very windy, but the wind kept it from feeling too hot, which was nice. Kawasaki (our brand) goes one through four in the Lites class, but Chad Reed had nothing for Ryan Dungey in the Supercross main. Some good racing, but most of the main guys have been out all season with injuries. Good times, as always. Back to the Rio around 2230. We play Wizard of Oz a little, but the machines arenâ€™t being as nice to us as they were earlier. We decide to sit at iBar for a bit. Have a few drinks, but itâ€™s been a long day and being outside most of the afternoon has worn us out. Went upstairs sometime around 2400, ordered room service and hit the hay. THE CLOSE Up at 0730 to get on the road. We prefer to get out of town before the real traffic starts. We made it home by 1200. Room, food, drinks, tips and gabling cost us around $1,000 total. Took a nap. Called my Mom. Happy Motherâ€™s Day! Thank you for reading.