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My First VMB Trip Report - Might be a little wordy . . .

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by CheeseHog, Jun 22, 2016.

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  1. CheeseHog

    CheeseHog Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Vegas Trip #46 10 Nights 3 Venues May 27 - June 6, 2016

    Friday 5/27: Day has finally arrived. Been 6 months since our last trip. Staying 3 nights at Monte Carlo, 4 nights at Flamingo, 3 nights at Orleans. Laurel has not been working for 15 months now, so trying to take the deals as we get them in order to maintain our aggressive vacation schedule. Fixed costs are approximately $935, which includes plane fare (free), hotels, car rental, and 3 shows. That and our variable budget of $210 per day which includes gaming food and booze. I like the way we do things…. Spent Thursday night at the Airport Holiday Inn. Used points for the room, and for $35 we got dinner in the platinum level lounge, breakfast and the park and ride feature, saving 10 nights airport parking fees. All thanks to their IHG credit card.

    Three hour plane ride was perfect. Watched “Hot Pursuit” on her Kindle to pass the time. We had Southwest free drink coupons, so I had a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy and she had a Bacardi and Diet Coke. Got our car @ Thrifty, Blue Chip member so we get to skip the lines and go right to the car ($239 fixed cost for this trip). Got beer and soda and then off to Monte Carlo. Mlife is about to charge for parking, but won’t start until we leave on 6/6. We’ve been Gold members for 2 years, so we are exempt from charges, however we will lose our Gold status this year and go back to Pearl. We won’t get to 75,000 points mostly because with her not working, we’re not staying at Aria and not eating expensive meals. Those 25x points add up quickly in Vegas. Anyway, for some reason, we got an offer to upgrade to a Monaco Suite for $25 per night (Hell yeah!). This is our 9th time staying here. Not a fan of the rooms, but pool/location/karma keeps bringing us back. Room is fabulous, even had a 2nd bathroom ($185 fixed includes $25/night upgrade and $33.60/night resort fee). Hustled over to Aria Buffet before 3:00 p.m. as we each had a free lunch thanks to My Vegas. Not much else to report for rest of the day; she gambled, I spent 2 hours at the pool, we walked the “Park” that just opened between Monte Carlo and NYNY. Very impressive and they did a great job, a perfect place for me who does less gambling. Laurel admitted to enjoying it even though the cobblestones were tough to negotiate with a cane. Had late night beer and baked brie appetizer at Nine Fine Irishman (My Vegas $25 credit). It was nice to sit on the patio and watch the world pass by. Stumbled home @ 10.30. (Variable Expenses $177).

    Saturday 5/28: Up at 6:15 am. 7 ½ hours of sleep. Usual summer scenario is McDonald’s (we always have gift cards) for breakfast before pool. MGM and McDonald’s have parted ways. I was in disbelief when I heard a couple of weeks ago. Not to be denied, I walked the 3 blocks to the Corner of Harmon and the Strip and walked back. Karma restored. Not as many homeless as I have seen in the past-I guess that’s a good thing. Spent next 4 ½ hours at the pool. Our local friend Mindy joined us and we had our usual great time. Monte Carlo Pool is a great venue with lots of people spending their discretionary cash on over-priced alcohol. Am I frugal or cheap? I just don’t get it… 2:30 pm and haven’t spent a nickel yet-perfect. I left her gambling at Monte Carlo and I hiked back to Planet Hollywood. Much more difficult than early this morning because sidewalks now packed with people. Was a necessary walk as we exceeded $10,000 charged on my Total Rewards Credit Card so now eligible for VIP Pass for the next year. Gives me pool access to all Caesars pools in Las Vegas. We are moving to Flamingo on Monday and wanted to get it beforehand. This way if room’s not ready, we can go to Linq, Flamingo or Cromwell pool for awhile. I also placed our Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600 race bets for tomorrow. Odds a little better at Total Rewards than MGM. While at PH, I was actually able to sneak a picture of Leon Spinks who was at a table signing autographs. The years have not treated him well, and he had no takers at the moment. Spent the evening at Silverton. Had dinner at Mi Casa with Mindy and her husband Bill. We met them in 2007 when I played in the Mesquite Amateur Golf Tournament. They have become our Vegas family for 9 years now. We have toyed with moving here on a few occasions, but I am a proponent of keeping life as simple as possible. Vegas is not simple. Tonight we saw Little River Band ($70 fixed). We had seen them in 2006 (?) with America at Planet Hollywood. Place was packed and we all had a great time in a super venue. We fit the demographic perfectly. They still sounded great and announced they’d been together 41 years! That is exactly how long I’ve known my lovely wife. Got home at 10:30 and was pleasantly surprised when she said she was shutting it down for the night. Another great day in Vegas (Variable Expenses $106).

    Sunday 5/29: Had $37 resort credit left to use or lose, so we had breakfast at Monte Carlo Pub. They now have pool side patio seating, so I was one of the first in pool, staked out our chairs then joined her for breakfast. It was pretty good and completely free. Spent almost 5 hours at the pool. Indy 500 going on and we both have a little action, so I kept checking. Lo and behold, I watched the last 15 laps and the world must have ended because my 40-1 shot Alex Rossi scored me a $200 win. I have been known to milk a win like that for a whole week. Next, drove to Tropicana to lock in our 2 free tickets to Wednesday night’s Raiding the Rock Vault. Laurel won this last year at the ELV Bingo and we didn’t want to let them expire. I left her in the car like a “vulnerable adult” because any gambling she does at Trop doesn’t help our MGM or Total Rewards status. On to Palazzo. When we were here in November she found out she had comp money that had not expired. We used to stay here in our “golden days” (3 years ago). Used a $20 comp for dinner. Grande Lux is on our must do list every trip--we love Asian Nachos. It is the best taste sensation ever, hands down. Also had Duck Triangle appetizer. Never a disappointment and always a real value. Back to Monte Carlo. Packed for a while to make tomorrow’s move to Flamingo easier. Hung here and next door at Aria. Lightening struck again. I won $100 on a reel winner penny machine. I do 10 spins at max coin and take whatever I have left and walk away. On the 3rd spin, I got 4 jackpots for $60. So I settled in and kept playing. It happens and is always appreciated. (Variable Expenses -$134 Nice win today!).

    Monday 5/30: Moving day. Takes just as long to pack up as it does to unpack. We were super sorry to see the Monaco Suite go, maybe we will get upgraded again in September. We already have the 3 nights booked for Labor Day. Drove down to Paris for breakfast on the patio at Mon Ami Gabi. Always a must do for breakfast or lunch. So relaxing watching people walk by, in addition to the excellent food. Neither disappointed. She had her usual Quiche Lorraine and I got the Eggs Benedict special. Today it was Bison Rib eye on Wheat toast with 2 poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and pomme frites on the side. (mmmm I’m re-living the sense memory as I write this). On to Flamingo. Have 4 nights here ($112 fixed for resort fees + tax). Were going to try to check in early, but valet advised checking in before 1:00 pm incurs a new $30 fee, so we’ll wait. I have a $25 bell man fixed cost in budget, so we gave them our luggage, and using my newly minted Total Rewards VIP Pass I picked up Saturday, we went next door to Cromwell pool. Expectations high for this new venue Did it deliver? Hardly! Elevator took us to 3rd floor pitch black hallway. Had to walk down a long flight of stairs to access pool. At the bottom of the stairs we see a sign $5 towel rental, but the guy gave us free towels for being VIPs. He advised it was $150 for a lounge $200 for a bed, $500 for a cabana. Free seats located around the palm trees. It was 10:30 in the morning and only two other people at the pool who must have had an extra $150 laying around. It was pretty with a good view. We made the best of it though. Cabanas stared to fill up with champagne drinking bachelorette parties. Each cabaña had it’s own tiny pool and they stayed put. The main pool stayed mostly empty. Surprised we stayed 2 hours. We don’t fit the demographic. Checked in at Flamingo. Glad we are Platinum members (Thanks TR Credit Card) as line at regular check in looked like people waiting for a ride at Disney. We had to wait behind one person. Got the Fab Deluxe room, a basic room, pretty large and can’t argue with free. Unpacked and took a two hour nap. Dinner plans were Mr. Lucky at Hard Rock with Vegas friends Mindy and Bill. Not my first choice but the girls like it and its an easy in and out for locals. Prime Rib & Shrimp Special ($10.99 ) was decent. We split it and I had an order of tater tots. Didn’t hang here too long, sadly “donated” to a casino venue that does us no good. Losing both the hockey and basketball games did not improve the mood. Back to Flamingo for the night, and assumed our normal patterns. I stand out front drinking beer, smoking a cigar and people watching. Got a text that she had a $263 bonus round on Ellen. She parlayed it into a $330 total win for the night. After 4 full days, we’re both ahead. Good girl! (Variable Expenses -$116-another winning day!).

    Tuesday 5/31: Different venue, different options. We like fancy breakfasts so Guy Fieri’s at Linq is the plan. Can’t believe a breakfast venue doesn’t open until 9:00 am! I don’t understand, but I don’t make the rules. We’ve eaten here a number times. Not on the must list: but a preferred eatery. Huge portions so we split the Guy’s Big Burrito, it was excellent. (Had a coupon for a free mimosa ($10). We had stayed at the Linq for the first time last November and were impressed, so used the VIP Pass to get into their pool. Was a great time. Totally opposite of yesterday’s Cromwell experience. Fun crowd, she played pool volleyball and bonded with the masses as she does. Being and old man, my pursuits are reading the paper and writing in my journal. Put on my waterproof Ipod and dipped in to cool off several times. Since we got such a late start thanks to Mr. Fieri, we only hung 2 ½ hours. Glad we did this pool and will repeat it , if not this trip, in September. Not too much to report for the rest of the day. Our Vegas “family” celebrating their grandson’s kindergarten graduation and we were invited to the party. Nice to see everyone a couple times a year. Stopped at NYNY on the way home and had dinner at Tom’s Urban. We had a My Vegas BOGO Tom’s 33 oz beer. Had that and split the Cuban sandwich while sitting outside observing the masses. We never understand why people choose to eat inside. Laurel almost recovered from Flamingo from what she had donated to NYNY, so we’re all good. (Variable Expenses $97).

    Wednesday 6/1: Trip now ½ over. Gonna hang at Flamingo pool. Being a V.O.F.A. (Veteran of Flamingo Affairs), I knew what travails awaited me. So, I made the 22 minute round trip trudge to JJ’s Boulangerie at Paris. Secured the obligatory baguette to eat in our hotel room. Always a positive experience. Went and got in line for pool at 8:35 for it’s 9:00 am opening. At 10 am we were finally sitting in our chairs. They only had 1 guard checking people in, and he gave priority to those renting cabanas. I could sense a small riot brewing, but it never materialized. Spent 3 hours here on the hottest day of the year (so far). Later, I dropped her off at Gold Coast (up to 50x multiplier day for those 50+) and using my VIP pass, I walked over to the Rio pool. What a nice set of pools that was. They even had an adult pool that had cushions on the lounges (for free, Excalibur). I had stayed at Rio for work back in 1997 and didn’t use the pool. It is now on the table for Friday before we check into Orleans. While I was having my fun, she was having her own fun at Gold Coast and was a $70 winner when we met back up. Dinner at Ping Pang Pong tonight. She had earned enough daily points for a free buffet, but that didn‘t deter us. We ate here for the first time in November, and wanted to repeat the experience. It was fabulous! Oh no, is this another for the must list? I had Kung Pao Chicken and she had Orange Chicken. Did not remember portions being so large we couldn’t finish last time. Next time, maybe we’ll split something. Don’t like it when over-eating ruins the day. Hustled over to Tropicana, doggie bags in hand. Had to get to will call by 6:45 for our tickets to raiding the Rock Vault. Then I did my civic duty and gave our leftovers to a less fortunate soul sitting on the bridge. Since that was our leftover plans, we had packed in rice, napkins, plastic silverware, and chopsticks too. He was appreciative for the still warm food, and we were glad the food didn’t go to waste. Bill and Mindy joined us. Being music from the late 60s thru the 80s, all four of us were surprised how much we enjoyed it. Even though our tastes have matured, we knew all the songs and mostly good memories resurfaced of the olden days. I almost enjoyed the stories on the video screens as much as the music! What I was most surprised about was that the place was packed on a random Wednesday night. Happy for the performers and the Tropicana. Back to Flamingo at 10:30. Discussed food court, but basically just shut it down. Another fine day in paradise. (Variable Expenses $107).

    Thursday 6/2: Bantered about a couple of different pool scenarios and decided to stay here at Flamingo. Got in line a little earlier than yesterday. Took awhile, but not as much drama as yesterday. 5 hours later we were back in our room. Good thing we like the heat, it was 107 degrees today. Not much worth reporting for today. We had dinner with our friends at Ellis Island. We love those inexpensive craft beers! Always a value. I spent $10 on a beer at Rio pool yesterday. I rarely do that, but have to admit it was a better value than the $5 Diet Coke at Flamingo pool! Had a fabulous dinner at the BBQ place. We know they have a famous Prime Rib special at the cafe, but all four had the BBQ chicken or ribs (or both). Comes with garlic bread, corn, baked beans and coleslaw. Excellent and a bargain too. Not on the must list, but we seem to get here every trip. It’s and easy in and out for all involved. Back to Flamingo, I had restocked the beer supply and did my best to deplete it. She flip flopped between Flamingo and the Linq til she ran out of money. There’s the reason we get these free rooms! (Variable Expenses $227).

    Friday 6/3: Why do I have cracks on both heels and several toes? Desert, I guess. Think I’ll just ignore it. Moving day. Even though it is one of the older strip venues, Flamingo still has it’s beautiful gardens and a great location. Plan was check out, ($104 fixed) breakfast at Hash House A Go-Go on Sahara, pool at Rio, then Orleans check in. Plans changed. Hash house was still first stop. Split Griddled meatloaf and eggs. She loves those Griddled mashed potatoes. Me I like that the portion is so large, we can split breakfast by getting an extra biscuit (to eat their homemade jam or marmalade on). Place is always popular, but didn’t have to wait here on Sahara like you have to at the Linq location. After breakfast, drove to Palace Station to catch the Renaissance Bead Show. Laurel makes a lot of jewelry and there is a unique selection at a bead show you can’t get anywhere else. Too bad it wasn’t happening, she must have gotten the dates wrong. Only 1 of us was disappointed. On to Orleans. Nice to be able to check in and get our room before noon on a Friday. 12:40 pm found us firmly entrenched at the pool. Each pool we visit has it’s pluses and minuses and Orleans is no different: 1) open 9 am until 9 pm, 2) bits of shade for sun relief, 3) no security pat down looking for soda or snacks, 4) No boom boom music, 5) Reasonable prices for food and beverages. All positives, but the biggest selling point is that it’s the “Burlesque Hall of Fame” weekend at Orleans. We stumbled across this a few years ago when we stayed here the weekend after Memorial Day. Once we discovered our trip coincided with the event again this year, it was a no brainer. Sitting around the pool (and later around the casino) was a parade of beautiful, voluptuous, curvy women and their cohorts in their finest attire. So much fun, and we can do this all weekend. One of the girls at the pool told Laurel “best pool day, ever!” and we couldn’t agree more. Drove to Luxor for dinner. Had a My Vegas $20 off $40 at Public house. We each had our own flight of 4 beer samplers and split a delicious bowl of soup and a sausage and peppers sandwich for dinner. Even with $20 free, was still $36 out of pocket. Got unexpected great news when our waitress took our Total Rewards Credit Card for the balance due. She advised MGM is coming out with their own credit card June 8th. Nice to know. Left here an hour later and $153 poorer than when we entered. It happens. Back to Orleans. Tonight the Burlesquers were celebrating “Legends Night”. People watching was fantastic! So nice to see a large group of people from all over (with few inhibitions) enjoying their true selves. And it wasn’t only the women, the men put on quite a show of their own. Was so much fun just drinking beer and hanging out. Laurel on the other hand, gambled while watching. (Variable Expenses $342 ouch!!!)

    Saturday 6/4: Another scorcher. Plan was Orleans buffet, but awaking the wife was a major task. She blamed the Public House flight of beers. Spent 5 ½ hours at the pool. I went to hot dog cart by Sporstbook at noon and got two hot dogs and a soda for $5. Best value in Las Vegas. Laurel and Mindy split a chicken Sandwich and Diet Pepsi at the pool ($18). Orleans had a chef grilling outside on the weekends so their sandwich was super fresh. Nice touch. Had tickets to see Blue October at Brooklyn Bowl tonight. Drive to Linq to find Valet full at 4:00 pm. So I had to park in the 2nd worse parking ramp in Vegas. Absolute worst is next door at Flamingo. I would park on the street ½ mile away before I’d do that again. We’d never been to Brooklyn Bowl before. We had general admission tickets (the only kind they sold), so I had inquired earlier in the week about any ADA seating as Laurel can’t stand for 2+ hours of the concert. I was assured there would be space available. Just to make sure, we got there good and early and had dinner there. On most trips, we try to eat at as many new places as possible, but we didn’t even talk about it this trip. We heard they are famous for their fried chicken but didn’t want to eat too much before the show. Two ½ price beers and a ½ price fried dill pickle appetizer, as it was happy hour, then split the pulled pork dinner ($43 total). Food was excellent but we felt they really wanted to “turn” the table as they kept clearing dishes and once tried to take a plate before I was finished. Not a fan of feeling rushed, but with a big show, I understood. We were so happy when Brooklyn Bowl delivered the most excellent seats we ever had to see a show. Blue October rocked it. It was the most awesome show we have seen in recent memory. What a bargain for $27 a ticket! I would recommend the venue to anyone for both the food and the concert venue. Took 1 hour to 1) locate our car, 2) find a way our of the parking ramp, 3) navigate stop and go Saturday night Vegas traffic while making multiple lane changes and 4) Go on the final Beer/Soda run of vacation. Got back to Orleans just in time to see the Burlesque Hall of Fame Show let out at 12:30. Was an incredible night for making lifetime memories. (Variable Expenses $263).

    Sunday 6/5: Last full day of great week. Going to try to not overdo it on the last day. Otherwise, I regret the losses while trying to hit “the big one”. Been there, done that. Out late last night (2:00 am) but managed to get 2 croissants from Java Deli and made it to pool at 9:00. We were determined not to stay here for 5 ½ hours like yesterday…turned out to be 5 hours, so no real difference. A week in the record-setting Las Vegas sun though plays into my vanity and I do have a rockin’ tan1 I got another $1.50 hot dog again while the girls spent another $21 on pool food. I guess they figure because they charge it to the room, it gives the illusion that it’s free. Plan for evening was dinner with our locals at Buca Di Bepo on Charleston then Red Rock. We hadn’t been to their end of town all week, but things changed and we were on own. She wanted to repeat Asian Nachos at Palazzo, I wanted In ‘n Out Burger, so after packing 2 of 3 suitcases and taking them to the car, we ended up back at Ping Pang Pong at Gold Coast. Dinner was fabulous. She got the orange chicken again and I got Sweet and Sour Pork ($32). Another reason I like this place is that its fun to see the funky Chinese food and the manner that people use to consume it. Don’t get that in Arkansas. Back to Orleans, she’s off to do her thing, me I put my swimsuit on, grabbed the last beer and the morning’s unfinished newspaper and headed to the pool. Sun down, very hot breeze blowing. In other words, it was perfect. So glad we opted to stay here this trip. We always have a Boyd offer and most trips it’s on the table, but a better offer with freeplay comes from MGM and Orleans goes by the wayside. Had a late night snack at Courtyard Café. I was bummed when they said they got rid of the keno runners 6 months ago, so I had to do it myself. We won $2,000 playing $1 keno at Orleans in May of 2013, so I spent $5 trying to relive the 6 for 6 memory…. (Variable Expenses $179)

    Monday 6/6: Trip over. Non-stop to Little Rock leaves Vegas at 9:30 am. Notice Orleans did not charge us the resort fee for the free nights like Monte Carlo and Flamingo do. Also not charged for Saturday’s lunch at the pool. Car rental was $238 fixed but receipt says $222 for some reason. What a bargain that was. We used the car everyday, unlike some other past trips. We always pay the Southwest Early Bird fee for the return home so we don’t have to worry about remembering to do it ourselves on our last full day of vacation. Very surprised when we ended up A19 and A20. I ended up milking my last Sunday Indy 500 win all week and the trip was a positive $45 for me (17-4 in last 21 trips), Laurel on the other hand, had her usual nice time.

    We used to spend about $4,000+ per 10 day trip to Vegas, nice to spend half and have just as much sun, fun and food.

    Fixed Costs: Budgeted $933 Actual $888
    Variable Cost: Budgeted $2,100 Actual $1,248
    Total Trip Cost: $2,136
     
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  2. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Good report, thanks for taking the time to share.
    Ty
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  3. calway55

    calway55 Low-Roller

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    What detail. What deals. Thanks for the read. I thought I did a lot in Vegas. At least you had long downtimes at the pools.
     
  4. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Sounds like you had a great trip and lots of good info on the various pools. I've been splitting my comped Vegas stays over the past few years between Cosmo and Palms but can't make that work (yet) for July due to conventions so booked Rio (my friend has no comps at my other options) for the first time in a decade. Nervous about it but happy to hear the pool is pleasant as we'll definitely want to spend some time there.

    Thanks for sharing your Vegas adventures!
     
  5. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Great first report! I love that level of detail. And it gives me ideas for my next trip.
     
  6. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

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    June 3, “Burlesque Hall of Fame” weekend at Orleans.

    This is now on my almost to do list.

    Nice, detailed report. Thank you.
     
  7. LV2GAMBLE

    LV2GAMBLE Low-Roller

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    Nice trip. Thanks for sharing and taking us along.
     
    Always seems so far away............
  8. Blueberries

    Blueberries Low-Roller

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    Nice report, thanks!
     
  9. tcocona

    tcocona Low-Roller

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    What an outstanding trip report. Thank you for taking the time and effort to enlighten and entertain us ,
     
  10. johnnytwofingers

    johnnytwofingers Low-Roller

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    Awesome super detailed trip report!

    > I was actually able to sneak a picture of Leon Spinks who was at a table signing autographs.

    Would love to see that if you could post it...
     
  11. Big dan

    Big dan Low-Roller

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    June 3, “Burlesque Hall of Fame” weekend at Orleans.
    We were here at the same time. It was definitely some interesting people watching
     
  12. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    I knew this report sounded familiar. Seems like I read it before somewhere. Welcome, my friend!! :beer:
     
  13. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    So how did you come in so far under budget? Overestimate, gamble less than expected or won more than expected? Nice job.
     
  14. CheeseHog

    CheeseHog Tourist

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    Free plane tickets, free hotel rooms (even though pesky resort fees), her losses less than usual. Even though I do gamble, it's like 20 percent gamble, 30 percent people watch & 50 percent drinking & watching sporting events. Headed back for 10 days at Labor Day, we'll give it another try at under Budget again!

    Thanks for reading,

    Jeff
     
  15. Jjd234

    Jjd234 Tourist

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    Thanks for the report. I believe there is a McDonald's at Planet Hollywood might have saved you some walking.
     
  16. scohitch

    scohitch Low-Roller

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    Great trip report! Thanks for sharing.
     
  17. CheeseHog

    CheeseHog Tourist

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    Thanks to all my new friends and of course an old friend...Here is the picture of Leon Spinks . . .


    DSC00601.JPG

    Jeff
     
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  18. johnnytwofingers

    johnnytwofingers Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the pic, anyone happen to know how the money gets split up on these celebrity signings, I see it says it is a "charity event".
     
  19. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    Enjoyed following along - you really did justice to all the pools you visited - it always sounds so relaxing and refreshing; we always take our suits, but rarely do we end up at the pool. Love the detail and can appreciate sharing a plate here and there - portions are sometimes so large as to be wasteful unless shared. Thanks for a fun read!
     
  20. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report! But 17-4 in your last 21 trips, and you occasionally play slots? Teach me...lol
     
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