Saturday, 10/13 Certainly not the trip I was expecting. Flying SWA and did the boarding passes 4 hours late-my bad but I kept telling my wife it was her fault for not reminding me! Boarding, we ended up with C1 & C2 and in the second to last row of a full plane. Pilot comes on and says due to the bad weather, he wants the flight crew to remain in their seats until we get over Nebraska (leaving from Milwaukee) and the weather clears. No drinks for us. Then he says we’ll be about 20 minutes late due to the weather. Finally got our drinks and I’m mellowing out. First SWA flight we have been on with WiFi ($5) and the guys in the row in front of us are watching the WI vs. Purdue game live on the Big Ten Network and we’re peaking over their seats to watch. Technology is amazing. Pilot comes back on and says now we are going to be 20 minutes early into Vegas-GREAT. Nice landing and now he comes back on and says they don’t have an open gate, so there will be about a 10 minute delay as we sit on the tarmac waiting. 30 minutes later, they finally open the door. Everything got better after that. Limo driver is waiting and the luggage is already going around on the carrousel. Suite at MSS is ready and we are unpacked and playing at the Boar’s Bar by 1 PM. Unfortunately that is the end of the good news for the day. I played video poker until sometime after midnight and never got a four of a kind (4oak) for the entire day. I’ve never had a stretch like that and I was hemorrhaging money at $5 per hand. Time for bed. Sunday, 10/14 I had a car reserved for two days with Dollar ($52 w/fees) so I caught the 8:31 AM WAX bus to the airport ($2). Unbelievable, I arrived at the airport at 9:01, caught the car rental shuttle and off to Dollar. I’m a Dollar Express member so I head directly downstairs to their other counter. Give them my name and they tell me the parking slot my car is located. No ID, no credit card! Very slick operation! Give the Ford Focus the once over and I’m on I-15 heading back downtown by 9:30 AM. This is where the plan went to hell. I told my wife I would call her cell and she should meet me in the MSS parking lot. From there we were heading to Suncoast and a couple of local bars we used to frequent when we lived there. I keep calling and it keeps going to her voicemail. I end up parking the car and go check the MSS bar-nope she hasn’t been there. Ok, check the room-not there either. Phone still going to voicemail. If she is not at the Boar’s Bar, I have no idea where she could be, so I plop down and play some video poker thinking she’ll find me. 1.5 hours later she shows up and shows me her phone. No messages, no missed calls. I’ve had a few beers by now and don’t want to drive to drink more beer, so first wasted car rental day and still no 4oak. This was a trip to celebrate our 31st anniversary and we’re not big on gifts so we agreed to cash out 600,000 B Connected points ($300 ea) and piss them away on games we wouldn’t normally play. For my wife that meant moving up to dollar DDB video poker and for me, moving up to $5 ($25 per hand) video poker. I headed over to The Cal where some of their bartops have $5 games. Slipped in my anniversary $300, selected $5 and DDB. I have never played anything above a dollar before. Third hand in I’m dealt a pair of eights. Hold two, catch two more! My first 4oak on the trip and its $1,250!! Took the hand pay, cashed out the remaining $225 to be used a different day and I headed back to MSS. This sucks but I only hit two 4oak at MSS the rest of Sunday. Monday, 10/15 We have a comp booked for one night at the Flamingo, just to check out the Strip and do something different. We finally find the self parking area at the Flamingo, which was difficult with all the construction going on. We then walked what seems like a half-mile through this promenade of HIGH END shops to reach the front desk. We try checking in at noon and they say sure if we want to pay $30 early check-in fee and we decline. I tell the desk clerk it’s our anniversary and it would be nice to get a room with a Strip view. She puts us on the 25th floor with a Strip view and that sounds nice and we can get the keys after 4 PM. We head to the casino for some LOUSY paytable video poker. We sat at Bugsy’s bar and a couple of things jumped out at me. Casino noise, music, crowds it just seems like an assault on the senses and not in a good way. The other is the employees bitching while they are working and in front of the customers. Two bartenders & two waitresses complaining about anything and everything and very loudly in front of the customers. It certainly reminded both of us of the Stardust in its waning years. Same thing used to happen there at the bartops. We have plans to meet a local friend at Mon Ami Gabi at 3 PM for a late lunch, so we head over to Paris and Gustav’s Bar to play for awhile. Now the paytables are the same here, but the casino is so much quieter and we both enjoy the atmosphere, but still too many people. BTW, they don’t take reservations for the patio seating. 2 PM we get a call. Our friend has a child emergency and has to cancel lunch. Both of us are downtown people, so I turned to my wife and asked if she had her camera. I suggest we walk back to the Flamingo, see if we can get in the room, take some pictures and just go back downtown, screw the comp. She jumped at the chance. I know I'm probably sounding old with my complaints about noise, crowds, paytables & the fricking overpasses to cross the street, but hey, maybe I am! OK, back at Flamingo and it is still crowded as hell. Try the key pickup and no the keys won’t be ready until after 4 PM. OK, just cancel the reservation; we’re not going to stay. She comes back with there is a $50 early departure fee. How can there be a departure fee if we can’t get the room and it was free to begin with? “Those are the rules”. I demand to see a manager and she disappears for a bit and then comes back and OK, no fee. We take the long walk back to the car and head back downtown. Wasted car day #2. We decide to wait for dinner and we had a great meal at the Redwood. We each had the bone-in ribeye. $29 and split an order of escargot $11. We looked at each other and said now we are home. We are not Strip people. We know this but apparently it needs to be reinforced every 5 years or so.:evillaugh On the way into dinner my wife noticed the quarter progressive royal jackpot was at $1,870 at the San Francisco bar inside Cal. So after dinner we chased that for awhile, but no luck. Tuesday, 10/16 I head back to the car rental return with the car. They did ask to see my gas receipt. Took the shuttle back, headed down to level zero and had a 5 minute wait for the WAX bus. It showed up right on time and I was back downtown 32 minutes later. I called my wife (cell worked) and she is back at the San Francisco bar inside the Cal. The jackpot is now at $1,991. Not bad for a quarter royal, so I decide to chase it also. For those not familiar with the progressive royal, it goes up about .01 for every 5 quarters played. My wife gets so many 4 to a royal it has become a joke with us and she usually slaps me, or pounds the bar every time she gets one. She hit me a few times already. I get another slap and I look over and see 4 clubs to a royal and a king of spades. Then I look closer and see it’s the king of clubs, she got it! My bad eyes. $2,005.71. That made for a great day and it brings her Royal total up to 24. Wednesday, 10/17 Our actual anniversary date and fairly uneventful. I had made arrangements to meet board member Bubbakitty at the Cal in the afternoon. He showed right on time and we played VP and drank a few beers. Very nice guy and it was an enjoyable couple of hours. Always nice to meet people and put a face to a poster’s name. Also thanks Bubba for the SWA drink coupons! Right before he got there, I did hit 3s with a kicker for $800 and that helped the cause a bit. Wednesday night we did end up at Pasta Pirate because both Redwood and Second St Grill are dark on Wednesdays. We both ordered pasta dishes. They were OK, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. The Market Street Cafe at The Cal now has a B Connected Emerald entrance. We have always avoided this place because the line was always sooooo long with the Hawaiians and their coupon books. We ate there twice this trip for breakfast and it was very good. The 777 Brew Pub closes from 7 AM-11 AM, the Cafe is 24/7, so it's a good alternative for us. Ox Tail soup served from 11PM-9AM. So, we are sitting at the bar at MSS and the food/beverage manager walks by and I ask what is in ox tail soup. He gives us a vague answer but then says they have it on the MSS buffet 3 days a week. I never really noticed. Anyway, 10 minutes later he comes back to the bar with a big bowl of ox tail soup for us to sample. Neither of us were impressed. Lots of bone and it certainly didn't seem to be very healthy, rather greasy. Glad I got a sample because it's $10 at the Cafe and I would have been disappointed if I ordered it. It reminded me as a kid growing up, we used to have boiled pig tails. Greasy & lots of bone. I've seen it mentioned on this board quite a bit, so just thought I'd pass that along. That’s about it. Flight back was uneventful and we were back home by 8 PM. Only two months to the next one. Only out of pocket costs (besides my losses) were the car and tips, but the kennel boarding, bath & nail trim for the spoiled canine was $239. Not a place I tend to frequent anyway, but the Culinary Workers were doing informational picketing at the Plaza most of the day on Saturday. Being a retired 35 year Union member, I had to ask what it was all about. I was told that all the Union casinos downtown have agreed to terms, but the Plaza refuses to even negotiate. The only casino downtown that is not Union is The Cal. Since Boyd owns that and MSS & Fremont, I always found that strange. Hope I didn't bore you!