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One trip over the line

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by doctor_al, Dec 14, 2005.

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  1. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    One trip over the line

    or, What comes to Vegas stays in Vegas.

    Here's how it started: I nearly left my wallet at security before the plane ride to Vegas. As I remarked to my buddy JonnyU later, that maybe would've saved me some money.

    The point of this trip was that I hadn't been to Vegas with my buddy JonnyU for about eighteen months, not since he had a forty-eight hour "layover" on his way to meeting a friend in LA. At points it looked like he wasn't going to make this one either, with his work situation in flux. But I found a good airfare out of MSP and cashed out some online poker winnings and bought him a ticket. He has since gotten a (much) better job, and is therefore on the hook for the next one.

    We had some vague plans. Of course, we're staying downtown, although I couldn't talk him into the El Co. There are some routines, like the martini at Bellagio and the ponies at Caesars. And some new stuff, like my getting a car for the last 24 hrs and getting out and about. And I had a boatload of leftover coupons and matchplays, plus some RossW had sent.And since both Jonny and I were going back to work bright and early the morning after getting home, we kinda wanted to front-load the action. Oh yeah, and my goal for the trip was to start laughing in the airport and not stop til I got back. Got a good start on that when some reallly loud buzzing noise started down in the jetway and Jonny made a comment about sending somebody to turn off the "industrial-strength vibrator".

    So here's how Saturday goes. Checked into the Fitz, no complaints there. I would have no reservations recommending the Fitz as a home base. Decent room, pretty good casino, a little pool if you feel the need, right on Fremont. View east was of the Boulder strip, mainly. 'Nuff that, on to the cocktails.

    Hard to get a buzz going on those little juice-glass rail drinks, but not like we weren't trying. Played some roulette here and there, but Jonny wasn't getting any love from the tables. Then Mikey came up and joined us for dinner at Robertas. (Jer, Eric, wha' happen'??) Prime rib all around, ma'am. It wasn't the Brontosaurus burger that Mikey's buddy plowed through, but they made a serious hole in a cow to get these things. Thick, good sized, and cooked appropriately, and we were out the door (including a free bottle of wine, Thanks Ross!) for $51 total for the three of us. Oh hell yeah. And the horseradish they brought with it was exactly that - shredded horseradish, not horseradish-flavored sauce. When we weren't laughing til we cried, there was the horseradish to finish the job. When we were done we all waddled out to a Pai Gow table to let that slab of cow start working. The first dealer was a nice enough lady, but she was running through our chips, and then they brought out a new guy. Mikey saw his nametag and elbowed Jonny, sayin' "its the fifth beetle". Jonny looked at the nametag, then at his cards and said "Who flung?" Which I found funny enough by itself until I looked up to read: Hello, my name is Dung".

    Naturally, from there it was off to Jerry's Nugget, but not before a tour of of East Fremont to look at the seedy goodness of the vintage motels there. "XXX movies 24 hrs" -- no kidding. On the TV, or you want I should put you next to the 'honeymoon suite'? As we get to the end of the street, there's a cop car or two pulled up in a gas station. While the cops interview the young lady, the young gentleman in handcuffs off by himself is swinging from side to side, like he's used to amusing himself while waiting around in handcuffs. Good stuff.

    Then we swing the ghetto cruiser up into North Las Vegas, past the bums sleeping in the sidewalk along Las Vegas Boulevard, to Jerry's Nugget. Had some matchplays there, but I cannot win a red cent off those blackjack tables, and that night, neither did the other two. So we went over to the dice tables, and that started out bad. Point, seven for each of us first time around. On Mikey's second roll, he hit another one of those runs that I've seen a couple of times now with him at the table. After a while, though, they started giving Mikey grief for setting the dice. I don't think they're real keen on winners there. So when his roll ended, we colored up and walked. Across the street there was a little neighborhood bar that Mikey had been wanting to try. Cover was a little steep, as were the drinks, but the staff were certainly attentive.

    So anyway, after that it was back to the El Co for a little more dice, this time with no love whatsoever. It was getting late, the wallet was feeling alarmingly light (not sure where it all went, but the drinks at the neighborhood bar *were* pretty steep), and we called it a night. Left Mikey at the craps table, but from what I heard later he was done there pretty quick after we left. Oh yeah, there was a stint at the Plaza poker tables right there at the end, me thinking that would be my "personal ATM". I had fun, but it didn't happen like that.

    Next morning I'm reminded what "east facing room on the 27th floor" means, it means sun bright and early. Tried to sleep in and made it to... seven-fifteen?

    In a nutshell, Sunday was kinda over before it started. Breakfast at the Gate was underwhelming. The 302 is gone and "the Deuce" is slow and some of the drivers pretty darn annoying. The craps table out front of Slots A fun is now open only 11 to 5 or so, wasn't open when we were there. Didn't feel like drinking a martini at any point during the day. Caesars book was packed with NFL fans, no seats to be had. The good points were - Jonny got to see Wynn (found it nice but underwhelming), the Barbary Coast is always a welcome sight, and the Island Lounge at Mandalay is still a pretty bar, even if the drink prices are rediculous and service non-existant (yeah, maybe that's off the list for MM3).

    About the "Deuce". Good thing - it's a double decker, and they're trying to get the drivers to be a little more personable. Bad things - there is no longer an express 302. Tourists, on average, take a hell of a lot of time paying for their ride or 24 hr pass - which could be done at a ticket kiosk before hand, if they would install those. And some of the drivers really do "personable" poorly. Like the driver on the trip back to downtown, who was pulling the "hey (insert description of person here), your shoe is untied" joke on every fifth strip pedestrian. Hey bus driver, your joke was old ten minutes ago, and even if his shoes *are* untied, he's moving faster than we are, dammit.

    So back downtown, back to all the black cowboy hats and wrangler jeans, this being the end of NFR and all. The best fashion statement this trip was the guy in the boot-sneakers, essentially boots except at the bottom they're cross trainers. Cowboys in comfortable boots. The rodeo fans and Christmas decorations made this a surreal trip, epitomized by the gay caballero belting out some Andy Williams christmas special on the fremont bandstand. Don't think I'm going back at this particular time of year. Although Jonny had a heck of a night playing craps all night, between the irish cowboy from Canada telling him how to bet and the 60 yr old cowgirl who kept grabbin his flanks "for luck".

    Also, ScottR called and met up with us down at the Fitz on Sunday. Best part of the day, actually, was just sitting up in Fitzgeralds drinking beers and bullshitting with Scott and Jonny while the Packers were playing in the background. Then we wandered down to the Plaza for more of the same, until Scott bugged out so he could get up to drive out to Zion early the next day. Good times.

    Almost forgot - being the down-on-our-luck gambling degenerates we were, we naturally headed up to the Gold Spike, and took a shining to the place right away. Consider that this is where folks go who aren't flush enough to hang out at the El Cortez. Probably pretty smoky too, but considering my travelling companion apparently is on a mission to fill the vacuum left by the late Marlboro Man when he died, I didn't notice it so much. Anyway, this place has three blackjack tables, of which only two were working. And real coin-in slots, including actual penny-in slots. So if your bankroll jingles, this is the place. I went big on a Double Diamond Deluxe quarter machine, but eventually wound up back at the penny-in double bonus. This would be a good time to ask -- you know all those buttons you keep touching? Ever thought about what happens to them in a day? As someone said on this trip, in a different context, "you have no idea where that's been!" Normally, I'm a big believer in the human immune system, but I became a complete OCD hand-washing freak on this trip.

    Monday morning was "Fistful of Matchplays". Wandered around downtown and decided I'd use 'em on roulette. Not the best gamble, no, but you're not going to mess up anybody's "run" by jumping in for a one-hitter. I found out, as an added bonus, that not only does downtown get the break-in dealers, roulette must get the real hard-to-instruct ones. Each trip to the wheel involved about fifteen minutes of conversation as to whether you could actually use the matchplay on this game, and on what bet. Only wound up hitting one of three of those, but did hit on a craps matchplay plus somebody's roll at the Lady Luck, and got a little love from a blackjack table at the Gate. Pretty sure that all got pissed back at another craps table somewhere, though.

    Spent some quality time at the El Co's front bar drinking bloody's while Jonny got some shuteye. Later he joined me down there for breakfast, then I checked into the El Co for a night. Didn't wind up using the room, exactly, but for $25 we got a bunch of coupons and a look at the room, which Jonny agreed, was nicer-looking than our Fitz room. Plus, who knows, you keep on Jackie's marketing radar and there could be some liquor miniatures in the future for ya.

    Headed down to the strip again. We actually got to play the ponies at Caesars this time, but the buggers have gone to drink tickets (ask when you bet), they rearranged the seating, and my favorite wiatress wasn't there, the one who was on a mission to fill the table with full glasses. And we didn't hit shiat on the horses. Not a darn thing. Closest thing for me was getting my exacta box horses to finish 2-3. Wandered back over to the Barbary, our home-away-from-downtown. Got back downtown too late to pick up the car, so instead of going down to see Mikey deal, we just kicked around downtown (including another trip to the Spike, naturally). Got a reverse "drunk call" (meaning the dialer was the sober one) from RossW as we were wandering around. Took me a minute to figure out "who the hell do I know in Ontario?" Also got a few shots of neon with the phone, sent a pic of Vegas Vic (later called a "jealousy picture") off to a coworker. Finished the night with a late-night prime rib at Binions, downstairs. It was ok for what it was, but service blew and the "horseradish" would have been stronger if they'd even just set it next to the stuff at Robertas for five minutes.

    Last day I picked up the car (after waiting behind charter members of the new Slowlane program - when the hand-written doctor's note comes out you know to settle in for a long haul...) and ran up to Jerry's to cash an errant green chip from the earlier adventure, and play a matchplay. Of course, didn't win shiat at that BJ table. Then we just drove around the Valley. Down Boulder highway, took a look in at Sams. Meandered through a few neighborhoods, wandered down to GVR, then back up to the Hard Rock, which was basically the last stop before the airport. Bought in one last time at a craps table, made some money off a dude's roll but totally failed to walk away with it. Time to go.

    Final thoughts:
    - Christmas is wrong in Vegas. No snow, plus it's really a kids' holiday, and I don't like the kids+Vegas thing
    - the Deuce needs work
    - probably one trip too many this year
    - Jonny and I need to find more stuff to *do* during the day. Don't say go to a show, it ain't happening.
     
  2. DNA

    DNA Low-Roller

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    I agree that neighborhood bar you went to is expensive. I think I've been there a few times before. Friendly staff though. The decor inside itself is worth checking this place out. To bad you lost this trip, but atleast you had fun with your buddies. Good TR.

    Darin
     
  3. Perry Spring

    Perry Spring Tourist

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    Great report Al...
     
  4. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    Nice TR Doc!

    You've gotta love those neighborhood bars, before you know it, all your money is gone, and you feel like your been stiffed. The problem is, with places like these, you need to check for outdoor plumbing before going in. :evillaugh

    Now hurry up and get that new timer up already!
     
  5. Beach Crazy

    Beach Crazy Hostess With the Mostess

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    :blink:

    Enjoyed the read, but there seems to be some details missing....or so I've heard :evillaugh

    It's always nice to spend time with friends. Sounds like you two had a great time in spite of your gambling losses, and in the end, that's what really counts anyway. :)
     
  6. RossW

    RossW North of the 49th

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    Thanks for the read , Lou.

    I kinda know what you mean - one trip over the line. I had the same type of "Christmas time in Vegas" trip years back with a buddy as well. Just doesn't seem to "fit the bill" at that time of year for some reason. It doesn't do it for me either, a Christmas trip.

    I don't know if it's just the fact that it's almost too quiet in town or like you said, Vegas and Christmas just don't mix for some reason.....:nono:

    Sounds like you had some good laughs and drinks with friends and ate some great meals though. Hey, sometimes just a few days away from the desk routine is a good thing, no matter what one does instead.

    I think December Vegas trips would be better suited if Mary Tyler Moore were along, meaning that, at that time of year, Vegas may be better suited to a "take the bride to LV trip"

    Good read Al. :)

    BTW - how did your buddy Ted Baxter make out in the loot dept? Was his luck better then yours overall? Is he onboard for an El Cortez stay the next time?

    RW
     
  7. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    If you were, maybe you'd have gotten your money's worth. Just sayin.

    Ross, I think Jonny may be on board for an El Co stay in March. But no, he didn't fare any better than I did at the tables, worse probably. He's usually the king of sitting at fitty-cent roulette table for hours on a twenty, but he got absolutely no love from the wheel.

    Angy - all the trips have been a good time, including this one, but for some reason, there just wasn't a good vibe behind it this time. Dunno, hard to explain.
     
  8. Bosco

    Bosco VIP Whale

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    The El Co has the BEST damn horseradish EVER. Last spring Whitey and I enjoyed some with our Careful Kitty's prime rib. That shiat is awesome!! Pattinontario can testify to it. She saw our reaction after the first whiff.

    I had one of "those" trips a few years back. Just couldn't get the vibe thing going. Sort of an "empty" trip. And it sucks when you can't seem to get anything goig on the tables. Last March more than made up for it!
     
  9. Falcon_Rob

    Falcon_Rob Flying Winnebago

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    Dear Doc,

    I found your trip title misleading. I fully expected to read about an unexpected excursion into Mexico for some reason. :)

    Thanks for the read and I hope your next trip goes a little better!

    Rob
     
  10. Jack21

    Jack21 Guest

    I think I've crossed paths with that place, Al- isn't it right next to the Candi's Clam Hut, directly across from Bukkake Wok?

    As far as the feel of your trip, just think of it as a junkie would when he stumbles across an Rx for Tylenol with codeine just three months before he is to arrive in Vicodin City- perhaps no good high, but he'll be able to stave off the real withdrawl with Nirvana pending.

    Damn those wireless networks, I just double checked your #- had it stored correctly....
     
  11. IllMarty

    IllMarty Orangutan

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    Al,

    WTF? No mention of Sniffer's Row? Damn you, AL :evillaugh

    Marty
     
  12. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    I think that's been covered elsewhere, Marty. Besides, SR wasn't the part that had me sayin' day-um at random moments for the rest of the trip.
     
  13. GREGRIO

    GREGRIO Tourist

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    ...I gotta find you a daytime, topless, gambling/drinking, audience participation, buffet show Al........I'll keep checkin' and let you know, LOL
    FUN TRIP, GOOD REPORT............THANKS
     
  14. NEON

    NEON Tourist

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    Hey Doc!
    Nice report, even though the luck was not there, you still had lots of fun as it sounds!

    Better luck next time, as I know there will be a next time!
     
  15. Scott R

    Scott R Tourist

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    Hey Doc,
    Good job on the report.
    It was a pleasure to have a few drinks and shoot the bull with you and Jonny.
    Scott
     
  16. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    That was a good time ScottR, nice to meet you, and glad you made it home safe and sound. Got pics from Zion?
     
  17. Scott R

    Scott R Tourist

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    Doc,
    Thanks, I'm glad to be home safe and sound. I hiked some places last week that a mountain goat wouldn't go.
    Should have my pics in a few days, I'll try to get a report done that will include a link to the pictures of Zion and the other places I hiked as well.
    Scott R
     
  18. Jer

    Jer VIP Whale

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    Damn it...

    I was less than 20 feet away from you clowns... Somebody said Kittys, And I'm not mentioning who!

    Man, the trouble I could have added to that mix??? One can never know...

    Nice Al, even though the vibe wasn't right... :nworthy:
     
  19. blackjack

    blackjack Monkey!!

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    You had a dealer named Dung and you couldn't get a vibe going? :blink: Oh the humanity.

    Enjoyed the read Doc - many thanks. We'll see about getting some of that mojo back in March!!
     
  20. MikeE

    MikeE The Shah's Slightly Hairy Cousin

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    Finally got around to reading, Doc. Great read! Funny how the feeling of too much Vegas wears away in such a short time. Maybe (a big maybe) I'll see you at the Madness.
     
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