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Paris / Golden Nugget - 6/2 to 6/9

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by wizard950, Jul 3, 2012.

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  1. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Prologue

    First I apologize for the delay in getting this report up on the board. It has been more than a little hectic around here since our return. I will also post some pictures if I can figure out to do so.

    After seven years of waiting due to many of life’s challenges the much anticipated return to Vegas was upon us. There were three of us on this trip, my wife Marlene, our good friend Fern, a young attractive widow who has never been to Vegas and me, Andy. This was a chance for me to dust of my old travel guide skills and revisit many places I haven’t seen in years. The trip begins.

    Saturday June 2, 2012

    We left the house at 4:30am to get to the Philadelphia airport. Our first stop was our local Wawa for a giant cup of Kona coffee for the hour drive to the airport. Being a Saturday morning there was very little traffic. Arriving at the airport in plenty of time we drove up to the US Airways terminal unloaded the car kissed our daughter goodbye and got in line at the skycap. After a quick curbside check-in it was off to the security line. There was a bit of a line but not a big deal. My wife made it through quickly. I always cause a stir with my two artificial hips, wire in my chest and a stent in my leg. I showed my medical ID cards and off to the scanner I went. The TSA agent pulled me over to the side and asked me what I had in my pocket. I said nothing. He patted me down my one leg to double check. It turns out that the stent in my leg shows up as something in my pocket. Oh well, just a slight delay, but no problem at all.

    My wife and I met Fern at the gate and we all waited for them to start boarding. After a quick bagel and another coffee they started to board us at 7:10am. Boarding went smoothly and we shoved away from the gate exactly on time at 7:50am and were airborne in just a few minutes. It was an absolutely perfect day for flying, clear sky, no nasty winds or storms. The flight was uneventful and actually quite comfortable.

    We arrived at McCarran at 9:40am local time almost a full hour early. Tremendous!!! On the way to baggage claim Fern was looking around like a kid in a candy store and then all of sudden there in front of us was a celebrity, Gilles Marini from “Dancing with the Stars” and the “Sex in the City” movie with a gaggle of young girls around him. I couldn’t get my camera out quickly enough to get a photo of him with my two ladies before he had to leave. He was very pleasant and patient with the small crowd around him. All I heard for the next few hours was “That is one handsome man!” and they weren’t talking about me.

    I got the bags and off to the shuttle to take us to Rental Car Center. I’m not sure how I feel about this centralized rental car facility but all went well and very smoothly. I had rented a full size car from Alamo for right around $200 all taxes and fees included for a Saturday to Saturday rental. Next stop Wal-Mart on Eastern Avenue for beer, water and a few small snacks.

    Off to Paris for what I hoped would be an early check-in. Left the bags and Wal-Mart stuff with the bellman and went to the Diamond/VIP Check-In room. They had two rooms ready, my wife and I got room 1825P and Fern had 1827. Not quite as high up as I wanted but nice rooms with a good view of the strip and fountains.

    Before going up to the rooms we stopped and had a real breakfast at the St. Louis Café. While there we asked if a waiter named Dennis still worked there. Dennis is from South Philly and we struck up a nice relationship with him the last time we stayed at Paris. Not only did he still work there but he was on duty at the time. He came over and we had a nice conversation and caught up on events. Then he introduced us to most of the other staff on duty, needless to say by the time breakfast was done we knew most everybody on day shift at St. Louis Café.

    Up to the rooms we went to unpack and freshen up from the trip. Then my wife and I went off to the Guardian Angel Cathedral next to the Wynn for Mass. I always enjoy going there; in addition to meeting people from all around the world the musicians and singers are all professionals who work the many venues in Las Vegas.

    Then off to Paris for some gambling, relaxing and a couple of beers. I played the slots for a couple of hours with no luck whatsoever and the girls pretty much did the same. We had dinner at the buffet. It was very good but nothing spectacular.

    After dinner we walked over to Bally’s to see if our luck would change. Luck was a little better but nothing to write home about. After playing for a time we walked outside to the strip to check out the many characters you find roaming around out there. And there were plenty! Everything from porn slappers to transformers to fake cops to show girls to normal people like us from all over the place; what a great town!! We climbed up and over the foot bridge to see the fountain show at Bellagio. We strolled along the sidewalk taking in the sights and sounds until it was time to head back to Paris for the night. We played a little more until around midnight and finally turned in for the night.

    Some views from our room's windows.

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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  2. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    Enjoying the TR so far. Thanks for taking the time to post, and keep it coming :wave:
     
  3. sammowhammo

    sammowhammo VIP Whale

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    Sounds like the begining to a nice vacation!
     
  4. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Sunday June 3, 2012

    After a fitful sleep we were all up around 9am. I say fitful because Paris has a new night club called “Chateau” located where their Chinese restaurant used to be located. Chateau plays loud, no make that very loud music until 4am on Saturday and Tuesday. It is so loud because the club adjoins the pool area and it is wide open letting all that drum/dance beat blast against the entire front side of the hotel. The young lady at the front desk warned us but we had no idea just how loud it would be. So take this info for what it’s worth to you.

    Today is the first day of me being tour guide to a “Vegas Virgin”. We had breakfast at the St. Louis Café and then it was off to the Valley of Fire. Being a Sunday the traffic was very light and the drive easy. As we went up I-15 we passed the Las Vegas Speedway where we observed a lot of people erecting things and making other preparations for the “Electric Daisy Carnival” which starts Friday; more about that later in this report.

    The Valley of Fire is nothing short of spectacular and pictures do it no justice at all. That first glimpse of the valley from high up on the entrance road is enough to stop you in your tracks. And it did!

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    We drove through the entire park taking every spur road and were simply amazed and in awe of everything we observed. We got out and walked around several of the locations just to be more a part of it all. It is a place you must see if you have time during your visit. And be sure to take plenty of water with you as there is nothing out there in most places.

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    When we reached the exit we decided to spend the $10 entrance fee (for seniors the 10 bucks buys a lifetime pass to all National Parks. And as the guard said it expires when you do. LOL) and take the road around Lake Mead rather than make a U-turn and leave the way we came into the park.

    Several of the beach roads were closed but others were open and we took them to see the lake and beaches up close. We were all utterly amazed how low the water level is in the lake. It either is or is approaching a crisis level for the area.

    We just followed the road until we ended up in North Las Vegas and continued on until we reached Las Vegas Boulevard. Made a left and drove from way up north to Paris checking out all the sights and sounds along the way including “The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop”, more wedding chapels than I could count, homeless people, degenerates, normal folk, tourists and a multitude of varying types of Elvis’s.

    Back at the hotel we had a couple of cold beers :beer: while playing some slots until it was time to go freshen up for the show.

    Using our Best of Vegas $99 tickets we saw Jersey Boys. While waiting in line to pick up our tickets I met a woman from Massachusetts who was there on a trip she won in a state lottery.

    The show was outstanding! When they got to the Four Seasons songs the place really started to rock. You could see, hear and feel the electricity in the crowd. The chemistry between the cast and audience was 110% that night.

    After the show we had some burgers at Le Burger Brasserie located in the walkway between Paris and Bally’s. The food was good but nothing special and the service was a little lacking. Maybe it was just late?

    We caught a few songs at the dueling pianos, played a little more with yet again no big wins. In fact no wins at all. I called it a night because tomorrow was going to be another big day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  5. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Monday June 4, 2012

    Another big touring day is upon us. We left Paris mid-morning for a leisurely breakfast at the Rio. I ordered the ham steak and eggs which I split with the women. I just had a hankering for that giant slab of ham and some eggs served at the Sao Paulo Cafe. We walked around Rio for a bit to see what if anything had changed since our last visit there. We played some slots with not much luck.

    Then it was off to Red Rock Canyon. We drove down Flamingo to the 215 and then over to Charleston Boulevard. I could not get over how close the development has come to Red Rock Canyon. It is time to stop already. What was once rugged open land are now suburbs. What a shame.

    As we entered the park I flashed my brand spanking new US National Park Card and was waived on through, no charge. This too is a place of natural beauty that pictures cannot capture. Every time we come here it is always with great anticipation that we see some wild mustangs, burros or any of the other wildlife that lives here. The only animals we saw were painted on signs! Bummer! But the rocks were nice.

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    After making our way around the scenic drive stopping off and on along the way, it was time to head to Harrah’s for the Big Elvis Show and dinner at Toby Keith’s. We valeted the car and were off to the front of the casino were the piano bar is located to see Big Elvis. It would not be an “Official Vegas Visit” without seeing Big Elvis. His voice is as good if not better than I remember from the last few times I’ve seen him. The place was packed and of course there were always people popping their heads in throughout the show when they heard that voice. I stayed for 2 sets. The girls went off to play.

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    Then it was off to Toby’s for dinner, I had pulled pork, very good. Marlene had the chicken wings which were huge and plentiful. She had at least 8 large, full 3 section wings. And Fern had some ribs, they too were good.

    After dinner a walk across Carnival Court (the construction is making a mess of everything) to the Imperial Palace for the Human Nature Show. Four Australian, white guys singing Motown, I had to see this. On the advice of Gregrio I had Box 307 Seats 1, 2 and 3. Great seats for this show! Also in our booth were Jonnie, a middle-aged African-American woman from Chicago (a true Motown aficionado, she was great we all enjoyed being in her company) and Rick and Elizabeth a retired couple from Queensland, Australia. What a great group! We all hit it off and had a wonderful time chatting waiting for the show to start.

    The show started. At first I thought it was a tad slow but I was wrong. They were building to a crescendo and a big finish. And what a finish it was. About three quarters of the way through the show the entire audience was on its feet dancing to the music. The floor in that theater was literally moving like a wave from all the dancing. It actually frightened me a bit it was moving so much. Oh, but what the hell! We had an absolute blast. And Greg thanks for the seat advice. I do appreciate it.

    After the show it was back to Harrah’s to play a little and pick up the car.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  6. gongoman

    gongoman MIA

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    Thanks for your report--Great pics by the way:beer:
     
  7. MarkMcC

    MarkMcC Tourist

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    Loving the TR so far wizard950. Fantastics pictures!

    Looking forward to hearing and seeing how the rest of the week went for the 3 of you.

    > Mark
     
  8. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Tuesday June 5, 2012

    The third and final tour day is underway. Today we will tackle the Hoover Dam and the new bypass bridge to Arizona. We left Paris early to try and beat the crowds at the dam. First stop was for gas on Flamingo Road, then breakfast at Sam’s Town on Boulder Highway.

    I know I could have taken the freeway down to save some time but since it was Fern’s first trip I wanted to show her the old way to the dam plus some of the casinos not on the strip. The parking garage at the dam was full when we first arrived so we drove over the dam into Arizona and parked in one of the lots over there to get some back side photos of the dam and Lake Mead. Once again I was astounded by how low the water is. I remember a few trips back when the water was flowing over the spillways. The pictures below will tell the tale better than I.

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    After taking a few pictures we drove back over the dam to park in the garage and walk around the dam. This time we were able to get in. The garage was cool and appreciated as it was a very hot day. After taking the elevator to the ground floor my wife decided to just stay in the shade and sit on a bench in the bus waiting area. Fern and I went off to roam the dam. We were going to take the tour but it now costs $30 and doesn’t go into many of the really neat places in the dam. We decided not to take the tour and just walk around and see what we could from the outside. We walked around for about an hour and that was enough for the two of us.

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    Before we left the dam I asked a guard if there was an observation spot on the new bridge and how you get there. Well, the only way up to the bridge is a stairway many stories high and then you can walk over the bridge to Arizona. These old legs had had about enough walking for the day. So we drove over the bridge and back. Unfortunately unless you are sitting very high up, like in a semi, you can’t see over the sides of the bridge. At least I can say we went over it, twice.

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    Back to Paris for an afternoon by the pool, it was wonderful! I really enjoyed the water and the sun.

    Then before we knew it, it was time to head over to TI for dinner and Mystere. Tonight we had dinner at Gilley’s and some good old fashioned Texas BBQ. We sat on their porch and watched all the people walking by on the sidewalk. After dinner we had some time to kill so we signed up for their slot club and played a little. This time I won enough to pay for dinner and take a couple of hundred along with me.

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    We had pretty good seats in the upper level which I purchased directly from the box office under the Summer of Cirque Promotion. The theater for Mystere is something to behold. I don’t want to give anything away but the noise coming from the stage was really annoying after just a few minutes. The opening skit prior to the start of the show was entertaining and made me chuckle a few times. Then the show started. Immediately after the emcee started talking in French and the singers started and the acrobats appeared I was out cold.

    I don’t know whether I was extremely tired or the show bored me to death. The only things I remember were clapping with the audience when they made enough noise to wake me up and the end of the show when all the cast came out for bows. I thought that was halftime. My wife said to me, “At least you didn’t snore”. Both My wife and Fern said they enjoyed the show but that they wouldn’t pay to see any more; that was enough.

    After the show my wife played slots. Fern and I went and saw the Siren’s Show and then walked down to see the Mirage Volcano. By the time we got back to TI, Marlene was up a couple of hundred and I was doubly exhausted. We got the car out of valet and headed back to Paris for a few drinks and play to end another day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  9. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Wednesday June 6, 2012

    Touring is finished. Today we are going to the sign to get our official trip photo and then off to the M Casino Resort for breakfast at the Hash House a Go Go and to see what everybody is talking about. Then finally this evening we all get a chance to get dressed for dinner at Delmonico at the Venetian celebrating the girls’ June and July birthdays.

    First the sign; we pulled right in and got the first parking spot. There was a large crowd gathered near where we parked all gazing at a real beauty. It was a brand new Maserati convertible. Oh, she was a beauty!

    There was a guy at the sign offering to take pictures. I don’t know who he works for, there was no tip jar but he was polite, professional and took great pictures. I slipped him a couple of bucks. On the way back from M we noticed a young woman taking the pictures.

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    I was surprised how far down the M Resort is located. It is a beautiful facility. We valeted the car and headed over to the restaurant as we all were hungry. The girls ordered the smaller sized traditional breakfasts. I was tired of eggs and meat and so ordered a mango and coconut flapjack. When it arrived I was floored. It was about a half inch thick and gigantic in circumference. And it was very tasty too!

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    I had my biggest win of the trip on a Princess Bride penny machine. All said and done I took over $400 out of that machine. I really enjoyed our stay at M and would consider staying there for a few days next trip.

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    While waiting for the girls in the lobby I got a call from Delmonico cancelling our reservation. They had a mishap in their kitchen and were going to be closed until the problem was corrected. They offered to find and make other dinner reservations for me. At this late notice it was difficult to find a good alternative but they did. We ended up with dinner reservations at Morels in the Palazzo.

    We had a lovely dinner. My wife had lamb chops, Fern had a beautiful filet and I had the grass fed New York Strip. For dessert the girls had Crème Brule and I had a Pistachio Soufflé. Everything was absolutely delicious.

    After dinner we played a little at the Palazzo and then headed back for the night.
     
  10. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    Can't wait to read the rest of the report! Very good job with wonderful pics!
     
  11. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Thursday June 7, 2012

    Today is moving day to the Golden Nugget for our final two days in town, plus we had two very nice and unexpected surprises. We checked out of Paris. Two rooms 5 nights and all meals comped. That was a nice unexpected win! Before heading downtown Fern needed to get some cash from the bank. I remembered seeing a Wells Fargo on Eastern Avenue by the airport. So off we went.

    On the way over to the bank we noticed a large number of police pretty much all around the airport. I then remembered that the President was coming to UNLV today for a speech about student loans. At the bank the girls both went in while I stayed in the car. While sitting there watching the planes coming in I noticed that the landing pattern was almost directly overhead. I didn’t think anything of until that air traffic just stopped for a couple of minutes; then there she was, Air Force One coming in for a landing. Wow! I can’t express the thrill I got just by seeing that airplane. It was very, very impressive indeed. When I told the girls what I just witnessed they were both disappointed.

    Fern wanted to see the Luxor. So off we went to check the place out. After a couple of hours being tourists we left and headed to the Golden Nugget, our destination for the next two days.

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    Because Fern is/was a big player at the Golden Nugget/Trump Marina in Atlantic City she made the arrangements for our stay with her host in AC. She was 100% comped. Marlene and I had a discounted rate from Fern’s host. We checked in at the VIP Desk in the Rush Tower. We received two very nice rooms.

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    This was the view from our window.

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    Since it was fairly late in the afternoon we just sort of split up and played in the casino. We had dinner in the Carson Street Café which was very good. It was a pleasant surprise. After dinner we played a little more then went out and walked around Freemont Street to end the day.

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  12. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    nice tr, and i love the pictures! :thumbsup:
     
  13. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Friday June 8, 2012

    The last full day of our vacation is upon us. What a fast week! Today we just decided to do nothing and just hang around wherever we wanted.

    At breakfast we met the host who made all the arrangements for us here at the Golden Nugget. After some conversation he asked us to please stop by the host office tomorrow morning before we check out to see what he could do for us.

    After breakfast I went to the pool and staked out 3 chairs. This wasn’t an easy thing to do. There was a large crowd already at the pool. The place was packed with all sorts of people but especially young people here for the Electric Daisy Carnival which starts tonight. There are supposed 300,000 people in town for this event which is a three day dusk till dawn rave out at the speedway. Just from looking around today, I think that number is right on the money.

    After whiling away a few hours at the pool swimming with the sharks which is a fun experience and having a few Coors Lights it was time to head up to the room to shower and cool off from the sun. We all spent the afternoon playing the slots. Golden Nugget has a good selection of both old and new machines.

    We had dinner at the Chart House in the Rush Tower. It too was very good. Then I walked over to the pool area to see what if anything was going on. It was fairly empty but there were several groups of young, attractive young women in tutus and other various states of undress with daisies in their hair gathering to head over to the Carnival on one of the many shuttle buses in town for the event. It is a damn shame that I did not have my camera with me. Check out this link for more info on the EDC and some pictures. http://electricdaisycarnival.com/LasVegas/

    After some more play and meandering around Freemont Street it was time to head up to the room and pack. Bummer!
     
  14. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Saturday June 9, 2012

    Getaway day, always a hectic time: Do you have everything? Did we forget something? Did you check the closet? You all know how it goes. Everything packed and ready to go, I called the Bellman and off to breakfast we went.

    It was an enjoyable breakfast at the Carson Café. As we were eating we could only marvel at the crowds of young people sort of stumbling back into the hotel from their all night rave. Then off to the host office to see what they could do for us. Winner! Fern was taken care of and Marlene and I got comped for everything. Two days, two rooms, many meals and drinks, no charge, a nice way to end the trip.

    Got the car and the bags and off to the rental car return center we went. It was a surprisingly easy and direct ride from the Golden Nugget. There is an exit off the freeway that is clearly marked rental car return center and it is almost a dedicated road making the return very easy.

    We took the shuttle to the airport. I was surprised that there was no curbside check-in at US Airways. I thought that we would have a long wait at the counter and security. But, I was wrong on both counts. No line at the check-in counter and absolutely no line at the TSA. We made it right through security and off for the long walk to our gate. Once again, the flight pushed off from the gate exactly at 11:30, right on time.

    We waited in the takeoff line for about 25 minutes due to air traffic. The pilot came on the intercom and apologized and promised to get us to Philly on time. We finally were airborne and our way home. This is usually when my withdrawal symptoms start.

    Well, the pilot was true to his word. We not only made it on time but a full 20 minutes early. This was the perfect end for a vacation that we all enjoyed very much.

    Epilogue
    First of all, I would like to offer big kudos to US Airways; both flights were not only smooth and early arriving but very comfortable. We were on an Airbus A321 both flights and these planes are very comfortable, the coach seats are wider by an inch or so and the legroom is at least two inches greater. I say this because I am a big guy and not only fit comfortably in the seat but was able to stretch my legs out straight. It was like riding in a limo compared to the Southwest 737s.

    May I suggest that even if you’re not Catholic and in the neighborhood stop by the Guardian Angel Cathedral and check out the amazing mosaic artwork and stained glass windows. As you’re looking at the windows you’ll see the names of the people who donated them. Some names you would recognize, Mr. and Mrs. Danny Thomas, Helen and Antonio Morelli (the orchestra conductor at the Sands during the Rat Pack era) and Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Clark (he built the Desert Inn). One other fact about the Cathedral; the ground on which it sits was donated to the Diocese by Mo Dalitz a reputed Jewish-American gangster associated with Meyer Lansky. The character Mo Green in the Godfather movie was based on Mr. Dalitz.

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    Fern is now a true Vegas addict. I did my job, she is now one of us!
    Thank you all for reading.
     
  15. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Wonderful trip report, thanks so much for sharing it!! Sounds like a great trip.
     
    Vegas Just Because...
  16. MarkMcC

    MarkMcC Tourist

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    Fantastic read Sir! Sounds like all three of you had a great time.

    Thanks alot for sharing.

    > Mark
     
  17. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Thanks for posting this... I felt like I was right along with you!!! Great views from the Paris rooms and wonderful pics in general!!!
     
  18. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Sigh..............I just can't wait till September!!!

    The view room was a tad noisy my last trip also - however, I only overlapped one night I believe of the loud noise. But the sound just rolls up the side of that building!!!

    Valley of Fire question? Definitely still worth the drive even if one can't get out of the car to walk around? (Mom uses a walker & will be renting a scooter so walking around the park is out). And how long did that take of your day? I also assume the National Park Pass was for the Lake Mead portion of your drive?? (Isn't VoF a State Park?)

    That pancake is just obscene!!!

    And so is that bridge - I have a massive terror of bridges. To get my riled up the other day mom said she wanted to go across the bridge - NOPE!!! Royal Gorge Bridge 26 years ago was PLENTY for me!!!
     
  19. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    Yes - It is a state park. $10 fee. It was another $10 for the pass and the Lake Mead drive.

    Yes - It is well worth the trip even if you can't get out of the car. Just give mom a nice comfortable window seat.

    How long? - My best recollection is about 6-7 hours total time. We were not in any hurry at all. I think we left the hotel at 10am and walked back into the casino sometime around 4pm.
     
  20. rdwy29

    rdwy29 Low-Roller

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    Thank you for all the scenery pictures. Living in Illinois, one of the things I love best about LV is all the natural beauty in contrast with the modernism of the strip.
     
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