All mileage figures were from a pedometer worn by the lovely Ms. Ashley. Wednesday, September 19th (5.7 Miles) Great flight. Got our rental car and headed to our room at Orleans to pass out for the night. Thursday, September 20th (4 Miles) We woke up refreshed around 5:00 a.m., cleaned up and headed over to Black Bear Diner for breakfast. Man can they make some good breakfast. You got to love the fresh squeezed orange juice. If you get on their e-mail list you get a coupon for a free drink (OJ is more expensive than coffee, so we used it on that). Had a brief trip to M, but weren’t having any great luck, so we didn’t stay. Grouchy John's for great local coffee. Try a fancy delicious drink or get a plain ol' cup of joe for $2. They even have a quick self serve set up if that's all you want. Great comfortable store and if you enjoy their coffee, they have a truck: http://grouchyjohns.com/schedule/. Ashley’s ear was bothering her, so we went over to the Concentra Urgent Care Clinic to have it looked at and pickup a prescription for some drops. Her health plan listed them and we got her looked at for a $15 co-pay, but the price board showed a (cash) visit was $150! Headed over to the Las Vegas Distillery to meet the Transylvanian-born George Racz and received an excellent tour of his distillation process and equipment. We got a chance to smell some smooth 140 proof bourbon that I can’t wait to get a taste of when it is ready for sale. Speaking of sales, LVD is getting the space next to the Distillery and making it a retail space and tasting room by next year, so that will be nice. His love and enthusiasm for well crafted spirits is contagious. We did see his vodka and seven grain at Lee's Discount Liquor. We checked into our room at Monte Carlo for the remainder of our trip. Just have to bring over our stuff still at Orleans. We decided to have a late lunch at Metro Pizza on Tropicana since Thursday is the last day of the week for their half-off special from 2:30 – 4:30. We ate a medium two topping “Metro” (thick) crust two topping pizza and had two soft drinks, all for $11.00. What an excellent deal. GREAT pizza and service you just don't see anywhere else. After consuming the pizza, we headed back to Orleans to pick up our things. On our way in, just before the valet area, we saw a fellow walking around wearing his reading glasses down his nose over his sunglasses, wearing a Caesars Palace robe over his clothes, steady talking to a young woman who was walking him away from the entrance to the casino. It was an odd thing to see. Now, we make an embarrassing admission. We left Orleans early (7:30-ish) to get our day going, stayed gone all day and arrived back around 5:00 that afternoon. We walked toward the hotel room elevators, and it dawned on us both: We had NO IDEA what room we were staying in. So we had to go to the registration desk and sheepishly ask what room we were in. Nice lady at the desk made no big deal about it and gave us our room number. After freshening up for a few minutes, we headed down to the casino and proceeded to have an absolutely lackluster session of gaming. Ashley kept trying to get the eye of the casino "prize patrol" with the boom box giving out prizes but it seemed that locals got a little more attention. After that, we went back upstairs, got our stuff and moved over to Monte Carlo. The Beautiful Ms. Ashley Beautiful MC Lobby Flowers Friday, September 21 (5.4 Miles) After a good night’s sleep, we woke up at 5:30 and decided on having Aria’s breakfast buffet since we always enjoy eating there. They had the most unusual tasty, tiny grapes. Afterward, we took a look around the new show that’s replacing Viva Elvis, Zarkana. We took some pictures and I noticed the arena’s door handles still had TCB (Taking Care of Business, an Elvis saying) on them so we snapped a photo before they went away. Just after that, a maintenance guy came by and said to be sure and get a photo of the door handles, as they’re going away after today. After getting back to the room for a few minutes, we hit a few machines, did nothing on them, so we left and went to the Aveda Institute for facials. Not bad for $40/each, but not quite as good as the last time. But since these are students, sometimes the quality of the person is not the same and these students were not as good as the last time. But, they were still nice, and we will go back next time. After Aveda, we decided to try out the Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus. Get a $5/person discount coupon here: Coupon I made the rookie mistake of driving down the strip, which was very crowded with traffic, as it was around lunchtime. For future reference, I’ll be driving down Industrial since it drops you at the rear entrance to Circus Circus, which is across from the just-opened Battle Vegas. CJE was interesting, there were a couple of good photo opportunities, but it felt like there should be more to the whole thing. You leave feeling sort of wanting more. We had read some interesting things about a boutique hotel called Rumor. It's located across the street from the Hard Rock hotel. Ever feel like you're a spoon stuck in a fork drawer? That's about the best way to put it. We're t-shirt and shorts wearing average southern folks. Most of these people were pierced, dyed, stack heel wearing kind of folks, & those were the boring dudes in the lobby! Even the women were wearing Affliction t-shirts. Now was time to go eat at our favorite Italian restaurant, Carluccio’s, and follow it up by getting baked goodies next door at Freed’s. We arrived early enough to still get on the end of the lunch pricing, which saved us a couple of dollars. The meat tortellini and lasagna were excellent as always. They still have Liberace's piano in the corner (they used to be next door to the Liberace museum on Trop near Eastern). Afterward we went next door to Freed’s and picked up a couple of brownies with chocolate icing. One for eating now, and one for eating when we get home. These are positively worth a drive to Freed’s and will make chocoholics very happy. After getting back to MC, we walked down to the CVS to fill Ashley’s ear prescription. That pharmacy area is a mess, let’s leave it at that. One funny sidenote, we saw a “dosing cup for medicine” and swore it was nothing more than a shot glass. Only in Vegas. LOL. After picking up the prescription, we went down to game a little bit. I played my favorite Hexbreaker and finished up for the night, played Ghostbusters and was up for the night, and had a stint on 50-play JOB and ended up for the night. I hope this is an indication of how this trip will end up. Stayed tuned! This was Ashley's best night of gambling. Thanks to a penny 50 play video poker machine. Very helpful CWs this night. LOL. Saturday, September 22 (6.0 Miles) We woke up this morning and figured that today was the day for a Peppermill breakfast. What a great idea! Breakfast was fantastic. Share an order, there is plenty of food for two. Also, get the coffee. While it’s not fancy, it is simply delicious and Ashley who is a cup a day drinker drank two giant mugfulls. While we were paying our tab, Ashley noticed that you can buy a package of their multi-colored sugar crystals and one of their sugar dispensers. I didn’t get one this trip, but I might have to get one next year. Those things are so kitschy. After stopping by our room, we walked over to Mandalay Bay to attend the Barrett-Jackson car show and auction. That place was full of beautiful cars and trucks. They had Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Fiat (the old, big vehicles), Green Hornet’s Chrysler, hot rods and customs. Displays from General Motors, Ford, Jack Daniels, Mother’s, Lamborghini Las Vegas, and local vendors gave you a little break from the constant walking. Whatever your preference, they had some there for you to look at. If your phone had an ICR reader, you could scan the code B-J had taped to the front headlight of each car and the full description of the vehicle would pop up on your phone, along with photos from the Barrett-Jackson catalog. Out back in the Conference Center parking lot, B-J had set up a Ride and Drive area that Ford and General Motors sponsored and it was FREE. You could drive one vehicle, then, take a “hot lap” in a high performance version of a Camaro, Corvette, or Mustang (with a professional driver slinging you around the track). Not being Ford people, we went to the GM side and I wanted to drive the new Cadillac CTS-V and enjoy all 500+ horsepower it has. Ashley wasn’t feeling great, so she wanted to ride along. But, before I could drive the Cadillac, we had to drive a “regular” vehicle, so we chose a Volt (which I'd driven before at the dealership I work). Then, I got in the driver’s seat to try out the Cadillac. The ride-along driver gave me instructions on how to push the car a little and enjoy the performance, but it was a short drive and then it was over. The instructor then asked “Do you want to do another lap?” Why yes-yes I would. To which instructor responded, “Fine, but you have to drive it like I tell you.” He proceeded to instruct me around the course and made that lap the fastest lap I could’ve driven, including a nice amount of tire squeal and it was a blast! Sadly, we had to park the Cadillac and, not wanting to be slung around at speeds that will make our eyeballs pop out, head back inside. Ashley sweet talked one of the instructors into a box of free popcorn they had off to the side. Being a polite Southerner has its advantages! One other extra is that we both received a nice Chevrolet hat that was just about worth the price of the admission to the car show. We looked around a little longer and then decided to head back to the room. After freshening up for a minute, we went over to McMullan’s for a bite to eat. As usual, I had my Shepherd’s pie and Ashley had her Irish Nachos (for half price during their happy hour!). These Nachos are porn food, so bad and oh so good! Excellent food and American college football on tv, quite a nice meal. We headed back to MC and decided to walk over to Cosmo to the Kidrobot store, and give us a chance to walk off some of our supper. Ashley was looking for some Happy Labbits and I was looking for the Goon Squad figures (Lenin with a party hat and horn, Kim Jung Il with a big rapper’s neck chain and Elvis hairdo, Castro with a beer can hat, funny stuff). We couldn’t find any of the pieces we wanted, but I started talking to one of the employees who had never heard of Lenin’s Tomb! So I was telling him about a book, “Lenin’s Embalmers” that tells about the people behind Lenin’s preservation and how they went around the world doing the same thing to other country’s Communist Party leaders. It was quite an interesting conversation. After we left that store, Ashley wanted to head over to Vesper bar and get a Hendertucky that is made with whiskey from the Las Vegas Distillery. There was only one bartender there who was trained on how to make it, and Ashley said it was quite a production to make it, but it was quite yummy. They are $12 and worth the price to watch it being made (not for lightweights though). We rode the tram back to Aria and walked the connector back over to MC and decided to have a go at the gaming. I had been playing HexBreaker (featuring HooDoo the black cat) for a while at the penny level and not really doing a whole lot, when I decided to “take it up a notch”. I switched from a penny per credit to a nickel a credit and played max credits (13 lines at 20 credits per line = $13.00 a game). I started having a much more fun gaming experience. All of a sudden, I got four HooDoos on the screen and won 15,000 credits! $750.00! WOOHOO! What a way to end the night. I proceeded to give some of it back, but still ended “up” $500 for the night. Sunday, September 23rd (3.5 Miles) What better way to start the day after a good night of gaming than to head over to Le Village Buffet. There, with Total Rewards and an LVA coupon, we both ate for $19.44. Excellent deal! We headed back to the gaming floor and found a multi player “Texas Tea” game and gave it a whirl. It ate my money, after giving me a bonus round on the very first play, but Ashley turned her $5 into $50 before she started to lose, so she cashed out at $40. We decided to use the connector and walk toward Bally’s when lo and behold, a sign near the buffet beckoned Ashley. It read,”$5 Mimosa” and Ashley said yes! It was quite delicious with a strawberry the sign of a toddler’s fist hung on the side of the cup. Nice find at 8:00 in the morning! We went to the Massage School which was having a $32 2-4-1 day (yea!), but we waited almost two hours for our massage (boo!). So that wiped out the rest of the morning. We came back to the room and packed a bit, since we’d be leaving early on Monday morning. Then we went down for a little fun and I hopped on my favorite HexBreaker again and Ashley took up a seat at a VP machine behind me. I started with $100 and after hitting it to $495, I cashed out and put in another $100. After it climbed to $525, I cashed out again. So, I was $200 in and $1020 out, not too shabby. Well, then HexBreaker turned on me and took $160 back, but it was too late, I was already well up for the night! Ashley hadn’t done too well on her VP machine so we cashed out the TITOs and went back to the room to put our new found funds in the room safe. We drove down to Caesars Palace to get a bite to eat at their food court, looking for the good turkey dinner we always enjoy there. Oh no, the good turkey dinner place is gone. WAH. So we had a turkey sandwich instead and used the $10 we earned on the Caesars Facebook game as a credit toward the meal. Finished up with some gelato and headed back to the MC. After our May trip, I saw on MLife that we had finally just crossed over to the Pearl level and thought that we could make Gold before we leave this trip (Just over 24,000 points were needed). So, back a the room, we used our “free” internet and checked the MLife site and saw that we were only 6,300 points away from being Gold, so now was the time to go for it. We went back downstairs to try and extend the winning a little longer. Ashley went back to the VP machine behind my HexBreaker. I had set aside $300 for my next run, but HexBreaker was tired of me and tried to take back some of my good fortune. Tiring of losing, I went back to the MLife desk to see where we were at with our points, and we were 3000 points on the Gold side, so I got us new Gold cards and presented the lovely Ms. Ashley with her new card. WOOHOO! The rep said to play as much as we wanted, and when we were finally finished, to come back and we can apply the Express Comps to the room bill. Ashley decided to switch to a 50-play VP machine and she had a good night after that. I went over to a 50-play machine on the other side of the bank from Ashley and played quite a while. When I was dealt a 4OAK, and held all 50 plays, I felt like it was time to cash out and check our status. Our 2:30 a.m. wakeup call was not that far away and we needed some rest. We walked over to the MLife desk, and after talking to a different rep, Ashley asked if there was a host on duty we could talk to. There was, and we went to the host’s office off the floor and he comped two nights of our stay, so all we had left to pay for in the morning was an Aria buffet and two nights stay. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! What a great way to end our trip! He said to give him a call closer to our May trip and he’ll get us a little “help” on our next trip. Monday, September 24th Well, it comes every trip. You must say good-bye to the bright lights of the big city. Our 2:30 wake-up call woke us too early, but it was needed to catch that early flight out. When we checked out, the two nights of room charges had been taken care of, just as they were to be. It was fun to watch the all the drunken folks stumbling back into the hotel, most of them barely able to walk. But, we had to go. When we finally arrived home and performed a walletectomy, we were quite pleased with the results. Ashley had only spent $11 the entire trip, so gaming had been quite good to her. After setting aside money for charges to our credit card (room, rental car, meals, etc.) the entire trip added about $300 to my bankroll. I can’t remember EVER having a trip this good. Looking forward to next May, already have the airfare purchased! Well, that’s it. Thanks for making it to the end.