My wife and I made a brief trip to Vegas Sunday, July 12-15 (Wednesday morning) FLIGHTS: We flew out of Des Moines on Allegiant. I like the fact that you can fly direct on Allegiant at a fairly reasonable price, I just wish they would state the price upfront rather than nickel and diming you to death. The flights were uneventful. Not sure why but used Super Shuttle for transfers—it was ok—they didn’t try to tell me I needed to be picked up 4 hours before my flight. THE HOTEL: We stated in an Executive King Suite at the MGM. The Suite was very nice, had a slight glitch with the TV but that got resolved fairly quickly. For the cost through MLife I can’t imagine getting a room as opposed to a Suite. Tried the $20 trick without success, got a room near the elevators in the West Wing of the Grand Tower with a lovely view of Tropicana Boulevard and the Hooters casino. FOOD: nothing terribly fancy or expensive this trip. First night had dinner at Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York—perfectly fine food but nothing really memorable, very loud. On Monday we had a My Vegas free buffet at Mandalay Bay, typical buffet. Generally we don’t eat lunch when traveling, we did stop for a snack at Jean Philippe Patisserie at Aria, best chocolate soufflé I’ve ever had. For dinner we ate at Burger Brassiere at Paris.—this was the best meal we had for dinner. On Tuesday morning we had breakfast at Bouchon at the Venetian—now I understand the hype, excellent meal in an elegant atmosphere. For the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] night we didn’t really eat dinner, we polished off a plate of nachos at Toby Keith’s at Harrah’s with ice cream later that night at Ghirardelli’s. The nachos were fine—not quite on par with the Volcano nachos at Margaritaville but good; the ice cream at Ghirardelli’s was sublime. Wednesday morning had breakfast at the Avenue Café at the MGM—good eggs benedict. ATTRACTIONS: On Monday we went the Shark reef at Mandalay Bay on a MyVegas pass. Interesting place to while away an hour, especially if it’s free. Later, we wandered through the Conservatory at Bellagio, always interesting. On Tuesday night we went on the High Roller using rewards points from one of our credit cards. We were in a pod with one other couple, it was a very nice time with very good views of the Strip. This is something I would recommend. GAMBLING: I tend to do a lot less gambling when my wife is with me. With the exception of some penny slots she doesn’t gamble so it’s not conducive to me doing a lot of gambling. Didn’t gamble at all Sunday, on Monday had a short craps session at MB with a slight loss, later I lost playing blackjack at the MGM-- see a trend here? Later I broke even playing blackjack at the Bellagio-this would normally feel pretty good but for the fact that I was up almost a hundred before sliding back to even. Bet on Kris Bryant to win the HR Derby—knocked out in the first round by Albert Pujols. The trend continued on Tuesday with more losing at craps and blackjack at the MGM. The most fun I had was playing a small No-Limit tournament at the MGM where I finished 8 out of 24. At the final table I went All-In with Aces, three other guys were also All-In with pocket Kings, pocket 10’s and A-Q suited. Pocket 10’s got a 10 on the flop and I was done, best mileage I got out of $50 for the trip. After that I decided I wanted to spend my remaining bankroll on a new driver (Taylormade R15) than chasing my modest losses. MyVEGAS REWARDS: The MyVegas awards were useful and fairly easy to redeem. A word of warning: my wife and I were limited to redeeming three rewards for MyVegas; the semi-clueless MLife representative said we might be able to claim more if we were on a higher tier, we were a lowly Sapphire. It didn’t matter that 2 of the rewards were at vendors within MGM properties (NFI at NYNY and Jean Philippe at Aria) and one for the Monorail. RANDOM THOUGHTS -- I’m done going to Vegas in the summer—just too hot for my taste. -- Going mid-week definitely has its advantages. The crowds are less intense, the rooms are cheaper, table limits are lower and the lines for everything else a lot shorter. -- Thinking seriously about staying somewhere off-Strip for the next trip. The Strip just doesn’t do that much for me anymore, I have buddy who works at Westgate who may be able to get me a deal there; this seems like a good compromise off Strip but on the monorail. Anyone with experiences at Westgate please share. -- Thanks to Sonya and all who contribute to this Board—not sure I would have even known about Bouchon without reading this Board.