This trip came about kind of by mistake. The wife and I had asked her cousin and his wife if they wanted to go with us to Vegas the last time we were going. They couldn't go at the time so we went with someone else. They just assumed we went at the same time every year and told us they were ready to go with this time. Instead of disappointing them we decided to just go even though we had just taken another trip (non-Vegas) fairly recently. The first problem came up when they wanted to stay on the strip and we wanted to stay downtown. We came to a compromise of the Stratosphere since it is kind of in the middle. Looking back now I think that was a poor choice. Instead of being equally convenient it was just inconvenient to everything. We were renting a car though so it wasn't too bad. We got my sister in law to drive us to the airport on Saturday. Got there in plenty of time. We could have been an hour later and still had plenty of time. So much for the recommendation of two hours before your flight. I think our flight may have been the only one on the whole concourse that day. All the shops were closed none of the gates had anyone there, and there were even orange cones blocking off the farther parts of the concourse. Apparently Milwaukee isn't the busiest airport anymore since Midwest went away. After waiting a while we got on the flight, changed planes in Denver, and made it the rest of the way fairly easily. Here comes the next problem. We booked with Dollar car rental. Now, when I say "we" I mean my wife did it. She has this problem with just going ahead and doing things we have sort of half discussed. So when we said lets look into getting a car she took this to mean "book a car". Now I know car bookings are easy to change, but I didn't give it much thought once she said it was done. I never even looked to see who it was with. I hate Dollar. Actually I don't really hate Dollar, I hate waiting in the ridiculous lines at Dollar. I learned this lesson the last time we were in Vegas. Apparently the wife did not learn this as she just sat and chatted away with our travel companions last time while I waited in that line. True to form there was another ridiculous line. I saw it (maybe 12 - 15 people) and said right away that we were looking at probably a 45 minute wait if we were lucky. Sure enough it was that and then some. While I am there wasting my valuable Vegas time I look across the car rental area and see the guys from the other rental agencies standing around talking to each other as their customers come and go so quickly there is never a chance for a line to form. While waiting in line I can see what the problem is. Apparently Dollar is run by former government employees. My guess would be they used to work for the DMV. There were 2 employees working. A third and a fourth come out, much to the relief of everyone in line, only to have 1 of the original two leave and after helping one person one of the new ones left too! The one guy who was a constant was the slowest person I ever saw. He would walk over to another computer and it would take like 30 seconds to cover maybe 10 feet of distance. His typing skills were no better. I was dreading getting him. Fortunately a guy earlier in line got stuck there and didn't have his confirmation number so that tied up the slow guy forever. So we finally get our car and make our way to Walmart on Tropicana for some supplies. Also had to stop at a pretty tough looking liquor store for some more supplies. Made our way to the hotel where I figured I would try the $20 trick for the first time ever. I think I failed, or if I succeeded it wasn't as successful as I was hoping for. Gave Lori (from Albania) CC, DL, and $20 bill. She didn't say anything about it just set the Money down on the desk out of my sight, but not really hidden. Made a little bit of small talk and she told us that they were all sold out of king rooms but had some nice 2 queen rooms. Foolishly I though this was her way of saying "Let me find you a better room than you had booked and make up an excuse as to why I am doing it". She tells me how does a high floor with mountain view sound? I said that sounded great since I kind of thought she had taken care of me based on the statement about the beds. So she gets our keys thanks me for the tip and then says she will get us a map of the hotel since we never stayed there before. Then she says she will get us a map of the strip too (not useful to me, but I again foolishly thought maybe some coupons or something would come with this). So up we go to the room along with our companions who had just finished up getting their room assignment too. They got off on the 8th floor we continued on to the 16th. So far so good I thought. Started long walk down hall to room 16002. I was pretty happy with that room number thinking the big rooms would be at the end and that she really did take care of us. The big rooms are not at the end of the hall. At least they are not at the end of the hall where our room was located. The ice machine was right next to our room. Very convenient if we wanted ice. Not so convenient when everyone else wanted ice in the middle of the night. Our room was nothing special. Maybe she hooked us up with the high floor, but that is all I got for my $20. I guess our mountain view was nicer than our friends' air conditioner view though so at least it got us that. Probably could have gotten that just by asking though. Otherwise the room was ok. It was clean, water pressure was good (but the volume of water sucked - damn water saver shower heads). Now that we are settled in and I am done being disappointed about the $20 we decide to meet up with our friends and go get some food. (Keeping in mind that the time change, flight transfer, and the long wait at the rental desk has made it well past dinner time. I am ready to go to Ellis Island for the steak special, but every one else wants to go to Rio to see the masquerade in the sky. Being outvoted 3 to 1 we head to Rio. Tried going to All American Burger or whatever it is, but no one wanted to pay $15 for a burger so we just went to the Burger King and got some food there. Saw the free show and definitely got our money's worth. Had it been more expensive than free I would not have said that. By now our companions are tired due to "being up since 6:00." Now I had been up since before 6:00 myself, and had no desire to waste valuable Vegas time on things like unnecessary sleep. However being the driver and something of their tour guide I didn't want to cause a problem so we drove them back to the hotel, dropped them off and headed downtown to MSS (where I wanted to stay in the first place). Played some VP, got killed and decided to take a break from that and go find the wife. Found her playing some slot near a Ghostbusters machine. Put in $20 to kill some time until she was done. Didn't win anything but hit all kinds of bonuses and made the $20 last for quite a while. While I was playing the wife came over and sat down next to me and she played it for quite a while herself. It was a fun machine. Finally we got bored and decided it was time to get some rest. End of day one - day two to follow.