The Long and JÃ¤ger of It For the short version: http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21765 June 2006 Cast of characters and backgrounds: Scott (Me) â€“ Ninth Trip Dustin â€“ Seventh Trip TUESDAY Once again, I cut out early from work and have Dustin meet me at my house to take off about 2PM. As always, Dustin shows up way early and pisses and moans about me not being ready... ahhhh traditions. After a quick ride to the airport, breezing through check-in due to checking in the night before on Continentalâ€™s website, and slipping through the security check point half naked (damn belts!), we grab a quick bite at Ruby Tuesday just inside the security check point. Dustin sneaks back outside to grab a quick smoke, knowing that it's going to be awhile before his next smoke and, in the process, almost misses boarding. An uneventful flight to Cleveland, where we have a 2-hour layover (sorry Ron) and Dustin sneaks outside here for yet another smoke. I look around and realize that, for a Continental hub, there sure aren't that many people in the airport. He returns after having a long, friendly conversation with security at the checkpoint (no seriously, it was a friendly conversation since they weren't busy) then heads over to the bar next to the gate. He returns later telling me that EVERYONE he's met so far in Cleveland has been very friendly, calling him by his first name. I try to get him to talk to the airline representative and see if there are any first class upgrades available, but he chickens out on me, so it's coach again for us. After another uneventful flight, we arrive in Vegas around 10:30PM. The original plan was for me to check-in at the airport for the Rio, while Dustin waited on our luggage, but when we got to baggage claim, I took a quick look for the check-in area but didn't see it. We head straight over to the baggage carousel and, as luck would have it, our luggage is one of the first few off the plane. The hell with airport check-in, let's get to the hotel! We cab it over to the Rio by way of the tunnel and the fare runs about $15, $20 after tip. Grab the bags and head into check-in. The line was short (hell it was 11PM) and I whip out my license, credit card and a crisp, folded $20 bill. I ask the lady for a room in the Masquerade Tower with a strip view and she says she'll see what she can do. She heads on over to the far end of the check-in area and comes back after a minute or 2. She asks me when I had last stayed at the Rio, which was over 2 years ago. She nods and says that all of the Masquerade Tower rooms now only have single king beds, but they have a nice 1100 square foot suite in the Ipanema Tower that she thinks that we would like. We finish up the transaction and I slip her the $20, to which gets a very excited "Thank you!" and smile from her. We head on up to the room. Oh... My... God.... Damn was she right, this room was outrageous! The suite is divided into two separate areas, a living area and the bedroom. The living area has a HUGE plasma screen television mounted on the wall, along with a pull out sleeper sofa, coffee table, chair, dinning area, and wet bar that includes a small refrigerator and mini bar. Just inside the entrance, was a short hallway that contains a closet along with a vanity, with that hallway leading to a 1/2 bath. The bedroom has 2 queen-size beds along with yet another HUGE plasma screen television mounted on the wall over a writing desk. The only draw back with the plasma televisions was the graininess of the picture. I believe they need to think about doing some rewiring if they plan on installing these in more rooms. The master bath was unbelievable as well. It includes an all glass shower beside a whirlpool bathtub. There are 2 sinks along the other wall and a small LCD television so one could watch the game or whatever while soaking in the tub, as well as the normal toiletries which, surprisingly include a separate toothbrush and shaving kits. The shower has 2 nozzles, one in the regular position and one coming out of the ceiling that makes it seem like you were standing in the rain. Definitely made for one of the best showers I've ever taken. Also in the room was a safe mounted on top of a chest of drawers, which was beside yet another closet, which housed a white bathrobe. Needless to say, the bathrobe got a lot of play during our stay. After several high fives and running around checking everything out, we both agreed, that this was the best $20 we've ever spent. And to top it off... we were only paying $59 a night due to the online special we got at harrahs.com. Oh Hell Yeah! RIO SUITE 1975 PICS It takes me about 15 minutes to get Dustin off of his bed, as he says it's the most comfortable bed he's ever been on. I give mine a try, and, yep, now I don't want to get up! But, alas, hunger gets the better part of us and we head down to the All American Bar and Grill. Service is slow, but the mushroom and Swiss burgers and fries we order hit the spot. We wait around for at least 20 minutes on the check, seriously considering just leaving since our waitress has completely forgotten about us. Finally, she comes by and we ask for the check, pay and head back to the room. The day finally getting the better of us. Gambling: Scott: D: $0 W: $0 Dustin: D: $0 W: $0 Side Bet: Scott Up $1 WEDNESDAY After some much-deserved sleep, we're up and at them around 11AM. To late for a real breakfast, but still hungry, we decide to grab a bite at the buffet. Luckily, there was a flyer in the room with a $5 coupon on it for the buffet, so we used that and charged it to the room, avoiding the masses using the self-pay devices. The food, as always, was very good and they kept our drinks full. As always, a nice experience. We head out and play hit and miss with some of the games in the casino (mainly miss for me.) Somewhere in all of this, I lose track of Dustin and continue my losing streak. While wondering around, I see that the $3 Million swipe booth is empty, so I head over and have them swipe my card and get a stamped ticket. No winner for me this day, but I've got my first stamped ticket. I find Dustin about an hour later, up about $600 after winning the $250 and $400 bonuses on two machines that were side by side. Bastard. I tell him that we need to head on over to the strip, basically so I can see if I can find a $5 craps tables as the Rio only had $10 tables open, and to get yet another stamp. We shuttle over to Harrahs in quick order and make our way towards Oâ€™Sheas and the Flamingo (after seeing the long line at the Harrahs booth and deciding to pass.) We walk into Oâ€™Sheas and are amazed at the improvements. They've removed many of the slot machines that sat beside the entrances and added several table games, along with two poker tables. The craps table was slam full, so I opt out of playing here. WARNING: POTTY HUMOR! We head to the back and then toward the restroom. There, we found the funniest damn thing we've seen in ages. The Pissing Contest. From what I remember, it's a funnel/catch that men piss in at the urinal, while trying to piss more than the do-dad that the funnel/catch is attached to. I'm not sure what the point of this was, but this was just damn funny! On the way out, I notice a sign beside the craps table... JÃ¤ger Bombs $3. I should have known better. I point this out to Dustin and you would have thought he'd found the Holy Grail. He tells me that I don't need to start drinking JÃ¤ger because it is so addicting. Um, OK. He heads over to the bar and asks for two JÃ¤ger Bombs. I swear I think he messed himself when he saw that they had JÃ¤ger ON TAP. He quickly downs those two, then orders two more. He downs the first then sips on the second. I snatch it from his hand and take a swig. Hmmm licorice, interesting. This was the start to a L-O-N-G night. We wonder around a bit more, heading into the Flamingo to check it out. A quick lap around the place and not finding any craps or slots to our liking, let alone an even longer line than that at Harrahs for the swipe booth, we head back toward Harrahs. Dustin snags himself another JÃ¤ger Bomb, this time at a normal price at Harrahs, while I play a WSOP video poker machine. The way this game works, is that you play it just like regular video poker, but after each hand, a pair of cards are turned over above your hand (which do not effect the hand you just played.) If you get a pair of jacks or better with these two cards, you enter the bonus round. The bonus round consists of playing head to head against the computer in a game of Texas Hold-Em. If you beat the first opponent, you move up the ladder to play another opponent, and so forth until you either lose or beat all 10 opponents. Once you lose, you gain the money allotted for the place that you finished. Interesting game, but nothing this time. Next thing I know, we're sitting back at the bar at Oâ€™Sheas ordering up several rounds of JÃ¤ger Bombs. To make a long story short, about 8 rounds later, and several phone calls to his girlfriend and our buddy Rocky, I finally realize that I am completely trashed. I starting having images in my head of Al and his famous trashcan and the possibility or never living something like that down. I round Dustin up and we head back to Harrahs to catch the shuttle. I can only imagine what these two stone cold drunks looked like heading for that shuttle. We finally make it back to the room at the Rio, and after some coaxing, Dustin heads down and grabs us both a mushroom and Swiss burger and fries from the All American Bar and Grill. Nothing like some greasy food when youâ€™re drunk. Next thing I know, it's Thursday. Gambling: Scott: D: Down $150 W: Down $150 Dustin: D: Up $600 W: Up $600 Side Bet: Scott Up $2 THURSDAY I survived the night... Before heading out, I make a mental note to lay off the booze today. Yeah right. We hit the All American Bar and Grill (it's not that it's THAT good, it's just we're lazy) yet again for lunch. I grab a decent grilled chicken BLT sandwich and Dustin opts for a BBQ, bacon, and cheddar burger. Once again, the food was good, but this time the service was excellent. After the light lunch, we made our way out to the Rio pool. Dustin declares today as Jack Daniels day and grabs himself a Jack and Sprite from one of the poolside bars. He's a bit disappointed that I don't join him, but I'm letting my liver catch a breather for the time being. We find a couple of chairs and take in a few rays and the sights. After about 45 minutes and no sunscreen, I decide it's time for me to head back in, leaving Dustin with his best friend Jack. I wander around for the next couple of hours playing hit and miss in the casino until I find yet another quarter WSOP video poker machine. I feed it a $100 bill and finally get to play the bonus round, getting a pair of jacks. I proceed to lose to my computer opponent with my pair of jacks against his pair of aces. A little while longer, I once again get to the bonus round, this time with a pair of aces. Well, low and behold, 10 opponents later and I'm the proud owner of 3250 credits or $812.50 I cash out and decide I better take my money and run. I find Dustin back in the suite, lying on the couch, red as a beet, and three sheets to the wind. His comment was, alcohol and the sun don't mix (no shit Sherlock!) I grab a quick nap after I hear Dustin starting to saw some logs on the couch. All week, Dustin had been bugging me, wanting to know why I made him bring a nice pair of pants and a decent shirt. After we both recovered from naps, we grabbed our khakis and got ready for the evening. We headed over to the second floor of the Masquerade tower then on up to the Voodoo Lounge. We rode up the glass elevator with a couple and made some nice conversation and jokes about elevator. Finally up to the 51st floor, we grab some drinks and head outside. The sun had already begun going down, and it made for one terrific view. It was a little early in the evening, so there weren't that many people up there, which was OK by us. We spent a fair amount of time there, Dustin continuing his Jack Daniels day and me with a cold Corona. Finally, hunger got the better of us and we headed back down. On the same floor as the entrance to the Voodoo Lounge is a Mexican restaurant called Bamboleo. We head in and order a couple of chicken dishes and a couple of frozen margaritas that come in souvenir glasses. Dustin's drunk enough to feel bad that he's "cheating" on Jack Daniels with tequila, but he finishes off his last Jack and Sprite right after the margaritas arrive and tells me to not tell "Jack". Drunks... gotta love them. Service is slow and I wasn't too high on the salsa or my chicken burrito, but the margarita hit the spot. After dinner, we take the remains of our margaritas and stagger through the casino, ready to call it a night. Gambling: Scott: D: Up $800 W: Up $400 Dustin: D: $0 W: Up $600 Side Bet: Scott Up $3 FRIDAY Damn, it's hard to get out of bed when you know you have to leave a suite like this. We finally roll out of bed and get our things together and use the video check out. We cab it over to the Sahara and get in line to check-in a little after noon. A group of women ahead of us were checking in and were taking forever. They questioned just about everything the clerk told them. "What is this $3 charge for again? That's ridiculous! Do we have to pay that? $1 local phone charge? What?!? Blah... blah... blah." They finally finish up with her and I put on my smile as I got the same clerk. I go to check-in and make some simple conversation (she was just DOGGING the ladies that just left!) I ask nicely if there are any nice rooms in the Tangiers Tower, knowing that we booked a standard room and I had no intentions of staying in the Alexandria Tower, especially in this heat. She looks at me and says, "Since youâ€™re so nice, I'll see what I can do." Sure enough, we're put in room 1580 in the Tangiers Tower (score a minor victory for the visiting team.) We head on up and drop off our bags, not wanting to dwell on how worn the room was, and head on down to the Caravan Cafe for some breakfast/lunch. The line at the Caravan Cafe is small and we are seated fairly quickly. We order up some breakfast, which hit the spot. The food was good, but as always the service was lacking. We head on out into the casino and once again play hit and miss with the slots. Luckily for me though, I finally find an Elvis slot (it seems these may be on their way out,) but Elvis had no love for me this day. We piddle around for a little while, then head up to the room for a bit. We kill some time watching some television, and finally look at each other and figure it's late enough that we should eat again. We head toward the monorail, with Harrahs as our destination. I pick us up a 10-ride pass for $35 and make our way to Harrahs. Once at Harrahs, we decide to eat at the Cafe at Harrahs. They were in the process of remodeling the cafe last year, and were quite surprised at how it turned out. The line is short, but the wait isn't. About 15 minutes after getting into the short line, they finally seat us. It takes quite a while for the waitress to show up to take out order, but I order up my Vegas special of a Philly Cheese Steak along with a strawberry milk shake while Dustin orders up a burger. The service continued to be extremely slow as the waitress forgot my milk shake when she brought the food. She finally realized this about 1/2 way though my meal (as she passed by for the first time since bringing our food,) when I hear her say "Oh shit!" behind my back. A few minutes later, the milk shake appears and she apologizes, blaming the bar tender (seriously, a bar tender needed to make a milk shake?!?) The food was good, but as you can tell the service, well, sucked. We wait a good while for the check and head up to pay once it finally arrives. Low and behold, she gave us someone elseâ€™s check. Needless to say, Cafe at Harrahs, not the best of experiences. Dustin say he wants to check out Caesars, so we head on over after a quick pit stop at Oâ€™Sheas for a couple of JÃ¤ger Bombs. Once again, it's hit and miss with the slot machines, with me finding a Top Dollar slot that just loved letting me play the bonus round. It was rather funny, as this older couple kept eyeing me from the other end of the slot bank with that "As soon as you move, we're on that machine like stink on shit" look. As we walked away with my $60 win, we had a nice laugh as they did just that. We figured we had killed enough time at Caesars along with a few beers, so we started making our way out. As we made our way toward the sports book, I turn to Dustin and say "Damn! It's a herd of beautiful women!" And it was... Gathered in a group that had to number around 50 or so, were some of the most beautiful, well-dressed women we'd ever seen. We made our way through the pack and realized that they all were waiting to get into Pure. Not only them, but also there was a H-U-G-E line going in the opposite direction with all of the other "gorgeous" people. We followed that line to its end, and I swear it had to go on for at least half a mile. It was kind of like playing duck, duck, goose, as every other person in line was yet another beautiful woman. I turn to Dustin and tell him that we're slightly underdressed for this crowd, so we head back toward Harrahs and Carnaval Court. Carnaval Court was a hopping as we arrived with a band playing some good songs, while the bar tenders we're doing their flare thing. We grabbed ourselves a couple of beers and enjoyed the show. Along the way, some crazy nut was standing there talking to himself close by us. We paid him no mind, until he moved closer to us and began carrying on a conversation... with himself. The good old fashioned, ignore them and they'll go away worked this time and we continued with the evening. Along the way, I attempted to make the long awaited drunken phone calls to the people on my list, but the best I could do was one ring to Kikky's phone before the damn think petered out on me. Next time. After a few hours and several beers, we staggered our way back to the monorail station and the Sahara to call it a night. Not being tired, I tell Dustin to order us some pizza from the place that had slipped a flyer under our door earlier in the day (hey, I like to eat when I get drunk, sue me!) We had dealt with this place last year and enjoy the pizza then, so I figured we'd continue this Sahara tradition. He calls up Vegas Pizza (yeah that's the name of the place) and about 45 minutes later, we have two piping hot, two topping pizzas and a 2 liter Sprite for about $25 after tip. Dustin's already passed out and the wait has sobered me up enough to not be as hungry as I thought I was. After a couple of slices, I'm out as well. Gambling: Scott: D: Down $100 W: Up $300 Dustin: D: Down $100 W: Up $500 Side Bet: Scott Up $4 SATURDAY As much as I hate to tell on myself, all the drinking and everything finally got to us and we basically laid around all day in the room after waking up in the afternoon. No need to head down for lunch, last night's midnight snack is still sitting beside the television. We snack on and off all afternoon between naps until deciding to clean up and heading down to the bar. We sit down to play some bar top blackjack and snag ourselves some free beers. Not only has the Sahara upped the bars video blackjack minimum to 50 cents, but the bartender tells us management now requires at least $1 bets to keep getting the booze for free. I run through my $20 fairly quickly, but Dustin does fairly well for himself, finally cashing out to a $110 win and up two beers. I head over to see if Elvis will be good to an old friend and lose track of Dustin. The bleeding continues for me as Elvis certainly has no love for me this trip, nor do the Star Wars machines that I play later on. I find Dustin a little while later, with that grin on his face. He shows me the $502 ticket he pulled out of yet another video blackjack machine and all I can do is just shake my head. We head on over to the Caravan Cafe for some dinner. Once again, good food, but this time the service was decent. I ordered up another Philly Cheese Steak, which was much better than the one I had at Harrahs the night before, while Dustin has a burger. It's getting late, and all that sleeping we did earlier has worn us out so we head on up and call it a night. Gambling: Scott: D: Down $100 W: Up $200 Dustin: D: Up $600 W: Up $1100 Side Bet: Scott Up $5 SUNDAY "Well, we're moving on up..." Once again, moving day. We're out the door a little after 11am, and we've make the mistake of not using the video check out system in time so we have to head down to the desk to finish checking out. It seems they shut the system down right at 11am... stupid. We head out toward the elevators and realize that you DO NOT try and use the Sahara elevators on a Sunday morning. Every elevator that stopped at our floor was full. We, along with about 10 other people, stood around waiting on an elevator for at least 20 minutes until I wised up and hit the "up" button. Viola! And empty car. Dustin and I get in, along with everyone else and head straight to the top. After several stops and several "I'll get the next one" on the way down, we finally make it to the lobby... 30 minutes after we left the room. Check out was fairly quick and we head for the cab line, next stop, the Wynn. We arrive at the Wynn, ready to improve upon our last room, and eager to spend Ole Stevie Boy's money that comes with the room offers. We head over to check-in, which is best described as organized confusion. For those that have not stayed at the Wynn, I'll elaborate. The Resort check-in is in a fairly large room overlooking the mountain's waterfall. On opposite sides of the room, are the registration counters, so you can use either one. I find a "short" line, and proceed to wait for a good 30 minutes listening to people get instruction on the floor plan of such and such room versus the floor plan of such and such other room. At least there were several pieces of eye candy to look at behind the counter to keep my occupied. Finally, it's my turn and the lady says, "King bed, non-smoking?" Um, no... 2 beds, smoking please. Sounds like marketing screwed up the reservation. "Oh, let me check." And sure enough, there were no 2-bed smoking rooms clean. (Imagine THAT on a Sunday, huh?) She blocks off a room on the 39th floor for us and tells me that it should be ready by 3PM, but to check back before then to see if it's ready. So we head over to the bell desk to check our bags and head out into the casino. We decide to kill a little time out in the casino. Once again, it's hit and miss for both of us. I check back with the registration desk about 2PM, wait in line a good 15 minutes, and find out the room isn't ready. The clerk tells me that I could pick up any house phone to check the status of the room instead of coming back and waiting in line... good tip. I head back out and decide to check out the sports book. Nice, big comfy chairs and a personal LCD television do the trick. I watch the end of the NASCAR race and flip between a few baseball games, when I realize I really need to get out to Vegas during football season. Finally I realize that it's 3:30 and I head back over to check on the room... if it's not ready by now, I'm getting ill. Once again, more of the same organized confusion, finally making it up to the head of the line in 10 minutes, except this time they have a room for us, 5024. We find our bank of elevators and are happy to find 7 elevators that go to floors 1-29, then 7 more that go to floors 30-60 (I'm kind of fuzzy on the actual floors, but you get the idea.) No waiting around like at the Sahara! We head up to the 50th floor in record time and find our room. Wow! This is a nice room. Nowhere as good as the room we had at the Rio, but 1000 times better than the Sahara. The room has two queens size beds, with one of the softest comforters that I've ever felt in a hotel room. The nightstand has an alarm clock on it that includes a CD player and an input for your MP3 player as well as a cordless telephone beside that. Right above this on the wall are the electronic controls for the curtains, which provided more entertainment than I care to admit. The curtains covered a fantastic view of the golf course as well as a little bit of the north end of the strip, which includes the construction of Encore all along the floor to ceiling windows. The plasma screen television had a nice crisp picture along with dozens of channels, not nearly as large as the ones at the Rio, but with enough bells and whistles to keep me busy for at least a week trying to figure them all out. Below this sat the mini bar, which also doubled as a chest of drawers. To the left and beside the windows was a chair and desk that included a fax machine. The closet is in the hallway, across from a large mirror, and it contains two bathrobes as well as a pair of men's and women's slippers. The bathroom includes a glass shower beside the bathtub as well two sinks and the normal assorted toiletries. Beside these, sits the toilet inside it's own little room, which gets the announcement from me "Hey Dustin! The shitters in the closet!" On the back of the commode, sits the spare roll of toilet paper, but, here at the Wynn, they dress it up in a brown paper cover that says "Emergency Backup." I found this so funny, that I took the cover off and snuck it into my bag to put in MY bathroom. I'm not exactly sure what the color scheme of this resort room would be called, but it was kind of like a reddish color, which made everything seem pink when the lights were on at night. We're beat from all the gambling so we kick it in the room for awhile playing with the television, the bathrobes (thinking of you Marty,) and everything else. A knock on the door from house keeping was our only interruption, which we find out was for turn down service. After some resting up, we realize that it's after 4:30 so we head on down to The Buffet and hope that the line isn't too long. Damn, what line? We walk right in and Dustin pays without any wait (about $34 per person for dinner.) Dustin make a bee line for the split crab legs and I decide to do the same along with the pre-peeled shrimp, smoked salmon, and the other two types of fish that they offered. The one complaint that I had with crab legs was that the butter wasn't very warm, but I liked them better without the butter anyway. I asked Dustin about them, and he told me that they had two different types of crab, king crab and snow crab. Myself, I couldn't tell much difference in taste, but one was larger than other on the bar, so I figured those were the king crab. They had lamb and another meat at the carving station, but neither really appealed to me, so I load up on some vegetables on my second trip and Dustin get another load of crab legs. Up to this point, I've been slightly disappointed in the Wynn Buffet until... dessert. Oh... my... God... They must have the best dessert bar in Vegas. They offered up a strawberry dessert that was terrific. It had a graham cracker crust with a filling (creme cheese?) that included cut strawberries in between each layer of thin crust, topped with a strawberry glaze. Delicious. I just wish I had saved more room for dessert, maybe next time. We finally waddle out and head over to the Red Club booth to get my $150 credit. A short line later, I have $150 of credit to play on, so it's off to find a machine to convert that $150 credit into cash. I saddle up to a progressive slot machine, and decide $20 down with little winnings that I need to rethink my strategy. I head on over to the 25 cent Wheel of Fortune slots and play until the remainder is gone, finally cashing out, turning the $150 credit into $119 cash After killing most of the evening, we head on up to the room where Dustin crashes and I get to watch The Revenge of the Sith on HBO before finally calling it a night. Gambling: Scott: D: Down $100 W: Up $100 Dustin: D: Down $200 W: Up $900 Side Bet: Scott Up $6 MONDAY Dustin is up way to early and gives me grief for sleeping until 8AM because he wants to eat breakfast. After cleaning up and saying goodbye to room 5024, we head to the bell desk to check our bags until we return later in the day to check in once again so Dustin can get his $150 credit as well. We cab it over to the MGM Grand since that's where Dustin wants to eat breakfast. We make our way from one side of the hotel to the other and find that they have redesigned the entrance to their buffet since our last visit. The line is quick and we're seated. Dustin grabs his usual eggs benedict while I grab some of the driest biscuits and gravy I've ever had. The waiter keeps our orange juices full, so that's a plus. The second trip, more eggs benedict for Dustin while I go for pancakes and bacon. This hit the spot. I'm sure the only reason Dustin wanted to eat here was the eggs benedict, so hopefully, I can direct him to the Paris breakfast buffet on a future trip so I can get some better breakfast food, or the very least, the Peppermill. Off to their casino, and I lose Dustin to the Viper slots while I continue the bleeding elsewhere. I finally catch up to him later and we head over to Mandalay Bay. We kill a few hours at Mandalay Bay and clear out our cash back from the One Club and promptly recycle that money in no time. We make our way through Mandalay Place and pick up some gifts for the folks back home and enter the Luxor and then onto the Excalibur. It's been a long day, so we grab a quick drink at the gift shop on the second floor of the Excalibur and check out the shops there, looking for a gift for Dustin's little brother (who calls Dustin, Duddle.) Over by the buffet, there is a booth/kiosk that does those pictures in glass using a laser to carve your head shot into the glass to make it look 3D. In the same booth, they had bobble head dolls that they make with YOUR head on them. I look at Dustin and say, "How about getting him a Duddle doll!?!" That didn't go over to well. We find our way out of the Excalibur, making a quick stop through New York, New York, then back to the MGM Grand where we finally catch a cab back to the Wynn. On the way back, I tell Dustin to ask for an odd numbered room when he checks in, knowing that those rooms face the strip, and hopefully, they'll let us have one with a great view. Once again, check-in is a classic case of organized confusion as I find a seat over by the glass door to rest my tired feet. I strike up a conversation with an older gentlemen who was there checking in with his wife. We had a nice 20-minute discussion about Vegas, room rates, and all sorts of things until Dustin heads over and tells me that we've got a room. I wish my new friend luck and we head on up to room 5052. Dustin informs me that the clerk said that all of the rooms facings the strip (odd numbered) only had one bed, and of course, they had the reservation wrong in the system, which is why things took so long. Oh well, we can't win them all. We open up the room and it's an exact duplicate of the 5024 room except the colors and a slightly different view. This time, the wallpaper is a dark brown, with the room accents complimenting the brown. I liked this color scheme much better than the reds of 5024. We rest up for a good while from our little adventure to the south end of the strip before heading down for dinner. WYNN ROOM 5052 PICS We head on down with dinner on the mind, but first, Dustin gets his $150 credits added to his card. He puts it on my shoulders to decide where to eat for dinner, and, as tuckered out as I am, I say the Wynn Buffet again. If I wasn't so tired, I'd said the Bellagio buffet, since I just can't get enough of that Chicken Wellington. Once again, the line is almost non-existent and we head right in with little wait. Just like last night, the crab legs are good, but for the second round, I try out the Mongolian chicken and rice. Good flavor with just enough spice. Then onto dessert. Another helping of that strawberry dessert and a chocolate dessert. The chocolate dessert was very good as well, but just to rich to think about a second piece, and the strawberry, well, I got another piece of that We waddle out of the buffet and hit the machines. Dustin does his best to convert the credits over to cash on a $1 Top Dollar machine and ends up with $80 to the good. We play hit and miss for a while and decide to call it a trip. We head on up to the room and count our cash and see how we did. Gambling: Scott: D: Down $100 W: E-V-E-N Dustin: D: Down $100 W: Up $800 Side Bet: Scott Up $7 In an odd twist, Dustin ended up about $800 for the week gambling, but with the final count of cash, he was up only $9. Take out all the drinking, eating, souvenirs, cab rides, etc. that he paid cash for, and he ended $9 up... amazing. TUESDAY We're up and out the door heading to the airport to make our 11:30am flight. I mention to Dustin that I was going to ask for us to be bumped from the 11:30 flight to the 12:20 flight, which would meet the same connecting flight in Houston. That doesn't go over well with him, but I try anyway. No dice. The flight is uneventful until we near Houston and a thunderstorm has delayed landings for at least 30 minutes. We finally land and still have an hour and a half until we board the next flight. We grab a bite to eat in their food court in the terminal then head off into the depths of hell called gate B-84E where they've grouped about 30 flights into one gate area. Horrible. Finally, we start to board and the plane is delayed taking off due to the weather and all of the connecting flights not having landed yet. Finally, they can't wait any longer, and we pull away from the loading area only to wait on take-off for a good 45 minutes, again due to the weather making us an hour behind on taking off. Ugh. At least the plane wasn't full, and we got a row of seats to ourselves. We make up some time in the air, and land in Knoxville only 30 minutes late. FINAL THOUGHTS This was a great trip. I think I am officially a Rio convert now. I know I'll probably never get that same type of room without having to pay for it, but I really like the way I'm treated there. BIG thumbs up for them. The Sahara, as much as I like to admit it has decent rates and good low limit gaming, is really starting to lose me. They really need to update the rooms, but I don't see that happening while they're shopping the hotel and the acreage they own around to possible buyers. At the very least, if I stay at the Sahara again, it will have to be at the beginning of a trip where I have a MUCH nicer hotel stay lined up after it. As for the Wynn, I'm fairly certain Ole Stevie Boy didn't design that hotel with people like me in mind. I got a sense that he REALLY wants to focus on the Asian market. From the food on the buffet to some of the channels on the television to the lack of floors starting with 4, Wynn really wants Asians to play and stay there. Don't get me wrong, if I get a free room offer, I'm back there in a heartbeat, I just can't see myself paying $150-$200 per night to stay there. I have NEVER drank this much, so it's at least good to know how many shots I can go. I just have to make sure that I've got someone close by who can get me some good ole drunk food after I've decided on last call. I feel kind of bad that I didn't get to make any drunken phone calls. It was probably for the better though. I'm really looking forward to hanging out with people from this board someday. Now that I think of it, I could have called a couple of Vegas local ladies (Drea and Tonya) but I'm sure they be like "Hey! How'd this hick get my number!" As much as I regret not getting through with the calls to you folks or hanging out with the locals or others who were out there at the same time, I really enjoyed the time I spent with Dustin. There's nothing like spending some good quality time with a good friend. Thank you to those who were "rooting me on" before, during, and after the trip.