It has been way too long since my last Vegas trip for a variety of stupid reasons, mostly involving a health problem. There were some other times when I felt too busy, but that's just craziness. I had already made some arrangements to visit my parents in Idaho for a few days in late September when my Buffoons said they were going to be meeting up in Vegas a few days later. It was like kismet, so I was on board! Making this trip happen was not always easy. Some of my doctors did not want me to go, for fear that I will do some damage or have a reaction to some of the medication I am taking when mixed with alcohol. My husband isn't the most enthusiastic about my Vegas obsession, but worked with me to make sure that things were covered at home so I could go. I started looking to book a room and rates were super high. I was considering staying Off-Strip to fit the room into my budget, but thanks to some generous people here, I had some coupons and discounts I could use and contacted @PHVHost to ask about which days I could use those discounts. He surprised me by saying he would help me out with my room. So I had my room on The Strip and would be halfway there already, so it was on like Donkey Kong. I'm going to try to do this trip a day at a time. I'm already playing catch-up, so there may be some random things inserted in live, but I'll try to label the Full Day parts of the TR. Day One: Home - Idaho NOTE: This section DOES NOT HAVE ANY VEGAS CONTENT. My first day started early with me trying to get on the 7am ferry. I am not typically a "morning person" so this was a challenge. I managed to get out of the house, but they stopped loading about 6 cars in front of me. Then they let one or two cars on at a time, so I knew they were almost full. I was just hoping I wouldn't be the first car not to make it on. I hate that. But, surprise!! I got on the boat along with 5 cards behind me. PHEW! Bye Bye Home! Good morning, Mountain! The drive through Washington was mostly uneventful. Some morning commute traffic, but once I was across Lake Washington, it was smooth sailing over the pass. (@Camp Rusty , not sure if you were there, but I shouted "Hi Rusty!" out the window when I went by your neighborhood.) Stopped for some coffee at Snoqualmie summit and then pushed through to Oregon. Just across the Columbia River, the rain started falling. It was light, but seemed very Oregon-y. By the time I got to Pendleton, it was POURING rain. I stopped for gas and since Oregon doesn't let you self-serve, some poor soul had to run out in the rain and do it for me. We chatted a bit and I went into the station for a potty break. On my way out, he was huddled inside his hoody, under the eaves in front of the store. Poor guy. I told him to stay dry and he said "doubtful". We chatted for 3-4 minutes and as I left, he told me to drive safe. Just south of Pendleton, there is this long grade up the mountain. It's very busy with trucks and has a steep grade, sharp turns and some pretty big drop offs on the side. It can be precarious on a good weather day and I was not looking forward to it in the heavy rain. Just as I got to the bottom of the grade, there was a DOT truck on the side of the road, the guy turned on the sign that said, "Wreck Ahead, Use Caution". Uh oh. The rain was still really coming down as I climbed, and about 3/4 of the way up, there was a semi-truck facing the wrong direction. Cones were around it on the ground, and Highway Patrol had just arrived and were putting out flares. Can you imagine what it would look like to have a semi-truck in front of you spin out and do a 180? I can't, but I am pretty sure that if I hadn't have stopped to talk to the guy at the gas station, I would have found out. Another PHEW!! At the top of the pass, the rain wasn't any better, but now the cloud layer was involved and it was like driving in The Nothing. I couldn't see much more than 20 feet in front of my car, so more slow going. Water was pooling and passing trucks became an issue as they would hit a puddle and it was like someone dumped a bucket of water on the car. I mostly just drove by hope, assuming I could keep it on the road. Stopped at the Rest Area at the top and had some lunch in the car while watching people dashing through the rain to the bathroom. As I was walking back to my car, I saw a couple leisurely walking with their umbrellas. I commented that they seemed prepared and must be from Oregon. The wife said, "Of course.". It made me laugh. By the time I was down to La Grande, the rain was mostly a drizzle. I was a little disappointed at the low clouds, because that view of the Wallowa mountains is one of my favorites. Oh well, pushed through La Grande and towards Idaho. No Mountains As I got closer to the border with Idaho, I was ready for an afternoon coffee for the final push, but I couldn't find anywhere. I even pulled off the road to ask Google Maps and it said "Nampa", which is close to my parents. Ugh. I kept driving, but was looking for any kind of coffee stand. Once I was off the interstate, I thought I saw a small pink shack on the side of the road ahead and thought, "At last! Coffee!", but when I got there, it was just a weird pink shack that didn't have anything to do with coffee. Oh well, I was at my parents a few minutes later. I unloaded my stuff from the car and mom was super excited I was there. She had to show me all the things and tell me about this and that. That went on until dinner. Had a nice time catching up with my parents and talking about some of the things going on with their house. As usual, mom had planned a busy schedule for us. I started to get worried that I'd be too tired by the time I got to Vegas. We watched a movie together and then I went to 'my room' to watch a little TV and catch up on the computer before bed.