You all know how it begins. You're kinda thinking about Vegas, punch in a few dates on Travelocity, and next thing you know -- there's that $158 RT airfare you just can't pass up. And there you go. I like the December time frame for two reasons - 1) rediculously low rates at the cheap places, and 2) rates I'd actually consider at the expensive places. I was set to go with option 1 (25/nite at El Cortez) when a good deal for Wynn showed up (the 159/nite + 75 in credit, not the 119 everybody else got... not that I'm bitter or anything). Hence the Schlitz to Glitz tour, as Ross put it. Originally this was a "solo" trip -- in quotes because there's always somebody in town, plus I know this dealer at a grind joint in Henderson... Then RossW's 50th birthday came along sooner than anybody expected and he was coming oot the same time, to play a little golf with ken2v. Then ken had to back out, so I thought, fine, I'll bring my sticks out. Haven't hit a range since spring, but like I told Ross, I know how to take a drop, and golf would be a New Vegas Experience (NVE) for me. Of course, half the fun of a golf trip is lugging clubs around -- penance, I suppose, for making fun of how women pack when they travel. (Btw, the drink service at baggage claim sucks -- if you're not being met by friends in a stripper-mobile, as Becky pointed out). Now, a bunch of places like Ross a whole lot better than they like me, so he was able to score a great rate at the LV Hilton (rediculously high rack rates there during that time for some reason), especially for that hard-to-book Saturday. I was going to cancel the Sunday night I booked at the El Cortez "just in case", but forgot to. On arrival at McCarren, my buddy JonnyU (who couldn't make it this trip) texted me - "when you're feeling the love, find a table with a blond dealer and put 5 bucks on 36 for me." As it turned out, blond roulette dealers and love from the tables were both a little difficult to find, and I never got that one down. I hit town on a Saturday, about one, hungry because I passed on the "grey box" on the way out. After checking in at LVH, I hoofed over to Kady's at the Riv, of which I'd heard good things. Had a decent burger, but burger + fries + 2 beers = $20. WTF? That's on the been-there done-that don't-need-to-do-it-again list. Yeah, there's a coupon, but I didn't bring it. Went across the street to Slots A Fun for the dollar (now $2) craps. Did just a bunch of dumb-player things that I really don't want to go into detail on, but the net result was me being down 40. Went down to Mirage and did more dumb things, like betting on a race after post time, which I didn't think was possible. I think the guy checked to make sure it was one of the horses slow out of the gate, then took the cash. Dammit. Figured I oughta stop bleeding money for a while. Becky (CoasterKikky) had texted an invite to Cafe BaBaReeba in the Fashion Show Mall, so I connected up with her, John (CoasterHub) and Patti (inontario) at the front of Mirage and headed to dinner by way of Isla (nice marg). Dinner was tapas, essentially hot and cold appetizers. Good food, great time, and I got to hear patti describe how not to take a shower at the Vegas Club. And no creme brulee's were harmed during dessert, although that awesome chocolate thing patti got took a beating. After dinner we parted ways and I hoofed back up to the Hilton and met up with Ross, who didn't get in until 10 pacific time. We dropped a little money in some VP and some penny slots and pretty much just called it a day. Sunday was NFL day for me, and golf day one for Ross. Fortified with a Careful Kitty's breakfast and armed with cheap Walgreens cameras, we headed back to the LVH then parted ways. Met up with Mikey at (where else) a Pai Gow table, where we settled into a pretty good little run, Mikey taking the dragon hand when he had crap (pai gow!), me taking it when I had good stuff - diffrent strokes, Willis. When we'd taken what we could off of that table, it was time for NFL in the Hilton Theatre. Definite improvement over the book, lots more seating, all 8 or so noon games on at once, which was almost, dare I say it, too much. No "free drinks", but I'd placed my bets up at the El Co anyway (Ravens +3, Saints +7.5, chicken dinner!) and $2 drafts and dollar dogs worked for me. Plus I hit on some drawing and got a bunch of free advertising for Miller Lite and some radio station that I could wear around. Well, I needed a hat for golf anyway, and this one came with a bowl of soup... j/k. Mikey headed home to get some shuteye before work. Eventually Ross came back from golf, and him and I headed downtown. That whiff of the El Co in the morning had lured me in, and I was determined to use that tower room reservation after all. Stopped by the Gate for the traditional shrimp run. They had a barbecue special that was working on Ross's mind, and just as I was paying for a shrimp cocktail and a beer, he ordered one up. Rather than go through that whole line again (why is it always soooo slow?) for more vittles, I finished dinner with a dog at Mermaids, where Ross was taken in by the fried oreos. With that mess under our belts we headed down to Mikey's place to say hi. He was dealing a $10 blackjack table when we rolled up, with BigHead already bought in. I bought in for a hundy, and for a while, things were ok, maybe up a little. Then a cold front rolled in ... I saw a lot of 13-16's, and when I did get decent hands, Mikey was serving up the 3 and 5 card 21's as necessary. During a pause in the action he looked at me and said "Doc... I'm not quite Wallace Shawn, and you're not quite Chevy Chase, but we're not all that far off." No kidding. When I hit the felt again, that was it.We walked around a bit, checked out a few slots and that stupid "rapid roulette" game, and headed "home" (luxurious El Co tower for me, LVH for Ross). Next morning, though, it was a good feeling knowing I had a couple winning NFL tickets to cash, plus a slot credit, matchplay and free slot tourney entry courtesy of Jackie Gaughan -- not a miracle cure for my bankroll exactly, more like preparation H, but still, a good way to start the day. Got breakfast at Kitty's again, then strolled around downtown a while. Saw the following going on down by the Lady Luck and investigated: Turns out it was a promo for the LV Grand Prix. Didn't see Hizzoner Mayor Goodman around, which was odd. Kept going, and discovered that the Binions sports book had been replaced by a mechanical bull and some tables and chairs. I don't know that this guy would have been all that proud, cowboy or not: Kept wandering and wound up under the "rotunda" of the MSS casino, playing penny blazing sevens. Got my first drink and sent the following to a couple folks: "Somebody just brought me a tequila sunrise. How's work?" heh. I checked out of the El Co, and Ross met me downtown. We had lunch at Magnolias -- a good choice, although I was pegging out the cholesterol meter with my food choices -- then headed out to Angel Park. As we got the course rates from the guy in the pro shop, I started to think maybe that wasn't the best time to be wearing a brand new El Cortez baseball cap... but we jumped on the $25 "twilite rate" anyway. That got us a cart and as much golf as we could get in after 2 pm, which sounds good except that the sun would be down before 5, and with our late start (2:45 or so) we did just get in nine. Ross played well after a slow start, including holing about a 30-40 pitch, then birdieing the following par 3. I got around with the occasional good shot and only lost one sleeve of balls, which I'm gonna call a good day. Plus I got to send this rather terrible pic of the first tee box to Terry: to which he responded: "You, sir, are no gentleman." :evillaugh We followed that with dinner at Roberta's but -- they were out of prime rib! Oh the humanity. The porterhouse was fine, but... that's like the Plaza being out of Jager. Anyway, that was the last we saw of the Schlitz, it was on to the Glitz. We headed down to the Wynn (after a brief rental-car swap), and drove into the south valet. We were moving on to experience the "gracious living" of Steve's World, and one just does not self-park. Nor does one carry one's bags through the casino like a common tourist, when there is a bellman to do that sort of thing. At checkin - Ross had a small travel bag with him that had been in the car but he was taking back to the LVH, where he stayed the whole time. So he's got that, and hanging around while I check in. The clerk glanced at him and asked if I would be wanting two queen beds instead of the single king -- oh no, I said, I'll take the king bed. The Resort room was, in one way, just a room, with a bed, table and chairs, bathroom and closet. But the bed was a pillow top mattress, the bathroom was huge with double vanity, shower, and good size tub, and there were bathrobes in the closet and a floor-to-ceiling view of the strip and the valley beyond. It was nice. I was a little disappointed that you couldn't actually watch the flatpanel tv from the crapper (which was separated from the "bathing area"). But then I never watch TV in the room anyway, so I just put classical music on both of them. One wants a bit of tranquility, you know. Speaking of which, a surprising amount of outside noise came into the room, especially with the Palazzo going up next door. Fast was broken at the Terrace Pointe Cafe, overlooking the pool, which I was going to wander thru and get pics of but never did. The eggs benedict was awesome -- passable, I suspect, even for ken. The orange juice was excellent. The coffee was just good-diner-grade, though. I think I'll write a letter. I got my slot credits put on my Wynn card, but didn't use them right away -- one shouldn't rush. Headed back up to the LVH to pick up Ross, who was checking out, and get something for my son, who is really into the old Next Generation Star Trek's right now. Plus I sent him a pic or two of the ships: If this had remained a "solo" trip, I was going to take in a few shows. Mostly canned that, but we did go see Mac King at Harrahs. A good time, but towards the end started to remind me of the entertainers at the rennaissance fairs, if you know what I mean. Still, another NVE. The kool-aid was starting to taste good so we headed down to Barbary Coast. Too early for Elvis, did a little more walking around and fortuitously caught the Con Te Partira fountain show, which I probably shouldn't admit is one of my fave's. Back to the BC, then, but the lounge was full, so we sat at the other side of the bar. Honestly, I don't know that I need the visual, just so long as I can hear... and be a VP addict for a while. After a little bit of a slow start, the bartender started pouring drinks like he was under orders to clear out the existing bottle stock. Ross had a nice hit (quad fours) but we both walked out down a bit. Decided we should leave the car at IP and walk over to the Ellis Island for dinner. We were drifting back into the Schlitz... Met up with Mikey at EI, and also met Scott (GotaVegasJones) and his buddy Earl. Waited quite a while for the table, but had great conversation going, so it was all good. Once we got in there, I had the "legendary" $5 steak, but I was the only one. It was an ok steak, but as I told Mikey, cut just a bit lower on that cow and you're gonna have to boil that thing for a few hours. The beer (and root beer) was good, and so was the company. I alleged that we didn't play golf that day because I beat Ross so badly the day before, but Scott shot that down: "you mean with the birdie and the pitch-in you still beat him?" Umm, no, not really. Mikey dropped Ross and I back at the IP to get my rental and I delivered Ross to the airport, then headed back to the Wynn and valeted the car again. I know one doesn't drag one's bags through the casino, but one can f*ck off, I just wanted to get my clubs to my room so I can pack them in the morning, and get back down to Parasol Up where Mikey, Scott, Earl, and a fetching young lady who wanted nothing more than to bring me a vodka martini (up with a twist) were all waiting for me. Quality smokes were broken out, thanks to Mikey, and that attracted Randy (peanut_mnm). It was such a classic vegas scene, guys sitting around smoking cigars with martinis and brandy snifters gracing the table, that a lady stopped and took a picture. Well, actually, she was taking a picture of her daughter, and for some reason, using a table of vegas degenerates as a backdrop. It was good vegas guy-time. At some point, a couple walked by and somebody (i forget who...) proclaimed "I think it's important that the woman should stay in shape", which busted us up for a while, and some wag looked around the table and added "yep, she should be physically fit -- and extreeemely nearsighted." which busted us up again for a while. You had to be there, I guess. We hung around for a bit, playing the challenger round of spot-the-hooker, then retired for the evening. Next morning, I considered going back to the cafe to use the other half of my $50 dining credit, but opted to try the Wynn buffet instead. It was as I expected, given my previous experience with the Bellagio buffet -- eggs taters sausage and pancakes, yes, but also ceviches and fritattas and smoked salmon and artisan cheeses. Made for a good, lighter breakfast than I'd been having, although I snuck in a little prime rib to the good. Then it was out to the floor to scout out a lucky machine. Found it, a quarter Double Diamond Deluxe over by Red 8, but somebody was playing it, so I sat down to a triple diamond at the end of the row. Put in my five and Steve's 25, and cashed out with 12 after the "free credits" were done. Coincidentally, the guy got up from my lucky machine, so I moved down there figuring to run the credits out through that. Actually hit a bunch of times, although nothing huge, and cashed out with fifty. Nothing to retire on, but it's nice to leave on a winning note. Figured I'd spend my remaining time watching the fountains, but apparently I pissed off somebody and they refused to turn them on. So I took a few pics, got a glimpse of the Planet Hollywood casino (bit of a southern-californicated look, but I kinda like it -- still too much construction, though, to stay there yet IMO). And that's it. Nothing outrageous, no all-niters, just a nice time. Didn't get to a few things, but no regrets. Enjoyed my time at the Wynn. Doubt I'll make it a habit, but it was worth doing.