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Three Sisters, One Son, and One Blonde (The Fab 5), August 1-8, 2014

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by northerngirl, Aug 14, 2014.

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  1. northerngirl

    northerngirl Low-Roller

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    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
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    My Trip Report

    THREE SISTERS, ONE SON, AND ONE BLONDE (The Fab 5), August 1-8, 2014 (aka “Please Don’t Send Me to Tent City”)

    FAB 5:
    Erik – my first born who inherited my love of downtown Vegas. Erik lives in Houston and we bond in Vegas yearly.
    Tammy – baby sister (northern Wisconsin) and my faithful yearly Vegas companion.
    Colleen—middle sister (Twin Cities) and goes to Vegas with us on even numbered years.
    Lynn—a true blonde and mutual BFF. This is Lynn’s first trip with us, but not her first to Vegas. She is an avid strip lover and we were hoping to convert her into loving downtown as much as we do.
    Me—Northern Minnesota with my first Vegas trip in 1975.

    We knew excitement was in the air for our annual trip when Erik and Lynn started posting daily comments on the California facebook page starting at T-40. They did agree that it was difficult coming up with something new and witty for 40 days. It was decided that next year the posts will not start until T-10.

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014:
    It is always a long day as our Allegiant flight doesn’t depart Duluth until 8:00 p.m. The sisters and I filled the day by taking our mom out for lunch to celebrate her birthday and then invited a few of our girlfriends over for a pre-Vegas deck/cocktail party.

    Lots of laughter on the way to the airport, at the airport, and on the plane. Tammy and Lynn ordered double Vodkas on the plane which made us sing “Drunk on a Plane”. Luckily, Colleen and I were there to supervise. Perfect, timely Allegiant flight and a great cab driver ($32.00 with tip). Because Tammy and I had each received offers for three free nights at the Plaza, we decided to take advantage and give them another chance. A few years ago before the renovation we had an unusually bad experience there and Tammy declared that the Plaza was dead to her. I guess it resurrected itself. It was, however, very disappointing to get to the Plaza only to see a very long line at check in with only two clerks working. While waiting in line, we sent Colleen and Lynn to go to the ABC store to get some mix so we could have a cocktail in the room and toast to being in Vegas. Tammy and I were surprised at how long it took them to return (however, we were still in line). There was some sort of concert on FSE which meant they had to go through security, get a wrist band on, and have their purses checked. A very long hour later, we finally were in our adjoining rooms having our first cocktail (okay…..first Las Vegas cocktail). Being that we would be moving to the California Club in a few days, we only unpacked the essentials.

    We walked to the CAL and played cards with one of our favorite dealers, Seble. It was fun to catch up with her, but same horrible cards from her as last year. We moved around trying different tables with no Erik sighting (he arrived the previous evening). He did have a college buddy (Deuce) also arriving for a long weekend. We walked back to the Plaza and played machines for a bit before calling it a night at 2:00 a.m. (4:00 a.m. MN time).

    SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 2014:
    Ugh, I am the only one up at 5:00…this equals three hours of sleep for me. I was surprised when I looked out the window to see that it was overcast. We have our Vegas routine of coffee in the room, 8:30 pool time for two hours, then cocktail hour in the room while getting showered and dressed for the day. We only spent an hour at the pool and decided it was a good time to make a trip to Walgreens for our weekly supply of pop, chips, cheese in a can, etc. Colleen had accumulated $100 in Walgreen’s credits and kindly donated her credits to the Fab 5.

    After getting organized for the day, we met Erik and Deuce at the CAL….group hugs all around. We played at a fun table with Pamela, another favorite dealer. We ate at 777 (pizza, garlic cheesy bread, chicken wings, fish and chips, loaded potato chips, and mozzarella sticks). We walked down to The Grand for our first visit and signed up for player’s cards. Tammy and Lynn went searching for the right machine and the four of us played blackjack. Very good blackjack rules, friendly staff, but bad cards. We certainly all liked the atmosphere and decor and I really hope they make it. Erik and Deuce left for internet business and we went to the El Cortez. We just keep trying to like the casino, but the dealers are like robots. It was unanimous that we probably won’t be back.

    We strolled down FSE taking in the sites and fantastic people watching. I certainly am not a fan of the Slotzilla. It just is taking up too much space on an already crowded street. Lynn seems to attract a lot of attention from the street performers…..from the cupid arrow guy rubbing his nipples for her, a good hug with a good smell (her words) from the Chippendale dancer, to the almost naked Indian guy engaging her in conversation. We played at Binion’s to collect our points for our free spins….more losing. Back to home base (The CAL) and the four of us sat at an empty blackjack table. Erik and Deuce show up after “naps”. We all got a good chuckle out of Erik’s appearance with his bed hair in full force. He swears he doesn’t own a comb and his appearance wasn’t a big deal. (Wish I had a picture here of him to insert.)

    It was a fun full table with the entire group and we had our side bet of the blackjack bonus pot going. Tammy had been making a fortune on it winning at least 75 percent of the time. We did discuss banning her from partaking anymore. Colleen was getting tired and headed back to the Plaza and Tammy, Lynn, and I walked down FSE. There was an awesome 80’s band playing and we watched (some danced) for almost an hour. We played machines for a bit at the Golden Gate, but left as the music was just too loud for my taste. It was a fun first day and I was in bed at midnight.

    SUNDAY, AUGUST 3, 2014
    No pool day as it was overcast with a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms. The Fab 5 took a quick cab ride to the Premium Outlet Mall ($10.00). Everyone (except me) made purchases at the Coach store. During the cab ride back, we passed a huge canvas tent area. Lynn was telling us that it was “Tent City”. It is where you live when you work in Vegas, but can’t afford living quarters. In all my trips to Vegas, I had never heard of such a thing so asked the knowledgeable cab driver. He is laughing at us and tells us it is a convention area. For the rest of the trip we would say things like “if I stay in Vegas, I am moving to Tent City”, “we always have Tent City as an option when we run out of money”, “I am going to ban you to Tent City”, etc.
    Deuce met us in our room at the Plaza and we spent the next hour visiting, laughing, snacks, and cocktails. We decided during our next session of cards we would have two teams. Each team member would buy in for $40 giving each team a buy in of $120. The team that ended up with the most money would have bragging rights forever. We drew numbers for teams and Erik, Lynn, and I were one team (Team Momma-Son) leaving Deuce, Colleen and Tammy for team two (Team Buddy-Muddy). Erik, Lynn and I knew we had this win in the bag as we are the three aggressive betters of the group and Deuce is just learning the game. We headed to the CAL and played with a very talkative dealer that we knew from a previous trip. Team Momma-Son couldn’t believe how team Muddy-Buddy creamed us…..beginner’s luck?

    Back to regular play and aggressive cocktail service. We did agree that for a quiet afternoon at the CAL that the noise level from our table was slightly on the loud side….so we did tone it down a bit. Deuce left to eat dinner with another college buddy now living in Vegas (but not in Tent City). We decided to try something different so ate at the Chart House at the Golden Nugget. It was fantastic food, reasonable prices, and we would definitely eat here again.

    We split up for a bit with plans to meet in our room at 7:00 for our Big Brother fix. We walked back to Walgreens so Lynn could buy a knee brace in preparation for Tammy and her next day on the strip. On the way to our room, we stopped by the casino host office to introduce ourselves to Curt and thank him for his help with our room reservations. With the time change, we were off an hour for BB. We decided to meet in Erik’s room at the CAL instead in one hour. Erik, for some unknown reason, has difficulty in giving out his room number to us so we were instructed to text him when we got to the 14th floor for further instructions. He met us at the elevator and led the way covering up his room number when we got close so we would never know where his room was located…..seriously?

    It had been a long day of heavy drinking and too much good food. Tammy and Lynn headed off for a few slots before calling it a night and the remaining four sat at an empty table and had a very enjoyable evening. Deuce loved the dealer who he felt was like a combination dealer/psychiatrist. I tried telling Erik to slow up on the beer consumption so we had a deep discussion with the dealer/psychiatrist regarding this issue that has arisen several times in Vegas. We learned that I would always be the mother and always concerned for my children. We also learned that Erik was an adult and would do as he chose. Ah, we felt so much better and bear hugged it out. However, I did still tell Tracy, our cocktail server, to stop coming by the table so often. Time to call it a night and head to the Plaza for our last night. To our surprise, it was pouring out. Luckily, we were going straight to the room and going to bed before moving to our beloved CAL the next morning.

    MONDAY, AUGUST 4, 2014:
    We were awaken at 6:30 a.m. to an annoying fire alarm. Colleen and I looked out the door and saw people pushing walkers, folks grabbing purses, etc., heading for the elevators. I called the front desk to find out what was going on. I was told that someone accidentally tried going out an emergency door and security would be informing us soon of the situation. Forty-five minutes later, security comes over the loud speaker letting us know everything was under control.

    It was still cloudy out so we decided to, again, scratch the pool time and pack up and move to our CAL. Luckily, Deuce forgot his sunglasses in our room the day before and needed to get them before heading back to Minnesota. We made the two strong guys take our many 12 packs of pop, vodka, snacks, etc., to Erik’s room for safekeeping until we checked in. Our adjoining rooms were ready at the CAL and check in only took minutes. Tammy and Lynn headed off for Lynn’s promised day of shopping and gambling on the strip and Colleen and I totally unpacked, got the bar area set up, organized our snacks, and had cocktails.

    Colleen and I met Erik at MSS and had a great afternoon of laughs, drinking, and cards. With each visit to MSS, we decided we are loving this casino more and more. Of course, we had lunch at 777. We took a cab to the Luxor to meet Tammy and Lynn to see this year’s show pick—Carrot Top . We were having so much fun visiting in the cab, I didn’t pay attention and we were long hauled. Actually, we got long hauled each way with a charge of $40 per trip….ouch! We had seats in the fourth row and the Fab 5 thoroughly enjoyed his show.

    Before our trip, I had asked the group who was going to try the famous Oxtail Soup at the CAL. Lynn said she would for a fee…We pay for her soup, buy her cake, and Erik and I throw in $10 each on the bet. She ate the soup with no problem (Tammy couldn’t even watch her chew on the tail). She decided she wanted her chocolate cake when we ate at Pasta Pirate.

    NOTE: I stopped taking morning notes as there were no creative juices flowing and I couldn’t talk any of the Fab 5 into contributing. Therefore, the rest of this report is working off a fuzzy memory and will be a shortened version of the remainder of our trip. This is probably a blessing in disguise to anyone reading.

    TUESDAY, AUGUST 5, 2014:
    The weather was finally back to our normal hot weather with clear skies. It felt great to be back at the CAL pool for our perfect way to start a Vegas day. The sisters agreed that we probably won’t split up our hotel stay again….nothing against the Plaza, but it seemed to shorten our trip and we are just huge fans of the Boyd properties. We also love to make our room our “home away from home”, and with knowing you are moving properties in just a few days, it was difficult completely unpacking at the Plaza.

    We played between the CAL and MSS (lunch at Chicago Brewery) and then the sisters and Lynn split up. We had tickets for the Mike Hammer show at the Four Queens that night (third year in a row going) and Colleen was determined that we were going to get front row seats as she wanted one of us to get picked to go on stage. It seemed like a great plan as long as it wasn’t me on stage. She said she was going to be in line at 6:00 for the 7:00 show and planned “to grease the palms of the host” to get good seats. Erik and I played cards at the Fremont with plans to meet the Fab 5 at 6:30. True to her word, Colleen was first in line and we were seated directly in front of the stage. Not sure if it was planned or not, but being that I was last in line I was seated in the chair closest to the stage. I asked each of the Fab 5 to switch seats with me. Having absolutely no nibbles on my request, I offered Lynn $10 to switch. She is so easy…..thanks Lynn! The sisters and Lynn all had on matching t-shirts and Erik had refused to buy one. Of course, he now sticks out wearing his boring green golf shirt. Erik was the first to get “picked” on, especially when asked who he was with and he says “my mom”. Erik was asked to help out with a trick, as was Lynn ($10 well spent on my part). Mike Hammer is always a good show for the price…$17.00.

    We walked back to The Grand and the Fab 5 played cards together. Again, very friendly dealers and we love the atmosphere. While we were there, some very lucky guy hit a progressive for $1.2 million. Of course, I had to go up to him and congratulate/hug him.

    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2014:
    Normal pool time, cocktails, etc. Another item on our “to do” list was to eat at Pasta Pirate. A pit boss from MSS had graciously made our reservation the day before for 6:30. Knowing we wanted to be hungry for this treat, the sisters and Lynn went to Binion’s for an early snack using comps that Colleen and I had. We made plans to meet Erik at the tables at 4:00 at the CAL. Arriving right at 4:00 (we are all so punctual); we spot Erik sitting at a table grinning from ear to ear. And for good reason….Henry is at the table!

    (Brief summary of August 2013 trip—We met Henry and his faithful companion of 45 years, Ann, during the beginning of our trip and played cards with him every evening. Henry’s positive outlook on life was contagious and he has fun gambling no matter if he is winning or losing. Henry had adopted Tammy and me as his daughters and Erik was his new found grandson. Henry loved that we laugh at all of his jokes and that we love the game as much as he does. Henry and Ann stay at the CAL 3-4 times per year and are from Hawaii. Ann’s health wasn’t very good, uses an oxygen tank, and Henry lovingly pushes her in her wheelchair throughout the casino. We also met a regular CAL patron from Hawaii…crazy Irene. Irene was constantly screaming “monkey” at the tables and would only let you talk at certain times during the deal. Henry and Irene knew each other only from both going to Vegas on the Boyd charters from Hawaii. During this trip, Irene had won $17,000 and had it safely tucked away in her room. Due to her superstition of not wanting to touch any winnings, Henry borrowed Irene $2,000 with promises to pay him back. Tammy and I were playing with both of them and witnessed Irene writing Henry’s contact information down so she could mail him a check. Henry had asked Tammy and me when we would be back to Vegas next. Tammy told him the first week of August and I told him the second week of August. He was confused at this, so we just laughed and told him to come for the entire month and we would be sure to reconnect. We regretted that we never thought to get his contact information.)

    Obviously, so many group hugs and tears and introductions to more “family” members. Henry told us that Ann had just passed away two months ago and the difficult time he had with losing his loving companion. This was his first trip to Vegas since her passing and he knew it would be hard without her. Before leaving for this trip he said a little prayer to Ann hoping he would reconnect with his Vegas “family”. Yes, someone up there does listen. Henry also had kicked himself that we didn’t exchange contact information. It goes without saying, we now have it so as soon as our next August dates are set, Henry will be the first to know. P.s. Irene still has not paid Henry back the $2,000.

    Time to eat at Pasta Pirate with promises to Henry we would get together later in the evening. It is hard to believe in all my stays at the CAL that this was the first time eating here. Excellent food and thank you Erik for treating the Fab 5! Lynn ordered her much promised chocolate cake for dessert. Erik bet her $5.00 that she couldn’t eat all of it. After all, the description on the menu said “Big Fat Chocolate Cake”. Good bet for Lynn, but sad bet for the sisters as we had planned on helping her sample the chocolate treat. We laughed that Lynn was making more money off the side bets than she was gambling.

    We finished off another perfect day with the Fab 5 playing cards with Henry. We passed around the beads to whoever had a blackjack, lots of discussion regarding whipped crème (nuf said), and reminiscing with Henry about Ann.

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 2014:
    Last pool day and none of us can believe how fast our trip went…which is always a sign that a good time was had by all. We played cards at MSS and another favorite pit boss, knowing it was our last day gave us a comp at 777 for $75.00. It would be an embarrassment to even begin listing the amount of food we ordered (it was happy hour) to use the full amount. Another item on our “to do” list was play the sigma derby machine at The D. The Fab 5 walked down FSE for the last time this trip and were all able to play together. It is a silly little game with lots of screaming at plastic horses running around the track. It was now 6:00 and exhaustion set in for Lynn and me (maybe something to do with averaging 3-4 hours of sleep for the week, alcohol consumption, and eating $75 worth of food). Knowing if I didn’t rest for a little while on our last evening in Vegas, I would be in bed by 8:00 p.m.

    Again, we all managed to play cards together for one last fun evening at the CAL. Huge group hugs with Henry (and probably a few tears) and can’t wait to see him again August 2015.

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2014:
    We leisurely spent the morning packing and having coffee. We met Erik at Market Street café for breakfast before our flight. Erik’s flight was a few hours after ours and he was going to head back to the Boar for one last beer(s) and his newspaper(s). Said our goodbyes with more group hugs and promises of more fun over the Christmas holidays.

    We lucked out and got an awesome female cab driver who was originally from Hawaii. She actually drove us to the airport driving down the strip. Being that I typically don’t go down the strip, it was interesting seeing the changes and somewhat nostalgic thinking back to my first trip in 1975. We told her the outrageous cab fares we had both to and from the Luxor. She couldn’t stress enough that anytime a passenger is long hauled, it needs to be reported as it just gives the honest drivers a bad reputation. She said if a driver doesn’t come within a certain percentage of the top fares for the week, that the driver will get a three day suspension. (She had just got off a suspension.) She said that is one of the reasons why drivers will long haul customers is they cannot afford a suspension. Cab ride $25 plus a good tip! (Oh, and group hugs with the cab driver!)

    There was no drinking on the plane and we were a little quieter. Luckily, there is always another trip on the horizon.

    EXPENSES:
    Air - $300
    Room - 25
    Show tickets - 67
    Vodka - 13
    Gambling - 120
    Petty Cash – 225 (tips, food, cab, etc.)
    TOTAL $750

    RANDOM THOUGHTS:
    I consider myself very fortunate that I have such great sisters/friends that share the same love of Vegas. Of course, no trip would be complete without Erik joining us. We enjoy each other’s company, and still respect each other having their alone/down time in Vegas. It is crazy how we all are so punctual, get hungry at the same time, and laugh at the same stupid stuff……probably why we never have a bad trip together!

    August 2015 will be a one son, one sister, and one Henry trip for sure. Anyone else is welcome to join the festivities…as long as it is approved by the Fab 5.

    I think a vodka is in order. I now remember why I wasn’t going to do another trip report!
     
  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good report! Feel bad for Henry though.
     
  3. KyleB

    KyleB Low-Roller

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    Loved your report! So cool you ran into Henry from the trip before. Will be looking forward to next years write up
     
  4. Chrisbeans

    Chrisbeans Low-Roller

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    I totally remember your trip report from last year and the story of Henry, Ann and Irene. So sad to hear about Ann, but glad you guys were able to bring a smile to Henry's face. Great trip report and thanks for taking the time to write it.
     
  5. Hershey

    Hershey Tourist

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    This will be me a in a couple of weeks. Team ZACH.:stir:

    Great writeup!
     
  6. Darcie

    Darcie Tourist

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    Great report
     
  7. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    I've been looking forward to your trip report!! How awesome that your group met Henry again!! I bet it just made his trip finding you all there and having someone with whom to share great memories of Ann! Did Erik enjoy his strip time this year? I know how he "loves" the strip, lol. Did Lynn become a convert? We saw Carrot Top again in July; I took the group that came out to celebrate GG's birthday.

    Sorry the weather messed with your morning routine but I know your group always has a blast no matter what and rolls with the punches.

    Let me know when you settle on your August dates for 2015 as, if approved by the Fab 5, I definitely plan to come. Had 5 trips under my belt by July this year with another in Oct so couldn't do it this year. I'll see if I can get the pool villa we had for GG's birthday....great place to spend some pool/terrace time when you do your strip day and even Erik would forget he's on the strip. Any photos of the Fab 5?
     
  8. northerngirl

    northerngirl Low-Roller

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    image.jpg
    (Me, Colleen, Lynn, Tammy)
    image.jpg
    Erik and Mike Hammer

    Thanks everyone for taking time to read...glad you enjoyed my downtown dribble.

    Bre, not sure if we converted Lynn to "one of us", but she knows when she joins us August 2016, she will be staying downtown again. I know she did appreciate the short distances between casinos as her knee was giving her issues.

    LOL...I think Erik is maturing somewhat.....he didn't whine at all on "strip" day. I love the villa idea.... and I know Tammy and Erik would also. You will be one of the first notified when August dates are set.
     
  9. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Great report! Looked like a fun time for everyone. It is so sad about Henry and his beloved wife. He seems like a really nice person and it bothers me when Irene did not pay him back. It really bothers me when nice people get taken advantage of.

    I wish I knew who Irene was. I would be hounding her relentlessly to pay Henry back. I would make her life miserable, lol!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  10. northerngirl

    northerngirl Low-Roller

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    We were shocked that Irene had not paid Henry back also.....she was so superstitious and quirky that we assumed she would pay him back just so karma wouldn't bite her on the back side! Henry did say they had phone contact several times the past year and she hasn't forgot about paying him back...although she did sell her house and has been back to Vegas numerous times the past year. And with Henry's positive outlook on life and people, he was still laughing with us about Irene. Maybe she will pay him back this year?
     
  11. northerngirl

    northerngirl Low-Roller

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    Delete...double post.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  12. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

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    As I mentioned in your August 2013 trip report...I'm pretty certain Henry will never see the money from Irene. It's an old scam. Here's a hint: Irene never won the $17,000, she only said she did to gain Henry's confidence that she could pay him back.
     
  13. northerngirl

    northerngirl Low-Roller

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    You are probably right.....sad, but true. Last year when Henry borrowed Irene the money (and I was shocked that he did), he calmly said that his dad told him if you borrow money to someone and they don't pay you back, they probably weren't a friend to begin with. Irene certainly took advantage of Henry's too trusting nature.
     
  14. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    What a fun report - thanks for sharing!
     
  15. jagdan61

    jagdan61 Low-Roller

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    im going to Vegas from 25th to 29th August...what a great report!!!
     
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