My husband and I try to go to Vegas once a year on our own. Last year we ended up going for someone else's wedding. This year was a special trip for us, as I'd spent a total of about 6 months of the prior 9 months deployed down on the Gulf Coast for Hurricane Katrina support. (2 deployments of about 90 days each, home for 90 days in between) The flights were very uneventful. Flew AA out of Huntsville, AL, stopped at DFW (of course!) and then to Vegas. No upgrades this trip, as his ticket was a free "companion fare" deal. Oddly enough, the kiosk offered us both upgrades for the 90 minute flight from DFW/HSV but we passed, as the flight wasn't full anyway. I know SWA has much cheaper flights, but knowing I'm 15 minutes from home once we land is worth the extra money! We always come home tired and a drive from either B'ham or Nashville is not the way we want to end our trip. So, on to the good stuff... We stayed at the MGM and were given a WW room upon check-in. I should have used the VIP check-in but there was nobody at the front desk and we just wanted to dump the bags and get out of our flying clothes. By the time we got to our room it was probably about 9pm. We stopped and got replacement cards and hit a few of the slots. We were up and down, but mostly up. Since John hasn't been on the strip a lot (we used to strictly stay downtown for many years), we decided to wander around. We hit up NYNY, Excalibur, and Luxor before we decided to make our way back to the MGM. I can't say I recall making it back there. I remember the Luxor...then I remember having breakfast at the Studio CafÃ© before we went back up to our room at about 6am. Let's just say that (obviously), drink service was good everywhere we went that night. Sunday was spent wandering our way down the strip to the Wynn. John had never been and wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. We held our own on the slots but didn't walk out any richer. Pretty place, but I still feel like it is a strange vibe. Maybe we're just too low-roller for the place? We wandered back, pretty much hitting all the casinos on that side of the street. Paris has a nice feel and we made a few dollars before continuing on. Monday was our day to stick to Player's Club properties and put some points on the card. We left the room with a few hundred dollars each and, about 14 hours later, went back to the room with several hundred dollars each. I can't take much credit, as John was the lucky one that day. It seemed like he could do no wrong at the slot machines. Tuesday was the special day. We woke up VERY early and wandered over to Monte Carlo to have breakfast. We found out that the cafÃ© is closed for renovations, so we hit up Nathan's for some eggs and toast. For as much as I wanted to eat at some nice places on this trip, we ended up splitting a lot of junk food. After breakfast we wandered back toward the front and found the giant WOF machine. Since it was a penny machine we sat down and did our 80/160 cent bets. We both got quite a few spins, and after I won a few hundred dollars on the 10KX slot on the machine, we decided to cash out and go pick up the Mustang. Now, a tiny bit of history. After my first deployment, I'd made enough money to not only pay off my existing car loan, but have a nice chunk of change to put down on a new car. After a bit of looking, we ended up buying a 2006 Mustang. I almost got the convertible but opted not to at the last minute. We rented a convertible Mustang from the Budget by MGM. At 830 they opened, and by 845 we were leaving the lot with the top down. It wasn't too bad, as long as you kept the AC blowing full blast We headed out to the Red Rock Casino to check it out. Beautiful casino and it reminded me a lot of the WW rooms at the MGM for some reason. I liked all the clean lines in the place and it was easy to find your way around. After donating to their decorating budget, we left and headed to the Hard Rock. I've always loved the casino here, probably because they keep asking me for ID We did pretty well on the slots and had a good time ogling all the guitars and bikes on display. After the Hard Rock we headed off to the Palms. John was considering getting an addition to his tattoo but H&H was packed. We wandered around and each got enough points on our card to get our free ball caps (woo! NOT) and then left. We headed back to the hotel to lounge by the pool for a while. We made a few rounds in the lazy river and toasted our skin before heading in to shower and get dressed. We then did the "touristy" thing of driving up and down the strip with the top down. I wish the pictures were better but I was driving and John had been drinking and, well, we have quite a few blurry pictures of neon lights Either way, I highly suggest the trip, as it was nice not having anything blocking your view as you drive along. On Wednesday morning we got up early and headed off to Boulder Station with one purpose in mind. Find the cheapest blackjack table and play. I've always been a big weenie when it comes to playing table games, afraid that I'd embarrass myself or something. We found a $3 table and a very nice dealer named Michael who talked us through quite a few hand, explaining why we should or shouldn't hit. The other couple at the table were patient and in a good mood and were also helpful in explaining things. We both bought in for $40 and while John walked away with about $25 (after tipping, of course!), I walked away with $50 after tipping as well. He then went off to play craps and I found an Alien machine to make myself some more money. All in all, we both walked out ahead, happy that we'd finally made the jump to the tables. We decided we were done with the car and returned it at about 930am. The clerk was nice and didn't charge us for the extra hour, and took off the second day's rental rate as well. (We had it reserved for all of Wed.) so that was a nice little bonus as well. We walked back to the MGM and napped, played at the pool, and, very reluctantly, started packing our bags. We split a sandwich from the sports book deli place (eh, not impressed at all), watched the poker tables for a bit and decided to call it a night. Up at 5am to get ready for the flight home. Got to the airport early and were glad to see we didn't have to get in the security line for the C gates. It was jam packed! The D gates line was maybe 5 minutes total and off we went to buy trashy magazines and water for the flight home. Money that came home with us: $1500+ Best line of the trip: (by John, after sitting down at a slot machine with no sounds) "Damnit, if I'm going to lose, I want big sound effect so I can feel I'm getting my money's worth!" Strangest line of the trip: (I'm wearing a "rock, paper, scissors" shirt with the hand gestures instead of the words) "What does your shirt mean?" (by one of the security guys in Vegas) and I tell him "rock, paper, scissors" and he replies "Oh, I thought it was a sign language thing because you were deaf!" Tomorrow, off to buy a new reclining sofa with our money and start planning our next trip!