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Trip Report 9-7-14 thru 9-17-14

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dizidezi, Sep 21, 2014.

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  1. dizidezi

    dizidezi Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    39

    My Trip Report

    Flew into Las Vegas from NY, went to Dollar for our car rental and headed to Zion for our first part of the trip, then on to Lake Powell for 3 nights with a side trip to Monument Valley and back to Vegas for 11 days.

    Tours, Lake Powell 2.5 boat tour, Colorado River Raft Trip, Upper Antelope Canyon tour, Horseshoe bend and Spirit Tours for Monument Valley.

    Hotels: Best Western at Zion, Dreamkatchers in Big Water Utah for Lake Powell, Aria Sky Suites in Vegas

    Shows: Zumanity, Zarkana, Neil Sedaka, Donny and Marie and Jersey Boys.

    Eats in Vegas: to many buffet's including Bellagio, Aria, Mandalay Bay all for dinner along with Canal Street at Orleans, Triple George Downtown, Forte seen on" Diners Drivin's and Dives" must be more but I can not remember.

    This is only the Vegas part of our trip, I posted the first 4 days under Page Arizona. If you have not been to Page, you might want to check it out.


    My husband and I are in our mid 60's. We have been coming to Vegas since 1967, as single's and then on our honeymoon in 1975 and ever since. We usually only visit once a year, so we take 2 weeks to enjoy it all. The last 5 or so years we have been visiting other area's within a 5 hour drive, which have included Palm Springs, Sedona, and this year Utah and Arizona. We usually take 3 or 4 days and then head back to Vegas for the rest of our 2 weeks. Vegas is located in a great spot for visiting other area's.

    Arrived in Vegas on Sunday Sept 7th, before all the rain that caused all the problems. We took the exact route from Utah that was closed, our timing worked out perfectly.

    Checked into Aria Sky Suites. We love the perk of the lounge where coffee is available thru out the day along with soft drinks and wine and cheese in the evening.

    Aria has 4 main pools to choose from one of them that slopes into the water allowing you to sit with as much or as little water covering your legs. I wish more pools had something like this, or seats along the edge of the pool since I spend most of my time in the water. Enjoyed a great Sangria poolside loaded with frozen grapes. We enjoy spending most mornings at the pools. I also try to spend as much time and I can within the hotel that I stay in and do most of our gambling in that hotel also. Our preference is the Aria, or MGM properties.

    Entertainment:

    Neil Sedaka at the Orleans. We had BOGO tickets but they had to be used in person at the Box Office. We were quite lucky that we had a friend who was going to Vegas in July and also wanted to see the show. So he purchased 8 tickets in all, paying for 4. The seats were all in the back of the showroom, with few seats left at all. If it were not for him and we had to wait until we arrived the show would have been sold out. Neil Sedaka has not lost his voice at all. He sang all of the songs that made him famous and also talked about his life at the beginning and once the Beatles took over the charts. The Orleans showroom is small, so sitting towards the back was not a problem at all. We have always enjoyed his music and we were quite happy when he told the audience that they are working on a Broadway Show with his music, so "Move over Jersey Boys" Price for our two tickets were $ 44.00 using the BOGO coupon. Very good show, I would go again, even next year, the music was that good.

    Zumanity Compliments of MyVegas, was enjoyable. I am happy that we saw it, happy that we did not pay to see it. I was surprised that it was topless. Not that it bothers me, but I do a lot of reading and research and not once read that. Our seats were in the 2nd row center, the first row has couches. There were a lot of good laughs, and some audience participation. I do not remember how much it would cost to see it, but with a coupon or a decent discount I think it was worth the laughs we had.

    Zarkana compliments of Myvegas was really good. Again I had read a lot about it with most saying they did not care for it. I was not worried about that, since most reports on Ka say that they really liked it, which we did not care for. I especially enjoy the beginning of all the Cirque shows that we have seen. The performers interacting with everyone before the show starts always puts you in a good place. The acts were very good, especially the woman with all the tennis balls, and I also enjoy the hoops. They allow camera's without flashes. Our seats were in the right section about 6 rows from the stage at the end of the isle closest to the center, they were good seats, however I think if we were back further in the center it might have been a little better being able to see the entire stage straight ahead of us. One couple we met from London who also saw LOVE thought Zarkana was far better and the best show of their trip. So everyone has their opinions and non are wrong.

    Donny and Marie: Had a decent deal thru Travelzoo paying 67.00 a ticket. Read all the great reviews, even spoke to people who saw it and said it was the best show ever. Not the case for us. Yes it was good, Yes they work hard as entertainers but I just think I was expecting more after all the hype I have read. We were seated in the middle of the showroom and again an older showroom with not a bad seat for viewing, however we were in a booth that sat 5. Normally I enjoy sitting in a booth, not this time. My husband was at the end and had to sit with his legs hanging over, and me hanging on his back so I could see. It was very uncomfortable for both of us. We did not know the other 3 people in the booth and I felt that if I sat up without leaning on my husband I would have been blocking the person next to me. Just not ideal at all. Which is part of the reason we were not overly thrilled with the show. Great price for this show, just wish they had better seating to enjoy it. Donny and Marie do come into the audience and gave my husband a High 5. They both have great voices and did put on a good show.

    Jersey Boys at Paris: We have seen the show on Broadway a few years ago. We love the music and since they had a special of BOGO for seniors we had nothing to lose. Two tickets cost under $99.00. We enjoyed the show, well worth what we paid. The cast was not as good as the original one we saw on Broadway, and it seemed to have a slow start. All in all if you enjoy the Four Seasons, you will enjoy this show.

    EATS: We had too many coupons or freebie's for buffet's.

    Breakfast was mainly buffets. Locations. Red Rock, Green Valley, Silver Sevens, Main Street Station and Freemont. How can you complain with the assortment of foods and prices you pay even without a coupon at these off strip casinos. Some were better than others, but all worth it, the bottom of the list would be Silver Seven, but it even has improved from a few years ago. Red Rock and Green Valley the best, with Main Street and Freemont coming in 2nd.

    We also had a breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi, sitting outside on the patio. Again, had heard first hand from 2 different people how great breakfast is and decided enough of breakfast buffets. I had French toast, husband had eggs over easy. Nothing special for us. In fact I was disappointed that the blueberries that came with my French toast were frozen ones. It was good, but nothing special. A waiter clearing the table next to us dropped a glass that hit the floor next to me. Glass everywhere. They cleaned it right up and asked if I was OK, I did joke saying yes, but you can Comp breakfast if you would like. If I had not finished my French toast, I would had considered not finishing it since the glass went as far as two tables over. As far as I could see it all landed back on the floor.

    Prior to breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi we decide to have a quick snack here before one of our shows. I had a $ 20.00 off coupon that was going to expire and we always enjoy sitting on the outdoor patio. My husband ordered escargot and a salad, and I had Brie and a Bib salad. Everything was very good, we finished off two loaves of bread along with it. The bill was $38.00 after the $20.00 coupon, so $58.00 for 2 salads and 2 appt's. Not sure, is that expensive? No drinks....

    Dinner buffet's compliments of Myvegas. Mandalay Bay, Aria and Bellagio. First time for Mandalay Bay, it was good, but the other two were better. If you drink wine or beer it is included in the buffet at Mandalay Bay. We are not drinkers, so that did not weigh in for us. Aria had more choices as far as fish and clams, and a pasta bar. Bellagio had better Prime Rib and beef and salad. All in all they were all good, and Aria is beginning to catch up to Bellagio. Again how can one complain when you are not paying for them. I believe the Aria would have been $66.00 and the Bellagio close to $70.00, not sure about Mandalay Bay. Since we prefer being served at dinner I doubt we would pay full price for a dinner buffet, but would always pay full price for a breakfast one.

    Canal Street: Gourmet room at the Orleans casino. Lovely restaurant with great good at reasonable prices. Love the booths, brings you back to old Vegas. Most dinners include the house salad that is very good. It includes nuts, chopped hard boiled eggs that are placed on the side. Nicely done with a great house dressing. All of their plates are unique also, some with a pedestal , some square, some triangle making the food look even better. Husband had scallops that came on a narrow long dish with a small amount of pasta on the side. I had the trio of scallops, shrimp and steak. We were pleased with our meal and always look forward to dinner here. Hoping next year they change it up a bit and add lamb chops to the menu.

    Forte: I saw this on Diners, Drivins and Dives and I had to try it. I did NOT tell my husband this was a Bulgarian restaurant, just that I had seen it reviewed on TV and it looked very good. I really enjoyed it, my husband liked it, but thought there was not enough on the menu for him. I had a glass of sangria, very good and it was happy hour so the price was right at $5.00. In fact the price was right on the food also. This is off the strip and located in a strip mall. I read about the watermelon salad and although I cannot understand watermelon as a salad I am soooooo happy we ordered it. It was made with Bulgarian feta cheese, red onions and mint leaves. I would go back just for that. The feta I found less mild than the Greek feta and I did prefer it that way. The toss salad that came with my husband's meal was too salty but otherwise we enjoyed everything. He had mashed potatoes with basil and lamb and pork that reminded him of an osso buco. I had the lollipop lamb chops, and the clay pot which was shown on TV. Here is the web site, hard to explain the food. http://www.barforte.com/menu/ I was hoping to share a dessert but my husband was full so we did not order any. I will visit again on our next trip.

    Triple George: Downtown. Felt like a good burger and even though we had a coupon for the burger place in Paris decided enough with the coupons and decided to try out Triple George after hearing they had great burgers. We parked at Downtown Grand using Valet parking. Valet did tell us to make sure if we were using one of their restaurants to have the ticket validated or else it would be $12.00 for parking. Triple George is one of their restaurants so that was not a problem. I enjoyed our stroll thru the new Downtown Grand and can understand how our friends enjoyed their stay there. Wish I had taken the time to check out their pool area, I was told it is small but they have the best loungers. Triple George was very nice. Our burgers were good, but we were spoiled with the great one we had at the beginning of our trip in Zion. We both had the George burger, it came with fries but I opted for Veggies. We will be back in the future. I was impressed with the cleanliness of downtown. Of course there are characters there, but for me that's what makes it a fun place. The topless over weight ladies with duck tape covering part of their breasts was something to see or not see, or maybe the something to see were the men in line to have a picture taken with them.

    Dollar Car rental: Always use dollar, always have the best prices for us. Had a little trouble last year with the car, wrote a letter and received $25.00 off our next rental. This year after returning 2 cars I will look more closely at other companies. Our first car had 55,000 miles on it. We did not see anything wrong with it and drove out on our way to Utah. As it turned out the gas gauge was not working properly, the panel on the door where the button is to open the window was coming apart. Each time we opened or closed the window the panel came apart showing all the wires. To top it off the light kept going on that we needed to change the oil. I was hoping for a dollar rental where we were in Utah and Arizona but there were not any close to us. So we just hoped our trip in Utah would be OK and return it when we were back in Vegas. Returning the car is not a problem when something is wrong, the problem is that the workers all have something different to tell you how to go about it. After an hour of our time we finally got into another car. We headed out and the gas gauge kept going up to full, then back down to empty. We did not even leave the garage, so it was easy to go back and say we do not want this car. We finally ended with a very nice Impala with a sun roof and sirius radio. Wish we had this car for the driving we did in Utah and Arizona. The part that was frustrating is that the 2nd car was put right back in a spot for someone else to take. Their prices are so low that they must over book and not have the time to properly clean or maintain the cars. Driving around Vegas is one thing but driving into another state makes me worry. Our friends also had to return the car they rented from Dollar, but I can not remember why. I will look at all my options next year.

    We also attended the MyVegas meet and greet at Aria. It is always nice to spend time with others who enjoy the game and learn about new happenings. I wish I didn't feel rushed since we had dinner reservations, so we left in a hurry not having said the proper goodbyes.

    We met friends from playing MyVegas from New Zealand. This was truly a highlight of my vacation. To be able to make a friend from a game from another country so far away and meet them in the US is really amazing. Thank you MyVegas for not only all the great rewards but for the friendships I have made.

    We also met another couple from Pittsburgh that we have again become friends with because of MyVegas.

    Spending time at the pool had us meet another couple that is from London who decided to stay at Aria after seeing the movie LAST VEGAS. We struck up a conversation at the pool and we have also become friends that will continue to stay in touch. We were pleased that they joined us for breakfast at Red Rock (yes I had an extra coupon for them) and then a drive thru Red Rock Canyon. They did not rent a car, so this was a great treat for them. We would continue to meet them at the pool and discuss what we did the night before. It was nice having our last breakfast with them before we left for the airport.

    Flew home Jet Blue.

    Those that write trip reports understand how much time goes into it. My husband is asking am I ever to going to get off of the computer. I hope you enjoyed our report and take the time to comment or ask any questions...I am happy to respond.
    Pat
     
  2. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Love your style Pat.....separate sections with just the right info. Sounds like a great trip and thanks for sharing with us!! (we have seen Jersey Boys twice & loved it both times - different "Frankie's" which made it a little different. :)
     
  3. bjpcyclone

    bjpcyclone High-Roller

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    Really enjoyed your report. Having done a couple TRs, I agree it's a lot of work. But thanks for sharing, sounds like a fun trip!
     
  4. ginmil

    ginmil Tourist

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    Great trip report! Thank you
     
  5. SDSteve

    SDSteve Low-Roller

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    Ha ha. Ha ether drop a glass near me at Mon Ami and a piece scratched me... Got a $100 breakfast free... Thanks for the report.
     
  6. Sissyboy_Deuce

    Sissyboy_Deuce Tourist

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    Thanks Pat, appreciate the trip report! Sounds like you guys packed in a lot.
     
  7. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Thanks for the trip report! Very good information that will be useful on my next trip! Thanks for taking the time to share your Vegas experiences with us.
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  8. LakeMinnetonkaRealtor

    LakeMinnetonkaRealtor Tourist

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    Thanks for the report. We must have similar taste, because we liked Zumanity, and disliked KA. I've been considering going to Zarkana on our next trip, so your report is quite useful. Thank you!
     
  9. Piggylane

    Piggylane Well-Known Member

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    Nice report! Glad to see you mention Canal Street at the Orleans. I don't think many people appreciate this restaurant. It isn't expensive but the food and service are outstanding. My favorite steakhouse in Las Vegas all things considered and I have eaten at more than most visitors.
     
  10. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

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    Thanks for taking the time to post Pat, it does take some effort to do a trip report! The nice thing is once you post them, you can look back on them and relive the trip.

    I would be very interested in reading your report on your first 4 days at Page, Arizona. Where can I find that? If you can provide the link (just copy and paste it here) that would be awesome.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
     
  11. Iamrice

    Iamrice High-Roller

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    Thanks for the tip on Forte, looks like a good place!
     
  12. firstkill

    firstkill High-Roller

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    did u hike the narrows at zion? I was wondering on the water depth.

    Fk
     
  13. mganut

    mganut High-Roller

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    Thanks for the report. I enjoyed it.
     
  14. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    An easy to read, enjoyable TR; thank you for posting.
     
  15. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Great TR. Really sounds like an enjoyable time. And great use of coupons and MyVegas, too!
     
  16. PayTriple

    PayTriple The Cucumber King

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    Thank you for sharing! Great trip report.
     
  17. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good report! And hear you on the not knowing things are topless sometimes. I did the exact thing with "PeepShow" w/CoCo Austin was running at PHo. No advertisement ever made it clear it was topless. Since I'm a guy I was cool with it, but not sure if I would have taken my g/f otherwise. Fortunately the show was entertaining regardless. From now on, I assume any show with scantily clad women advertised with the rule of only 18+ admitted = bare boobs.

    I also liked Zarkana much more than Ka too! I think because the acts seemed more "circus-y".

    And it would have been fun going to a myVegas gathering! Without them, I think I would have been on at least 3 less trips by now. :evillaugh
     
  18. dizidezi

    dizidezi Tourist

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    Ok, you asked and here it is....hope it isn't to long for you and I do appreciate that you are interested in reading it. We had a wonderful time there, love the southwest.


    Here is my report for the first 4 days of our trip in Utah and Arizona.


    We decided to stay for the night in Zion before heading on to Lake Powell and Page for 3 nights. After a 5 hour flight from NY we did not want to drive 5 more hours to Page.
    Best West Zion National Park:

    Great choice reasonable price. Pool and hot tub on the grounds and a great restaurant next door where you receive a voucher for a breakfast buffet connected to a bar where we had the best hamburger on our vacation. Switchback I think was the name of it.

    We did not get to spend much time at Zion, but we did take the bus tour around the park and walked around the area. We will have to return.

    The drive to Lake Powell thru Zion was beautiful. We took our time and arrived at Lake Powell at 10 AM. We had a Lake Powell boat ride at 1 PM 2 1/2 hour tour and check in at our B&B at 3 PM. Timing all worked out. It was a lovely way to see the lake. They also offered a 6/7 hour tour to rainbow bridge however we did not have enough time to fit this in.
    Arrived at our B&B Dreamkatchers in Big Water Utah, about 7-10 miles from Lake Powell and Page.

    Dreamkatchers was all that I had hoped for and read about. I do a lot of research when planning our vacation. I read all the reviews and even contacted those that wrote them for more information. The owners, Eric and Jarod were wonderful. They certainly know how to keep their guests happy. The home is beautiful and located right off of the main highway, you can even see it as you drive by. They have 3 rooms, so book early if you are considering staying here. There is a hot tub on top of their garage with a great sky view. They have a refrigerator in the garage along with a microwave and coolers for their guests to use. The entire B & B is for your use. A lovely den facing the front of the house with TV, books, DVD, but with so much to do in the area we were the only guest that used the TV during our stay. We have a habit of watching the news first thing in the morning and last thing at night that we found hard to break. We rarely saw the other guests during our 3 nights, whom were all from Europe. Breakfast is served when you want, they leave a slate with your name on the dining room table where you write what time you would like breakfast. Breakfast always begins with a smoothie made from fresh fruit, so thick you eat it with a spoon. DELICIOUS During our 3 mornings we had European pancakes, Waffles, eggs, with sausage and potatoes and Eric's version of Eggs Benedict. All very good, and of course coffee and juice. Eric also sets up very early coffee, tea, and hot chocolate so it is available whenever you get up.

    It was wonderful, I was nervous since my husband is not a fan of B&B, not sure why since we have only stayed in one prior to this trip which was very nice. My husband really enjoyed his stay and we hope to return in the future. We stayed in the Asian room. Please check out their website: http://www.dreamkatcherslakepowell.com/ They have many tours right on their website for easy booking which we did use and have wonderful experiences.

    Up and out early for our 7 AM raft trip. The hour difference between Utah and Page we found to be very confusing. Seems simple enough but we had a hard time with it. LOL I was concerned that we would be late for the raft since we had breakfast at 6 AM, but Dreamkatchers had it all planned out changing their clocks to agree with the time in Page. My husband enjoyed the raft trip more than the Lake Powell boat trip, I am not sure why. I enjoyed them both. It was cold in the beginning for the 7 AM raft tour, bring a sweater or jacket. By the time the tour was over the sun was out and the day was beautiful. Our guide was very knowledgeable telling us stories about the area, and growing up on a reservation. Seeing horseshoe bend from the river was very nice, however do not miss the short walk to see it from the top looking down. AMAZING There is a short stop at a beach area with bathrooms and a short walk to see drawings.

    The raft tour ended around 11, we had a 1 PM tour booked with Chief Tsosie for Upper Antelope Canyon. We had time to stop at McDonalds for lunch. Before the tour we watched Native American's put on a short show, it was very enjoyable. It was a short ride to the canyon on open air jeeps. Our guide Marissa was great. She took all of our cameras during the tour, making sure we had those great pictures that you can find when you google Upper Antelope Canyon. The canyons are cooler so the 1 PM afternoon tour was a good choice and the photo's with the sun beaming thru are not to be missed. We have some great pictures thanks to Marissa. Yes it was crowded, and many ahead of us were not considerate of those behind them taking too long to move forward. We did not get to the Lower Canyon this trip, but it gives us a reason to go back.

    We had dinner at Bonkers on our first night, which I had also done my research on. We thought it was just OK. The price was great, since they have an early bird between 4-6, but other than the price it was just OK. I wrote a review on TA for more information. We stopped off in Walmart for fruit and I asked a customer in line if she lived in the area could she recommend a good place for pizza. She told us to try Strombolli's we did and we enjoy it. It is on the same street as Bonkers, on the opposite side of the street.

    Our next day we were up at 7 had our breakfast and drove to Monument Valley. Once again I did all the research and was told to try and stay the night, not to do it as a day trip. I had no choice we were out of vacation days, so a day trip it was. We were quite pleased with the easiness of the drive both ways. Although up to this point everything we had done and seen was amazing, however Monument Valley was my highlight. After seeing that famous scene on TV or in movies for so long I could not wait to get there. Although our drive did not take us to mile marker 13 where Forest Gump was running, it was still a spectacular seen. I loved our time there.

    We had a tour booked for 1 PM with Navajo Spirit Tours. We arrived with a few hours to spare. We had a quick lunch at the View Hotel, and I was pleased to finally enjoy Navajo fried bread. We always fry pizza dough at home and serve it with powder sugar, this was very similar but much better. We also had time to visit the museum and gift shop before our tour. I requested a closed vehicle after reading about the dust and it was another great choice. We were the only two with our guide Will. He was wonderful with stories about the area and growing up Navajo. It was a great tour and with his help we also were able to have our pictures taken in many places. It's fun to hear about movies being made there. Our back country tour was almost 3 hours which flew by. We highly recommend a back country tour as does just about everyone on TA. Good advice.

    After our tour we drove to Gouldings Lodge to check out their gift shop and the John Wayne Museum. Happy we stopped, but all you need is 10 minutes. My husband is a big John Wayne fan. Drove back to Page in no time, arriving way before dark. We did NOT get to see the sunrise or set in Monument Valley, but we still loved our visit.

    Once back in Page we stopped at Horseshoe Bend, another must see. The walk down was easy, coming back a little harder but still nothing to worry about. We are seniors in our mid 60's. Bring a bottle of water and wear a hat if it is during the summer. And most of all BE CAREFUL....it is an amazing view and worth the walk. I was so pleased that my photo's were just as nice as the ones I had seen on line. I held my arm out and just snapped, trying not to get to close to the edge, I have always been a bit clumsy.

    We had so many highlights of our 3 nights 4 days in the Page area, all just wonderful. If you are thinking of going, stop thinking and book it. I know we will return.

    A perfect side trip from Las Vegas if you have the time. On to my Las Vegas report which I will post on the Las Vegas TA board.
    Questions or comments appreciated.
     
  19. dizidezi

    dizidezi Tourist

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    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and more importantly comment. I try to write the way I would like to read a report, happy you enjoyed it.
     
  20. dizidezi

    dizidezi Tourist

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    Thought about having it hit me, my husband thought about it more...but just could not pull it off, happy you did. Breakfast was NOT worth what we paid, but I had to try it after reading and hearing first hand from friends how much they enjoyed it.
     
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