Ok, here it is boys and girls. It's kind of long so you my want to print it and take it to the john. Trip Report September 3rd through 10th 2004 Las Vegas, Sequoia National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park. This trip was taken with my Father-in-law and Brother-in-law, hereafter referred to as Fil and Bil. Flights Used Southwest, had direct flights to and from Columbus, Ohio. No problems. Rental Car Bil reserved the car through Dollar, pick up at Paris, and drop off at McCarran. Saved us a few bucks this way, as we did not have to pay the new airport facility charge of $3/day. Plus we would have had several extra hours tacked on to the weekly rate if we picked it up at the airport when our flight arrived. We just caught a cab from the airport to our hotel then went and got the car later. Ended up with a nearly new Sebring. No problems with pick up or return. Day 1 Imperial Palace Had a great rate here for a holiday weekend, my host gave us Friday and Saturday at $69 and Sunday at $49 Get there about 11:30 am. Cab fare was $11, since he didn’t long haul us, we gave the driver $16. He seemed very appreciative and thanked us for the nice tip. Went to check in and the casino is dark, the dang electricity is out and they are running on auxiliary power. Takes a little while to get checked in but the girl finally found us a couple of rooms on the 13th floor. Bil and I got a pool view and Fil got a view of a parking garage. Only problem with my room, was the temperature of the water in the shower could not be maintained. I would get it set just right and start to shampoo then it would scald me, adjust it just right and then in a minute it was ice cold. Not the nicest way to start out the day when you are hung over. OK, since this is the first time that I wasn’t the primary driver of the rental car, I told Bil I’m going to the bar for a few drinks and some VP. After getting a couple down Bil and Fil catch up with me and said they are going to get the car and then going to Ellis Island for steaks, do I want to go? Heck yeah, I want a steak and a micro brew! Walked to Paris to pick up the car. On the way we went in to Barbary Coast so I could get a drink. Ordered one up and the barkeep says. “$4.50.” I said “Hey what the hell happened to the $1 drinks.” He says, “Oh. We haven’t had those in a while.” Does anyone know when that came about? Seems like they had them last time I was there. Huh? After a good cheap meal at EI, Fil wants to rest so we go back to IP and tell him good night. Bil and I go to the Geisha Bar and Ray is working. He remembers me form my last trip in May and keeps the drinks stacked up in front of us till we are getting pretty sloppy. We decide we need to go downtown, so we catch the CAT and head straight for the yard long drinks at La Bayou. Bil got the Jungle Juice and I got the Brain Freeze. All aboard for a ride on the Grain Train! We stumbled around sipping on our drinks, checking out the stage acts, and light shows for a couple of hours then head back to IP. Bil decides to call it a night and I play Black Jack at the Champaign Pit for a while. I don’t remember too much about my play cause my brain was pickled, but must have done ok cause I still had most of my original gambling stake when I counted it in the morning and had several sets of beads that they give you for Black Jacks. I do know while walking to the room I may have missed the perfect opportunity, 3 nice looking girls asked me for some of my beads. So I gave them each a set. D’oh! What I dope I am. I gave them the beads and never even thought to ask to see their boobs. Day 2 Dang! This freakin’ shower will sober you up in the morning, boiled and frozen in under 10 minutes. Found Bil and Fil in the sports book, they are going to watch the Buckeyes. I head to McDonald’s for breakfast. Then to the IP poker room where I buy in for $100 at a 2-4 table. Played for 4 hours before I lost my buy in. I played pretty tight. I would wait for a nice pocket pair or big suited connectors. I did win some pots, but more often than not somebody would stay in with something like 7-9 off and end up making a straight on the river and bust my pair or set. The IP has free coffee, sandwiches, and donuts for the poker players. The comp rate is $3 an hour. Played Black Jack for about an hour at the Champaign Pit and colored up about $50 ahead, plus the pit gave me a comp for the buffet when I asked for one. The buffet isn’t the greatest, but it was a comp so I ate it instead of paying for a meal. Went to the room for a nap, when I wake up Bil is there and says he is going to Orleans to check out the ladies that are at there for The Pimp & Ho Ball. I sent a camera with him and told him to take some pictures of the sights. Talked to Fil he is going to see George Wallace at the Flamingo. So I get cleaned up and check out the lounge acts at Aladdin, Paris, and Bellagio. When I come out of B met up with Bil and we decide to go to Boardwalk and get a Margarita. Well Prince was performing and he was pretty good too. The place was packed. There was no way we were going to get a drink as people were standing 3 to 4 deep at the bar. So we hoof it down to MC to check out the brewpub. This place is packed too and we didn’t care for the entertainment either. So we go back to IP for a couple of drinks and then turn in. Day 3 We all had the Champaign Brunch at IP for about $10 each. You know that the Champaign is the good stuff when it is coming out of a spigot. Tasted like carbonated vinegar. Guess IP didn’t waste any money on Champaign. The best thing about this buffet was the omelet station. The rest of the spread was acceptable. Fil and Bil head out to Red Rock, and I decide to play some more poker. Bought in for another $100 and played for 5 hours before loosing it all. I guess it finally hit me, it doesn’t matter how tight you play at a 2-4 table. There are too many players that will stay in with a nothing hand and end up with trip 8’s or a straight on the river, and bust your pocket queens. We all meet up and decide we are hungry, so we drive over to Rio and eat at the Sao Paolo Café. We all had the club sandwich and it was pretty good. We then head back to the rooms for a rest. After getting cleaned up we check on Fil, he’s not in his room. So Bil and I go to the bar and play VP for a while. Ray is working and I tell him to hit our drinks hard. Well, he fills them almost full with Crown and then just sprays them with the ginger ale. Wow! After a few of these we decide to walk north on the strip. We get to Carnival Court and there is a good band playing 70’s and 80’s stuff. We stand outside against the fence watching the party. Then the funniest thing I saw on this trip happens. They start playing The Dancing Queen. Now this burly looking guy in baggy shorts and a T-shirt advertising some construction company gets up grabs his wife’s purse and starts dancing. He’s holding the purse out at shoulder level with one hand and holding the other hand out like a tinker. Everybody around is laughing and his wife is about to fall out of her chair. He dose this the whole song, shaking his booty and winking at people. It was hilarious. Now we meet up with Fil and we all go to Casino Royal. I got Fil a Margarita, and Bil and I a beer. After I down my beer I tell Bil it is his turn to buy a round. Fil will not drink the second Margarita, so there is only one solution. Bil drinks it. What a combination whiskey, beer, and tequila. We continue the march north to Venetian. Bil is looking up at the ceilings and says, “Ya know, who ever designed the paintings up there didn’t think about people who might be drinking.” Yeah, I think he was feeling the effects. Ok, Fil and Bil decide to call it a night since we have to drive to California tomorrow. I am not that smart and decide to stay out longer. Well I start playing Black Jack at IP. I’m drinking coffee now cause I don’t want to be too hung over for the drive. I end up playing till near 8:00 am and loose a few Franklins to boot. I make it to the room, flop on the bed and collapse. Day 4 At 8:30 the phone rings, it’s Fil and he wants to know if we are up yet and how long before we are ready to go. I start out this miserable day with one last fight in the shower from Hell. I’m cussing and Bil is laughing at me. I throw my stuff in the suitcase and tell him to just check us out on the TV. I don’t care how many comp dollars I have coming. I’ll use them the next trip, I’m not standing in line to check out. All right we get all the suitcases in the trunk, but there is no room for the styrofoam cooler. So I have to share the back seat with the thing. I pass out after we get on I-15 and slept most of the way to Lindsay, CA where we stay in a motel 8 for the night. Day 5 Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Up early and head for the parks, we’re really looking forward to seeing the mountains and huge trees. Some of the largest Sequoias are over 3000 years old, nearly 40 feet in diameter and over 300 feet tall. We stopped at the visitor information center upon entering Sequoia to use the heads and find out what would be the most interesting things to try to accomplish with the time available. Bil and I are waiting in line to talk to the girl behind the information desk. In front of us is an elderly couple; the lady is your regular looking grandmother type. The gentleman is wearing a cowboy hat, Bermuda shorts, brown knee socks, and loafers. Ok, we are waiting patiently, trying not to laugh at his outfit when he asks the girl. “Will these trees be recognizable?” WTF. Bil and I look at each other and crack up. I want to say something like “Hey old timer they are the BIGGEST frickin’ trees in the world, your gonna know it when you see one.” But I’m laughing to hard. All right we spent the whole day in these 2 beautiful parks. It must have been a good time to go because it wasn’t very crowed at all. We stopped many times, walked several trails, and took lots of pictures. We made it all the way to the Roads End in Kings Canyon. Got out of the car and walked this short trail to view a mountain and a waterfall. We’re standing at the end of the trail taking pictures and checking it all out when these 2 heads pop up from behind some rocks. It’s a guy and girl in their 20’s. They beat a hasty retreat up the trail. I guess we might be guilty of disturbing the piece. We start our drive back and make it to Mojave, CA where we stay in a motel 6. Day 6 We stop at Primm to get gas and a bite to eat. Check out Primm Valley Ranch where I have a dog and a draft for $1.99, on the way out the door I drop a quarter in a slot and it hits for $12.50, hey this place is ok. We make it back to Vegas, check in at The Orleans and they give us all a coupon book that’s loaded with free drink offers and other good stuff. Rooms are nice and big here too. We had lunch at Don Miguel’s; the beef burrito is good and more than I can eat. Yes, we used the coupon for a free Margarita here too. I head back to the room to rest and pack an overnight bag. I have a room downtown at Fitzgerald’s tonight as well. I thought I needed some downtown time and booked this just before we left home for $27 on tripreservations.com. The guys drive me to the Fitz and I get checked in. Nicest room I’ve ever had there. N/S King on the 10th floor, corner room with wrap around window facing north and east. I noticed that Fitzgerald’s has put new carpet in the hallways too. We all head over to the California for the prime rib special. It’s still as good as ever. Comes with salad bar, potato, green beans, and cherry’s jubilee for desert for $6.99, wish I could find a deal like that at home. We watch a light show together, then the guys head back to their hotel and leave me downtown ALONE. My plan tonight is to play craps. I get cleaned up, I have drink in hand and I start looking for a table. Tables at Fitz were packed when I walked through, so I strolled down to Golden Gate where I found a spot at a $3 table and bought in for $60. Played for quite a while there, down a little, up a little, back and forth. Finally colored up at $62 and left the singles for the dealers. Ok, no harm done. Head back to Fitz and buy in for $100 at the $3 table. Played about half an hour at a rowdy table and managed to make about $25. I didn’t care for dealers here too much. It seemed like they were inexperienced. Every time I placed my odds bet this one guy would move it right up against my pass line bet, over the line even. The players were really having a good time and cutting up with one another, but the dealers were just stone-faced robots. Next I walked down to LVC. It was pretty quite in here by this time so I sat on my duff and played some VP. After running a $10 through the machine I went over to one of the craps tables and bought in for $100. There were three shooters at this table when I got into the game. Wow my luck really changed here. I was making$5 pass line and double odds bets and placing the 6 & 8 for $6 if they were not the point, also putting a dollar on all the hard ways, with a hard eight for the dealers after the come out roll. Everyone here was making nice long rolls and we were cleaning up. I placed my odds bet close to the line the first time and PJ one of the dealers moved it back about 2 inches. I told him I don’t normally set it that close but had been playing at Fitzgerald’s and that’s how they wanted them placed. He laughed and said “They are a bunch of idiots down there, most of them have only been dealers for a month or so. I’ve been dealing this game for 30 years. They need to keep that odds bet back so when the shooter hits them with the dice they don’t get mixed up.” Anyway had a nice run of luck here and colored up at $379, nice. Left the singles for the boys and put my winnings of $275 in with my gambling stake. This really helped after the beating I took at the poker and BJ tables at IP. Head back to my room, request a 10:30am wake up call and hit the rack. Day7 Get cleaned up and head to the Golden Gate deli for a bite to eat. Had some kind of club sandwich, I think it was called a Cable Car Club. The dang thing was huge. Had to leave most of the bun and just eat the insides. Checked out of the Fitz and got on the 301 and head back to The Orleans. Got my transfer and got off at Tropicana. There is no shade at the stop for the 201 at midday, so I stood under the walkway between Excalibur and NYNY waiting for a westbound bus to come into sight. After waiting for about half an hour the 201 finally showed up. Some how I remembered my room number at the O was 1660 and I went straight to the room to tell the guys about downtown. Well I couldn’t find them anywhere in the place. While in the casino I used a few of my drink coupons and had a .75-cent dog at the sports book. Then went back to the room for a nap. The guys finally showed up, they had been at BC listening to Big Elvis. They said he is so big now that he didn’t even try to stand up during the show, sorry I missed him this trip he’s a good singer. We had supper at the French Market Buffet, it all right for the price. We used a coupon for a free bottle of wine but none of us could drink the stuff. Went back to the rooms to let the meal settle and I fell asleep again. I woke up when Fil knocked on our door to let us know that he wasn’t feeling well. He just wanted us to know that he was staying in his room until morning. I put on a clean shirt and went to the casino. Checked out the lounge act then played VP and slots. Tried the steak and egg special in the coffee shop, for 2.99 it’s not too bad. Decided to play craps one more time. Found an empty $5 table and bought in for $150. Played the same strategy that I used at LVC. It was back and forth for a while, a couple of other shooters joined in for a few rolls. When they lost their modest buy in they were gone. Most people play at the $2 tables here, they had 2 or 3 tables with low limits and they were packed. Ok I’m finally having some real good luck. I’m trading red chips for green, and then the pit boss comes up to me and says, “We are closing this table as the shift is ending. You are welcome to move to one of the other tables.” I told him that was fine with me and asked if I could possibly get a coffee shop comp for breakfast in the morning. He wrote me a full breakfast comp for 2 and I colored up for $263. I left the change for the dealers and walked away up $110. I guess I should have been playing craps earlier on this trip, huh. Day 8 Bil and I went to breakfast courtesy of the pit boss. I had the fresh strawberries and eggs benedict. The waitress brought the berries out right away. I about fell out of my chair; it was a huge portion, dang near a quart and man were they good. We decided to do the TV check out and hang in our rooms until the housekeepers kicked us out because or flight didn’t leave till 4:40 pm. They finally asked us to leave around 1:30pm so we took our bags to the car and went to the casino for a little while. It was finally time to leave, so we returned the car, shuttled to McCarran and got checked in. We all got B passes; we didn’t get in line until time to board, but still managed to get 3 seats together. I’ve got enough credits with Southwest for a free flight now, and should have more than a few comp dollars built up at IP. Wonder how long it will be before I feel the need to use them up?