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“Okay, if I HAVE to…” - Aria 11/9-11/11

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by M_ILIS, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Prelude: Some messages from the accounting department are better than others. Case in point: I’ve been working from home since mid-March and recently got a Slack message from accounting saying if I don’t take some time off soon, I’ll stop accruing vacation time by December. Nothing like practically being forced into a vacation, right? So I immediately submitted for a week off from work, with no real plan for what I’d do.

    I’ve been monitoring the Vegas COVID situation from afar but hadn’t really considered going myself. Around this same time, I played golf with a couple guys and we all started talking about how many courses we’ve played. While I don’t consider myself a true “course collector” in the sense of wanting to play every last course, I do keep a list and it’s closing in on 300 different courses. Anyway, that conversation sort of reignited by desire to get to 300 sooner rather than later. While there are plenty of local courses I haven’t played, I figured why not take this opportunity to notch off a few on my “Vegas Golf Wish List”?

    All of this is my way of saying this trip came together rather last minute when A, I had the time off of work, B, the Las Vegas weather forecast looked great for golf (sunny and low 60s, little wind), C, myVEGAS had two-night comps at Aria readily available, and D, there were some surprisingly great deals to be had on golf tee times and Vegas courses are mostly in great condition right now after fall overseeding. Plus, it sounded amazing to get away. (Oh, AND I sorta had made a tradition of a “November Vegas Golf Trip” for five years running before snapping that streak in 2018, so this just felt right.)

    After reserving two nights at Aria from myVEGAS/Mlife, I booked tee times for Monday and Tuesday and decided to play Wednesday by ear. I also got two $25 myKONAMI Free Play rewards – one for Aria and another for NYNY. I also bought some KN95 masks from Amazon, figuring those are probably safer than the typical cloth masks I wear when grocery shopping, etc. Not wanting to eat in any restaurants, I identified a few take-out opportunities that would still get me to some of my favorite Vegas eateries, and one new one I’d been wanting to try.

    I was all packed up (including warm clothes because the low temperatures were forecast in the mid-30s) Sunday night and had an 11:25 tee time on Monday morning in Vegas. Let’s gooooo!
     
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  2. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Day One: Monday, November 9, 2020

    I left home a few minutes before 6:00 AM and the drive was delightfully smooth. Aside from no slowdowns, the highlight was probably the snow-capped mountains in the San Bernardino area after some recent precipitation.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-44-29 by Mark, on Flickr

    I made no stops and had no plans until my 11:25 tee time on the Palm course at Angel Park. With the quick travels, I had a couple hours to kill before golf, so I decided to exit at Tropicana and drive the entirety of The Strip, then continue downtown to take my first look at Circa.

    The first standout was how Resorts World is all grown up!

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-45-16 by Mark, on Flickr

    The giant video screen on that left flank of the hotel had some sort of test pattern on it, but later in the trip I saw them actually testing video on it. Looks sweet!

    Then I saw the new archway right near Strat that welcomes you to Las Vegas. Something about this design just isn’t clicking with me. I don’t love the font choice and the whole thing just seems kinda cheesy or cliche, like an kneejerk/clip art design based on somebody saying “Make it ‘retro Vegas chic.’” What do you think? (BTW, Las Vegas Blvd. is a mess north of Wynn with tons of construction going on right now.)

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-46-05 by Mark, on Flickr

    I continued downtown and parked at Garage Mahal. Didn’t realize it was $6/hr. until I pulled in, or else I would’ve parked elsewhere. I was just planning to take a quick look around and possibly grab something to eat, so I stuck with it for the full Circa experience.

    Here are a few pics:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-46-38 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-47-23 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-47-46 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-49-34 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-49-58 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-50-20 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-50-42 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-51-13 by Mark, on Flickr

    I sorta had mixed feelings about the property. It’s definitely very nice, no doubt about that. The sports book was almost overwhelming (in a good way) with its giant, bright, beautiful screens. Vegas Vickie looks gorgeous in her restored neon, hanging above a bar. While everything is new and nice, I didn’t sense a whole lot of character in the hotel. (Granted I was only there about 40 minutes.) I’d read a review that likened it to Cosmo, and maybe that was true during the glitz and glamour of opening night, but at 10AM on a Monday, Circa had none of the vibe that I feel anytime I visit Cosmo. So maybe my timing was off. Maybe the pandemic is why. I dunno. I’ll have to go back again next trip. Even with a mask on, it seemed extremely smoky inside. Also, the only restaurant I found was Saginaw’s, but I passed when realized sandwiches ran from about $16-42 each. (And I’ve never been a fan of those mile-high deli sandwiches anyway.)

    Where Circa is an even bigger game changer is in its scale. When driving around town, its striking shape and height absolutely dominates every other downtown property. It’ll be interesting to see if it eventually transforms Fremont Street the same way the Mirage led the charge on The Strip 30-some years ago. (Personally, I hope not.)

    After getting back to the car, I hit up a McDonald’s for breakfast en route to Angel Park. I scarfed down two Sausage and Egg McMuffins before checking in and getting sent straight to the first tee. The course was busy but for some reason there was no one else booked at my time, so I played alone. I don’t mind because it gives me an opportunity to take lots of pictures without slowing the pace or having to avoid getting people in my golf photos. The group in front let me play through on the third hole and pace was good after that, finishing in a little over three and a half hours.

    Better yet, I LOVED the layout and conditions were spectacular! I played the Mountain course a few years ago and had always heard it was the better of the two full-size courses at Angel Park, but I definitely preferred the Palm. Great par 3s, good par 5s, beautiful views of the mountains and city, and a good challenge from the tips. Here are a few pics:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-54-22 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-55-44 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-58-57 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_01-59-33 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-01-45 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-07-14 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_09-55-07 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-07-49 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-08-33 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-10-07 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-10-45 by Mark, on Flickr

    I’d attempted to use the MGM Resorts app to check in to Aria while on the golf course, and it went through most of the way, but it hadn’t sent me a room assignment by the time I reached the hotel. So I needed to go to the front desk and they gave me traditional room key cards rather than getting to use the app as my room key. I was given room 50-135 with a view looking toward Vdara and the mountains in the distance. Oddly, some employee came out of my room just as I was approaching it. I said, “Is everything ok in that room” and he just said yeah and kept walking. I didn’t give it much more thought at the time, but now I do wonder why he was in there, especially when they’re making such a big deal about putting the sticker across the door frame to indicate the room has been thoroughly cleaned.

    Inside the room was a fairly good-sized Kuer brand hand sanitizer and two Aria-branded masks inside a handsome dark grey Aria-branded pouch. Nice touch!

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-46-18 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-47-21 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-48-24 by Mark, on Flickr

    I settled in, unpacked a bit, and reviewed my golf photos from the day. I also messed around trying some long-exposure photography out the window of my room, with mixed results:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-12-50 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-13-12 by Mark, on Flickr

    Eventually I jumped in the shower to start getting ready for the night. Anyone who has stayed at Aria knows that the shower and giant tub are both in a big, glass-enclosed room together. After a minute or two in the shower, I kept looking at the tub and thought to myself, “A hot bath really sounds great right now.” So I fired it up and just soaked my body for about 30 ultra-relaxing minutes before completing my shower. It was very rejuvenating.

    I’ve wanted to try Hattie B’s hot Nashville chicken at Cosmo’s Block 16 ever since it opened, and staying at Aria was a perfect opportunity. After I got ready, I went downstairs and first redeemed my $25 free play reward at Aria’s Mlife desk. I also happened to take note of a nickel Super Times Pay machine (it’s currently part of machines arranged in a circle but it has the notorious “Row 802” number on the side) for later.

    I then cut through Crystals over to Cosmo and there were only a couple people in front of me in line at Hattie B’s. Having never had it before, I splurged on the half bird meal ($19), medium spiced, and chose pimento mac and cheese and creamy cole slaw for my sides. I added a couple dipping sauces for 50 cents each – blue cheese and Nashville Comeback sauce, which I was informed is a spicy mayo. Also got a Diet Pepsi. All told with tax and tip, I think it was about $30.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-50-24 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-50-43 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-51-11 by Mark, on Flickr

    I rushed back through Crystals and up to the 50th floor to eat my dinner, and the chicken was still almost too hot (temperature-wise) to eat! It was extremely tender and juicy and had a perfect amount of spice for me. I ate it all and liked it all, leaving me rather stuffed.

    I then packed up all the packaging and took it to the trash en route to do my first gambling of the trip. I went back to that Super Times Pay machine I spotted earlier and no one was on it, so I plopped myself down and started playing through my free play. The $25 netted me $19.50 after playing it through, which I then lost all of plus another $15 out of my wallet. I hit one quad somewhere in the midst of all that.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-51-37 by Mark, on Flickr

    I eventually got up from that machine and decided to go check out the scene next door at Park MGM because it was the first day of the hotel closure Mondays through Wednesdays (due to low current demand) but the casino is still open. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as dead in there as I expected it to be. There were still quite a few people playing. I found a nickel STP machine and lost $10 more.

    It had been a long day and I was getting tired, so I decided to head back to Aria, but opted to walk The Strip instead of back through the indoor connector. The cold night air actually felt really good to me, and The Strip wasn’t quite as dead as I thought it might be. Took a few pictures I like on the way back:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-51-54 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-52-13 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_02-52-29 by Mark, on Flickr

    Pretty much called it a night at that point and was probably asleep by midnight.

    More to come!
     
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  3. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer VIP Whale

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    Sounds like a fun trip! I've played one of the Angel Park courses ... the one that has a hole right beside Suncoast. Is that the one you played? By "the tips", which tees did you play? If at the back, what's your 'cap?

    Looking forward to reading about the rest.

    GG
     
  4. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    The course right next to Suncoast is Mountain. I played it a few years ago.

    By tips, I mean the black (back tees). My current index is 7.8, but I feel like I very rarely play to that. Even if the data says I do.
     
  5. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer VIP Whale

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    Thanks, "Mountain" sounded familiar. You must have decent length off the tee. I'm a 9 off 6000 to 6200 yard tees (now that I'm late 60s, I can't hit it as far .... lol.

    GG
     
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  6. ReTriggerMe

    ReTriggerMe High-Roller

    Joined:
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    That's exactly what happened to me. Twice my trip last week.... lulled into false expectation of free parking based on what's happening most places in LV.
     
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    Is inability to ignore comp offers a recognized disorder?
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  7. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Day Two: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

    I love desert mornings, so I always prefer to sleep with the drapes open when I’m in Vegas. Naturally, this leads to me waking up early, and today stuck to that pattern.

    My tee time for the day was on the Palmer course at Oasis Golf Club out in Mesquite at 12:30, and my original plan was to avoid any Vegas pandemic crowds by revisiting Valley of Fire for a while on the way. For some reason when I woke up, I didn’t feel like doing that, but then I eventually realized I’d probably regret not going, so I got ready and hit the road by about 8:00.

    I was right. I would’ve regretting missing all of this:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-39-04 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-40-33 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-40-53 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-41-23 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-42-08 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-42-41 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-43-46 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-44-27 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-46-07 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-46-33 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_03-47-01 by Mark, on Flickr

    It was a beautiful morning with cool, crisp air – and it felt so great driving around with the windows down. I took tons of pictures and enjoyed the freedom of just looking for what my eye thought might be a cool photo, and pulling over to take as many pics as I wanted.

    One funny/scary thing happened during all this. At one point I decided to pull over for a good vantage point for a photo, and as I got out of my car, luckily I noticed that it started driving off without me! I was so preoccupied with envisioning the photo, grabbing my camera, etc., I’d forgotten to shift my car from Drive to Park. I quickly jumped in and slammed on the brakes. Had I not noticed, the car would’ve driven itself into a ditch in about 25 more feet! And that definitely would’ve ruined the rest of my trip. Haha, crisis averted!

    Seeing I was headed to Mesquite afterward, I exited out the East gate and took Route 169 leading back to the 15 through some small, agricultural towns called Overton and Logandale that had a very “Midwest small town” vibe.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-16-10 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-16-25 by Mark, on Flickr

    As I reached Mesquite, I was hungry for lunch and saw a sign for a place called Mr. Taco. It was in a giant truck stop type place and the cashier wasn’t very friendly, but the chicken quesadilla I ordered was pretty tasty and absolutely gargantuan. I’m a big eater and I couldn’t even finish the whole thing.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-17-08 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-17-23 by Mark, on Flickr

    I arrived at Oasis Golf Club around noon for my 12:30 tee time and the place was obviously hopping with lots of golfers. As I checked in, I asked the pro shop guy if he thought we’d finish before dark (sunset right now in Mesquite is around 4:45) and he basically indicated it was 50/50. Fortunately, a couple minutes later, he called over the loudspeaker for me to return to the pro shop and had slotted me into a group that was on the tee, so I started early and had no issues finishing.

    I’d played the Canyons course here a few years ago and really enjoyed it, and the Palmer course was even better! I absolutely loved it! It was in fantastic condition, too. It boggles my mind how much good, dramatic, beautiful golf is packed into Mesquite. Here are some pics from Oasis - Palmer:

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_10-01-17 by Mark, on Flickr


    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-22-40 by Mark, on Flickr


    [​IMG]2020-11-12_10-08-28 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_10-11-20 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_10-13-52 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_10-18-09 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_10-22-17 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_10-24-24 by Mark, on Flickr

    We finished with plenty of daylight and I hit the road to get back to Vegas, driving right into the setting sun. When I got back, the tempting tub got me again, and I soaked my muscles after lots of driving and golf. Here’s some pics: (Ha! Just kidding.)

    Tonight’s dinner plan was to order the fish and chips I love from Ellis Island’s Village Cafe, despite knowing it would probably get a little soggy as I transported it back to my hotel room to eat. I drove over there, parked, and placed my order. They said it would be 10-15 minutes, so I decided to go play some VP. Found yet another nickel STP machine and very quickly lost $5 followed by another extremely fast-vanishing $5. I then slipped in a $20 and had lost about $7 of it when this happened:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-26-50 by Mark, on Flickr

    5X multiplier quad! Woohoo! That felt great and paid for my dinner and pretty much recouped the previous night’s gambling losses! I cashed out immediately and went and grabbed my dinner and headed back to Aria.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-28-07 by Mark, on Flickr

    As expected, the fish wasn’t quite as good after sitting in a steamy take-out box for 15 minutes or so, but I still really enjoyed it and it was very filling.

    After dinner I decided to grab my camera and head out to The Strip for a bit. I caught a few Bellagio fountain shows but didn’t really get many photos I was too happy with.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-34-43 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-33-36 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-32-57 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-32-10 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-30-51 by Mark, on Flickr

    I then returned to Aria and headed back to that “Row 802” STP machine. I put in a $20 and had exhausted all but $3 of it when I joined the “Five-Timers Club” (not for hosting SNL, but for hitting Royal Flushes!)

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-37-44 by Mark, on Flickr

    BAM! Woohoo! YES!

    Celebration selfie:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-37-59 by Mark, on Flickr

    I then cashed out at $200.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-39-48 by Mark, on Flickr

    One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I realized I’d hit the Royal was this comment from my last trip report, from February of this year (before I knew the whole world was about to be turned upside down). Check this out:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-41-20 by Mark, on Flickr

    I wanted to play a bit more so I put in $5 and enjoyed the rest of a Bloody Mary I already had and ordered a Long Island, but ultimately my winnings for the night were done. It was now a little past midnight, so I retreated to the room and called it a night.

    What an amazing day!
     
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  8. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Day Three: Wednesday, November 11, 2020

    As I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t booked a tee time for Wednesday prior to the trip, deciding instead to just see what materialized. I’ve also been nursing a sore elbow, so I wanted to see how it reacted to back-to-back days of golf before committing to a third.

    Well, my elbow felt up to playing, but with it being Veteran’s Day, I think I underestimated the demand for tee times, and suddenly there were few attractive options available. The two courses I’d played so far were in such great condition and good experiences, I didn’t want to “just play anywhere” just to play. So ultimately, I decided to not play and let the day unfold naturally.

    I woke up early again, got ready and headed out by about 8:20. I had that $25 free play at NYNY I still needed to use, so I made my way through Park MGM. While Monday night had decent crowds, I think I saw more employees than customers at this early hour on Wednesday morning.

    I then took the opportunity to check out Eataly for my first time. It seemed all of the vendors were closed except for the grocery store section. I’m not sure if the others are closed due to the pandemic or it was just too early for anything to be open. Few people made for good picture taking, though:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-54-26 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-55-15 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-55-32 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-55-46 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-56-07 by Mark, on Flickr

    I arrived at the NYNY Mlife desk around 8:50 and was informed they don’t open until 9:00. So I wandered around for a bit more and then got my free play added to my card.

    I found a nickel STP machine and seemed to be doing really well with lots of three of a kinds. Then on the very last credits of my $25 free play, I hit a quad:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-56-21 by Mark, on Flickr

    I played that $33 down to $30 and cashed out. I then headed back toward Aria walking outside on The Strip instead of through Park MGM. The night before, I had remembered there’s another James Turrell exhibit inside Crystals other than Akhob, so I went to check it out. Here’s what it looks like from out in the mall:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_08-59-28 by Mark, on Flickr

    But then there’s an elevator that says it takes you to the exhibit, one floor up. From that platform, there’s another elevator that can go higher, but it seemed to be disabled right now. So I’m not sure I got the full experience, but similar to Akhob, this “Untitled” installation relies on different color light reflecting on the walls to create an ever-changing experience. At any rate, I thought it made for some pretty cool photos with all of these angles at play:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-01-09 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-01-46 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-02-12 by Mark, on Flickr

    Taking so many pictures of basically the same thing but with different lighting created a cool effect in my phone’s camera roll:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-04-09 by Mark, on Flickr

    By now it was around 10:00 a.m. and time to head back to the room and pack up. I relaxed on the comfy bed a while longer and checked out on the TV a few minutes after the 11:00 check out time. Two nights came to a total of $102 for the resort fee and tax. If there’s a (very minor) benefit to the pandemic, it’s nice not having to pay for parking again!

    I decided to go check out the changes at Sahara , seeing I hadn’t been there since the transition from SLS. I really didn’t notice too many significant changes. For the most part, it just seems like they’ve stripped away some of the quirky SLS character, resulting in a nice but somewhat bland hotel.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-05-25 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-05-56 by Mark, on Flickr

    I saw the marquee was promoting a new slot club, but when I tried to join it, she said it was just a name change and I was already a member. Seems weird the entire place can change its name and ownership AND promote a new slot club, yet I can’t get a new player sign-up bonus? Oh well.

    Found an ordinary nickel VP DDB machine, slipped in a $20 and played it for about 40 minutes or so. Only one highlight but it was good enough to double my investment:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-06-26 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-06-41 by Mark, on Flickr

    Plus I had a tasty Bloody Mary. It was very dead in there. I hope they find a way to survive because I do like the casino.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-06-13 by Mark, on Flickr

    From there, I headed to another favorite eatery I hadn’t visited for some time: Rollin Smoke BBQ. I ordered the two-meat plate with chopped brisket and baby back ribs, and chose the corn nuggets for my side. To be safe, I originally planned to eat in my car or take it to a nearby park or something, but then the patio out front was completely empty, so I was able to eat outdoors and not worry about being around other people. I devoured it all and it was every bit as good as I remember:

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-08-30 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-08-42 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-09-25 by Mark, on Flickr

    Seeing I’d just checked out the new changes at Sahara, I then figured why not create a theme and do the same over at Palace Station. Maybe the changes here are mainly to the rooms, because I didn’t really notice many differences from the last time I was there a few years ago. Including my lack of luck.

    I found a nickel DDB machine and went through three $5 bills very quickly, then another $20 and then another $20. All with no quads and only a handful of Full Houses. (Fulls House?) After several highly successful gambling sessions starting the night before at Ellis Island, this $55 loss with no picture-worthy hands was a bit of a wake-up call.

    I certainly didn’t want to blow more of my winnings, so I pretty much decided I was done gambling. I considered going to the Neon Museum for my first time, but I don’t like that you can’t take a real camera in (only cell phone cameras allowed), plus the sky was partly cloudy and sort of grayish-blue, where I think the signs would show best against a deep blue desert sky.

    So around 3:00, I hopped on the 15 South and started heading home. I wasn’t quite done yet, though. Back when I played the Lakes course at Primm Valley just across the California state line, I hadn’t begun my Instagram account (@itslikeimsayin) nor had I really started taking golf photos as seriously as I do now. So I decided to go see what I could shoot in the last hour or so of sunlight by just walking around the clubhouse area.

    When I arrived, the sun was shrouded by some cloud cover, which made for dull photos, but then it suddenly burst through the clouds, draping gorgeous beams of light across the course. I was racing all around to different holes to try to get pictures before the sun dipped behind the mountains in the distance. I ended up getting some really good photos out of it:

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_07-57-55 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-12_08-00-34 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-13-40 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-14-13 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-15-20 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-15-37 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-16-03 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-16-51 by Mark, on Flickr

    It’s funny because the sun basically set on me there at Primm Valley, but then once I got back to higher elevation on the drive home, I witnessed another beautiful sunset between state line and Baker.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-19-35 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-19-55 by Mark, on Flickr

    I stopped at one of the Barstow Del Taco locations and just happened to order three Barstow Tacos, which unbeknownst to me was on some Wednesday night special for something like $3.29. Might not look like much, but they were really tasty.

    [​IMG]2020-11-14_09-12-46 by Mark, on Flickr

    I tried to stop for some ice cream at Freddy’s in Victorville, but they are drive-thru only due to the pandemic and the line was outrageously long. I didn’t need it anyway. :)

    One more vaguely interesting thing happened at the bottom of the Cajon Pass when a CHP cruiser came racing onto the 15 just about as fast as I’ve ever seen a car drive. His lights were blazing and eventually got up ahead of a cluster of cars and ran a traffic break for where an accident had taken place. It was only a minor delay, and the drive home was relatively smooth.

    Unlike many of my trips, I still had several days off of work to relax (and write this report). It’s been a great week!

    Before I sign off, a few notes about Covid precautions: Maybe I noticed it more because I was staying there, but Aria seems to be taking the most aggressive steps to keep people healthy. In addition to hand sanitizer being available all over the place, they have set up several “hand washing stations” on the casino floor that consist of legit sinks, soap and towel dispensers. They also have disposable masks available right inside any entry to the hotel. In the room the TV remote was in a little cardboard sleeve that said it had been cleaned, the door jamb had that sticker across it indicating the room had been cleaned, all the toiletries they give you have little stickers across the opening to indicate they are still sealed. The only real annoying Covid encounter I can think of is when some random guy approached me while I was playing at Aria and started chatting me up – why I have no idea. I’m not sure if this is true for all elevator banks at Aria, but they required me to hold my key card against a little pad to access the 50th floor. Almost every elevator I was in on the entire trip was solo, except for two. Oh, also… Aria checked my temperature before I could get in line to check in. Palace Station checked everyone’s temperature as soon as you came in the door with some sort of machine that was like getting your photo taken at the DMV. The employees were probably 12 feet away but you stand on a sticker on the floor and somehow they can tell if you have a fever or not.

    If anyone has any questions, let me know.

    Hoping my next trip is soon and equally successful as this one was!
     
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  9. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer VIP Whale

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    Interesting report, Mark - I'm glad you enjoyed the golf. Your pics are very good. Sounds like a great way to enjoy Vegas.

    GG
     
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  10. JaDubya

    JaDubya High Roller? Nah...just a Roller

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    Enjoyed your TR @M_ILIS

    Very nice pictures!
     
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  11. Chrisbeans

    Chrisbeans Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the trip report! Great pictures!
     
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  12. luck.ofthe.draw

    luck.ofthe.draw VIP Whale

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    THIS is what I love about Vegas! Fabulous photos!

    What phone/camera do you use?!

    Glad it was a wonderful trip and that the drive wasn't too bad either!!
     
    "How horrible our Christmas will be!" "- No. How JOLLY!"
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  13. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Thanks all!

    These were a mix of a Nikon Coolpix B500 and my Google Pixel 3a.
     
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  14. boofmichael

    boofmichael Low-Roller

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    Really enjoyable TR!
     
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  15. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Another great TR! Love all the pics and congrats on the Royal! Thanks for taking us along!
     
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  16. Ezzy711

    Ezzy711 VIP Whale

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    Outstanding photos and report. Thanks for posting.
     
    Every trip will be a maybe until everything is open again
    Years on Wynn app pay off
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  17. Jer

    Jer I kinda did a thing...

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    Love the pictures! Totally helps us under 30 day people cope with having to wait... :thumbsup:
     
    Tis the season!
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  18. clr

    clr Tourist

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    I relaxed just reading your report, very enjoyable, and the photos were simply spectacular!
     
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  19. cjcjcj

    cjcjcj VIP Whale

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    Awesome pics! Great royal! Thanks for the TEASE!!! :D
     
    Mandalay Quick Trip
    WYNNing
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  20. rm22

    rm22 Low-Roller

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    Thank you for sharing your trip with all of us. Sounds like it was a relaxing short trip which is just fine w.covid conditions now. I too got that same sm pouch when i stayed at Vdra end of Sept. w.2 masks, one of which i sent to @Sonya. Although there were hand washing stations at hotels, i preferred to wipe the machines down before i played and/or used hand sanitizer on the area of the machine i was using. I also asked for a wipe when i played at a craps table to wipe the ledge area where i was standing at.
     
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