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Achieving Solo-tude with Golf, Gambling and Good Music: 2/9-2/11

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

  1. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Prelude: About a month ago I realized that a band I like, Silversun Pickups, were heading out on tour. I’d always wanted to see them live, and they were coming to an Orange County venue that’s just a few miles from my work. But looking a bit further down their tour schedule, I noticed they were also playing House of Blues Las Vegas a few nights later, on Monday, Feb. 10.

    At the time, I had recently received a surprising email from Mlife Rewards alerting me that I had a free night at Luxor on certain dates, including the aforementioned Feb 10. (My low-roller status never earns free nights from my play, normally, and I haven’t been to Vegas since last August, so I don’t know where this came from.)

    Around this same time, I realized I have way more vacation days at work than I thought I did, so I think you see where this is going. Free room + band I like + plenty of vacation days = How do I tell my wife I want to take off on a solo trip to Vegas for a concert, golf and gambling? I eventually brought it up and as usual, she was very supportive and gave me the go-ahead. (She had to work and our daughter had school.)

    So I got the days off from work and planned to go out on Monday, Feb. 10 and return the next night. I started scouring GolfNow and TeeOff.com for tee times and happened to find an absurdly low rate of $23 for Siena Golf Club on the morning of Tuesday, 2/11. Why so cheap? Was it a mistake on their part? I don’t know, but I’d played there once before and really liked it, so I jumped all over that.

    Meanwhile, I also started thinking to myself, “Why sit home all weekend when you could add a day to your Vegas trip?” So I searched for inexpensive hotel rooms for Sunday night, and on a flier I logged in to my BConnected account to find I had free room offers for that night at either Sam’s Town, Gold Coast or Fremont.

    Wait, whuuuut? Since when do I get free rooms?

    So I informed my wife of this new development and got the approval to extend my one-nighter into a legitimate 3-day, two-night getaway.

    But which hotel to pick? I stayed at Sam’s Town many years ago and really have a soft spot for the place for some reason I can’t pinpoint, but as we all know, its location really sucks and from what I can tell, most of its dining options are boring chain restaurants. I’ve never stayed at Gold Coast, so that was intriguing, but its location isn’t the greatest, either. I eventually chose Fremont based solely on the fact that I’d be in the heart of the action with lots of dining and entertainment options all around.

    A friend of mine had recently joined ClubCorp’s “Play Away” program which provides access to Bear’s Best and the private Canyon Gate Country Club in Vegas for cart fee only. I decided to join as well and was able to book Canyon Gate for Sunday at 12:03 and Bear’s Best for Monday at 11:30. The ClubCorp membership also provides two free tickets each month to a House of Blues Gospel Brunch, but by the time I joined, those tickets were already all booked for Sunday, 2/9, so I missed out on that benefit for this trip. Next time.

    (@Nevyn’s recent in-depth trip planning thread is fueling my indulgence to detail all this pre-trip minutiae.)

    A day or two before the trip, a 12:30 tee time for Tuesday at Boulder Creek came available for a great $36 rate on TeeOff.com, so I nabbed that to complete my golf plans.

    Finally, with lots of myVEGAS loyalty points I’ll likely never be able to spend, I got rewards for a Mandalay Bay dinner buffet (for before the concert at HOB) and the $25 MYKONAMI Free Play rewards for both Luxor and Mandalay Bay. Those were all “Premium” rewards, maxing out my 3 rewards in 30 days allotment.

    While conducting some pre-trip research on Google Maps, I saw Bunkhouse Saloon nearby Atomic Liquors and decided to check out their events calendar. Turned out a rapper named Homeboy Sandman was performing the night I’d be downtown, so I sampled some of his music on Spotify and really liked what I heard. Tickets were available and only $12, so I had that option to attend that if I felt like it on Sunday night.

    The 12:03 tee time on Sunday meant I needed to leave home no later than 7:00, but I wanted to get an early start so I planned to leave at 6:00.

    Come along to see what happened…
     
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  2. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Day 1: Sunday, February 9, 2020

    So I was all packed up and ready to go on Saturday night and set my alarm for 5:00 Sunday morning. I ended up waking up around 3:00 a.m., though, and probably due to pre-trip excitement, couldn’t fall back asleep. So a little before 4:00, I climbed out of bed, showered, and got ready to go. I jumped in the car around 4:45 and didn’t stop until I suddenly had to pee really bad between Jean and Las Vegas.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-28-28 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-30-05 by Mark, on Flickr

    As I’ve mentioned on VMB previously, there’s something about South Point that I really like, but I haven’t spent much time there since around 2014. With me having lots of time to kill and it offering freeway-close bathrooms at the ready, this old favorite made for a perfect option for my first stop of the trip.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-33-11 by Mark, on Flickr

    I wandered around for a bit and then found a nickel DDB machine. I stuck in a $20 and ordered a Bloody Mary, and all was good in the world. My first sip of the distinctive South Point Bloody Mary took me right back to that stretch when we stayed there for a few trips back in 2013/2014.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-30-31 by Mark, on Flickr

    I’d lost a little over half of my $20 when I hit my first quad of the trip, bumping me back just over even:

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-31-09 by Mark, on Flickr

    I played for a little while longer and opted to cash out when I was exactly even at $20. So I got some South Point nostalgia and a free Bloody Mary and headed back to the road.

    I was getting pretty hungry at this point and hit up Taco Time near the Silverton next. If you’re unaware, this is a fast-food Mexican chain that has very few locations in the Southwest anymore. I opted for one of their distinctive Crisp Burritos and Mexi-Fries, which are actually just tater tots.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-33-31 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-33-47 by Mark, on Flickr

    After I finished eating, I went out to gas up my car and got my first taste of the insane winds that were sweeping into the valley. Spoiler alert: They didn’t stop my whole trip, which made all the golf courses play extremely difficult.

    I then started toward Canyon Gate but realized I still had lots of time to kill before my tee time, so I decided to swing by the Suncoast sports book where I could watch the first few holes of Golf Channel coverage of the final round from Pebble Beach. While there, I noticed my favorite NHL team, the Kings, were +160 in their game later Sunday at MSG vs. the Rangers. The Rangers are my son’s favorite team and we enjoy playing up that rivalry a bit (we went to the game at Staples Center earlier this season with the best seats I’ve ever had at an NHL game… second row right next to the Rangers’ bench), so I plunked down $10 on the Kings with the hopes of cashing out for $26. I tried to text a pic of the ticket to my son, but it wouldn’t send for some reason.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-34-43 by Mark, on Flickr

    I eventually made the short drive over to Canyon Gate around 11:30, checked in and took a look around. I liked what I could see right behind the clubhouse.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-37-07 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-37-36 by Mark, on Flickr

    After hitting a few putts on the practice green, I was sent off by myself. The wind was howling and the temperature was in the mid-50s, so it wasn’t the best golf weather. This meant the course was relatively empty and I was able to play quite quickly. I played through one group on the third hole and then caught a twosome ahead of me on No. 7, but they kept a pretty good pace and I finished in around two and a half hours.

    As I drove my cart up to the attendant, he asked, “Are you all done for the day, sir?” to which I said, “I dunno. Can I keep playing?” He said yes, so I headed straight back to No. 1 and zipped around all 18 holes even faster the second time. I’d started around noon and finished 36 holes by just past 4:30.

    Canyon Gate is a pretty good course. I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it well enough. And with the ClubCorp membership, it’s a really good deal. I think I paid $27 for the cart fee. On the down side, I played terribly, both due to the wind and just making some bad swings. I had two of my highest scores in recent memory in those two rounds.

    Here are a few more pics of the course:

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-38-17 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-39-58 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-41-24 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-42-13 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-45-17 by Mark, on Flickr

    I threw my clubs in the hatchback, changed my shoes and set a course for my first-ever stay at Fremont Hotel & Casino. I valeted my car and was happy to find no wait at the registration desk.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-47-03 by Mark, on Flickr

    I’d heard that some of the lower-floor rooms had a lot of Fremont Street noise, so when they asked if I had any preferences, I asked for something above the canopy. The guy offered me a room on the 14th floor (top floor, I’d come to learn) and just a few steps from the elevator. Perfect!

    The room itself was very small (luckily I’d done my pre-trip research and knew to expect that), but it was also completely adequate for me on a solo trip. I actually kinda liked it.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-47-50 by Mark, on Flickr

    And here was my view through the (seemingly un-openable) shutters:

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-50-35 by Mark, on Flickr

    Some of the reviews I’d read about the hotel mentioned troubles with the shower draining. After spending nearly 5 hours exposed to chilly, high-powered winds, I was very much looking forward to a nice hot shower to warm myself up. Thankfully, my room had no such drain issues and the shower felt great!

    I had a few ideas in mind for dinner, but ultimately decided to return to Market Street Cafe at The Cal for their prime rib special. My wife, daughter and I had it a few years ago and I remembered it fondly.

    Well, either it’s gone downhill or I over-glamorized that memory, because I was pretty disappointed with my meal. The salad bar was pretty sad, and the prime rib was perhaps even sadder. About half of the oddly-cut piece they gave me was fat. The meat tasted ok, but I really feel like I wasted an opportunity to try something different (like Evel Pie, which I’ve heard great things about but have yet to experience myself).

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-53-59 by Mark, on Flickr

    After I ate, I used the connector to Main Street Station to go play some more nickel DDB. As usual for me at Main Street Station, I had nothing good happen and lost $30. No quads in about an hour of play.

    At this point I needed to decide if I was going to head toward Fremont East and go to the rap show at Bunkhouse. I think losing like that with no highlights helped make the decision for me, because I didn’t want to continue that trend, so I started walking that direction. Here are a few pics along the way:

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-53-40 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-54-51 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-55-43 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-56-29 by Mark, on Flickr

    I stopped at Atomic Liquors to snap some pics out front, but then proceeded to Bunkhouse just to check out the scene. It was pretty dead and the guy said the show would start in a while and tickets were still available. So I took that opportunity to return to Atomic and experience this semi-legendary Vegas bar for my first time before the show.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-57-04 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-59-02 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_11-01-36 by Mark, on Flickr

    This is a specialty cocktail on their menu called “Strawberry Fields” that included gin, Campari, elderflower liqueur, strawberry and a couple other ingredients. I feared it might be overly sweet, but no – it was perfect and really delicious.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-59-34 by Mark, on Flickr

    After that drink, I headed back to Bunkhouse for the show.

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_11-02-05 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-12_10-58-43 by Mark, on Flickr

    There were quite a few opening acts, and having been awake since 3 a.m. AND driven 300 miles AND played 36 holes of golf, the day was catching up with me. But the highlights kept me going, specifically a performer named Rasar, the mixing/scratching of a guy named DJ Zone and the headliner himself, Homeboy Sandman. I thought he was a really good lyricist and put on a good performance. Check his stuff out if you’re interested.

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-17-40 by Mark, on Flickr

    The show was very sparsely attended, with maybe 50-60 people there I’d estimate. Apparently it had rained while I was inside, because the sidewalks were all wet and glistening on the way back. Which made for cool photos like this:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-20-27 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-26-45 by Mark, on Flickr

    Container Park praying mantis with the moon behind it:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-22-26 by Mark, on Flickr

    I had every intention of heading straight back to my room and going to sleep, but I spotted a Super Times Pay nickel machine inside Fremont and decided to try to recoup some of my earlier losses. I struck out with only a Baileys on the rocks to show for another quad-less $20 loss. And oh yeah, the Kings lost, too. So my Day 1 total was around $60 in the hole.

    At that point I finally retreated to my room and hit the hay. I think I’d been awake around 23 hours at that point.

    More to come in the next few days…
     
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  3. Rumdranker

    Rumdranker Low-Roller

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    Great start. Hope the up side of gambling comes and doesn't leave.
     
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  4. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    M, sounds like you had a great trip planned. I dislike golfing in the cold and wind, just takes away some of the fun as I am always thinking about staying warm instead of hitting good golf shots.

    Looking forward to the rest of the report
     
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  5. Treb23

    Treb23 Low-Roller

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    Love the energy! I would have slept for 12 hours after a day like that!:D
     
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  6. tfcoach72

    tfcoach72 High-Roller

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    As a former member of ClubCorp, I concur, Canyon Gate is a fun truly private course to play. Number 18 is a fine finishing hole.
     
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  7. fugsworth

    fugsworth VIP Whale

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    I had no idea there was a Taco Time in Vegas. My boyfriend introduced me to it during a trip to his home state, and I love the place. You just made my day!
     
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  8. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Thanks R! I hate to trade in cliches, but how's it go? A bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day at work? ;)

    Fortunately I was layered appropriately, so the cold wasn't too bad, but the wind seemed totally inconsistent. It was swirling all day and always seemed to be going the wrong direction, especially when putting.
     
  9. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Agreed. Really nice finisher.
     
  10. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Glad to help! Be forewarned: It's in a sorta trashy truck stop that also houses a little casino. A few years ago I won like $40 while waiting for my food.
     
  11. fugsworth

    fugsworth VIP Whale

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    @M_ILIS I'd happily endure that for a crisp meat burrito, since I thought the alternative was catching a flight to Washington.
     
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  12. mercr350

    mercr350 Low-Roller

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    Love the golf pics.
     
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  13. Fafa2e

    Fafa2e High-Roller

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    Enjoying the report, hopefully you get some time to finish it up, especially more golf pics.
     
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  14. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

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    Great report! Always love the golf pics. We left Vegas last Sunday ( the 9th) and that was a 3 club wind for sure! looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.
     
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  15. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Here are a couple videos I shot at the Bunkhouse show. Excuse the vertical format as I shot them with Instagram Stories in mind:



     
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  16. julia

    julia (was miss_sonja)

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    Great photos! Hope you hit more quads!
     
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  17. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Day 2: Monday, February 10, 2020
    I strategically booked my tee time for today in the late morning so I could possibly sleep in a little and enjoy a leisurely pace to this one full day of vacation. It always feels so great to wake up on a Monday morning in Vegas knowing I’d otherwise be at work.

    I had my alarm set for 9:00, but I think I ended up waking up around 7:40. I showered and set out in search of some souvenirs for my daughter.

    The new Viva Vision video screens look great during the day:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-27-32 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-34-36 by Mark, on Flickr

    Random pic of Binion’s:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-35-05 by Mark, on Flickr

    I walked around the FSE for a while but didn’t feel like eating breakfast at this point, so I returned to Fremont and played a little more nickel VP. I think I lost $10 with nothing positive happening.

    I then returned to my room, packed up, checked out and retrieved my car from the valet. Overall, I quite enjoyed my stay at Fremont and would gladly stay there again on another trip like this.

    On the way to Bear’s Best, I swung through a McDonald’s drive-thru for some breakfast and arrived at the course around 11:00 for my 11:30 tee time. It was still chilly and windy, but there was hardly a cloud in the sky today. Bear’s Best almost has a private club aura to it with a nice clubhouse and big, beautiful driving range that’s very well maintained, offering balls stacked in pyramids at each station.

    While waiting to get started, I snapped this pic of the 9th hole as a preview of what was to come:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-35-47 by Mark, on Flickr

    The starter couldn’t find anyone to pair me with, so he eventually sent me to the first tee by myself (I didn’t care but he seemed reluctant to do that), but then another single joined me right after I hit my tee shot.

    Pace of play felt slow, but we got around in about 4 hours, 15 minutes total. The twosome behind us joined us for the last 5 or 6 holes.

    The course is in excellent condition and is a really fun layout. Here are some pics:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-36-41 by Mark, on Flickr

    The Old Works hole with the black slag bunkers:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-37-28 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-38-06 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-39-51 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-40-27 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-42-02 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-42-31 by Mark, on Flickr

    The par-3 15th plays directly toward The Strip and offers an incredible view:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-43-40 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-44-31 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-15_07-59-28 by Mark, on Flickr

    Another highlight of playing Bear’s Best is admiring the stunning residences built around the course. I noted this when I first played it five or six years ago, and even more amazing homes have been built since then. A few examples:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_09-38-57 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-15_07-47-48 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-15_07-48-19 by Mark, on Flickr

    I finished around 3:45 and navigated directly to the Luxor parking garage, getting my first glimpse of the new Raiders stadium while en route.

    There was about a 10-minute wait in the check-in line, and I was assigned a King room on the 2nd floor in the back-left corner of the pyramid. I asked if all pyramid rooms have been renovated and she said no, only the top floors so far. She offered me an upgrade for $10 more, but if I remember correctly, she said they’re all two-bed rooms, not Kings. Anyway, I was fine with whatever I got.

    As I left the front desk for the elevator, the Mlife desk had no wait, so I redeemed my $25 MYKONAMI Free Play reward, which just got added to my Mlife card.

    I then continued to my room to find this:

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-52-39 by Mark, on Flickr

    Obviously not the lap of luxury, but not terrible either. It seemed this might be an accessible room because the shower had all kinds of bars to hold on to, and also had a handheld shower head, which was nice.

    I rested for a while and very easily could’ve fallen asleep for a nap, but I resisted that urge, got ready and headed out for the evening. First I went souvenir shopping for my wife, who always enjoys any of the Egyptian themed gifts from Luxor. Only one problem: When I got over to what used to be the gift shop, it’s now a market with only a few souvenirs. However, an employee told me there is a kiosk near hotel registration with a bunch of Egyptian themed goods, and another store on the second level that had more. Nice!

    I ended up buying my wife a necklace with a little Egyptian eye pendant on it, as well as an Egyptian cat statue. I’m happy to see they are still selling these types of things because at one point they had cut back significantly on the themed souvenirs.

    I took that stuff back to the room and then walked through Mandalay Place Shops to the Mlife desk at Mandalay Bay. I redeemed my dinner buffet and another $25 MYKONAMI Free Play reward. I asked the desk clerk if those were really specific to each casino and she said yes, that it had to be played at Mandalay Bay. Later I discovered I believe she is wrong, because I was able to use my Luxor Free Play at Mandalay Bay.

    But first was dinner at the buffet. Here we go, plate-by-plate recap:

    The shrimp cocktail was really good, maybe the best thing I had…
    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-53-12 by Mark, on Flickr

    This panko-crusted salmon was also quite tasty:
    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-53-35 by Mark, on Flickr

    Here I asked for prime rib and was given a tiny piece. When she asked if I wanted more, she piled two more huge pieces on my plate. Ugh! Mashed potatoes with beef gravy were good, but the lamb osso buco was not. The BBQ ribs were decent:
    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-53-48 by Mark, on Flickr

    After that gluttonous meatfest, I felt some fruit and greens were in order to prevent an impending heart attack:
    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-54-01 by Mark, on Flickr

    Mediocre desserts: Chocolate croissant, carrot cake, pecan chocolate torte:
    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-54-14 by Mark, on Flickr

    Also a little disappointing that Mandalay Bay’s buffet doesn’t even have real iced tea. Whatever they brought me tasted like canned Nestea or that Brisk stuff.

    Oh well, I didn’t have that high of hopes for it. And it was free. But ultimately, felt like a squandered dinner for the second night in a row.

    After eating, I had some time before the concert, so I found a nickel DDB machine (a multi-play machine where I played 1 line at a time, IIRC). Yet again, I went quad-less playing through all $50 of my free play. I turned it into $35 cash and then headed over to HOB.

    For some reason in my head the show time on the ticket was 8:30, but I think I was confused because the opening band had already taken the stage when I entered around that time. Also, the place was surprisingly jam-packed with people. Fortunately, being solo allowed me to squeeze into the floor GA area and find a decent spot.

    Eliza & The Delusionals were every bit as good live as they were on Spotify, and the crowd was really into it. Seriously check this band out because I wouldn’t be surprised if they get big.

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-54-49 by Mark, on Flickr



    Silversun Pickups were really great, too. They have lots of songs that slowly build to a super loud crescendo, which were awesome live.

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-56-17 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-56-32 by Mark, on Flickr





    I was very tired by the end of the show, but that didn’t stop me from being stupid. I went back to my room for a bit and then hit the Luxor casino, telling myself I’d lose at most another $10 on the night. When I hit no quads once again, I should’ve taken the hint when the machine wouldn’t even accept more of my money.

    [​IMG]2020-02-13_02-57-33 by Mark, on Flickr

    A slot attendant eventually arrived and fixed it. And then that machine promptly ate that $20 with nothing to show for it, either. I dunno if all the math from this post adds up right, but I’m pretty sure I lost about $50-60 total for the day.

    By this point it was about 12:30 and I needed to get to bed for my 7:40 tee time the next day. One of the guys I’d played Bear’s Best with earlier was wearing a Siena jacket. Turns out he lives there and said that pace of play is never fast there, so suddenly I was concerned about making my 12:30 tee time at Boulder Creek. So my plan was to arrive at Siena as early as I could…
     
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  18. TArras21

    TArras21 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Messages:
    130
    Location:
    CMH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    125
    I've played at Bears Best several times.... really enjoyed it !!
     
    What are the odds of this happening??
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  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    21,392
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    22
    Good stuff so far, hope you can squeeze some last minute wins in though!
     
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  20. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,338
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Day 3: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

    I got out of bed around 6:20 to shower, pack up and check out, which all went smoothly. Then I navigated toward Siena Golf Club and was fortunate to avoid an absolute barrage of police out to ticket people. Google Maps kept informing me “There is a speed trap ahead” and I saw tons of cops, some with radar guns pointed at traffic and others who had already captured their prey. (This continued after my round as well. Is Nevada hurting for tax revenue or something?)

    I arrived at the course a little past 7:00, checked in and informed the starter that I was ready to go anytime and didn’t mind playing by myself. She was very accommodating and allowed me to head straight to the first tee. She said there was another single out there I’d catch and also urged me to not play too fast, because eventually I’d run into the Men’s Club shotgun.

    I caught up to the other single after a few holes and he wanted me to play through instead of joining him. I never ended up seeing the Men’s Club, and I finished in less than two and a half hours. Yet again it was windy, and yet again I played terribly.

    The only other time I’d played this course was in June 2016 and it was in fantastic condition at that time. Now, not so much. It wasn’t bad, but just didn’t have the same definition as the other courses I played on this trip. Here are some pics (Ignore those hideous FootGolf flags if you can):

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-25-24 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-26-01 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-27-28 by Mark, on Flickr

    I actually hit a great tee shot and rolled in my second birdie of the trip on this hole, the par-3 5th:

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-27-49 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-28-25 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-28-40 by Mark, on Flickr

    When I got back to my car, I checked the T-Mobile Tuesdays app, which was giving away some sort of drink tumbler for free. So I navigated to a nearby store that was just about to open and nabbed one of those for my daughter. I then continued down the 215 out toward Boulder City, where I planned to stop at Railroad Pass Casino for lunch and some last-ditch gambling.

    A few years ago I’d stopped in to the Iron Rail Cafe for their Three Deuces breakfast special, but this time I opted for a burger special: Cheeseburger, fries and drink for $5.99.

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-29-34 by Mark, on Flickr

    So close to the glitz of Vegas, yet so far:

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_11-29-51 by Mark, on Flickr

    The lunch was decent. The adjoining gas station had a Caprioti’s sandwich shop inside, which would’ve been much tastier, but this little dive is also kinda fun in its own way. After I finished, I had about 30 minutes before I needed to drive the last few miles to Boulder Creek Golf Club.

    I found a nickel DDB machine and it was stuck on a super fast pace, and I swear I was playing at breakneck speed. This was my last $20 of cash, plus I was headed home right after golf, so it was make or break time for this trip.

    The $20 started poorly, but then when I was down to around $11 in credits it seemed I was on the verge of something, and I stuck there for quite a while, going up to $15, back down to $11, etc., but just couldn’t get that elusive quad. I think I normally play VP pretty fast, but I don’t think I’d ever played this fast before, which was sort of exhilarating. Eventually that little “warm streak” (not a hot streak) ended and I finally fizzled out.

    Which means BOTH of my last two Vegas trips have been atrocious for getting quads, with none coming past the first or second day of the trip. Fortunately I had a really nice session at an Arizona casino back in November where I won more than $100 playing nickels in just about an hour.

    All told, I think I lost about $120-140 on this trip. I’ll be back to Vegas in April to see if I can get some mojo with the quads. Or better yet, a Royal. It’s been a few years since my last.

    So, with my wallet slightly thinner, I ventured back out into the extremely windy parking lot and made my way over to Boulder Creek. The pro shop guys said the other people who were booked at my time went off early, so I ended up playing by myself once again. (No problem for me; flying solo was what this trip was all about.)

    I had booked to play Desert Hawk and then Coyote Run, but they told me to start on Coyote Run instead. Here we go:

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-27-42 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-29-05 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-30-01 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-30-19 by Mark, on Flickr

    I was stuck behind several groups for the last few holes of the front nine, but after I finished the 9th hole, one of the employees drove over to me and suggested I play Eldorado for my back nine to avoid having to continue following those slower groups. He said it was wide open, so I jumped all over that opportunity, not only because it would allow me to play faster, but because I had never played Eldorado.

    For some reason I had it in my head that it was a little step down, quality-wise, from the other two nines. I was totally wrong. It’s really great, too. Here are some pics:

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-31-41 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-32-11 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-33-05 by Mark, on Flickr

    Overall, I think Boulder Creek is a vastly underrated course. I consider it one of the best public options in the entire Vegas area. (It’s much more distinctive and memorable than anything at Paiute, for example.) I just love how raw and rugged the course is with all those dry desert washes cutting through holes, the scenic mountains all around, no housing on the course. If you’ve never played it, I highly recommend it.

    After 90 holes and three days in cold, dry wind, my hands looked like they belonged in the Bodies exhibit at Luxor. Before hitting the road for home, I grabbed my lotion from the Fremont room out of my suitcase and started putting it all over my hands before I realized it wasn’t soaking in at all. Ooops, that says “Conditioner,” not lotion. Oh well, close enough. Then I found the lotion and put some of that on too.

    To my surprise, Google Maps had me backtrack into Vegas rather than out through Boulder City to Nipton. I wanted to get home ASAP so I trusted that route and followed it, although it’s still perplexing to me.

    Following that route gave me one last look at the Vegas skyline:

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-33-45 by Mark, on Flickr

    If I hadn’t squandered my previous night’s dinner at the Mandalay Bay buffet, I might’ve had my favorite Fish & Chips at Eliis Island. That idea had me craving fish & chips, and I remembered that the few-and-far-between Long John Silvers chain had a location on the way home in Adelanto. So I stopped there and had this monstrosity for dinner on the way home:

    [​IMG]2020-02-14_01-34-08 by Mark, on Flickr

    I made it home in good time with no traffic, and my wife and daughter both liked their souvenirs.

    It’s weird… I played good golf courses but had to deal with extremely high winds and played terribly all five rounds. I squandered several meal opportunities and was disappointed by both dinners. Gambling kicked me in the gut and stole my money with very few highlights in return. And despite all this, I had such a great time. That’s Vegas, right?
     
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