I flew home from Vegas at midnight Monday night. This last Saturday, Stanley and I were in Orange County on the last day of a business trip (for him), I had joined him midweek to hang out at the pool. We were flying home at 3 (Sac area). Stanley had finally finished his work, was staring out at the Pacific Ocean, and said, I don't want to go home, let's go to Vegas. Hmmm....give me a minute.... We had three obstacles: getting there from the LA area; getting home from Vegas; and hotel rooms. Also, our plane was due to leave in a couple of hours, so I needed to put this together quickly. Our rental car was easy, the desk said you have it till 5 PM tonight, no drop fee in Vegas (premiere account-business), so no extra cost if you make the clock. Southwest gladly changed our trip from LA/Sac to Vegas/Sac, only$35 more each; then it was on to a room search. I started with Harrah's total reward desk. I was calling at 10 AM for a room that night, SATURDAY night on a 3 day weekend. Good luck with that. I was also wanting a player/flyer rate. Heh. Once the lady quit laughing, and I got that there was no availability for Saturday under $200, she did tell me I had free rooms for Sunday and Monday night. Score! hooked up Bally's, hung up and puzzled over that night, Saturday night. Because I read this and other forums, I know which rooms might have a Saturday rate I could live with. Gold Coast came through at $119 that night. I took it. Okay, we have to take a co-worker to the airport at noon, Â½ hour a way from our hotel, that gives us 4 and Â½ hours to make it. The National car rental lady said 3 times, not to be after 5 PM for no charge. It put the fear of god into us, why? Not sure, whatâ€™s the worse they could do, charge us another day? Ok, this business account was like $65 a day for the car, so it was a little pricey, but on the companyâ€™s dime, if we could get there by 5 PM. Weâ€™ve never made this drive from LA to Vegas, Sacramento-yeah, but not LA; hey, itâ€™s closer by about Â½ so we should be fine, right? I figure we need to hit Barstow by 3 to have any chance in hell, since it was 1 PM and it was only 80 miles from where we were, no problem. Around the 15 and 215 intersection, we were at a standstill, we lost about Â½ hour. Stanley kicked it into 85-90 to Barstow, getting there at 3:15. Can we make it? Well, he continued the Nascar driving, I tried not to pay attention, limiting my gasping to only 1 every 15 minutes or so, NOT stopping to pee at all in 250 miles, we pulled into Vegas at 5 PM. After gassing up, we hit the rental center by 5:15, all was well. We decided to just cab it while there for the short two days, though we had 3 nights booked, 1, Saturday night at Gold Coast, and 2 at Ballyâ€™s, we were flying home the last night at Ballyâ€™s, and only needed the room till 8 PM. We usually drive there to Vegas, thereby having our own car. When we fly we rent a car. I hate cabbing it! Itâ€™s so stressful with the long hauling, the crazy driving, the pissy attitudes. Sheesh! We leave the airport (shuttle took us back there after returning the rental) by cab, he tunneled us. When I saw what he was doing, I called him on it. He went into the terrible traffic on Tropicana crap, as usual, I started in about what the fare should cost, and Stanley gave me a nudge, said let it go, weâ€™re on vacation, yada, yada. Fine, take your $22 fare, hey hereâ€™s a tip too! But, I didnâ€™t lose my temper and go off on him (I have before, and it leaves you pissy for a while, ya know?) We arrive at Gold Coast, get our room, give it the nod, and hit the casino. We decided to team play, using a pooled kitty, watching each other hit the button, moving on when we lost one buy-in, cashing out at double ups, pretty structured stuff, more fun than it sounds when youâ€™re drinking martiniâ€™s. After too many martiniâ€™s and no food, we go for their T-Bone special. 16 oz steak with all the fixinâ€™s including a beer, yeah, we needed the beer. Service was crappy, food was good, too good, actually. We split this meal (as usual), and I gave Stanley the Â½ a steak with the big juicy bone. At some point, he got tired of cutting the meat away from the bone and picked the whole thing up with his hands, gnawing on it like a dog. Pretty funny stuff considering this guy is meticulous about eating. I mean he can eat a dripping buffalo wing, or bbq rib and never get a mark on his face. Fascinating. Iâ€™m staring at him in disbelief, heâ€™s not only gnawing on this bone, heâ€™s over exaggerating his enjoyment and the process with sounds and big gestures, weâ€™re both laughing, in our own drunken, Vegas world, when I notice Stanley look up across the aisle, grin (with bone in his mouth) and wink ever so cutely at this Asian couple (maybe not U.S.?), who are staring at him with some shock, but mostly amusement. After Stanleyâ€™s wink, the Asian gentleman laughingly tells Stanley itâ€™s been some time since heâ€™s seen someone enjoy their food so much. Stanley sweetly and earnestly told him heâ€™s glad he enjoyed it. We left wiping tears from our eyes. Because it was Stanleyâ€™s birthday month, the extra points they give, and the discounted comp use, bought the meal. We played a bit more and ended up ahead about $20 bucks for the night, cool. The next morning, we team play more, stay even, check out and head to Ballyâ€™s by 11 AM. Though they have a shuttle, we didnâ€™t want to shlep our bags into it for the Â½ mile to Ballyâ€™s so we grab a cab. Guess what, she tried to long haul us! Rather than pull out on Flamingo (where Ballyâ€™s is, same street), she heads toward Circus. Stanley says, rather forcefully, and not a little mad, â€œWhere do you think youâ€™re going?!â€ She jumped, and nervously said, it was a short cut. Huh? What can be shorter than a straight line, Â½ a mile, with lights in your favor and no pedestrians to worry about? She was scared, I felt sorry for her. Remember how Stanley made me back off my cabbie attack the previous day, now heâ€™s going to let her have it. She sheepishly admitted sheâ€™d been loading for an hour and a Â½, she probably saw our luggage, and thought she had at least an airport fare. The fare was $7 something, I wanted to give $12 as usual, he wouldnâ€™t let me, she got $10 total, but he wanted to stiff her. I think Iâ€™m done with cabs, our own car or a rental. Between the 3 trips, it was almost $50, we could have rented a car for two days, and will next time. They have a room ready, we drop the bags and power walk down the strip to the Venetian food court, since its noon and we havenâ€™t eaten since the split of the T-Bone. Our destination is the Italian joint. Their calzones are awesome; loaded with ricotta cheese too. We split one, and then head to Palazzo, no luck there, but quite crowded. Pretty place. After a slow crawl, playing hit and run at the strip casinos, we head back to Ballyâ€™s to clean up for dinner. Dinner is Ellis Islandâ€™s bbq. Since there is an hour wait, we grab an amber ale and settle in for some video poker. I like playing single line 50 cent double double (one at a time). I hit 4 aces with a bonus card for $200, and weâ€™re up for the trip. Theyâ€™re calling us for dinner and we skip into dinner (okay, mentally skip). Delicious dinner as usual, and we head back to get some points at Ballyâ€™s/Paris. We go to the machines that paid us last trip, (usually a mistake) and drop $20 each right away. Oh, did I mention we just then quit our team play and started pulling out 20â€™s, we were winning dammit! Well, â€œwereâ€, is the word. Winning over. Stupid, drunken play takes over. You know the results. Also, weird thing happens at Paris. Weâ€™re playing 50 cents video poker, triple play. We order our usual Absolute vodka martiniâ€™s (Grey Goose at Bellagio) and the cocktail waitress wants to see our playerâ€™s card cuz only diamond can get that. WTF?! I say order something else, the lady says she can give us Kettle one, whatever. The point is, what game was she playing? New rule as of that moment? If so, why was she the ONLY one enforcing it? Going for employee of the year while cutting her own throat? Stupid. We took the Kettle ones, tipped our usual decent amount; she was on us like white on rice. Her relief brought us Absolute no problem. Maybe we should have switched to root beer or something, because the booze gave us no skills or smarts. Bad evening, winnings gone. Still laughing/skipping to bed, booze will do that. The next day we take stock of our play. When we team play, we win/stay even, when we split up we lose. Hmmmmâ€¦. What shall we do today? We team play, slow lose and try Billâ€™s for the Wizard of Oz game. We couldnâ€™t get on it the day before, and it looked like a hoot! Yeah, it kinda was, with the speakers in the back of the seat and the wicked witch cackling at you, the voices were good, pretty original sounding. However, it was a tight as a MF! Weâ€™re back to our slow play, putting 5â€™s in at a time, at this ole lady, next to us, goes through $70 in 10 minutes with 20 line 3 on a line. Ouch! The game isnâ€™t THAT fun. On to breakfast/lunch at the Flamingo buffet. Not that we wanted a buffet, we wanted the cool view of the fish, falls, flamingos, you know, the ambiance! Using $5 coupons, and some TR points it was almost free, the wait was okay, and the food selection a little odd, but small quantities, so good. However, I have to quit eating at buffets, theyâ€™re just too stressful! And Iâ€™m not someone who stresses easily. Hereâ€™s the stresses: 1) Waiting in line, buffets make you do this, restaurants donâ€™t. Why? Canâ€™t the buffets afford the buzzy thingys? 2) Getting a seat with a view, or some comfort factor, most buffets have tables, icky, stuck in the middle of the room, straight back chair tables-no booths, due to ease of getting in and out. 3) Choosing food. Walk the damn thing first, make your choices, otherwise, the shrimp you picked out on one end, done in pickle sauce, will appear at the other end-freshly sautÃ©ed in garlic. 4) And finally, and most important to me, drink service. I usually only get one plate, I eat fast, and am done in 15 minutes. So guess what, Iâ€™m finishing up when the server brings my water/coffee. Now this is my fault, I know. I could sit there and WAIT until my drinks come before I go get food, I could, but Iâ€™m not, so shut up, the gambling is waiting. Oh, and I forgot to sneak coffee out this last time, Iâ€™m losing it. We finish the afternoon at Caesarâ€™s and Bellagio, losing slow, and drinking fast. Hey weâ€™re leaving soon! We head back to Ballyâ€™s for a rest before the plane takes off, shower up and head to the airport. This cabbie was spot on. Friendly, didnâ€™t try to take us to the airport via downtown, and actually helped with the luggage. So, what is that? 1 out of 3? About right, methinks. We were hoping for a bump. It was the last flight back to Sac, on the last day of a holiday weekend. We were full, but not overfull, no bump. The ride was bumpy, no drink service, and we were home a bit after midnight. Work today. And it was all so worth it. Iâ€™ve never had a trip with no planning before. It was good and bad. Bad, because, as we all know, the anticipation can actually surpass some trips. Good, because it was stress free. We actually felt like kids playing hooky, and went with the flow.