This was my 7th or 8th trip to Vegas, but this time I was going out to celebrate both my 30th birthday and my graduation from college (in May). It was also the first time that my sisters and I would all be in Vegas at the same time. My younger sister (Kristy) moved out there in January, and it is AWESOME to have a free place to stay. My older sister (Jen) and I took off from Milwaukee on Friday, 4/14. Of course the plane was delayed about 3 hours, but it gave me a chance to do some reading that wasnâ€™t school related, which was nice since I havenâ€™t done that since January. We had a bumpy ride out there, but I didnâ€™t care (much) since I was going to Vegas. We met up with Kristy as planned at the airport at about 700pm and drove out to her place on the northwest side of town. Since we were going to be there for a week, we decided to relax Saturday night and we ordered in Chinese food. It was nice to relax. Saturday dawned and still I slept. We all slept in until about 1000am and then just bummed around her place until noon. After that, we drove to Red Rock Canyon and hiked and drove around there for a while. I had never been to Red Rock, and I have to say that it is a beautiful place. We were able to hike on trails and drive the scenic route. I got a lot of good pictures there. After Red Rock, we went down Tropicana Blvd. and went to the Orleans to look around and gamble some. I had stayed there before and really liked it. We all broke even at the Orleans and decided to leave on a semi-good note. Easter Sunday dawned and we fixed brunch and headed over to Santa Fe Station to do some gambling. The place was a ghost town, hardly anyone was there. We lost a couple of bucks and headed home to relax a little. On Monday, we headed to the California coast for the next two days. We stayed in Carlsbad, CA which they say is about 35 miles north of San Diego. Carlsbad was a great town with a really good public beach. The drive there was fun for about 5 minutes. What a boring trip! After Primm at the NV/CA border, there is nothing until Baker, CA. Baker has the worldâ€™s tallest thermometer, which we stopped at. Baker was also selling gas for $3.55/gal which was the highest I saw on the trip. By the time we got into the non-desert, pretty mountains in CA, I had had enough of the trip and wanted to be out of the car. We had gorgeous weather in CA and I got to see the Pacific Ocean up close for the first time (I flew over it on a trip to Seoul). Tuesday afternoon, we headed back to Vegas since we were staying on the strip Tuesday and Wednesday for my birthday. We got to the Excalibur at about 800pm and when we checked in, we told the clerk it was my birthday and she upgraded us to a strip view room. The view was awesome! The room itself was really nice. The room was large enough for the air mattress we brought and the bathroom was huge. I was afraid we would be stuck next to a family with a lot of kids, but we had no problems with noise or kids. The parking lot was far from the hotel, but I convinced Kristy to use the Valet parking. I pulled a great line from the Simpsons for this. I told her â€œThis is my chance for someone to call me maâ€™am without adding â€˜youâ€™re making a sceneâ€™.â€ We headed up the strip stopping at my favorite margarita place, Gonzales Y Gonzales at the New York New York and got some yardlongs for the walk up the strip. We stopped here and there along the strip and we finally got to my favorite casino, the Paris. I officially turned 30 while sitting in front of a slot machine at Paris while drinking a yardlong. I guess if I had to turn 30, there were worse ways to do it. After that, we got more liquor and wandered down the strip to the Excalibur and went to bed (passed out). Wednesday dawned sunny and after a few Krispy Kremes to get rid of our hangovers, we were ready to go. We went to fashion show mall and the TI for a few hours and then we left the strip to get tattoos. This was my second tattoo (I got my first one at Pricz in Las Vegas about 6 months ago, it is a tiny butterfly on my ankle) and both of my sisters first. We went to Diversity tattoo on Maryland Pkwy, across from UNLV. I got a Hawaiian flower on my other ankle, Jen got a paper crane on her ankle, and Kristy got Curious George on her shoulder. Fun was had by all. After that we went back to the strip and ate at the Excalibur buffet. It was OK, not the best Iâ€™ve eaten, but not the worst. After dinner, Jen wasnâ€™t feeling well, so Kristy and I went to (as she calls it) the â€œold school strip,â€ meaning Circus Circus, The Riviera and the Stardust. We had tons of fun there. We checked out of the Excalibur on Thursday morning and headed out to the strip. After hitting Mandalay Bay and the Luxor, we decided to head out to the Rio for their buffet for lunch. It was wonderful! Everything I tried (and believe me, I tried a lot) was delicious. After lunch, we blew a couple of bucks at the Rioâ€™s casino and then left to meet up with some friends who live in Vegas. We spent the afternoon and evening at their house. On the way back to Kristyâ€™s apartment, we stopped at the new Red Rock casino. It was nice for an off-strip casino, but I was not hugely impressed. It opened only 2 days earlier so it was still really crowded, so that may be why I didnâ€™t like it. I will give it another try the next time I am out there (which will hopefully be soon). We got back to Kristyâ€™s and fell asleep early. Friday came and I couldnâ€™t believe it was our last day. We spent most of the day going to local stores and places. All week we had seen places we wanted to go to and kept putting it off, so today was the day to do it all. We did go to the strip because I wanted to go to Sephora at the Aladdin, and while we were walking there (we parked at the Monte Carlo) the 3 of us got our picture taken with Elvis, which was cool. After that we went the airport and went back home. Kristy was still on vacation so she flew home with us for a visit. All in all, this trip ROCKED! I loved the mixture of both local and touristy stuff, I loved California and Red Rock Canyon and most of all I loved being on vacation with my sisters. Now itâ€™s back to the real world of my thesis and various other papers.