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August 2009 Trip Report - Orleans

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by cvkelz, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. cvkelz

    cvkelz Extremely Low Roller- like, I barely roll at all.

    Jun 17, 2016
    Monterey, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    (Just like the last old trip report that I put up, this was taken from my personal blog so there isn't as much about Vegas as my usual stuff I put up here...mostly because I figured it would bore my non-Vegas friends. This was back before we powered through to Vegas in a 9 hour road trip and broke it up with a stay in Bakersfield. This is also back when my mother was well enough to travel and would fly out to meet us from Maine. Here it is for what it is worth.)

    So our annual trip to Las Vegas has begun.

    Our journey began when we left work on Thursday around four and headed into Bakersfield. As you guys know, I hate being on any sort of freeway. The drive was not as good as when we went to LA in February because that trip was a fluke. On that trip we had ZERO traffic. We were the only ones on the road for most of the trip and it was wonderful. So we made it to our hotel in a little under four hours.

    We found the shining beacon of light that is a Sonic Drive In on the way to the hotel and stopped and got some Chili Cheese Tots, Bacon Cheeseburger, Popcorn Chicken and a M&M Blast. I know I always say I wished we had Sonic in Monterey but it is really a blessing that we do not. There is a reason I weighed over 350 lbs when I worked a block away from one of these evil temptresses.

    We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn with no problems and headed up to our room. We had stayed here last year and knew we liked it so it when we discovered we could get it with a 59.00 room rate we jumped on it.


    Friday morning we were packed and on the road about ten after ten in the morning. Already it was hotter than I remembered it being when I lived in AZ. I know that is not true, but I guess my blood has thickened back up since moving to Monterey.

    The traffic wasn’t *too* bad and we made it to the Orleans in about five hours stopping only once for gas.

    Check in at the Orleans was a breeze. We were able to verify my mothers reservation (also in my name) for the next day and got the room that we had requested. Mom was already in Vegas at this point having flown in a bit early and was staying at the Golden Nugget.

    Look who's on the cover of the room magazine! Oh haaaaay Donovan!!!

    After a couple of trips to the car for all of our crap (this is why we drive, not fly.) we settled into the room and relaxed for a bit. I called the cell phone that I had gotten my mother back in July when I was in Maine but it went straight to voicemail. I figured that she had forgotten to turn her cell phone back on when she got off the plane on Thursday, so I then called the Golden Nugget where she was staying and left her a voicemail there.

    Rob and I spent most of Friday night exploring the casino and all that it had to offer. The reason we picked this place was because it had a movie theater and a bowling alley…other things to keep us entertained. The older we get the less we are all about drinking and gambling the whole trip.
    (Sorry, back then I didn't really take pictures of slot machines or anything.)



    We stopped by the arcade and played twice on a roller coaster simulator. It was fun and the only kind of roller coaster you will ever see me on. Finally, we got some dinner at TGIFridays and came back up to the room to hit the sack. We had a full day the next day and were tucked into bed fairly early for us in Vegas and only 20 bucks down on gambling money.

    Saturday was shaping up to be a busy day for us. Our friend Scott from Phoenix had rented a plane and was piloting himself into the Henderson airport to meet up with us for lunch before heading back to Phoenix. We also had to pick mom up at the Golden Nugget and bring her over to where we were staying at the Orleans to check in for the duration of her stay.

    We woke to find overcast skies. Rob mentioned that it was supposed to rain. This could have posed a potential problem for our friend Scott flying in, but when checked his voicemail there was a message from him stating he was ready for take off and would see us around ten. So we showered and dressed and headed out to the Golden Nugget, arriving a little early so that I could use up some old gift cards at the Starbucks there.

    Rob dropped me off so I could get in line and then parked in the GN parking structure. While I was waiting in the massive line, Rob had come down and found my mother and brought her and her luggage to meet me. Per her request I got her a water and a muffin, and myself a caramel frap and croissant and also a latte for Scott. $17.00 later I was told that they do not honor gift cards. Wait…what? You are Starbucks, but you don’t honor your own gift certificates? Hmph.

    With our bounty paid on a debit card we loaded mom and her luggage into our car and took off for Henderson.

    Now...remember in part one where I tried to call mom’s cell phone and it went straight to voice mail? And how I assumed she just never turned it back on after getting off the plane? Umm, no. For some odd reason, my mother had taken out her cell phone in her sister's car while my Auntie Tee was driving her to the airport and she accidentally left the phone in the car.

    This would have been the first trip where mom had a cell phone, thus making communicating with her a bit easier while she was gambling the night away in the casinos. Oh well, Rob and I decided it wasn’t the first time she wouldn’t have one so it wasn’t that much of a loss. But wait! There’s more!

    Instead of leaving well enough alone, mom decided to take matters into her own hands and told her sister to overnight the phone to her at the Golden Nugget. She finally had a cell phone, and damn it, she was determined to be able to use it!

    Weeeeelllll….the phone didn’t arrive at the Golden Nugget.
    And now mom was checked out of the Golden Nugget.
    But mom didn’t tell us any of this until we were on the freeway driving away from the Golden Nugget.
    Mom didn’t appear too concerned. She told us that she had a tracking number and it would eventually get to the Golden Nugget.
    But she was no longer AT the Golden Nugget. :grrr:

    My mother cares about two things while she is visiting Vegas and those two things are slot machines, and slot machines. She didn't seem to think this was a big thing and didn't appear to have a worry that the phone that I bought her could now be lost in Vegas forever and I would have to find a way to get her a new one after she was home and we were 3000 miles apart.

    Sighing and agreeing to deal with it later, we picked up Scott and headed back to the Orleans.

    Picking Scott up at the airport turned out to be a breeze after one small wrong turn. When he got there he informed us that the weather was about to take a turn so he was just going to get a room at the Orleans and spend the night.

    When we got to the hotel Rob dropped mom and I off since walking long distances is not my mothers strong suit, and went to park the car. After trying to check in early we were told there were only three rooms clean and they were all as far away from the elevators as possible. Not an option for my mother. She did however tell us that she had a room vacant but not clean near the elevators, and she would put a rush cleaning on it. She told us to check back in an hour and she would have us all set. Sounded good to me.

    I took mom up to our room in the meantime to park her luggage. I could tell mom hadn’t had a whole lot of sleep in the last couple of days. Her MO is to go full force the first couple of days in Vegas and tire herself out to the point of exhaustion. I got her situated on the couch just as Rob and Scott came in. Apparently the hotel was completely sold out so getting a room for Scott was not an option. We offered him our very uncomfortable couch but he said he would just check later since people were bound to be cancelling at some point.


    It was almost 11:00 at that point so we decided to head down to the cafe for some brunch. Scott wanted to try the prime rib here at the hotel because he heard it was pretty good but the Prime Rib Loft didn’t open until so the cafe it was!


    There was a bit of a line but it moved pretty fast. It was an okay meal. Nothing spectacular…typical cafe food. It did, however, kill enough time to be able to get mom checked into her room after.

    We decided though that Since Scott couldn’t fly out that night, that we would be able to take him to the Prime Rib Loft after all so after depositing mom in her room we called and made a reservation for five when they opened.

    After that, Scott and Rob decided to take off to Guitar Center for a bit. With the room to myself, I contemplated a nap but decided since I was going to be eating a large meal fairly soon after the large meal I had just eaten that I should get my lazy butt to the fitness center downstairs.

    Dinner at the Prime Rib Loft was nothing short of amazing! The prime rib was just fantastic. I enjoyed the whole experience very much. It had the feel of an upscale restaurant but you didn’t have to dress up or drain your wallet. Definitely a place we will recommend in the future.

    With The Orleans still completely booked, Scott managed to find a hotel nearby to spend the night. I don’t blame him for not wanting to stay on our couch…it wasn’t that comfy.

    After dinner we had to get ready for the show we were seeing that night.


    My husband has been a fan of Richard Cheese for a very long time. We saw him live once, very briefly when he was the house band at a taping of the Carson Daley show that was being filmed at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. This was many years ago and since they were the house band, they only played about 30 seconds at a time, leading in and out of the commercials. Not exactly what we had in mind. So seeing a full live show has been an eight year dream of Robs. Richard Cheese plays Vegas often but it never seemed to fit in with our vacation schedules so we’ve always just missed him.

    For those unfamiliar with Richard Cheese, or just to lazy to follow the link, I will explain. What he does is take popular songs, the dirtier the better, and “loungifies” them. He sets them to a lounge song tempo and sings them with a pleasant voice. It is better experienced than read about so go ahead and google him. You won't be disappointed.

    Anyway, that night he was playing at the Green Valley Ranch. I had heard some of the songs he does from Rob’s CD and knew it was funny. What I didn’t know was that the guy himself is excellent at improv and plays off the crowd so well during and in between the songs. Rob and I were crying we were laughing so hard. The kind of laughter where after two hours you are physically exhausted from all the mirth. Such a good show!


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    After the show we headed back to the hotel. We hung out in the room for a little while and decided around one in the morning to go see about getting some food. As we got off the elevator, we spotted my mother sitting on a bench with a Subway sandwich bag next to her, furiously searching through her purse. As we got closer we discovered she was visibly shaking. She had been out all night gambling and hadn’t eaten of course. Being diabetic, that is not a good thing. Her sugar was low and she was running on about 6 hours sleep in the last 48 hours. She looked a wreck and she apparently couldn’t find her room key. I'm sure passers by just assumed she was drunk or strung out or something.

    We fished the card out of her purse and escorted her up to her room because honestly, in the shape she was in I wasn’t sure she could make it the short distance by herself. In her room we got her settled, made sure she started eating her sandwich and made her promise to stay and go to bed.

    The next morning was Sunday and we had no plans. Mom had strict rules to stay in her room and rest because Monday was our mother daughter day at the Luxor, so we weren’t worried about entertaining her. I got up and hit the gym and then we decided to go to Fry’s Electronics. I had gotten the new Sims 3 game but my laptop didn’t have enough RAM to play it.

    After that we got back to the hotel and decided we wanted to go see a movie. Rob had really been wanting to see District 9 and I didn’t know much what it was about so off we went. The movie was excellent. Very fast paced from the get go. Another show where we were exhausted afterwards. I recommend the movie highly.

    I wasn’t feeling the gambling that night so I stayed up in the room and played my new game while Rob went down and gambled. He ended up being up enough money to pay for our dinner from TGIFridays so that was a plus.

    To Be Continued...

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  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Jan 21, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Good start!
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  3. cvkelz

    cvkelz Extremely Low Roller- like, I barely roll at all.

    Jun 17, 2016
    Monterey, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Monday morning I woke up and hit the gym again. I’m sorry to say this would be the last structured exercise of this trip.

    After I was done I came upstairs to the room and showered before heading off to meet mom in her room. I got her safely to the car in the parking garage. This would be the VERY FIRST time I was going to drive in Vegas. As many times as we have been here, Rob has always done the driving. He has always done the driving for the majority of our relationship but even more so for the scary places...like Vegas. Thankfully, the ride was a hop skip and a jump from our hotel at the Orleans to the Luxor. No freeway what so ever and it wasn’t a weekend so it was all good.

    We got to our destination with ease. Normally I would have valet parked since I was with mom and walking is not her strong suit, but it turned out that this time the parking garage was closer to where we needed to be than the valet entrance.

    Before I left the Orleans I had Rob call my Auntie Tee to see if she could call FedEx. The location of mom's cell phone was still up in the air but since it hadn’t been delivered overnight as it was promised, we figured she could not only get her money back but also get it delivered back to her since she was the sender of the package.

    As mom and I rolled up to the Luxor I got a call from Auntie Tee on my cell phone.

    “Your mother gave me the wrong zip code!” She said crankily after I answered. (Note: Both of my mothers sisters ALWAYS sound cranky, even when they are not. It's a family trait I may or may not have picked up. :evillaugh:)

    Apparently since the wrong zip code was given for the package, they couldn’t refund any money, and since it has already been delivered to the Golden Nugget (news to us) it could not be returned to her. I thanked Auntie Tee for trying and then promptly called the Golden Nugget to speak with the person my mother had been dealing with about the whole cell phone fiasco.

    She informed me that the phone was indeed there and she would hold it for us to come pick up until the 26th as that was the day we were leaving. A quick call to Rob and we decided we would pick it up on the 26th before we dropped mom off at the airport.

    With that taken care of we began our mother/daughter day. After a couple of stops to rest we got up to the food court at the Luxor where I got a caramel frap at Starbucks and a Strawberries and Cream for mom. (Although she is diabetic, she claims she needs to “sugar up” for the nights here in Vegas because of how much she walks...don't even get me started on this kind of "logic".)


    Once we were done, I got tickets for the Titanic Exhibit and we were off. I had been wanting to see this exhibit for years. I had thought I would see it at the Tropicana last year when I went with my bestie but it had already been moved. I was quite happy to finally get to see it.

    The whole experience is pretty cool. They have all of the facts of the trip written out with giant photographs but they also have a bunch of artifacts that they recovered from the ocean floor under glass.

    In addition to that, they recreate the rooms in the third class and first class as well as recreating the deck and the “famous” staircase. It was all just a really great experience. The best part was at the end they had a giant piece of the ship that they had recovered from the ocean suspended in the air for us to look at and in also there was a video of how they recovered it. Well worth the money in my opinion for the experience.



    Once we were done with that we had some time to kill and were kinda hungry so we hit the buffet at the Luxor. I don’t have a lot of experience at buffets in Vegas but this was one of the largest and best stocked I have ever seen. They had foods of all kinds in one place and the deserts were yummy! We didn’t leave hungry at all!
    (Okay, I know now that this was no where near the largest buffet in Vegas, but I was a buffet virgin at the time and really impressed)



    After the buffet, we hit a couple of shops and then it was time for the show!

    We were seeing Menopause The Musical. I had done a lot of research on what mom may or may not like and this won out hands down. Bonus that it was cheaper than most and started at 5:30! I bought the tickets in advance, VIP seating so we could get front row, but they turned out to be even better than I expected. Smack dab in the center of the row. Mom voiced a small concern about being picked on for being in the front row but I assured her this was not an improv show so there shouldn’t be a problem.




    Once the show started, my mother and I were caught up. The show is just hilarious and it is set to the songs of my mothers generation so she was just in her element. She laughed a lot and there was one moment where one of the ladies was singing her song and she came down into the front row and chose mom to sing directly to. It scared my mom a little but tickled me to no end.

    At the end they call for people to come up onto the stage. My mom was one of the first people picked but she didn’t want to go. I forced her and we both ended up doing an kick line with the stars and more audience members. It was classic and gives mom a great story to tell when she gets home. The whole experience was fabulous.

    After the show we got back in the PT Cruiser and headed back to the hotel. I gave mom her souvenirs of the day in the elevator and bid her ado until the next day. Up in the room I filled Rob in on the show and my day and then I got lazy while Rob watched football.

    It had been a busy day for me so that night I didn’t have any desire to go gambling. I stayed up the room and played my new computer game while Rob went downstairs to play. He wasn’t down there for long but ended up winning enough to pay for our dinner at TGIFridays that he brought back up to the room.

    The next day I hit the spa and got a massage and facial. This is not something that I normally do because we can't usually afford it but I didn't find the prices here offensive and I felt like I deserved it since I hadn't been gambling that much. It was very nice and I had no complaints.

    We chilled in the room after that until it was time to meet up with our friends Marc and Jenna at the Prime Rib loft. Rob initially met Marc through his work as they were in the same department, but Marc moved his family to Vegas fairly recently and this would be our first time seeing time seeing them in about a year.

    The dinner was once again, fantastic. My mother joined us and is not a fan of Prime Rib (never even tried it, but can't get past the "rawness" of the meat) but was able to find a chicken dish that satisfied her very plain palate.

    After dinner we headed down to the Baskin Robbin's for desert and more chatting.


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    Eventually Jenna began worrying about the babysitter and how late it was getting so they headed home and we headed back up to our rooms to pack as it was our last night in the hotel.

    The next morning we loaded everything into the car and checked out of the Orleans. It was time to drop mom off at the airport for her flight home to Maine. Rob and I were staying two more days in Jean to really get our drink and gamble on for the last of the trip.

    But first a stop downtown to get mom's cell phone. I was still mildly irritated at the way my mother had handled this situation but there was nothing I could do to change it. I got the phone from the woman that my mother had dealt with on the whole fiasco and I tipped her well for her trouble. That done we headed back up the strip and dropped mom off at the airport.


    It's always sad to see her go and as usual I cried a bit after the drop off as we made our way up to Jean.


    Jean is a place that just seems to hold a soft spot in our hearts. We have stayed here many times over the years after the move to California and we love the low-keyness of it all. It reminds us a lot of downtown when we first started our Vegas trips. I love that it's empty a lot of the time and you don't have to fight your way through people. I love the free arcade downstairs. I love the it is apologetically cheap and no frills.

    We also tend to have good luck in the casino here.


    The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. I got some swimming in and since there was no one there, we had the pool to ourselves. Rob played guitar poolside while I swam. It was really nice.

    Oh, also Rob shaved his beard! He hadn't shaved in eight months and he decided while we were staying there, he would let the hotel deal with the shaggy trimmings in the bathroom sink.

    But the best thing about the end of the trip was literally the last night. We had been playing blackjack for quite a while and were up a little bit. We decided it was late and since we had to drive all the way home the next day we would just head back up to the room.

    On the way to the elevators we passed a cluster of dollar machines and figured what the hell? We put a five dollar bill in and on the first pull we won $320.00! I was jumping up and down and Rob shushed me, paraniod that we were going to get mugged or something.

    A perfect end to our trip.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
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  4. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Jan 21, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Another great TR, thanks for sharing! Great finish on the way out. And 8 months for that beard huh? Bet it would take me even longer. :oops:
  5. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

    Jun 25, 2007
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    What a great report!

    I do have to ‘sugar up’ a bit in Vegas too. I burn off so much walking. I’m so glad I have my Dexcom now. I used to have to have my mom or my husband call me during the night to make sure I was ok.
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  6. cvkelz

    cvkelz Extremely Low Roller- like, I barely roll at all.

    Jun 17, 2016
    Monterey, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    This report took place long before my mom really understood her diabetes. She now has glucose tabs that she has on her at all times and carries snacks in her purse.
    This trip report was done about two years before she fell into a depression and didn't take her diabetes seriously. Not eating many days and eating candy like meals others, while blindly taking insulin. She wound up in the hospital with basically blood sugar related dementia and it took them two weeks to regulate her meds until she could be released.
    As a result she now lives in an assisted living apartment and they regulate her meds.
    Scary stuff for sure.
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  7. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Jan 21, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Oh wow. I hope she's doing better now...
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  8. cvkelz

    cvkelz Extremely Low Roller- like, I barely roll at all.

    Jun 17, 2016
    Monterey, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Much...it was actually a blessing in disguise because a few years after getting into assisted living, she had a stroke and has fully recovered. If she had still been living on her own, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have made it.
    It was funny because she really resented being "forced" into assisted living and was very vocal about it, but after she recovered from the stroke she repeatedly tells me how lucky she was to be living where she was and completely understands why things happened the way they did.
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  9. Vegasworm

    Vegasworm Finger Clicker Extraordinaire

    May 5, 2014
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    @cvkelz, I always enjoy reading your trip reports. Love that you and your husband drive most of the time too, just like we do!

    Really liked reading this one with your mom. My mom and I did Vegas together in 2005, and we have a trip planned this summer if the whole virus thing doesn't waylay it.

    I'm so enjoying all of these trip reports from the past. Also feeling a bit sad at how quickly time passes for all of us.