Well that was fun...HOT, but fun. (103-109 all week) This trip had quite a different feel to it. In part I guess, because I go so much...it's all gettin' quite routine. No interest to visit the Strip other than for in 'n out for my Shows, no sightseeing, and this trip...VERY LITTLE GAMBLING. I've mentioned I'm giving up my Total Rewards Platinum level. The Aug,Sept, and Dec trips are all set and comped for the rest of this year, but after that...I'll still be able to make my 4,5 trips a year, see all my Shows, play some video poker only and come out with less expense than if I were to continue to be aware of...how many point have I made, what comps does my 'level' award me...It's been fun playin' that game, but enough is enough. I can do it much cheaper my way and have just as much fun! (i will miss the RIO buffet pass lines though, LOL!) ...but I get 'em at MResort, so I guess I'll survive. Life at RIO is still fine. The buffet is as good as ever (to me)...the restaurants/cafe are all open their normal hours, the slot payouts have been cut back to terrible odds, and despite what the sign says in front of the Masquerade Show In The Sky...they're NOT ON VACATION. I haven't seen that Show in 2 years. I just know Harrah's has laid the cast off, never to return until they sell the place. Get this........I rode down the elevator with 4 suits from MGM and a suit from Harrah's. They were being shown the rooms on different floors....potential buyers??? WHO THE HELL KNOWS ANY MORE. Seems like MGM has enough problems with CITY CENTER let alone buying the RIO but hey...they were checkin' the place out. The pools looked great. No more topless Sapphire bathing, the entire pool area is open again for the guests as it should be. Lots of families, couples, all enjoying the hot weather and water! There's a new frozen yogurt outfit in town...BLITZZ. There's one at the PALMS and one at the MIRAGE. It's a self serve joint...you take a 'one size' large tub from the wall dispenser, fill it at a bank of 10? different flavor offerings, add any choice of a zillion toppings, the take it to the counter and they weigh it...that's how ya pay. The 'Prayline' was my flavor of choice...Mmmmmmmm. My generously filled tubs cost around six bucks. I was a regular customer by the end of my stay, LOL! Gaming at the PALMS was far superior to the RIO. I'd walk over every day and play til noonish then have some lunch, take a break, and start again late afternoon when it was time to head for a Show. Wednesday, I picked up my HERTZ car from RIO and drove to MResort in Henderson. IT'S REALLY NOT A BAD DRIVE AT ALL...kind of relaxing actually, barely takes 20 minutes and it's such great, fresh environment at M...I really enjoy the change. Restaurants, Cafe, Bakerey, Buffet, Rooms, and Pool are all GREAT. Gaming is pretty good. I think the slots are as tight as anywhere, but the video poker is pretty good. Not as good as the PALMS, but the over all experience (to me) is well worth the stay. The first time I visited M, I just played a bit...not even $200. When I got home from that trip, I started to receive mailers with...1 free night, lots of free stuff (T-shirts, buffet passes, liquor, wine, hats, sweatshirts, sun shades for your car...all sorts of stuff) Then I stayed there. The comps increased. 2 free nights, $25. free play...sometimes for more than just one day. The 'local' attitude awards you much more than a Strip property does and there's quite a difference in the attitude out there...I LIKE IT! One morning while at M, I drove over to check out SOUTH POINT. I'd never been in there, knew they had some great room prices and gaming but...I just didn't care much for the layout of the joint. Too open/light for me...not much personality. (i did put $200. through the VP just in case though, lol) I saw 6 Shows that week. GARTH BROOKS, LOVE, SANDY HACKETT's RAT PACK, VEGAS THE SHOW, QUEEN NATION, and HUMAN NATURE. I'll have some thoughts up in Shows and Entertainment soon. I met up with Jacqui (Jacqui, Duskette8) from Everything Las Vegas) and Mike 'n Sally (MESA) from Travel 2 Vegas. Great folks, and always a GOOD TIME! Good trip. Cheap trip. Instead of running 3K though they system, I did it on $1400. and had just as much fun (or more) It was surprising how relaxed and uninhibited a my trip was with out the thought of..."how many points I have" running in the back of my mind. I'd usually/easily make 1000 points each trip for my total of 4000 at the end of the year to stay Platinum but this time...I didn't even think about it and WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT MAKES!...so much more enjoyable, less stress, AND LOTS OF MONEY SAVED! I played $25. of RIO free play on their slots only. While waiting for Housekeeping to get my room ready, I played some quarter BONUS POKER in Masquerade Village. WHEN EVER POSSIBLE, YOU DON'T PLAY VP AT A HARRAH'S PROPERTY but...even with their terrible pay schedules, I hit a $1000. Royal which made the wait a little more tolerable...(a little more) After that, I did all my gambling over at the PALMS where I'll stay next month for the SANTANA Show over at the JOINT. Until then....OVER 'N OUT.