I am not a big reader of trip reports but I know many folks do and it is a place to pick up a lot of pointers quickly, so I decided to post here, and maybe do a few more detailed ones later. That is my disclaimer at the brevity of my report although I am seldom at a loss for words. I left Manchester NH on saturday morning at 7AM. Like every other time that I have flown to LV for my trade show, they were forcasting bad weather and so my wife was a nervous wreck. She dropped us off early and left in order to return home and buy some groceries before the snow arrived. We left with no trouble but they got about 12 inches and then an evening of rain with lots of icing afterwards. Then came the cold temps: -17 on tuesday and -7 on wednesday; I felt terrible! (NOT) I fly Southwest and tried something different this time. I chose a flight that made 2 stops but we didn't change planes. Since the plane originates here, you didn't have the worry about standing in line to get good seats as you do when you switch but on the other side of the coin, I think I rather enjoy getting off the plane and getting the old heart pumping a bit, stretching and grabbing a bite to eat. I had friends sitting in the exit seats offering to throw our carry ons in the seat and was about to when the stewardess announced to stay in your ORIGINAL seats. Since there are no assigned seats I didn't understand why and while I was contemplating disobeying, two guys came forward and took the seats without incident. As luck would have it, they moved forward for some reason at Kansas city, and we grabbed their seats and enjoyed the last leg of the trip in comfort. It is amazing what a few extra inches of legroom will do even for a short guy like me. It was a clear day and we had a couple periods of mild turbulance but not bad. While approaching LV, the pilot announced that they got permission from traffic control to fly right through the middle of the Grand Canyon which he did, banking left and right so all could see; it was awesome. Incidently, on all legs of the trip, I found less hassles at the airport. Check in was quick and easy. The gal informed me that I couldn't lock my suitcase but could use a plastic tie or something. I just removed my little lock.At the boarding gate, the guy announced that certain passes were marked and those people designated at random would be searched. No one seemed to be so designated and all in all I saw no one chosen at random anywhere if they hadn't set the detector off. Things went as smoothly at Las Vegas on the return flight. I have got to believe this is probably due to new equipment, airport employees being more used to the new routines and travelers now more aware of things to avoid. Arriving in LV, we quickly retrieved our luggage and bought shuttle tickets at LVL for their ALC busses.Buses are now a year old or so but very clean and not stinky diesels. The wait was about 15 or 20 minute which is more than in previous flights. I dubbed the shuttle the "shuttle from hell". The older oriental driver kept telling us he was over 65 and forgetful as he asked us to verify which hotels we were headed to but the horrible part was that he had a big boon box blasting Mitch Miller tunes the entire trip. Finally, at the coaxing of the majority of the bus, my son turned the volume down while the driver went out to get someone's bags. We grabbed all the free magazines and handouts we could and after unpacking, I looked for coupons. I had contemplated buying the LVA but felt that I usually did pretty well with coupons when I arrived. NOT THIS TIME. (see my post under Misc. LV chat).When I return with my last son, I think I will purchase one. Our room was ready and comfortable. We hopped onto the bus, validated our CAT Passes, and went downtown to enjoy a porterhouse steak (16oz) at the Bay City Diner in the golden Gate. They had just gone up in prices for the steak from 7.77 to 8.99 the week before and from 6.95 to 7.95 for the prime rib dinner. These are their 24 hour specials.All in all, food prices went up all over LV. Fewer deals and increases across the board. We were close to Circus Circus on sunday so we stopped there. It was 7.99 (a buck more than weekdays, I guess)but should have just gone to the Peppermill Rest. I find that as I get older I eat less (even though more of it hangs on) making the buffets less desirable except for the variety and salads. I like a big salad. Excaliber buffet went up as well...I think 6.99, 9.99 and 11.99........I sure hope it is better than it used to be at those prices! Hilton's buffet stayed at 9.99 for lunch and I ate there during my trade show at the LVCC.Buffet was bettr at The STRAT where our buffets were part of the Viva Las Vegas package. We also ate the 5.95 Prime Rib Dinner at the California. It was bery good and included the salad bar. I forbid my 14yo son to eat at McDonalds whose 2.47 cheezeburgers sell as fast as they are made! Yuke! I have friends that stayed at Terribles and loved it. They said that their room was very nice, the staff was very friendly and there were lots of good meal deals there. One thing I really wanted to do was to bus out to the Gold Coast and check out their buffet.So, we went out there on thursday. Caught the bus on Flamingo Blvd for the short ride out. We paid 10.99 for the dinner buffet (6.99 for lunch) and it was worth every penny!The Buffet was new, spacious, bright and clean. we were seated and served quickly. I couldn't believe the choices at that price, and how good everything was. the salad bar was very good! walking out when we were done we caught the shuttle to the Barbury Coast.Between the CAT and the shuttle even without a car this would be a nice place to stay, especially at the prices that they sometimes offer. As far as location, I wouldn't hesitate with the Rio either. I joined the slot club at GC but didn't stop in at the Rio. Eddie and I went to the wax museum but it was closed. (8 during the week)but we did see the fountains at the Bellagio, the volcano, the lion habitat at MGM, the battle at TI, and the Forum at Caesers. He liked the light show downtown. Stars of the Strip with Ronnie Howard now has Kathy Walker instead of the Walkers (her and her brothers)They were on vacation last year. the new theater is nice (Plaza instead of Lady Luck) but the jokes are old and I probably won't see it again or recommend it. Rick Thomas has refined his show even more and changed it since April. It is a great show. Viva Las Vegas was good bu;t unchanged from last year. My son thought it was great. American Superstars was pretty much the same dumping Madonna for ZZ Top. (not any better but not any worse). Roxy's Diner at the Strat is still a hoot with the waiters and waitresses singing and dancing. Mystere was the big disappointment. I thought it was terrible. Talented performers, and a well done production but a $15 circus permormance in a legetimate stage for $88! I guess I'm only the 3rd person of thousands who did not rave about the show but both my son and I nodded off during the performance and I was quite pleased actually at the end of the performance.....that I could go back to my hotel and go to bed! We had most of saturday,through tuesday for sightseeing and then my trade show started and took up most of my time. We had a nice vacation except that I got sick thursday with sore throat, chills, runny nose etc. Trip home was uneventfull and the best itiniary so far with SW: about 4 hours LV to Baltimore, and 60 minutes to Manchester.It was freezing when we got home and we are in the middle of an expected 12 inches as I am writing this. I wish I was back in LV. If I can ever get caught up reading the posts from last week, perhaps I can find a deal to bring by other son in April! Jimbo I got the blister of all blisters this year walkiing!