Did the annual wheelchair tour with a disabled buddy and almost hate to say it, but no tragic sex-related stories. Yes, this year's version was subdued to compared to previous year's debacles of discovering the real ins-and-outs of girls advertised on porn-hawkers cards, spending way-way too much on lap dances, getting rolled by in-room prostitutes, etc. While my friend still has a desire for the Vegas sex scene, he's become a bit jaded from his experiences. Thus, the pledge was made to avoid Strip clubs, call girls and anything else sex-related that costs money. I'll give him credit. He backed his words up and stood clear of the danger zone, even though it makes for a boring TR. In lieu of sexual pursuits, my friend has been discovering the joys of blackjack. He was rated for 10 hours at the Wynn/Encore at $36/hand and probably did another 10-15 hours elsewhere. My role is to help move his chips and let him know what the dealer's face card is, as he is a triapalegic and also has trouble seeing over the top of the table. Most of the play was at the outdoor table games. We've done Wynn before, but the outdoor set-up at Encore was new to us. However, it was basically like being at the Wynn pool area. As far as topless women, the Wynn has Encore beat. Business was definitely down at the tables this year compared to last and I know the dealers are hurting. Still, they had a cheery attitude and made my friend feel like a king. Between Wynn buffet comps and free drinks he probably broke even for the trip. A late afternoon session the day before we left where every card he needed turned up was the difference-maker. I gambled a little, mainly to give the Wynn craps and BJ dealers some action. Didn't make much, but enough to throw some much-needed tokes out and have some pocket change to take home. While at the Encore pool, I ran into Guy Fieri, the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and the Food Channel. He was touting a local's joint on North Decatur that they did a show on - the Four Kegs Sportsbar. Had a Steve Wynn sighting at the Wynn pool, sans wife. He wasn't with a girlfriend either, instead with a business associate. One thing my friend and I agreed upon was how peaceful the north Strip is compared to the South and Center. We virtually spent most of our time there, staying at the Rivieria and the Hilton and bopping down to the Wynn. Kudos to both Riv and Hilton for refurbishing their rooms. The casino in the Riv looks like it's dying, though. I still like their simple old-school Vegas pool with an actual deep end. For entertainment, we saw the Country Superstars Tribute with live band at the Fitz (free with player card sign-up), XTreme Magic at the Trop (free with slot pull) and Comedy Club at the Riv (free with sign-up). All three were adequate, but I don't feel my life with be any less unfilled if I hadn't seen them either. About as glamorous as we got for dining was the Wynn buffet a couple times. That place is starting to win me over as best in town over Bellagio. I also have to put a plug in (even though it pains me to do it) for that newly-remodeled McDonalds across from the Riv. For fast food, it has outstanding customer service. In a high-rent district, they still have a .99 menu. It was handy option for my friend who wanted simpler fare. Another surprise was Fremont Street. This "Summer of 69" thing they have going is pretty cool and the streets bands they had playing were better than the norm. Saturday nite, they even had Rare Earth. I'm not a big FSE guy, but enjoyed the vibe Fremont Street has manufactured. Probably funniest scene of trip was watching my friend chase after three young men on wheelchair-like scooters. Apparently, anyone can rent these. He felt able-bodies people do not belong on them, so he cranked his motorized chair to the highest speed and tried running them off the sidewalk. My friend also generated a great deal of laughter everywhere he went with his "Show the Cripple some Nipple" shirts. He ended up handing about 20 of them out to folks along the way. Certainly they got a lot of notice on the Strip, but the biggest response came from passerbys at FSE. Finally, has anyone else noticed that there seems to be a lot more pigeons around Vegas pools than there used to be? Just a random thought.